Friends in the news and Friends events – 2014
4th Sunday Bird and Nature Walk - December 28
4th Sunday Bird and Nature Walk - November 23
A small group of enthused birders trusted Aaron Rogers to do his thing and braved the 48 deg rain and mist for a surprisingly lovely end of fall every 4th Sunday Bird and Nature Walk at UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve. We were rewarded with the awesome sight and sound of over 300 Tundra Swans feeding on University Bay and at least 50 on Lake Mendota with glimpses of many more in the mist scattered across the lake. The highlight was a Red-tailed Hawk that perched quite low over the trail as we walked by. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve and Madison Audubon.
Over a 90-minute period and 1.5 mile walk the group made these sightings:
4th Sunday Bird and Nature Walks - October 26
Paul Noeldner led his always fun and interesting walk on Sunday, October 26. Paul's field trips in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, which are jointly sponsored by the Friends and the Madison Audubon Society, are scheduled on the fourth Sunday of every month, and they vary with the seasons. Twelve hikers enjoyed the mild temperatures and sunny skies as they explored the Biocore Prairie, Eagle Heights Community Gardens and the forested areas of Picnic Point. While there were beautiful fall vistas and plenty of birds for viewing, a highlight at the end of the field trip was a pair of cranes who were totally undisturbed by the group of hikers. Peter Fisher assisted.
The group saw hundreds of birds on the bay. They looked like mostly Coots but some were Buffleheads and Grebes. We used a nifty adapter to clamp cell phones on the scope and got nice pix of the resident Sandhill Cranes.
Exploring Past and Present History of the Preserve- October 18
Steve Laubach, author of "Living a Land Ethic", led participants on an autumn hike through the Preserve to learn about some of the rich cultural and natural history aspects of the area. We started at the gnarly Northern Catalpa tree that marks the entrance to the Preserve at Frautschi Point, passed Grennie's grave, the beloved dog of Dr. Jackson, and explored the history of Camp Gallistella, the first name for the tent colony. Sue Levy, grand daughter of Albert Gallistel, UW Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds and supervisor for the tent colony, shared with us her experiences as a child. She remembers well the big fireplace in the Gallistel house, with its wrap-around porch. Students used to sit there and study. She told us the wonderful annual tea party her grandmother Eleanor Gallistel hosted, with lace table clothes, set with wild flowers in vases and trays of cookies and cakes.
The walk took the group all the way to the Biocore Prairie and along the savanna edge with its thriving young bur oaks, and back again past the Big Oak, donning its blazing fall colors.
Lake Mendota and the Lakeshore Nature Preserve- October 10
The fall excursion on Lake Mendota with the Limnos was a smashing success again. It was one of those cherished ‘Golden October” days, sunny, calm, crystal-clear air and the trees and bushes along the shorelines turning colors from green to yellow, orange, and red. Lake expert John Magnuson, our leader, and Captain Matt Hanson again were so kind to offer two boat trips, morning and afternoon, so everyone who had signed up for the trip could be accommodated.
John Magnuson began with recounting a bit of Preserve history, remarking that construction of the Limnology Building at the end of the Hoofer piers effectively stopped building expansion along the shore toward the west. He explained the geological and cultural history of the lake and shoreline, and invited participants to help with dredging up bottom aquatic vegetation and critters. The group identified the wild water celery (Vallisneria americana ) and coontails (Ceratophyllum demersum), as well as the invasive European water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum). Also dredged up were some tiny red fly larvae, tiny mollusk shells, and the prize, a large nymph of a dragon fly (more on the dragon fly life cycle), planning to overwinter on the warm bottom of the lake. Students of Bill Gartner’s senior capstone class in the Geography Department, who had already attended the marsh field trip with John Magnuson, collected information to design and implement a geographic research project using primary data and to produce a high quality 50-page paper and presentation that will showcase their skills.
Everyone engaged in the lively discussion on local efforts and organizations to reduce phosphorus contamination of lake waters. Also among the participants were UW Lakeshore Preserve Program manager Laura Wyatt and Jean Brody, regional representative (with a focus on environmental concerns) for Senator Tammy Baldwin. Thank you, John and Matt, for this splendid educational experience. All photos by Gisela Kutzbach. Click to enlarge.
Late Fall Birding in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve- October 5
Class of 1918 Marsh Tour- September 28
On a brilliant fall day, John Magnuson, who was the first director of the university’s Center for Limnology formed in 1982, guided a group of almost twenty participants to explore the Class of 1918 Marsh and discuss his recent winter salt study and its impact on Lake Mendota and the surrounding area. The walk around the marsh began with an introduction to the cultural history of the marsh, whose “existence is testimony to the sizeable body of people in city and on campus who appreciate nature.” (James Zimmerman, Click Digging Deeper button).
Welcome Laura Wyatt
Laura Wyatt has been appointed new Lakeshore Nature Preserve Program Manager, Sept 15. Laura brings a broad range of experiences to the Preserve. She was executive director of the Klehm Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Rockford, IL. While there she helped a non-profit organization in planning and implementing a new outdoor preserve and nature center. She has also worked at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Morton Arboretum. Laura's big love are trees and she is a certified arborist. As DNR Senior Forester, she worked in urban forestry, making connections and supporting the planting of trees in areas where people live. She also is on the Dane County Tree Board.
The Friends welcome Laura to her new position in the Preserve and look forward to many years of fruitful collaboration.
Bill Cronon is awarded Wilderness Society Award - September 25
“Environmental historian and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor William Cronon has been presented with The Wilderness Society’s Robert Marshall Award — the organization’s highest civilian honor — for his contributions to the protection of America’s wild places.
The award, named for wilderness visionary Robert Marshall, is given to a private citizen who has made outstanding, long-term contributions to conservation and fostering an American land ethic. As the 29th award recipient, Cronon joins an elite group of conservation leaders and influential thinkers that includes Sigurd Olson, Margaret Murie, Wallace Stegner, David Brower, Terry Tempest Williams, and Charlie and Nina Leopold Bradley.
The award reads in part ” “Guided by your passion for this nation’s land and its people, your scholarship has cemented an understanding of Aldo Leopold’s ‘land ethic’ — so crucial to our existing in a more sustainable way — for a generation of Americans.”
When Bill Cronon left Yale in 1992 and returned to Madison, the place he had always called home, where he had grown up and studied, it was the commitment to community and service that drew him back (see Richard White, Biography of Bill Cronon, 2013 AHA Annual Meeting). Among his many projects in Madison, Bill led efforts to protect the natural areas of the campus, which included beloved Picnic Point. He has been a long time member of the Friends, with his mother Jean, and as chair of the faculty governance committee of these lands, he succeeded in a crucial name change of these areas to the current Lakeshore Nature Preserve. He also created an award winning digital map of the Preserve, and saw through the approval of the Preserve Masterplan that provides the current management template for this amazing cultural landscape.
As Bill reported in his annual address to the Friends of the Preserve in spring 2004, “ ‘Lakeshore’ tells people precisely where this strip of natural green space is located, expanding and contracting depending on the location to be, at times, as narrow as the Lakeshore Path or as wide as Eagle Heights Woods. ‘Nature’ declares what we most value about this place; its natural organisms, communities, and qualities. ‘Preserve’ is a singular noun, describing a unified whole and declaring our commitment.” (see J. Camerini in Friends newsletter fall 2004). Bill has encouraged the Friends in this commitment ever since. Be sure to attend Bill Cronon’s Public Lecture, October 21, hosted by the Nelson Institute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act (7:00 pm, Shannon Hall, Memorial Union).
Eagle Heights Woods Restoration Project Field Trip - September 23
Adam Gundlach, Preserve Project Coordinator, led 20 interested persons on a leisurely 2-hour tour of the Eagle Heights Woods renovation project that he supervises. Adam’s breadth and depth of knowledge of the area endeared him to all. Doris Dubielzig, the Friends Board assistant for this field trip, reports: "The actual work began in January 2014. The impetus for this project is the presence of three Native American mounds, and the focus has been to remove invasive vegetation that was obliterating them.
In particular, Adam pointed out the boundary between the areas where professional and volunteer crews have removed Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) since January and where it is growing uninterrupted. As a member of the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council, Adam suggests burning to control buckthorn seedlings, which are rampant in the recently cleared area." Click on the photos below to enlarge and advance the slideshow.
Eagle Heights Community Garden Tour - September 16
A warm fall night greeted the field trip touring the Eagle Heights Community Gardens. Will Waller, President of Friends of the Lakeshore Preserve led the group. Gretel Dentine reports: "Most of the participants were new residents of Eagle Heights Apartments and many had not been to the Preserve. A barred owl greeted them as Will explained the size and age of the gardens with 580 plots and over 50 years of existence. This makes these community gardens the oldest and largest in the state, perhaps in the nation.
Participants toured the composting and recycling efforts that include the UW Campus building materials, Preserve wood chips, Mendota lakeweed and Shorewood leaf recycling. There were discussions of the fruit tree borders, organic practices and a chance to see some of the ethnic vegetables cultivated by gardeners. A glimpse of a red fox was one of the highlights.
With darkness descending, everyone was encouraged to apply for a garden plot if they were interested in joining the community and to attend other Preserve field trips and activities."
Fall Birding in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve- September 13
It was much too cold for a Saturday morning in early September - 42° - but that didn't keep eleven hardy birders from joining Roma Lenehan of the Friends and Peter Fissel of the Audubon Society for an early fall hike through the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. On our walk from the Class of 1918 Marsh toward the Point and then through the woods to the Biocore Prairie we observed a good variety of resident birds and early migrants.
A large family of Mourning doves perched on top of the very tree where their parents had nested all summer, Cedar waxwings were congregating in another tree top, and the Redstarts flitting around from branch to branch all over the woods were impossible to count. A great joy to observe was the Barred Owl sunning lazily on a big tree branch by the Old Orchard field. Monarch butterflies were beginning to assemble in the meadows. This was a joint field trip co-sponsored by the Friends and the Madison Audubon Society. Why not join us on the next field trip on migrants and other birds on Oct 5.
Eagle Heights Nature Walk, September 9
Party on the Path - Badger Green Scene, September 5
Five enthusiastic Friends volunteered this year at the Party on the Path, sponsored by the Nelson Institute and the Office of Sustainability: Doris Dubielzig, Peter Fisher, Kennedy Gilchrist, John Kutzbach, and Paul Williams. During the event, Kris Ackerbauer also checked in. The spirited organizer of the entire event was Olivia Sanderfoot, Student leader and Program coordinator at the Office of Sustainability and, of course, Student Board member of the Friends and leader of the Students for the Preserve. Thank you all.
This green-themed Wisconsin Welcome event started at the Center for Limnology and ended at the green space by Tripp Commons. Along the path, students could meet with 17 student and community organizations and meet advisors from ten departments. We had a great team of volunteers representing the Friends – they dragged the props to the Path, got the attention of the student and engaged them in conversations and the Preserve "Trivia Quiz", stood on their feet for hours, and shared their passion for the Lakeshore Preserve. This was a rewarding service.
4th Sunday Bird and Nature Walk, August 24
Madison Bird City Partners 'Back to School' Bird and Nature Walk at UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve engages kids, bugs and birds. It was a great success last Sunday. Paul Noeldner, our energetic coordinator of these walks, reports:
"About a dozen people including families and a number of kids enjoyed the 4th Sunday of every month Bird and Nature Walk at the UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve on August 24. The theme was 'Back to School' - What are the young birds learning? Where are they going?
Walk co-leader and Education PhD candidate Yun-Wen Chan was just back from Taiwan. The group figured out from her snapshots that circling and diving Ring-billed Gulls were adults and fledglings learning to catch insects in mid-air like Swallows. The kids in the group mimicked this behavior as they chased to net, view and release moths and butterflies along the Biocore Prairie trail. They also helped spot a hiding juvenile Red-tailed Hawk being pestered by Blue Jays who were in turn protecting their own babies. The kids used the scope to study a Robin and a fledgling learning how to find worms in a moist path while a beautifully spotted Mourning Dove looked on.
A favorite moment was when the group was asked if taking the woodland path would be too buggy - and the kids shouted 'Yay! Bugs!' and ran ahead! The hot sunny walk ended with a welcome beach wade, 2 Mallards (only seen in zoos in Taiwan!) and a picnic snack at the Lake Mendota abandoned beach house affectionately called the 'Audubon Outpost' to share fresh strawberries and stories."
Geologic History of the Preserve and Madison Lakes, August 2
"A diverse group of over twenty people attended our annual geology field trip led by Prof. Dave Mickelson, UW Department of Geology. No one will forget his map titled geological history of Dane County. While gathered on the grass near Chamberlain rock, he told the fascinating and complex story of glaciation physics forming the features of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. We learned about the glacial conveyor belt bringing rocks and till from the northeast to the terminal moraine sites which form Madison's unexpected elevations. Deposits of glacial till form drumlins while rock layers of dolomite lime stone and sandstone protrude in surprise locations on the preserve. We walked the lakeshore path to a Stonewall marking the entrance to Picnic Point. A close look at each type of rock provided the story of Wisconsin's glacial history transporting material from geological formations in the glaciers path." Dave was assisted by Galen Hasler, who wrote this summary.
4th Sunday Bird and Nature Walk, July 27
Bird and Nature walks are held every weekend in various locations in Madison, and every 4th Sunday in the Preserve. These walks, coordinated by Paul Noeldner, are co-sponsored by Madison Bird City partners including Madison Audubon, Madison Parks, Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Friends of Olin-Turville, Wild Warner, and Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.
On this Sunday, Paul Noeldner led about a dozen participants, including one 8 year old boy. Paul reports that the group "helped the boy put together a Bluebird House and carried it along with a pole and post driver on the whole walk through the Biocore Prairie until we reached a good spot at the foot of the Eagle Heights Gardens. Along the way we checked several Bluebird boxes and enjoyed seeing and taking pictures of young Tree Swallows and Bluebirds
still on nests and almost ready to fledge." 35 bird species were
noted on the walk.
Native Pollinators in the Preserve, Field trip on July 20
Pretty Things with Wings Field trip - July 6
Lake Mendota Boat Trip - June 10
Heritage Oak Project work day - June 7
Woodland Perennial Planting - May 18
Warblers at Frautschi Point - Field Trip May 14
Cathie Bruner retires
Spring flowers in Bill's Woods - Field trip May 4
Field Trip Effigy Mounds in the Preserve, April 19 (Saturday) 1:00 pm
Paul introduced the various shapes of the mounds and their relationship to ancient stories. He also mentioned the current measures to protect the mounds still remaining from the more than 1500 that archaeologist Charles Brown plotted in the Four Lakes region in 1909. In Indian legends, the animals in the woods, in the water, and on the land as well as people are all of common stock - they once spoke a common language and together reflect on the balance of nature indented by the creator.