Prescribed Burn at Jackson Creek Preserve
Introduction of fire into wetlands like the sedge meadows at Jackson Creek Preserve is a welcome disturbance. Without fire, woody shrubs like invasive Buckthorn become established and eventually force native plants out. When the native plants die out, the food they provided for wildlife disappears and the birds, butterflies and other native wildlife soon follow. Planned, controlled burns are an important disturbance event in wetlands that recycles nutrients, rejuvenates plant growth, and keep non-native plants from gaining a foothold.
This April, KMLT successfully completed a controlled burn of Jackson Creek Preserve western section. Animals are least vulnerable to fire during this time of year. They are not reproducing, and the reptiles and small mammals are still hibernating. KMLT works with a professional, trained burn team to carefully plan and carry out controlled burns. The Trust’s management plan calls for only certain sections of the preserve to be burned at one time. This rotational burning results in unburned patches of refuge that mimic the conditions that would occur from a natural fire. Wild fires periodically burned through this part of Wisconsin prior to settlement, and were in part responsible for creating the native plant communities we have today.
Elkhorn Community Fund Grant to KMLT
This grant will support one of our field day programs, “Day in the Woods” with Elkhorn Area High School AP science students. Click here for the news release with more details about the grant.
Divine Word November Workday
Even though winter was still a month away, it didn’t feel like it, as arctic winds dipping down into the Midwest caused workday temperatures to start off in the upper teens. KMLT board members, staff and volunteers scoffed at the frigid temperatures and launched the first volunteer stewardship workday at Divine Word Seminary. Our group worked collectively to cut brush, apply herbicide and make brush piles to improve the rare woodland ecosystem found on the site. Click here for more information about this project.
Whitewater High School Workday at Bluff Creek State Natural Area
This fall two classes of Whitewater High School students had the unique experience of spending a day immersed in hands-on learning and scientific investigation at Bluff Creek State Natural Area. A ten minute bus ride was all the time it took for the students to discover a natural area teaming with plant and animal diversity. Not only did the students see how land managers foster plant and animal species diversity and resiliency, they joined in and learned by doing.
The field day fostered an understanding of global environmental challenges, and gave the students a meaningful way to make a positive difference by acting locally. The Kettle Moraine Land Trust works to connect youth to their local natural resources in a manner that inspires them to be thoughtful leaders.
This environmental education program was sponsored by We Energies Foundation and The Coburn Company, Inc. More information and a students impression of the day can be found here.
Beulah Bluff Deck Completed
During September 4-6, 2014 the observation deck construction was completed! For photos of the work day activities, please click here.
4th Annual Community Event: Happy Hour at Lauderdale Lakes Country Club on August 23rd
KMLT members and guests came to Myers Family Park at the Lauderdale Lakes Country Club for the annual celebration of Kettle Moraine Land Trust’s accomplishments. The weather was perfect and after everyone mingled, Debbie Ferrari, KMLT board member and event organizer, welcomed the guests and introduced Jerry Petersen, KMLT president.
Jerry talked about KMLT accomplishments, such as the progress being made on the new Beulah Bluff Preserve, and thanked the Legend Builders, who are members at the $1000 or greater level, saying they are the foundation of the Land Trust because of their commitment and support.
Jerry then introduced Maggie Zoellner, program director, who discussed the importance of conserving our special lands and how everyone can play a part.
Maggie reminded everyone that working in concert with the community is the most efficient and cost effective way to protect important lands. Understanding each other’s concerns allows us to move forward in a united fashion and make greater gains than we would independently.
She further stressed the importance of a proactive organization like KMLT, doesn’t let conservation opportunities fall through the cracks. KMLT builds strong networks of partnerships, identify funding sources, work collaboratively so landowners know that when they are ready to protect their property, to ensure future generations of grand kids and great blue herons, a place for respite.
The Happy Hour at Myers Family Park was a typical Kettle Moraine Land Trust event – everyone learned something and had a lot of fun!
Legend Builders Club Reception at Lauderdale Lakes - August 9, 2014
The inaugural event of the Legend Builders Club, a group formed to honor members who give $1000 or more, was held early in August at the home of Ed and Suzette Sorenson. Walker Johnson, KMLT Board Member and architect, gave a tour of the Arts & Crafts home and the Legend Builders had the opportunity to meet with KMLT directors and enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon.
The Legend Builders are the backbone of Kettle Moraine Land Trust. They enable us to sustain our programs and inspire others to participate. For more information about becoming a Legend Builder, including membership benefits, contact Jerry Petersen, Walker Johnson or Maggie Zoellner, 262-949-7211.
Lauderdale Lakes Fish Jamboree
The Lauderdale Lakes Improvement Association’s Annual Fish Jamboree is certainly a high point for many area children every July. Young and old never miss the Kettle Moraine Land Trust’s Education Tent to see what exciting creatures are being highlighted. Thanks to volunteer Betsy Ingle and director Ken Ingle, the Trust hosts an interactive experience that helps people understand the unique relationship between water dependent wildlife, lakes and people.
Click here for event photos.
Every year the Trust’s environmental education message is modified to emphasize wildlife responses or adaptations to human interaction, or new changes in the environment. Stressing the importance of connections between people and our impact on nature is the starting point for fostering a lifelong connection with nature.
Additional thanks also go out to Walker and Carolyn Johnson for their assistance in making the education tent a success.
The Kettle Moraine Land Trust hosts many educational programs every year ranging from nature hikes and workshops, to education tents and high school field days. For more information contact Maggie at 262-949-7211.
Naure Walk at Natureland Park
On July 2nd, the Kettle Moraine Land Trust hosted a tour of Walworth County’s Natureland Park. Natureland is located on the south shore of Whitewater Lake and hosts 4 hiking trails within its 122 acres. Participants, led by KMLT Program Manager Maggie Zoellner and County Arborist Steve Messick, walked parts of two trails, the Trail of Many Terrains and the Prairie Trail.
Maggie discussed the many wildlife habitats in the park including streams, wetlands, prairies, and forest and identified many of the plants for the hikers. Steve explained how the planted pine forest in the park is being managed and improved.
The Kettle Moraine Land Trust has recently agreed to partner with Walworth County’s Public Works Department to help manage the most important and ecologically diverse natural areas within the park.
This Nature Walk was the second of three scheduled for this year by Kettle Moraine Land Trust. The next one will be the afternoon of September 6th so watch the website for more details.