Friends in the news and Friends events - 2017
Warblers of Frautschi Point, a Lakeshore Nature Preserve Trust Field Trip - May 10
The Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve field trip, led by Roma Lenehan, was on one of the few good migrant days this year. Due to the persistent north winds, most neotropical migrants did not arrive until May 9 (the day before the field trip). The highlight of the trip was the persistently singing male Black-throated Blue Warbler at the east edge of the driveway triangle. Another surprise was a singing Orchard Oriole at the Frautshchi Point edge of Biocore Prairie in the hedgerow (near the bird banding station). Other interesting birds included a male Blackpoll Warbler, a male Golden-winged Warbler, and prolonged looks at a very cooperative Yellow-throated Vireo. A Wood Thrush sang as we watched the warblers near the triangle. Newly arrived birds included Eastern Wood Pewee and Eastern Kingbird.
May 10, 2017 Lakeshore Nature Preserve Trust Field Trip 7:30-9:30
Locations: Frautschi Point (triangle, Big Oak Trail), Biocore Prairie and Field Edge
Cloudy, drizzle, cool, west wind.
Wildlife Action Photography Workshop – May 2 and 9
This photography field trip designed and led by wildlife photographer Arlene Koziol was the first of its kind sponsored by the Friends. Arlene reports: "The first part of our Beginning Wildlife Photography Class took place at the Henry Vilas Zoo. We discussed what is necessary to do before you press the shutter release button. A few of the basics covered were to have a fully charged battery and a fresh memory card that was formatted in your camera. We went on to proper camera and body technique. The importance of behavior observation of our living, moving subjects was stressed. We practiced using the multi-shot mode on our cameras while following the action. Participants tried to anticipate the behavior before it happened.
The second part of our class took place at the Community Garden and Biocore Prairie in the Preserve. We practiced takeoff shots of songbirds. Swallows, house wrens, sparrows, Baltimore Orioles and an Eastern Bluebird were photographed. The class had the opportunity to follow the action of a Wild Turkey foraging in the garden and running across the path. We found a few bumble bees and a toad for some close up shots.
It was good to have had the zoo practice session first. We needed to photograph large, active subjects that we could get close to. Outdoor bird photography in a natural setting is difficult and challenging. The birds are skittish, fast moving and fly away. The trees and plants at the Preserve provide excellent cover for the birds and other wildlife to hide. In spite of these challenges, our class did extremely well. They exhibited amazing focus and concentration, and had fun. They applied the techniques they learned at the zoo. The UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve is an outstanding treasure for photography!!" Photos by Arlene Koziol
Survey of Planting Success along Frautschi Path - May 8 and 13
Garlic Mustard Pull at Frautschi Point – May 7
22 volunteers gathered on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to reduce Garlic Mustard populations at Frautschi Point. Roma Lenehan, our leader, who has labored for many years to successfully control Garlic Mustard in this area of the Preserve, as usual had reserved the most impenetrable square mile for our efforts – thickets of honeysuckle bushes in all stages of growth and decay, elderberry and other underbrush, intermixed with fallen trees trunks. Garlic Mustard thrives in this kind of untamed environment, hiding under branches and trunks. Last year we pulled 50 black garbage bags of fully grown plants here, but this year was on off-year, and we only filled 6 bags. We found significant patches of first year plants, but still, it seems like last year's effort paid off significantly. Afterwards we celebrated with - you guessed it - Garlic Mustard quiche and lemonade. Preserve staff Laura Wyatt and Bryn Sciver also volunteered. Thank you all for a job well done. Photos G. Kutzbach
Frautschi Point Spring Wildflower Walk – April 30
Ten wildflower lovers joined Glenda Denniston on a chilly and wet Sunday morning walk onto Frautschi Point, Friends field trip assistant Doris Dubielzig reports. As we passed the Big Oak, Glenda pointed to a clump of sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis). In 2003, when Glenda cleared buckthorn and honeysuckle from under the grand white oak, she discovered that cluster of sensitive fern. It was a sole remnant of the diverse native flora that had been displaced by the woody invaders. Thanks to the support of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve management and Glenda’s and the Friends efforts and donations, more than 100 species of native plants have been reintroduced to Frautschi Point.
Nearby the oak, twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), one of the earliest wildflowers, has already lost its petals, while the shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia/Primula meadia) are just beginning bloom. Glenda prunes the elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) shrubs to encourage the survival of the spring ephemerals. A south-facing hillside with cedar (Juniperus virginiana) trees, will soon be sparkling with white baneberry (Actaea alba) blossoms. The prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum) adds spots of red to the forest openings. We tourists escaped serious harm, not realizing the dangers we had avoided: the Sensitive Fern is toxic to horses and deer; the Elderberry flowers and berries are edible, but the other plant parts are poisonous; and the entire White Baneberry plant – especially the berry -- is poisonous to humans! Thank you, Glenda, for this tour and for years of transforming Frautschi Point with a vision shared with Preserve staff and the Friends and with your own hands. Photos by Doris Dubielzig.
Bird and Nature Walk - April 23
Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference - April 18
As in previous years, The Friends staffed an exhibition table at the biggest Earth Day event in Madison, if not the state, at Monona Terrace. Gisela Kutzbach and Galen Hasler welcomed many interested participants and enjoyed telling about the Preserve, its importance as an outdoor research laboratory for students (we displayed examples of the Student Engagement Grant reports), the education and outreach opportunities offered by the Friends (handouts on field trips and newsletters), and volunteer opportunities. This conference theme this year was Hope and Renewal in the Age of Apocalypse. The event was also a good opportunity to connect with friends and exhibitors of other environmental organizations. Photos Gisela Kutzbach
Annual Meeting 2017 - April 4
About 100 members and guest attended the 15th Annual Meeting of the Friends, held at the Arboretum Visitor Center, to hear ecologists Steve Carpenter talk about his research project, Investigating the Future of the Yahara Watershed. Future changes in the watershed are unpredictable because they depend on complex biophysical changes as well as human volition. Carpenter explained the rationales behind the collaborative Yahara2070 project, which uses scenarios to organize thinking about possible future outcomes for the watershed. The meeting began with Friends president Gisela Kutzbach annual report, which emphasized the success of education initiatives by the Friends and challenges of the future as well as the stewardship and financial support the Friends provide for the Preserve. The management staff of the Preserve, Laura Wyatt, Adam Gundlach, and Bryn Scriver, presented on the organizational structure of the university governance and management structure of the Preserve lands, the Eagle Heights Woods restoration project, financially supported by the Friends, work by volunteers, and the revamped Preserve website. Tony Abate, former Prairie Partner Intern working in the Preserve and now working with the Natural Heritage Land Trust, shared about the importance of his Internship experiences. The Friends thanked departing Board members Pat Becker Susan Carpenter, Diane Dempsey, and Gretel Dentine for their excellent services for the Friends and the Preserve and elected new Board members Carolyn Byers, Sarah Congdon, Olympia Mathiaparanam, Paul Quinlan, Steve Sentoff, and returning Board members Doris Dubielzig, Peter Fisher, and Mitchell Thomas. The crowd enjoyed the appetizers and deserts as well as informative poster exhibits.
Exploration Stations at Picnic Point, UW Science Spectacular - April 2
About 120 of the visitors to the Science Spectacular weekend on the UW campus also enjoyed the 4 Science Exploration Stations at Picnic Point, featuring Geologic Gems, Mound Makers, Tree Treasures, and Birding Basics. The Outdoor science laboratory of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve was a final stop for families who came from as far as Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Black Earth. Our enthusiastic team of volunteers worked tirelessly and expertly, offering interactive learning experiences and challenges for adults and children, such as identifying 8 different types of Wisconsin's rocks represented in the wall of Picnic Point entrance and also displaying the same 8 types of rocks for handling and further discussion with our knowledgeable guides. At the birding station, children learned to handle binoculars, audio scopes and spotting scopes to discover the early Red-winged blackbirds in the marsh before their guided birding walks in the woods. At the Tree station, visitors learned how native Americans produced fire by using a wooden drill, discovered the different appearances and functions of bark on common trees and worked through the challenges of the Stumped game. The stories of the mound makers were fascinating, especially against the backdrop of the linear effigy mounds further up toward the Point. Visitors received a small 8-page booklet illustrating each of the stations. Dories Dubielzig, Friends education coordinator, organized a large team of experts and helpers to make this indeed a spectacular event: Dave Mickelson and Richard Udell at the Geologic Gems, Sue Denholm and Paul Noeldner at the Birding Basics, Diane Dempsey and Josh Bruecken at the Trees Treasures, Paul Borowsky at the Mound Makers – as well as the 'floaters' Dick Dubielzig, Kennedy Gilchrist, Scot Moss, Gisela Kutzbach, and impromptu helpers Natalie and Debi, as well as the eager tiny tots pulling the big wagon at clean-up time. We were especially pleased to welcome Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Hanss Kuttner to the exhibit.
John J. Frautschi, 1929-2017
John J. Frautschi and his family's legacy in the Preserve will live on for generations to enjoy. One of the first major philanthropic gifts from the Frautschi family came in 1961 when Walter and Dorothy gave 75 acres near Verona -- designated the Jerome Jones Woods after Walter's father-in-law -- to help create the Madison School Forest. Their sons Jerry and John made a similar gift in 1988 when they bought (for $1.5 million) the heavily wooded 17 acres formerly known as Second Point, just past Picnic Point, and gave it to the UW in Walter's name. The parcel, with 1,600 feet of Lake Mendota frontage, had long been eyed by developers; its permanent conservancy extends the Lakeshore Path to four miles, from the Union Terrace to Eagle Heights Woods.
The generosity and foresight of the Frautschi family was not limited simply to purchasing the property. Understanding the need for long-term stewardship of the land and its ecosystems, their gift of the deed was accompanied by funds to create a permanent endowment. The income from that gift will contribute forever to the care and restoration of this very special place. John Frautschi was very fond of these lands and visited here.
Over many years, the Friends have worked countless volunteer hours to help rejuvenate the Frautschi Point lands and restore their natural beauty. If you walk Big Oak trail in spring you are greeted by a sea of wildflowers and grasses planted for several years. If you look for garlic mustard in the area, you will note that any regrowth is diligently removed every year. In addition four years of efforts by the Friends, planting thousands of wood flowers and grasses, will be monitored this spring for success.
Please join us in this year’s volunteer days at Frautschi Point for garlic mustard pulling with Roma Lenehan on May 7, 1-3:30 pm, and for monitoring plant diversity and abundance, May 13 and other days, with Glenda Denniston and Suzy Will-Wolf. See details here.
Bird and Nature Walk - February 26
Naturalist Brian Schneider from the Aldo Leopold Center led an easy walk on Lakeshore Preserve paths to look for winter birds and possible early migrants in the trees and on the water. UW student s of WSCB, Wisconsin Society for Conservation Biology, and 10 kids of Girl Scout troop Daisy joined the special pre-walk activities at the docent table at Picnic Point entrance. The students and scouts put together several ready to be assembled Bluebird houses, pre-cut according to BRAW specifications. Paul Noeldner started off the walk with a hearty song. Bird activity, observed on the walk, was still pretty quiet, but is was a beautiful day to be out walking. The bird list included Downy and Hairy woodpecker, White-breasted nuthatch, Red-Bellied woodpecker, Black-capped chickadee, Northern cardinal, and Herring gull. There was a campfire and hot chocolate afterward. Over forty people participated.