Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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Registration is Now Open!

Don’t miss this biennial conference – a virtual event this year

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The Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference (UMISC) addresses all taxa of invasive species. This year, UMISC will celebrate 12 years of connecting the invasive species management, research, and policy community. UMISC 2020 Online will be a week-long, multi-track conference focused on sharing information and networking on issues related to all taxa of invasive species.

The goal of UMISC is to strengthen management of invasive species, especially prevention, control, and containment. There have been great strides in invasive species research, prevention, and management, but much work still must be done. UMISC also represents a strong partnership between its three hosts: Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin, Midwest Invasive Plant Network, and Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council. So, this fall plan to kick back and learn.

Online Registration Open Now!

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon

Congratulations to the newest (and youngest) trophy-winners!

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 2020 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!  Pull-A-Thon Teams found creative and safe ways to continue protecting our natural areas during the pandemic.

2020 Champion Team150 dedicated residents formed 12 volunteer teams this season which helped to raise funds and awareness while controlling 22,328 pounds (over 11 tons) of garlic mustard and dame's rocket in our neighborhood natural areas! Volunteers recruited friends, family, teachers, scouts 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.

$2,360 in pledged contributions was also collectively raised 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, Mr. Dargatz's Nature Kindergarten Team pulled themselves to the top of the 2020 Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon competition by yanking 2,110 pounds of garlic mustard and dame’s rocket and gaining $480.00 in pledges for their efforts!  This winning Team of Woodside Elementary kindergarten students recruited parents and scout troops to pull the target invasive plants throughout their neighborhoods.  One talented student also starred in the instructional video: "How to identify and control garlic mustard tutorial".

2020 Champions 1024x787Jean Weedman, Team Leader of our 2019 Champion Eagle Nature Trail Team, graciously passed the traveling trophy to Mr. Dargatz's Nature Kindergarten Team members and Team Leader, Peter Dargatz, during a ceremony officiated by SEWISC Board President, John Lunz on July 31. The Pull-A-Thon trophy will be proudly displayed by Woodside Elementary throughout the year.

Many thanks to all of you who got outdoors, safely pulled garlic mustard, told your neighbors about this invasive plant, and reported your progress as part of the 2020 event. And thank you to all who donated to your favorite 2020 Teams! Remember, it's never to early to start planning for next year's Pull-A-Thon competition - Plan to JOIN US!

SEWISC Board of Directors

Welcome to our newest member

Larry LeitnerWe are happy to announce that Lawrence (“Larry”) Leitner joined our Board of Directors in July and is busy serving his first three-year term. Larry received his B.A. in Biological Sciences from Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, and his M.A. in Life Sciences from Indiana State University.  He then continued his education, earning a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee concentrating in plant ecology under the direction of Professor Forest Stearns. For 22 years he served as Principal Biologist at the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission where his duties included inventorying, identifying, and evaluating the best remaining areas of the natural landscape in the southeastern Wisconsin region.

Dr. Leitner has collected over 7,000 plant specimens, deposited in various herbaria throughout Wisconsin.  SEWISC has beneffitted from Larry’s botanical expertise and extensive knowledge of our regional biogeography over the past decade through his assistance with multiple projects including an inventory of reed manna grass (Glyceria maxima) and his recent investigation and update on past invasive species reports stored in a statewide database.

SEWISC Student Program

2020 fieldwork research experience

This summer, SEWISC helped to place twelve University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Geography students into fieldwork research experiences with four mentors throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

Schlitz Audubon Land Manager, Marc White mentored five students: Ethan Buttke, Lily Chase, Tori Hayden, Daniel Rember and Matthew Ruiz 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. The students used their geodatabase to guide volunteer groups to larger invasive populations and document control efforts.

JackCory Gritzmacher of the Mequon Nature Preserve received the help of Kylie McFadden and Tom Horak who surveyed hikers throughout the preserve. Information regarding frequency of visitations and park recommendations was gathered from visitors. Mequon Nature Preserve will use the recommendations to better the experiences of visitors using the Preserve. Staff hopes to gather the same information in future years to compare trends during and after a world pandemic.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Stewardship Director, Ryan Wallin, mentored Jack Kovnesky (in photo at left) who worked to survey and map invasive plant species with the goal of identifying the best areas to protect and maintain as un-infested natural areas.  Jack also collected photo points across the Land Trust property landscape to record a 2020 field census and helped to complete their habitat mapping for easement lands and fee simple lands.

20200611 093840 1024x515Jhawn Newman, Ryan O'Brien and Barbara Kaftan collecting geobotanical data at Riveredge Nature Center. Photo by Anne JansenMatt Smith
, Land Manager at Riveredge Nature Center, received the assistance of Anne Jansen, Barbara Kaftan, Jhawn Newman and Ryan O'Brien who surveyed 177 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 and each population was physically marked to facilitate follow-up treatments.  The students also recorded data on two Wisconsin State Threatened plant species.

We would like to thank 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.  Our mentors creatively designed and offered this year’s student fieldwork and research safely following social distancing guidelines.

SEWISC Sign Salutes YOUR Individual Efforts

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Even 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. They are popping up all over Wisconsin!

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.

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The high-quality 9x12 inch aluminum signs are available for only $20.00 each or two for $35.00
(price includes shipping and handling).

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