Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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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.