Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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SEWISC 2018 Annual Symposium

Between the Lawn and the Wild

Click Here for Event Details

1:00 pm Wednesday, November 14

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

Ruth Marshall SEWISC 2018 Annual Symposium SEWISC 2018 Annual Symposium

Celebrate our recent accomplishments and learn about our plans for 2019 and beyond. Love them or hate them, lawns are a fact of American life. Despite their reputation, lawns don’t have to be resource intensive to look good. This year's guest speakers will share information on low-maintenance grasses as well as native sedges and wildflowers that can be used to create lawns and lawn-like spaces that are inspired by natural plant communities in the Midwest.

We will also present our 10th 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 18.

The symposium is free and open to the public. You’ll enjoy a terrific raffle and delicious local refreshments. Email: to become a 2018 Symposium sponsor and/or to exhibit at this event!

Another New Invader: Viburnum leaf beetle

Viburnum leaf beetle (VLB), Pyrrhalta viburni, is a European native that has been in Canada for over 70 years, and on the east coast of the US since at least 1996.  VLB is now in scattered locations throughout the northeast.  In 2014, VLB was found in northern Milwaukee County, and is currently eating Viburnums there and in Ozaukee County at least as far north as Cedarburg.  It is expected to spread, and while it will eat any Viburnum species, it strongly prefers Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) and both the European and American Highbush Cranberries.

Viburnum leaf beetle adult 2 Viburnum leaf beetle larva 2

VLB larvae are often found in small groups and their feeding damage can look like that caused by Japanese beetles.  VLB adults begin to feed in late June and early July and chew oblong holes in leaves. When VLB are abundant, they can defoliate viburnum shrubs, and eventually kill the weakened plants.

Viburnum leaf beetle larva on leaves 4

After just one generation in a season, VLB’s overwinter as eggs that the adult females have laid in Viburnum twigs. A single female VLB can lay up to 500 eggs, which take about 8 weeks to grow from egg to adult the following season.  The larvae go through three instar stages after they appear in mid-May, and then pupate in the soil in early- to mid-June.  The adults lay eggs all summer and into October after they emerge.

While several chemical control options are available, some cultural control of VLB can reduce VLB damage.  Twigs with VLB eggs can be removed and destroyed in the winter, and several natural insect predators of VLB can be encouraged in your area.

For more information visit: Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull A Thon River Revitalization Foundation Team 2Our 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, 11 teams formed by 734 volunteers helped to raise funds and awareness while controlling 21,380 lbs. (almost 11 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 wild areas that we love!

The tax-deductible 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 hard-working 2018 teams and their many generous sponsors.

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull A Thon River Revitalization Foundation Team trophy 2For the first time in competition history, the prestigious traveling trophy was retained by last year's winners, the River Revitalization Foundation Team (RRF). Assiduous RRF team members Sierra Taliaferro, Robin Cassar, Mandy Traughber, Vince Bushell and Aaron Zeleske pulled 6,300 pounds of invasive plant material with the help of 110 volunteers from numerous sources including Fox Point Lutheran Church, Maryland Ave. Montessorri Garden Team, Ryan Company, TMJ 4, US Bank Green Team, Lakefront Brewery, RRF's FORB volunteers, RRF's Earn and Learn, and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District.

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 pulls in the most donations wins the trophy which traditionally travels throughout our eight-county region.

Join the fun! It’s never too soon to begin recruiting 2019 Pull-A-Thon Teams. Will the impressive trophy be passed to YOUR team in 2019, or will the River Revitalization Foundation team win the competition and keep the trophy for yet another year?

Got garlic mustard? If you would like to form a Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon Team in 2019 and add your worksite location to our event, please email us at: .

2018 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 and to initiate action for minimizing their negative impacts. 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. The Invader Crusader Awards Ceremony was held on June 6 at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison.

Ruth Marshall was chosen to receive a 2018 award for her dedicated work in southeastern Wisconsin. Ruth has been an active member of SEWISC for the past ten years, reaching far beyond her role as Weed Commissioner for the Village of Nashotah to educate the public regarding the negative impacts of invasive species. Each year, Ruth contacts SEWISC to obtain a new stock of invasive species educational flyers and to purchase additional field ID guides, which she distributes and uses during various public events. Ruth has also been a very active volunteer with the Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners program since 2004.

2018 Wisconsin Invader Crusader Awards 2Working together as a team, Jill Hapner and Jim Reinartz have made significant contributions to the control of invasive species over several decades. As co-founders of SEWISC, they have been instramental in our efforts to develop and implement educational programming and on-the-ground control and management of invasive plants and animals threatening our region.

Johnson’s Nursery, Inc. in Menomonee Falls has been growing and selling landscape plants since 1959. For more than 25 years they have made a strong effort to grow and promote more native species, and to eliminate species and cultivars known to be invasive. Through their propagation program, they have evaluated invasiveness tendencies along with other traits, and rejected those plants that were overly aggressive. They were leaders amongst the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association, encouraging other companies to stop growing invasives and to support NR 40. Over the past five years, JNI has partnered with SEWISC to host the Where Ecology Meets Economy Forum series. This event attracts landscape professionals, gardeners, ecologists and agency staff to hear about and discuss issues relating to invasive plants and related topics.

Washington County and Waukesha County AIS Team members Jenna Bales, Brad Steckart and Sara Fox also won an award for their "Boatbusters" video. The video was filmed at the Big Cedar Lake public boat landing in West Bend and includes "Milfoil Man" playing air guitar and AIS hunters in protective white overalls. Check it out!

SEWISC Internship Program

2018 field experiences

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

Kaitlyn Kugler, Francesca Sanchez, Luke McArdle, Timothy Kirk, Joseph Flanagan, and Brian Wilson worked with Jerry Ziegler, who manages six nature preserves for The Nature Conservancy in Waukesha and Walworth counties. Interns assisted with high priority tasks including inventory and mapping of invasive plant and native rare plant populations, erosion-prone areas, and native tree plantings. SEWISC Internship Program kuglerStudents also helped to repair and replace bluebird boxes and maintain purple loosestrife biocontrol resources.

Schlitz Audubon Land Manager, Marc White mentored interns Kaitlyn Bisping, Michael Bartz, Alex Hartig, Kevin Casey and Danielle Schwebe who recorded the location and size of garlic mustard and dames rocket clusters. The interns worked as a team to hand-pull, bag and remove clusters and produced a map with the data they collected to guide volunteer groups to larger invasive clusters and document control efforts.

Jason Nickels of the Mequon Nature Preserve received the help of Cheyenne O'Connor and Amanda Robinson who completed a project to identify, map, and measure trees within Charlie's Woods. Cheyenne and Amanda collected GPS points for over 2,000 trees, recorded the species of each tree along with tree diameter to determine the age class distribution. All data was organized in a spreadsheet and gave Preserve staff vital information about this important woodland community.SEWISC Internship Program interns

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Stewardship Director, Ryan Wallin, mentored David Loken and Austin Nowak. The interns worked together mapping invasive species populations and sending those maps to ArcGIS Collector using tablets and phones. The students contributed additional field data to the maps before transferring all the information to a desktop version of AcrGIS for use by Land Trust staff. David and Austin also helped with manual control of invasive species populations during their time on land trust properties.

Matt Smith, Land Manager at Riveredge Nature Center, received the assistance of Luis Doumanis, Michelle Hess, Michael Jarocki, and Kirra Susalla who surveyed over 150 acres of upland forest, wet forest and Milwaukee River habitat for herbaceous invasive species. The students captured specific information on populations, important to the long term control and management of these species, using ArcGIS Collector. Each population was physically marked to facilitate annual follow-up treatments.

We would like to thank Jerry, Marc, 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.

SEWISC Sign Salutes Individual Efforts

SEWISCsign start4Even the smallest of efforts can make a big difference toward reducing the impact of invasive species.  Urban landowners as well as those who own and manage larger acreages can now encourage good stewardship and backyard conservation practices by posting these signs. Whether you have rural acreage, a suburban yard, or a city lot, you can help protect the environment by controlling invasive species and promoting that stewardship practice to others.

The high-quality 9x12 inch aluminum signs are available for only $16.99 each or two for $29.99 (price includes shipping and handling).

To order just download, complete and send a SEWISC Sign Order Form with your payment.

***Supplies are limited!***

Thank You to Our New Generous Sponsor!

BigRentz logo350We would like to thank our new Early Detection Sponsor, BigRentz, who supports the mission of SEWISC by providing generous financial assistance. Click HERE to learn more about BigRentz, the nation’s largest construction equipment rental network.

SEWISC offers several SPONSORSHIP levels and benefits. Join BigRentz in their generous support of SEWISC, the only regional organization dedicated to invasive species prevention, education, management, and control in Southeastern Wisconsin.