In 2005 Governor James Doyle demonstrated a firm commitment to address the issue of invasive species in Wisconsin by creating the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species and by declaring June of that year the first annual Invasive Species Awareness Month. That tradition has continued in an effort to raise awareness about non-native invasive plants and animals. This annual event is a great opportunity for the Council to recognize the efforts of outstanding individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary work in combating the spread of invasive species.
We are proud to report that Girl Scout Troop #2789, Michael Yanny (Johnson’s Nursery, Inc.) and Jason Nickels (Mequon Nature Preserve) were chosen to receive 2014 awards for their dedicated work in southeastern Wisconsin! The Invader Crusader Awards Ceremony was held on June 5th at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison.
Four young women of Girl Scout Troop #2789 were honored for their impressive efforts engaging other community members, volunteer groups, and local businesses in a successful purple loosestrife biocontrol project around Lac La Belle. They are continuing their work by teaching other community groups how to replicate the project. From the Troop’s nominator: “Troop #2789 learned that with a bit of determination and muscle power combined with a cooperative enthusiastic spirit, a big difference can be made for the lake community in which they live. Their contribution will make a lasting impression. All parties involved with their work are very proud of the efforts of Girl Scout Troop #2789”.
SEWISC Board Member, Michael Yanny has helped build bridges between the nursery industry, regulators, and the conservation community since work on Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Rule began. Owner of JN Plant Selections, LLC & Senior Horticulturist at Johnson's Nursery, Mike served on teams of experts evaluating species considered for regulation. He goes above and beyond; helping regulators construct good regulations and helping the nursery industry understand the need for, the value of, and how to comply with those regulations. Ultimately, Mike helps to change attitudes so that we all can enjoy healthier natural ecosystems. From his nominator: “He has served to build a communication bridge and working relationship between industry and conservationists that will ultimately lessen the impact of invasive plants on Wisconsin natural areas over time.”
Jason Nickels’ crusade against invaders is both intensive and extensive. As Director of Education and Restoration at the Mequon Nature Preserve, Jason implemented an intensive plan to control or eradicate all invasive species in the largest nature preserve in the four-county Milwaukee area. The reach of his success extends to the 7,000 students and 10,000 people that visit the facility and learn about invasive species. The preserve’s transformation teaches about both the damage that invasive species can do and the incredible restoration that can result when invasives are intensely managed. From a letter of support: “We welcome Jason’s work that has led to transforming a city-owned property into a nature preserve with myriad habitats.”