It seems like only yesterday when Jill Hapner met with her supervisor, Marcia Sieckman at the Milwaukee Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to explore the idea of starting a Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) in southeastern Wisconsin. These “weed” groups were making a positive difference throughout the western U.S. states and at that time, there were only two similar groups in Wisconsin: Northwoods CWMA and Door County Invasive Species Team.
The BLM partnered with the US Forest Service to hold a stakeholders meeting in June, 2007 which was hosted by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District. Representatives from eight counties including Federal, State and local governments, nonprofit organizations and residents joined together to unanimously support the establishment of the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium (SEWISC).
Just two years later in 2009, SEWISC was selected for an Invader Crusader Award by the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species. These awards are presented to a small number of individuals or groups each year to recognize their commitment to preventing the spread of invasives through public education and/or on-the-ground management work resulting in measurable benefits to the people and lands of Wisconsin. The Council wrote: “SEWISC's dedication to being part of the solution has been of inspiration to those around you. It was with great pleasure that we took on the task of learning about your tireless efforts.”
Guided by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network’s CWMA Cookbook and a dedicated steering committee, SEWISC incorporated as a non-profit membership organization in 2010. Our work has focused on protecting our natural resources through education and by promoting the stewardship needed to prevent and control the establishment and spread of invasive plant and animal species. Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers and donors who have worked and who continue to advance SEWISC’s mission!