Sunday, 26 March 2017

Get Fired Up

Crew checking backpack pump cans

Crew members check out backpack pumps before the pre-burn briefing. Crews take care to make sure everything is working right because depend on their equipment to keep them safe.

It’s that time of year again; time to get the burn gear ready to go. An early thaw has brought the spring burn season by several weeks. Though this weekend has been a washout, crews were already in the field last week and will be heading out again as soon as the fields and woodlands dry out.

A number of non-profit organizations conduct controlled burns across Wisconsin. While they typically only work either on public lands or property that they manage, volunteering as a burn crew member with them is a great way to gain the knowledge and skills needed to do controlled burns on your own land.

The Prairie Enthusiasts own or manage several thousand acres across southern and southwestern Wisconsin. Burn crews work many afternoons and weekends throughout the spring until the green up of native plants and bird nesting brings the season to an end. For more information or to get on their burn crew email list contact Rich Henderson.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Let’s Get Cutting

Volunteer using chainsaw to cut up a boxelder tree.

Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited volunteer cuts up boxelder as part of Sugar River work day last December.

If you have been waiting for the right time to cut wood invasive trees, shrubs and vines; now is the time. Snow is off the ground so it is easy to find and cut buckthorn, honey suckle and oriental bittersweet.

Stack the cut branches into a tight brush pile. I like to point the branches all in the same direction to get a tighter pack. Try pushing the pile down and even climbing on it to crush the branches. I even use my chainsaw to slice through the pile to compact it even more. A dense brush pile will light easier and burn hotter because the wood is packed closer together, making it easier to get the fuel to its ignition temperature.

Remember to cut close to the ground and immediately treat stumps with herbicide (e.g., Garlon 4 or Roundup). Read and follow label direction for the correct dilution. For those larger trees like boxelder and bigger buckthorn, you only need to treat the outside sap ring because the inner heartwood is not living and will not transport herbicide.

Time is running out, so don’t delay. Once the buds begin to swell and break the sap will be running from he roots up into the leaves. When that happens, the tree will not only stop pulling the herbicide down into the roots, but it may actively push the herbicide back out of the stump. Once the sap starts running, wait several months until the leaves have fully opened. At that point the shrub or tree will again start pulling nutrients down into the roots and along with those nutrients your herbicide.

2016

September 2016

Friday, 23 September 2016

Celebrate 23rd annual NEEF National Public Lands Day

Working on your own land not only increases the amount and diversity of wildlife; it improves plant diversity and helps to create a network of high quality habitat across your community. We all also are joint owners of our public lands. Many of us enjoy camping, hunting, fishing, boating and hiking the parks, forests and wildlife areas we jointly own.

This is the 23rd anniversary of National Public Lands Day, when we spend a few hours paying back for the years of enjoyment we and our families have received. Sponsored by the National Environmental Education Foundation, this is the largest volunteer commitment effort of its kind. Spend part of your Saturday making that special park, forest or wildlife area near you even better.

Recent budget cuts mean it is more important than ever to pay back some of the enjoyment that our public lands provide. Lend a hand to help protect and improve the public lands in Wisconsin:

National Public Lands Day at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Local volunteers will one again roll up their sleeves to remove invasive plant species at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center during the 2016 celebration of National Public Lands Day. The event takes place rain or shine at the visitor center, located two miles west of Ashland, WI, on U.S. Highway 2, September 24 from 8:30 to 1 pm. Registration starts at 8:30 am. Volunteers should dress for the outdoors and wear sturdy shoes or boots. Work gloves will be provided but sizes and quantities may be limited. Bring gloves in case we run out.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

08:30 to 13:00
Site:
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

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Seed collecting

Help care for Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area! Collect seeds from native wetland plants to scatter in areas where invasive plants have recently been removed. We’ll identify several different plants and learn how to collect their seeds. This work will expand the quality wetland areas and continue the efforts started by the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association and Wisconsin DNR. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. See details below.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

09:00 to 12:00

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National Public Lands Day at Black Duck Lake

Volunteers will assist with invasive species and trash removal from island.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

09:00 to 14:00
Site:
Black Duck Lake

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National Public Lands Day at Island in Stevens Point

Volunteer will help cut down invasive species and remove garbage from island in Stevens Point along the Wisconsin River.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

10:00 to 15:00
Site:
Stevens Point Area

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11th Annual SidieFest

Join Vernon Trails for our 11th annual SidieFest!
This community trail building festival has brought out over 800 volunteers over the past decade and helped to create the nearly 12 miles of "Shared Use" trails that we all enjoy. We will be meeting at the northern pavillion starting at 10am and work until 5pm. We will have various projects that include trail maintenance, trail rerouting, trail repair, and bridge work. After the hard work, we will celebrate ourselves with food and fun. Bring work gloves, boots, some snacks and some enthusiasm.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

10:00 to 19:00

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National Public Lands Day

Volunteers will meet BLM employees where Blue Heron Lane meets the Wisconsin River (44.467884, -89.573492) at 10AM on September 24th, 2016. With the help of BLM employees volunteers will work to eradicate some invasive species that have show up on this island (ie. buckthorn, japanese barberry, and garlic mustard). They will do this by cutting down tree species, and either hand pulling or spray foliar herbicide on other undesirable vegetation species.

Other specifics:

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

10:00 to 14:00

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Milwaukee Community Service Market

The USFS will be hosting a booth at this new Community event focused on available resources for Milwaukee Community members. The USFS will be sharing info on federal lands, getting outdoors, etc. The event will include: community partner booths, health screenings, face painting, bouncy houses and free food.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

11:00 to 14:00

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Wisconsin Bat Festival

This free event feature celebrates  the unique role that bats play in our world!  Discover why bats are important to Wisconsin and learn how they keep us healthy.  Explore techniques you can use in your own backyard to help the environment, bats, and other wildlife.  On Friday, September 30th,  see how local bat experts use technology to study bats at our “Superheroes of the Night Demo” at the Urban Ecology Center at Menomenee Valley Branch at 3700 W.

Date and Time:
Friday, September 30, 2016 – 18:00 to Saturday, October 1, 2016 – 16:00
Site:
Urban Ecology Center and Milwaukee Public Museum

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