On a beautiful afternoon before Memorial Day, seven Board members of the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve and two UW students led 15 guests on the 4th Sunday Bird and Nature Outing. Beginning at the entrance to Picnic Point, the leaders demonstrated, over 11 different stops, how the group inspires people to connect to and care for the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. The tour was informative for everyone, including the Board members! It was convenient that at just about 3:00pm, after seven stops, we reached a point where people who had had a long enough visit could return to the entrance. Most decided to spent extra time in the Preserve on this memorial afternoon, completing the full tour of 2 1/2 hours, covering just a bit under 1.5 miles.
Stop 1: UW Student Macy Peterson explained the operations of the UW Bat Brigade. This citizen science project is supported with a $1000 stipend from the Friends.
Stop 2. On the edge of Bill’s Woods, the Friends first project, Friends Secretary Paul Quinlan identified trees and spring ephemerals.
Stop 3. At the UW Grounds compound, President Steve Sentoff explained the problems with the storage of materials and the truck traffic through the Preserve.
Stop 4. Gisela Kutzbach, Membership Chair and Webmaster, related how the Friends provided volunteer labor for and funding of the Heritage Oak project, and how the recreated savannah connects Bill’s Woods to the Biocore Prairie.
Stop 5. Alder Levin, recent UW graduate, described how the Biocore Prairie is used as a teaching laboratory and as a site for undergraduate research projects, including her own award-winning study on first flowering dates of prairie plants.
Stop 6. Gisela Kutzbach and Tom Morgan explained the bluebird house project, which monitors the number and kinds of nesting birds and their eggs. They showed the group a tree swallow nest in one of the bluebird houses. Gisela also summarized the Friends efforts to attract Purple Martins to the Preserve, with the installation of a house with “luxury condominiums” for the social, cavity-nesting birds.
Stop 7. Steve Sentoff reviewed the history of the East Savanna and the use of fire to encourage young oaks to thrive over invasive buckthorn. The Friends are contributing up to $7,500 toward the salaries of five Prairie Partners Interns, who are working in the Preserve each Thursday this summer. Last week the Interns pulled garlic mustard from the East Savanna.
Stop 8. Across from two linear mounds, Ethnobotanist Eve Emshwiller explained the different kinds of earthen structures that the Mound Builders created in Wisconsin and how the Picnic Point mounds are especially old.
Stop 9. MJ Morgan, Editor of the Friends newsletter, and her husband Tom have begun a project collecting and identifying lichens in the Preserve. Their work is especially important because very few Preserve lichen specimens are in the Herbarium and the unusual plants are in decline due to environmental degradation.
Stop 10. Matt Chotlos, UW Student Board member, described the Friends’ participation in Water Quality Monitoring with the Clean Lakes Alliance. He demonstrated how water clarity is determined with a turbidity tube, and explained how to distinguish green algae from blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).
Stop 11. At the entrance to Picnic Point, Doris Dubielzig, Field Trip Coordinator, showed one of the areas that the Friends had planted in 2018 during our annual Spring Planting. She expressed the Friends’ hope that the Class of 1918 Marsh, across University Bay Drive, will benefit from restoration efforts to return it to a sedge meadow community.
Doris Dubielzig, the Friends host for this field tri, coordinated this special Board Walk and provided the report, Photos by Doris and Gisela.