Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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2014 Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon

Let’s PULL TOGETHER through some friendly competition

people with bags of garlic mustard-2013Our Garlic Mustard Pull-A-Thon is an annual fundraising event, where we encourage folks throughout southeastern Wisconsin to protect the woodlands of their neighborhoods by pulling this invasive plant.  This year, our goal is to collectively pull 5,000 pounds and raise essential funds for the fight against invasive species!

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.  Our natural areas will only avoid damage from invasives with a long-term sustained commitment to invasives control.  Help raise funds for a sustainable invasives program at the same time that you help to reduce garlic mustard seed production in 2014.

All proceeds will be used for invasive species education, prevention and control in southeastern Wisconsin and contributions are tax-deductible.  The Pull-A-Thon Traveling Trophy and bragging rights will be awarded to the team with the most bags of pulled garlic mustard by June 30, 2014.


Pull-A-Thon Objectives:

  • Promote repeated control and proper disposal of garlic mustard in parks and natural areas.
  • Promote public awareness of invasive species issues.
  • Share control methods and best management practices with land owners and managers and strengthen local volunteer efforts.
  • Raise operational funds for SEWISC and partner organizations.

Please visit our website for more information on this exciting annual event.  Register your organization, and/or find a Pull-A-Thon site near you and volunteer:

Web-based Work Day Calendar

Join volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood

In an effort to make it easy for you to get outside and get satisfaction managing invasive species with friends, family and co-workers, we developed a web-based volunteer work day calendar. You can view the calendar by choosing the Volunteer tab on our website home page and selecting any of the eight counties located in our region. Click on a posted event to access additional work day details such as location, time and contact information. Visit the direct link at: and find opportunities in your neighborhood.

google calendar month view

If your organization would like to add an event to the calendar, please visit the direct link at:, scroll down just past the calendar and complete the Work Days Event Submission Form.  Make sure you include: 1) the name of your event, 2) date and time, 3) location with address, and 4) contact information.  SEWISC Staff and volunteers will receive your event submission and post the information to our calendar as soon as possible.

workday event form

Partnering to Restore Native Savanna Habitat

During the past two years, SEWISC was given the opportunity to work with partners to reestablish rare oak-savanna plant communities, ultimately benefitting wildlife which depends on that habitat.  With funding from the James E. Dutton Foundation, Inc., the Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture and the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, we tackled two high priority invasive plant infestations located in the Franklin Savanna State Natural Area and in the Eagle Centre Prairie State Natural Area/Oak Savanna Restoration Area.

buring grasslandThese restoration efforts were executed to provide long-term benefits to local wildlife as well as increase local environmental stewardship activities. Initial management included cutting and chemical stump treatment of invasive shrub understory, and mowing. Select areas of savanna were burned and over-seeded with native prairie seed. 32 volunteers donated their time throughout project by preparing the sites for burning, cutting, piling and stump-treating invasive shrub species, and collecting native plant seed that was planted in the restoration areas.

Rare plant species such as kitten's-tails, cream gentian, prairie blazing star, bird's foot violet, and shooting stars have reappeared in the treatment areas. Birds that can directly benefit from our restoration efforts include Brown Thrasher, Field Sparrow, Red- headed Woodpecker, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo, American Kestrel, Northern Flicker, Orchard Oriole, Northern Shrike, Common Yellowthroat, and Clay-colored Sparrow.

Our invasive species control efforts will be monitored in both savanna restoration sites on an annual basis for four years and at five year intervals thereafter.2 men clearing brush  Measures will be taken as needed for at least 10-12 years to further control buckthorn, honeysuckle and other invasive species as they appear.  Locally collected seeds of native grasses and wildflowers will continue to be introduced to the project areas until a good ground cover is obtained and prescribed burns will be used as necessary to maintain the savanna habitat.  Breeding bird surveys will be conducted annually for five years and at five-year intervals thereafter to document use of the newly restored habitat.

eagle centre prairieThis long-term management plan will be implemented by volunteer and professional land stewards, demonstrating the efficacy of linking education, outreach and on-the-ground restoration.  A heartfelt thank you is sent by all partners to the James E. Dutton Foundation for providing crucial funds to improve and preserve our natural resources, restore habitat for wildlife and provide educational stewardship opportunities for our southeastern Wisconsin residents and visitors.

2014 SEWISC Board of Directors

The SEWISC Board of Directors reluctantly bade farewell to Brian Russart, who joined the Board in 2008.  Brian served as Board Vice President for 3 years and as President for 2 years.  The achievements of SEWISC are due in large part to his leadership, hard work and commitment to quality, and he is moving on to share those talents with other nonprofit organizations.  Brian looks forward to continuing his involvement with SEWISC as an active member and program volunteer.

Succeeding Brian as President of the Board of Directors is former Vice President, Jerry Ziegler, who has served on the Board for the past 5 years. Other changes include 2 new Directors, Nan Calvert and Jason Tutkowski, who joined the Board in January and will each serve three-year terms. They bring the current board size to 14 members:

woman with horseNan Calvert is an ecological consultant and advisor providing education and guidance on native plant communities, native landscapes and invasive species. She currently works with the Kenosha/ Racine Land Trust, Inc. as the conservation and outreach coordinator. Since 2004 she has played a vital role with the Racine Dominican Eco-Justice Center in various capacities; currently serving on their board of directors, chairing the Program Committee and teaching summer camp. For over 10 years Nan served as President of the Wild Ones - Root River Chapter. In 2009, she was chosen as the Racine Dominican Woman of the Year for her work in the environmental community. Nan lives with her husband, dogs and horses on “11 acres of heaven” in the Town of Dover, Wisconsin.

Jason TutkowskiJason Tutkowski is a student at Carroll University majoring in Environmental Science.  He serves as a peer educator of earth science at Carroll to facilitate student-learning about broad environmental topics.  You might also catch Jason volunteering during the summer at Retzer Nature Center where he enjoys  assisting the naturalists in their efforts to control invasive species.  He also loves travelling to all the great natural areas of the U.S. and after eaning his bachelor’s degree, plans to attend graduate school to study ecology and geography.  Jason replaces past Student Board Member, Cassandra Rincon, who recently graduated from Alverno College.