On April 10, the Friends offered a Destination for Exploration as part of the 3-day UW Campus-wide “Science Expeditions” Open House. At the entrance to Picnic Point, Doris Dubielzig and Gisela Kutzbach greeted visitors and gave each family or child a booklet containing a map of Picnic Point, with our three exploration stations indicated on the cover. Doris coordinated the event and Tom C T Yin was the photographer.
The booklet also contains activities and challenges related to those three stations. With “decent” weather, more than 60 attendees enjoyed experiencing the Preserve on a day that held promise for the wonders of spring, but grew increasingly windy and chilly by mid-afternoon.
At the Rock Wall, Geology Professor Phil Brown and Science Olympiad coach Scot Moss introduced visitors to the origins and kinds of rocks in the stone wall. Two tables held excellent labeled samples of the rocks in the wall.
At the Tree Station in front of the newly restored iron gates, Friends Board members Matt Chotlos and Friends President-elect Will Vuyk showed visitors how to identify leafless trees by their branch and bark pattens. Children were given “tree cookies” (wood cross sections) on a string and shown how to calculate their section’s age by counting the annual rings.
On the hillside by the bat house, a Birding Station, hosted by gifted naturalists Paul Noeldner, Ashley Olah and Chuck Keleny, provided strategies for identifying birds. Guests were introduced to the Merlin app, and could look through binoculars and a spotting scope into the spring sky and across the lake. Although a red-tailed hawk and turkey vultures soared above us (and an osprey was sighted!), it was generally too windy for good birding. Sonia Haeckel and her sons played Bird Bingo and made “binoculars” and bark rubbings with children.
We heard satisfied remarks from the presenters, who already volunteered to share their knowledge for Science Expeditions 2023. Some children and their families remained interested, engaged and playful for the full 90 minutes, especially while in the company of their friends.
The Seed Fair for gardeners at the Eagle Heights Community gardens was held outside the Community Center on a beautiful, sunny spring day. For many years, the Friends have contributed educational exhibits on topics such as soil or pollinators. This year's exhibit focused on songbirds in the gardens and the Preserve. Exhibitors Gisela Kutzbach, Tom Morgan and Paul Noeldner showed human-made housing for bluebirds, purple martins and wrens, all cavity nesters, as well as birds nests, such as a robin nest and the tiny hummingbird nest. Gardeners had fun playing a bird bingo game and enjoyed learning the names of birds observed in the gardens. Another challenge was building a wren nest from sticks in an open wren box. Also, for gardeners who wished to install a wren house on the plot, the Friends distributed copper plates with a small entrance hole that is big enough for wrens but too small for house sparrows. Photos Kutzbach and Morgan.
The Annual Meeting 2022 was held in-person, after two years of zoom meetings during the pandemic. About 70 people attended and another 20 joined the live streamed meeting on Zoom.
Drawing point was our keynote speaker Janice Rice, Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member and lecturer at the UW -Madison Information School. President Olympia Mathiaparanam addressed attendees via Zoom, streamed on screen at the Arboretum, while Will Vuyk gave the Friends Annual Report in-person and remembered Lil Tong, who passed away recently. Subsequently, Kelly Kearns thanked departing Board members for their service, Eve Emshwiller, Dane Gallagher, Seth McGee, Olympia Mathiarapanam and Paul Noeldner. Friends Vice president Seth McGee introduced the new slate of candidates for the Board of directors and conducted their election. New to the Board are Reba Luiken, Diana Tapia Ramon, Cole Roecker, Josh Sulman and Tom Zinnen. Also, MJ Morgan and Will Vuyk began their second terms, with Will being president elect. The entire event was organized by Olympia Mathiarapanam, Annual meeting chair, and Will Vuyk, MC. The technical feat of seamlessly switching the screen from Zoom to live Powerpoints was done by Anne Pearce. Report here by Gisela Kutzbach. Photos by Glenda Denniston and Gisela Kutzbach.
Preserve Director Gary Brown thanked the Friends for financial supported of the new Master Plan and introduced Preserve staff. Rhonda James, UW-Madison senior landscape architect, discussed the structure of the new Master Plan and invited the audience to attend the Master Plan Public Meeting on April 26, 2022 | 7:00 pm at Memorial Union.
Janice Rice gave the keynote address, Voices and Values of Teejop (Four Lakes): A Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk), Winnebago) Perspective. Janice, Peacemaker for the Ho-Chunk Nation Trial Court, wove together her academic findings with the voices of her Hoocąk ancestors. She traced her own cultural roots in the Teejop homelands and southern Wisconsin, illustrating her stories of Hoocąk leaders, villages and cultural values with photographs and maps. Ho-chunk villages once dotted the shorelines of the Four Lakes (Teejop).
Rice also related the stories of repeated forced removal of the Ho-chunk people from their ancestral lands to reservations further west and their determination to return to their homes. She explained the circumstances of the 1837 treaty that ceded all their lands in Wisconsin. The treaty itself was made under suspicious conditions, as the Ho-Chunk were not aware that it gave them only eight months to leave their ceded lands. The army attempted to remove the tribe to the Neutral Ground. Iowa, in 1841, but many Ho-Chunk came back to Wisconsin. Eventually, by the 1880s, the government decided to allow the Ho-Chunk to take up 40-acre farms and remain in Wisconsin.
By contextualizing the landscape of Teejop with the deep histories, personal stories, and current vibrance of the Hoocąk community, Rice afforded us the opportunity to see the Preserve and the surrounding areas of Madison from a new perspective. As the Friends, we will strive to honor this perspective in our actions and care for the Preserve moving forward.