Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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Where Ecology Meets Economy: Season 3

A Forum for Green Industry & Land Management Professionals

Registration closes soon and seats are limited so act now!

Don’t miss this next opportunity to network with land managers, growers, arborists, landscape architects and many other professionals. This innovative event will feature presentations, panel discussions, plus guided tours discussing ways the green industry and land managers can benefit each other. Speakers for this year’s event include: Curt Meine, Darrel Apps, Roy Diblik, Kelly Kearns & Matt Millen

When: September 9, 2015; 8:00am - 3:00pm

Where: Johnson’s Nursery; W180 N6275 Marcy Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Register online: WEME 2015 Registration

people walkingHosted by: Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. & Johnson’s Nursery, Inc.™

2015 Program details:  Where Ecology Meets Economy: Season 3

The purpose of this forum is to advance personal dialog between the two groups that have not traditionally shared their experiences. This third annual meeting will continue to develop working relationships to create business opportunities and help improve the state of our ecological communities.  The full-day event is offered for CEUs and will feature presentations about ways the Green Industry and Land Managers can work together for mutual benefit.  A topical panel discussion and five unique tours and demonstrations by SEWISC and Johnson’s Nursery staff will occur from 2:10 - 3:10pm. Attendees may sign up for one tour on a first-come, first- served basis.  We will see you there!

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon

The Traveling Trophy Finds Another New Home

news fall 2015 1bOur Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon is an annual event, where we encourage people throughout southeastern Wisconsin to protect the woodlands of their neighborhoods by pulling this invasive plant. The pull-a-thon is a competition, a fundraiser, and a way for people to join together and have a positive impact on their environment. 

This spring, 10 teams formed by 361 volunteers helped to raise funds and awareness while controlling 13,500 pounds of garlic mustard and dame's rocket in our natural areas. Volunteers recruited friends, family and colleagues to sponsor their pulling efforts. What a fun way to make a real difference in the protection of the wild areas that we love!

The tax-deductable pledge contributions were shared between SEWISC and event partners and the funds will be used for invasive species education, prevention and control in southeastern Wisconsin.  Honorable mention goes to the Eagle Nature Trail Team, which, for the past two years, has been the winning team in raising donations.  Thank you to all the 2015 teams and to their generous sponsors. 

news fall 2015 2bThe prestigous traveling trophy was recently passed from last year's winners, the Mequon Nature Preserve Farmstead Woods Team to the Caledonia Conservancy Trout Pond-Prairie Team during a ceremony on  August 19th. The diligent winning team pulled 3,450 pounds of invasive plant material! The 2015 Pull-a-Thon Winning Team was organized by the Caledonia Conservancy and included 75 sixth graders from McKinley Middle School in Racine

The Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon Trophy is a team-to-team award for dedicated efforts to control invasive species in southeastern Wisconsin. Each year, the team with the most bags of pulled garlic mustard and/or dame’s rocket wins the trophy which travels throughout our eight-county region.

Join the fun.  It’s never too soon to begin recruiting 2016 Pull-A-Thon Teams! Will the impressive trophy be passed to another team in 2016, or will the Caledonia Conservancy win the competition and keep the trophy for another year?

Got garlic mustard?  If you would like to volunteer as a Team Leader in 2016 and add your worksite location to our event, please email us at: .

2015 Wisconsin Invader Crusader Awards

Congratulations to our Regional Recipients

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 Sherry Speth and Paul Mozina were chosen to receive 2015 awards for their dedicated work in southeastern Wisconsin!  The Invader Crusader Awards Ceremony was held on June 5th at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. 

news fall 2015 4If you need help with species control or education in Sheboygan County, Sherry Speth (middle) is your go-to gal. She is a dedicated volunteer, having committed her time and energy to every aspect of the cause for over ten years. Sherry is a volunteer at Kohler-Andrae State Park. Thanks to her, the park has been able to develop and enhance their gardens and to confront the many invasive plants that are endangering the native vegetation in the park's landscape. Due to her hard work, Sherry was awarded the park's Volunteer of the Year award in 2010. Since then, she has continued her efforts to work on both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species both in the park and on other public and private lands.  Sherry received the SEWISC Sweat Equity Award in 2012 and is a valued SEWISC volunteer who devoted many hours to our 3-year roadside invasive plant fall 2015 3

Paul Mozina (on right) has been involved in invasive species outreach and control since 1996. He is currently a volunteer at the Kettle Moraine State Forest’s Southern Unit. Paul is leading an effort to restore about 137 acres of land surrounding the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail by removing all invasive plant species from the area, including buckthorn, garlic mustard, phragmites, spotted knapweed, and purple loosestrife, to name a few. His work in this area is part of the overall management of the Scuppernong River Habitat Area and in 2013, he and approximately 11 volunteers contributed about 1,400 hours of labor. Paul and his fellow volunteers are no stranger to hard work; it’s a real labor of ecological love, plus a few shovels. According to one of Mr. Mozina’s nominators, he works “year-round, virtually non-stop, including the unforgiving winter months” and is an inspiration to both his peer volunteers and those who learn from his work.  

SEWISC Internship Program

2015 Field Experiences

news fall 2015 4 2This summer, SEWISC helped to place twelve University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Geography students into fieldwork internships around Southeastern Wisconsin.

Izabel Ditchev, Hannah Machura. Keith Helm and John Duecker worked with Jerry Ziegler, who manages six nature preserves for The Nature Conservancy. The students completed a wide array of tasks, including the installation of a floating dock, management of invasive shrubs in an oak savannah, sorting and moving herbicides from a building that will be torn down; monitoring boat traffic, clearing woody debris left from a prescribed burn, and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping.

Schlitz Audubon Land Manager, Marc White mentored interns Corey Hoover and Damian Wetzel who used their GIS skills to produce maps of dames rocket and garlic mustard populations in the reptile and amphibian conservation area.  Their project maps and reports will be used for vital long-term management at the sanctuary.

Melissa Cook and Tom Kroeger of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) received the help of Andy Arnoldussen, Guy Davies, Elise Weiss, Diana Hornick, Tony Tieso and Matt Page at Havenwoods State Forest and Lakeshore State Park and on the Hank Aaron Trail. Intern tasks were numerous and included visitor counts and surveys used to summarize visitor use. The surveys also included a description of visitor activity such as walking, biking, or running.

news fall 2015 5aHaving accurate visitor estimates is vital to the parks; providing important information for grants, partnerships, and internal WDNR management decisions.  This information cannot be collected without the help that these interns provide.

We would like to thank Jerry, Marc, Melissa and Tom for volunteering to mentor these twelve students and for offering great opportunities during the summer through which the interns mastered new skills while honing skills gained through their University coursework.

Crazy Worm

A New Invader to our Region

news fall 2015 6Aptly named, individuals of this worm species jump and thrash when handled, and they behave more like a threatened snake than a worm. They may also shed their tails when caught.  Crazy worms can be 1.5 to 8 inches long. The narrow band around their body (clitellum) is milky white and smooth, unlike other species which have a raised clitellum. Crazy worms reproduce easily. They are asexual (parthenogenetic) and mature in just 60 days, so each year they can have two hatches. The best time to see them is late June and early July. From September until the first hard frost their population will double and may reach damaging levels.  We have received recent reports of these worms in Mequon, Milwaukee and Plymouth.

Crazy worms change the soil, by disrupting the natural decomposition of leaf litter on the forest floor. They turn good soil into grainy, dry worm castings (poop) that cannot support the understory plants of our forests. Other plants, animals and fungi disappear because the understory community can no longer support them.  If you have seen them at your house, in your compost, at a boat landing, or in a forest near you contact: Bernie Williams, WDNR; ; (608) 266-0624.

Go Wild with Native Gardening

“Plant This Instead of That

news fall 2015 7

Shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia) (left) are a stunning native alternative to European lily of the valley
(Convallaria majalis) (right), which can be aggressive in a garden bed, forming large, dense colonies of clonal plants

The Nature Conservancy has launched a wonderful web feature called “Plant This Instead of That: Alternatives to Garden Bullies”.  The feature provides well-mannered native alternatives to aggressive plants and shrubs for use in yards and gardens.  For example, plants like burning bush, wintercreeper and periwinkle can pose a threat to nearby forests and other natural areas when they escape cultivation.  Using less aggressive, native plants can protect natural areas while adding beauty to yards and gardens.  Plants that are native to an area also require less watering and don’t need fertilizers or pesticides to survive.  Birds use native plants for food, such as seeds, berries and shelter, and native plants also attract many insects, another important food source for birds.  There are many great reasons to visit the website so encourage your friends and neighbors to use this great resource!

Save the date:

SEWISC 2015 Annual Symposium

New Invaders Headed Our Way!

1:00 pm Wednesday, November 18th

Havenwoods Environmental Awareness Center
6141 N. Hopkins Street, Milwaukee WI 53209

news fall 2015 8  news fall 2015 9

Celebrate our recent accomplishments, meet this year’s Sweat Equity Award Winner
and learn about our plans for 2016 and beyond.

This year’s guest speakers will share examples of problematic invasive species which are invading the counties just south of our region.  Early detection, identification and prompt best management techniques will keep these traveling aggressors from establishing in Wisconsin.

The symposium is free and open to the public.  Local refreshments will be served.

Contact: to become a 2015 Symposium sponsor and/or to exhibit at this event!