The UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve's Willow Creek Great Horned Owl pair is already sitting on eggs in late February according to UW Veterinary Senior Lecturer Chuck Henrikson. According to Chuck the time for Great Horned Owl nesting incubation in Wisconsin, with typically 2 to 4 eggs, averages 32 days, roughly from Valentine's Day to Saint Patricks Day. During that time the female does most of the incubating. The Willow Creek pair can often be quietly observed from the Lakeshore Path near the DeJope "Green Dorm". Look for large lumps with 'ears' on medium to high limbs next to the trunks of old Oak trees and White Pines. The presence of top predators like Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Foxes and Coyotes reflects the quality and importance of preserving native habitat in UW natural areas and borders large and small throughout campus. In turn the majestic trees, quiet nature nooks, birds, and wildlife provide healthy nature recreation and moments of awe and beauty as part of daily UW Campus life, and inspiration for careers and natural science education opportunities for students. We look forward to seeing basketball size fluffy cream white owlets soon!
Last weekend, Mike Parsen and Will Waller met with the six Senior Capstone students in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE 578, advisor Prof. Charlie Quagliana) for a tour of the Eagle Heights Community Gardens to review the area and discuss current issues with storm water run-off. The goal for the students’ Senior design project is to create a realistic and cost-effective solution for the storm water problems in the community gardens and to reduce flooding and nutrient-rich runoff from the gardens into Bills Woods. Maria Kealey, one of the students, states, “I think the team is very motivated by the fact that if we succeed, our design might actually be implemented. As Civil and Geological Engineering students, many of our design projects are much more theoretical. Personally, this class might be the only exception to that after five years at UW-Madison!”
The students are responding to a Request-for-Proposal, which provides background about the Preserve and identifies the problem of erosion and nutrient transport south of the gardens and down through Bill’s Woods. The Senior Capstone students will develop mitigation systems for this area, in collaboration with their industrial mentors and stakeholders, including the Friends and Preserve staff. The Friends are supporting this worthwhile design project with a $1000 donation to pay for student expenses, including printing costs.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors