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.
Since 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), 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.