Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


Shop Local

Where Ecology Meets Economy: Season 4

A Forum for Green Industry & Land Management Professionals

Registration closes soon and seats are limited so act now!

Don’t miss the 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 help each other to provide sustainable pollinator habitat. Speakers for this year’s event include: Elizabeth Meils, Mike Murray, Tim Power and Andy Stahr. 

When: September 21, 2016; 8:00am - 3:30pm

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

Register online: WEME 2016 Registration

ecology4Hosted by: Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. & Johnson’s Nursery, Inc.™

Program details:  Where Ecology Meets Economy: Season 4

The purpose of this forum is to advance personal dialog between green industry and land management professionals. This fourth 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 to provide sustainable pollinator habitat.  A topical panel discussion and five unique tours and demonstrations by SEWISC and Johnson’s Nursery staff will occur from 2:10 - 3:30pm. Attendees may sign up for one tour on a first-come, first- served basis.  We will see you there!

Giant Hogweed

A New Invader to the SEWISC Region

Giant hogweedhogweed1 (Heracleum mantegazzianum) was positively identified for the first time in southeastern Wisconsin during the summer months.  Early detection of this Wisconsin Prohibited Species has resulted in rapid control with the vital help of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and local homeowners.  SEWISC immediately contracted with Applied Ecological Services who treated hundreds of plants with herbicide and followed-up with the removal of seed heads within a south Sheboygan neighborhood and along a nearby railroad right-of-way. SEWISC continues to work with the homeowners, railroad officials, and the WDNR to monitor the two populations.  This hogweed monitoring and control work will continue over the next few years to ensure eradication of viable seed.

Giant hogweed was first recorded in Wisconsin in 2004 with other confirmed reports to-date from Iron, Waupaca, and Manitowoc Counties. A single plant produces thousands of seeds, which can be dispersed by flowing water or animals. Giant hogweed commonly invades new territories as a result of plantings by un-informed humans who are impressed with its impressive size and novelty.

An herbaceous biennial or monocarpic perennial that grows as a lowing-laying bushy rosette for the first year, hogweed plants usually bolt during the second year and grow 8 to 20 feet tall. The hollow, ridged stems are covered in coarse white hairs and reddish-purple mottling. Leaves are compound, 1 to 5 foot wide, palmate, deeply lobed and pointed. The undersides of leaves are covered in coarse white hairs. Flowers are large flat-top umbels, up to 20 inches wide across, with white, 5-petal flowers that bloom from May-July. The plant dies after seed dispersal.

hogweedGiant hogweed invades roadsides, vacant lots and woodland edges. Due to fast growth rates, populations can displace native vegetation. The species prefers moist shady areas, particularly along stream banks, where it can lead to soil erosion and easily disperse seeds downstream.  Warning: Sap from leaves and stems can cause a phytophotodermatitic reaction on skin, when exposed to sunlight, resulting in severe burns and blisters.

Don’t confuse our native American cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) and other similar plants with giant hogweed. Use on-line resources, printed materials and great educational videos to differentiate between the species, carefully examine the plant and if you are still unsure, send photos to the WDNR.  If you believe you have giant hogweed growing in your area, contact WDNR.

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon

The Traveling Trophy Finds Another New Home

pullathon 1Our Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon is an annual event, when 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 522 volunteers helped to raise funds and awareness while controlling 26,258 pounds (over 13 tons!) 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 Pull-A-Thon pledge contributions were shared between SEWISC and event partners and the funds will be used for youth and adult invasive species education and prevention in southeastern Wisconsin.  Thank you to all the 2016 teams and their generous sponsors.

pullathon 2The prestigous traveling trophy was recently passed from last year's winners, the Caledonia Conservancy Land Trust Team to the Riveredge Nature Center Team (RNC) during a ceremony on  August 1st. The industrious winning team pulled 6,840 pounds of invasive plant material with the help of 67 volunteers including the RNC's Habitat Healers,  Girl Scout Troop #40093 from Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts and local Grafton Kohl's Associates.

The 2016 Pull-a-Thon Winning Team was organized by RNC and included volunteers such as the RNC Habitat Healers, Girl Scout Troop #40093 and local Grafton Kohl's Associates.

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

Join the fun!  It’s never too soon to begin recruiting 2017 Pull-A-Thon Teams. Will the impressive trophy be passed to YOUR team in 2017, or will Riveredge Nature Center win the competition and keep the trophy for another year?

Got garlic mustard? If you would like to form a Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon Team in 2017 and add your worksite location to our event, please email us at: .

2016 Wisconsin Invader Crusader Awards

Congratulations to our Southeast Wisconsin 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 Mike Fort and the Mequon Nature Preserve Restoration Rangers were chosen to receive 2016 awards for their dedicated work in southeastern Wisconsin!  The Invader Crusader Awards Ceremony was held on June 9th at Horicon Marsh. 

crusader1Since 1996, Sustaining Crusader Awardee, Mike Fort (left), has devoted hundreds of volunteer hours to Lapham Peak State Park and the Ice Age Trail. Mike has concentrated his efforts on restoring native prairie grassland habitat on approximately 200 acres of the property by planting native grasses and forbs. Most recently, Mike has focused efforts on restoring approximately 150 acres of native oak savannah habitat by removing woody invasive species. He has accomplished much of this work alone while at Lapham Peak as often as seven days per week year round, but has a loyal crew of volunteers that assist him two to three days per week. Mike has been a leader, educator and mentor for decades. He is often sought out by individuals from around the state for advice on invasive removal and native species restoration including state government staff, and trade professionals. 

Represented by Carren Jackson and Adam Rehberger (below),crusader2 Volunteer Group Awardees, The Mequon Nature Preserve Restoration Rangers, create awareness in people of all ages to advocate for invasive plant removal and replacement with native species. Ranging in age from 7 to 90 years+, the Rangers carry out a comprehensive program that supports Mequon Nature Preserve’s mission: to restore the land to its natural state that existed prior to European settlement. Through their work, Rangers learn why invasive species are detrimental to the environment and train to remove invasive species through hands-on work assignments. Rangers include employee groups from local businesses and clubs. In 2015, Rangers planted 1,200 bare root tree seedlings and 500 native herbaceous plant plugs. The Rangers work throughout 166 preserved acres currently in active land restoration programs. 

SEWISC Internship Program

2016 Field Experiences

This summer, SEWISC helped to place eleven University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Geography students into fieldwork internships with six mentors throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

interns 1Tim Budda and Bret Maertz worked with Jerry Ziegler, who manages six nature preserves for The Nature Conservancy in Waukesha and Walworth counties. Budda cut and stump-treated buckthorn and honeysuckle to allow regeneration of an oak savanna remnant. Maertz scoured Conservancy preserves for interior fencing left from farming days. He mapped and flagged the fencing to help land management staff and prescribed fire personnel avoid injury. After mapping, Maertz removed several hundred feet of old barbed-wire fencing for recycling.

Schlitz Audubon Land Manager, Marc White mentored interns Sterling Smethurst and Valerie Staver who used GPS to record the location and size of garlic mustard and dame’s rocket clusters. They worked as a team to hand-pull, bag and remove the invasive plants. The students produced a map by entering their data into a GIS database which was used to assist volunteer groups in relocating and controlling larger clusters.

interns 2

Tom Kroeger of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources received the help of Lydia Kentowski and Tyler Vavrik at Lakeshore State Park. Intern tasks were numerous and included collecting visitor counts and demographic surveys that the students then used to summarize and analyze visitor use of the park.

Weston Brusky and Matthew Rudman worked with Jason Nickels at the Mequon Nature Preserve to conduct a baseline tree survey of three early successional forest management areas totaling 88 acres. The interns learned to record 20 different tree species and entered the data into a GIS project file for future use. 

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Stewardship Director, Ryan Wallin, mentored Evan Gustke who learned to identify invasive species such as garlic mustard, buckthorn, multi-flora rose to conduct GPS infestation inventories at ten land trust preserves.

Matt Smith, Land Manager at Riveredge Nature Center, received the assistance of Ashley Heding and Chelsey Knuth who surveyed 110 acres of upland forest and wetland for invasive species. The students were also given a thorough field overview in plant identification and invasive species ecology.

We would like to thank Jerry, Marc, Tom, Jason, Ryan and Matt for volunteering to mentor these students and for offering educational opportunities during the summer through which the interns mastered new skills while honing talents gained through their University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coursework.  

The SEWISC Board of Directors

Welcomes A New Member

dan carterThe SEWISC Board of Directors is happy to welcome Dan Carter, Ph.D., who joined the Board in July and is currently enjoying his first three-year term. Dan is Principal-Specialist Biologist with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and is responsible for natural areas assessment and planning. He is also a Research Associate with the Milwaukee Public Museum, co-instructor of the UW-La Crosse Wetland Workshop Series Basic Plant ID Course, lead-author of several scholarly articles in botanical and ecological journals, and an avid home gardener. Dr. Carter’s recent election brings the SEWISC Board of Directors to fourteen members.



Invasive Plant Management Techniques Course

Don’t miss this hand’s on class

invasiveplanttechniquies 1Learn to use the most appropriate, efficient, up-to-date, and least environmentally damaging methods to control invasive species.

When: October 22 (Saturday) 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Where: University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Field Station, 3095 Blue Goose Road, Saukville, Wisconsin  53080

Workshop Fee: $60.00.  Discounted fee of $45 offered to current SEWISC members.  Contact for promo code prior to registering. Available for 0.8 CEU. Not offered for college credit. REGISTER Today!

Save the date:

SEWISC 2016 Annual Symposium

Invading Swine, Swans and Worms - Oh My!

1:00 pm Wednesday, November 16th 

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

2016 symposium 2 2016 symposium 1

Celebrate our recent accomplishments and learn about our plans for 2017 and beyond. This year’s guest speakers will share information regarding exotic animal species which are invading our region. Early detection, identification and prompt best management techniques will keep these critters controlled in Wisconsin.

We will also present our 8th Annual Sweat Equity Award during the Symposium, which honors outstanding Southeastern Wisconsin citizens and organizations for their significant contributions to prevent, control or eradicate invasive species that harm our region’s lands, waters, and wetlands. Please consider nominating adults and/or youth with whom you work or those from your community.  

Sweat Equity Award nomination forms are accepted through October 15th.

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

Contact: to become a 2016 Symposium sponsor and/or to exhibit at this event!