Our Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon is an annual fundraiser event where we encourage folks throughout southeastern Wisconsin to protect the woodlands of their neighborhoods by pulling this invasive plant. Our 2019 goal was to collectively pull 20,000 pounds and raise essential funds for the fight against invasive species. We are happy to report that our goal was not only met but greatly exceeded!
This year, 576 dedicated residents formed 11 volunteer teams which helped to raise funds and awareness while controlling 24,010 pounds (over 12 tons) of garlic mustard and dame's rocket in 801 acres of our natural areas! Volunteers recruited friends, family and colleagues to sponsor their pulling efforts. This is a fun way to make a real difference in the protection of the wild areas that we love.
$4,000 in pledged contributions was collectively raised this year by team members and shared between SEWISC and the event partners. These funds will be used for adult and youth invasive species education, prevention and control in southeastern Wisconsin.
This year, the Eagle Nature Trail Team pulled themselves to the top of the 2019 Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon competition by yanking 1,350 pounds of garlic mustard and dame’s rocket and gaining $3,000 in pledges for their efforts! This winning Team also recruited the highest number of 2019 volunteers (119!) while controlling the target invasive plants in their 8 acre management area. Eagle Nature Trail has also surpassed all teams in donations for the past 6 competitions; the small team has raised a total of $8,482.00, or an average of $1,413.67 annually. This dedicated Team is also creative in engaging their community; the local police and fire departments had a pulling competition during one of their work days!
Joanna Demas, Leader of our 2017 and 2018 Champion River Revitalization Foundation Team, graciously passed the traveling trophy to Eagle Nature Trail Team Leader Jean Weedman during a ceremony officiated by SEWISC Board President, John Lunz. The Pull-A-Thon trophy will be proudly displayed by Eagle Nature Trail throughout the year.
Many thanks to all of you who got outdoors, pulled garlic mustard, told your neighbors about this invasive plant, and reported your progress as part of the 2019 event. And thank you to all you donated to your favorite 2019 Teams. Join the exciting competition and plan to form a team in 2020!
Havenwoods State Forest Environmental Awareness Center 6141 N. Hopkins Street, Milwaukee WI 53209
Celebrate our recent accomplishments and learn about our plans for 2020 and beyond. This year’s speakers will discuss Wisconsin’s changing climate and how those changes influence the spread of invasive species. But have hope! We will also learn about new climate adaptation resources that can empower invasive species managers.
Our 11th Annual Sweat Equity Award will be presented during the Symposium, which honors outstanding southeast 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.
This summer, SEWISC helped to place nine University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Geography students into fieldwork research experiences with five mentors throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.
Tyler Ohberg and Molly Besaw worked with Jerry Ziegler, who manages six nature preserves for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Waukesha and Walworth counties. Tyler completed an inventory and GPS mapping of a 66-acre timber stand on a TNC easement. His mapping revealed a surprising number of conifer trees (8,930!); many more than TNC staff had originally estimated. Tyler divided the site into 14 tracks which will be invaluable in planning the restoration of the property. Molly inventoried a white and red pine timber stand and also catalogued and mapped nearly two dozen springs on a new TNC property. Her work will give the Conservancy critical direction as it moves forward in planning the restoration of the water flow on the property.
Schlitz Audubon Land Manager, Marc White mentored students Ian Smith and Mark Wojta who recorded the location and size of invasive species clusters within the Audubon’s reptile and amphibian conservation area. They worked as a team to hand-pull, bag and remove invasive plants and produced a map by entering the data into an ArcGIS database. Ian and Mark used their geodatabase to guide volunteer groups to larger invasive populations and document control efforts.
Jason Nickels of the Mequon Nature Preserve received the help of Anna Biegaj and Coleton Nordquist who inventoried trees in Mary's Grove and Elton's Woods (see map above). They recorded tree species and diameter and also collected GPS points of each tree to create a map representing species distribution, abundance and size class. This data will help guide future restoration of these areas. Anna and Coleton also helped to map the memorial trees and benches that are located throughout the Preserve.
Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Stewardship Director, Ryan Wallin, mentored Nicole Northway who assessed and updated existing invasive species GIS inventory gaps, domains, accuracy and attributes. Nicole created and launched new maps for their mobile platform and used those maps to conduct on-the-ground inventories of invasive species populations, infrastructure (such as signs and benches) and geo-located trails. Nicole also assisted with several hands-on projects including invasive species control and trail reconstruction.
Matt Smith, Land Manager at Riveredge Nature Center, received the assistance of Emma Lewandowski and Carlos Martinez 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 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 students mastered new skills while honing talents gained through their University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coursework.