About 125 people attended the Annual Meeting of the Friends, held at the Arboretum Visitor Center, to hear Matt Reetz, Executive Director of Madison Audubon Society, speak about “Flock and Awe: The incredible (and perilous) lives of migratory birds.” In his presentation, he explained the different patterns of bird migration, the extraordinary physical feats and efforts that birds risk in exchange for safer breeding grounds and more abundant food at their destinations. He described the guides birds use on the way, such as the stars in the night sky or even magnetic fields, as well as the dangers they encounter on their journeys, including the deadly obstacles of glass buildings. Matt has a knack for sprinkling in humor. He made his audience feel comfortable, and he used some entertaining graphics to make points. We loved your talk and way of presenting, Matt.
Outgoing president Doris Dubielzig reviewed the work of the Friends in 2018, highlighting our strong financial position thanks to generous support by members and donors. She addressed the important projects that the Friends support, including Prairie Partner Interns during the summer, contributions to the Preserve Stewardship fund, purchasing of plants, citizen science projects, and communication. She reminded us that the Friends is operating entirely on the time and talents of our members. She emphasized the good cooperation we have with the Preserve staff.
Gary Brown, UW Director of the Lakeshore Preserve, introduced the Preserve staff: Laura Wyatt, Bryn Scriver and Adam Gundlach. He reported that the Preserve is seeking a fourth FTE position. He shared that the Preserve’s Strategic Planning process is in full swing, which will guide the use and on-going management of the Preserve over the next 10+ years. Gary Brown encouraged everyone to complete the online survey at https://go.wisc.edu/udc0uh (active until May 6)
Seth McGee thanked departing Board members Amanda Budyak (treasurer), Linda Deith (newsletter producer), Peter Fisher (field trip coordinator) and Mitchell Thomas (student Board member) for their excellent services for the Friends and the Preserve. Steve Sentoff, vice president, and conducted the election of new Board members Eve Emshwiller, and MJ Morgan, returning Board members Olympia Mathiaparanam, Seth McGee, and Paul Noeldner, and student Board members Tom Bryan and Matt Chotlos. The crowd enjoyed the appetizers and desserts as well as informative poster exhibits. Alder Levin, Seth McGee and Gisela Kutzbach recorded the event in photos.
Sara Hotchkiss, Chair of the UW faculty Preserve Committee, gave a passionate talk about the role of the Preserve as an accessible outdoor laboratory for generations of students and faculty. By grouping various types of research/course projects (from a sampling of research permits in the Preserve) through connecting colored lines resulting in an intricate network, she demonstrated clearly the synergy and cross fertilization of ideas that can take place in the outdoor lab of the Preserve. She commented positively on the role that the Friends play in facilitating connections across the community at large.