Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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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.