Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

27 citizen volunteers lauded for efforts to stop invasive species

News Release Published: June 3, 2010 by the Central Office

Contact(s): Laurel Steffes (608) 266-8109

MADISON - Twenty-seven citizen volunteers dedicated to preserving the natural resources for all by fighting the spread of harmful non-native species were honored as "Invader Crusaders" June 2 by the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species.

"Thanks to committed volunteers like the 27 we honor today, other dedicated partners statewide and funding to support aggressive action, we are making progress in protecting Wisconsin's beautiful natural resources from the threat of invasive species," Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank said during the Capitol ceremony.

This year's winners came from all over Wisconsin - including Calumet County, Ashland County, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and businesses including the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and Kettle Moraine Natural Landscaping.

The annual award winners are selected from nominations submitted to the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species (exit DNR). Created by 2001 Wis. Act 16, the council has 13 members - seven of which are citizen appointees named by Gov. Jim Doyle and six others representing various state government agencies.

"Wisconsin is a leader in the prevention, containment and control of invasive species," Frank said. "While we have much more work to do, we have demonstrated that collaboration and partnership do produce results. This year's award winners are proof of that."

Frank was joined at the ceremony by State Rep. Fred Clark of Baraboo, a former Invader Crusader winner who also helped present the awards.

The 2010 Invader Crusaders Award Winners

Alycia Crall, Student Research Award. Since arriving at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006, Crall focused on putting into action the large number of "citizen scientists." As part of her research, she traveled throughout Wisconsin training anyone interested in contributing to a database developed by the National Institute of Invasive Species Science.

Ron Richter, recipient of the Volunteer-Individual Award. For 10 years, Richter has been rearing Galerucella beetles to control purple loosestrife for Wisconsin's northeast region. He has worked with Scout groups, master gardeners and others. His also started a rearing station at the Brillion Nature Center to meet the growing demand. He has held educational workshops about the beetles and purple loosestrife.

Lawanda Jungwirth and Audrey Ruedinger, recipients of the Volunteer-Pair Award. As volunteers with the Winnebago County Master Gardeners since 1994, the two women coordinate invasive species removal activities and do outreach with local news media and organizations. Jungwirth has worked to control garlic mustard through hand-pulling along the Wiouwash Trail, and Ruedinger has focused on buckthorn control at the Waukau Nature Trail and at a restored prairie in Waukau.

The Transportation and Utility Rights-of-Way Best Management Practices Advisory Committee, recipient of the Volunteer Group Award. Members are: RaeLynn Asah of Xcel Energy, Gary Birch of the Wis. Department of Transportation, Dan Fedderly of the Wis. County Highway Association, Deb Frosch of Alliant Energy, Al Geurts of the Outagamie County Highway Commission, Mike Grisar of WE Energies, Michael John Jaeger of the Wis. Public Service Commission, Crystal Koles of American Transportation Company, Jim Merriman of Wis. Department of Transportation, Jim Mertes of Construction Resources Management, In., Dana Ferguson of Alliant Energy, Jamie Nuthals of the Wis. Public Service Corporation, Mark Olson of Enbridge Energy, Perry Rossa of American Council of Engineering Company, Richard Stadelman of the Wis. Towns Association and Dave Siebert of the Wis. Department of Natural Resources. This group worked in partnership with the DNR to develop one of the four Best Management Practices guidelines. Their work included 15-plus meetings and countless workshops that are planned for this summer to help educate crews and the public about the common invasive species and what can be done to slow their spread.

Diane Schauer, Professional Individual Award. As Calumet County's aquatic invasive species coordinator since 2007, Schauer has been an advocate for the impact that any invasive species can cause and is always prepared to educate. She has organized the Mills Fleet Farm Fishing Day that takes place in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where youngsters and their parents are made aware of aquatic invasive species and what they can do to prevent their spread.

Connie Ramthun, recipient of the Professional Individual Business Award. As owner-operator of Kettle Moraine Natural Landscaping, Ramthun's primary interest has been in establishing and managing prairies, and her work has been strongly laced with invasive species management. She has worked to instill invasive management practices at the UW-Fond du Lac Arboretum, where she is the grounds director, and has worked with the Friends of the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Northern Great Lakes visitor Center, recipient of the Professional Organization Award -- Jason Maloney - USDA Forest Service/Center Director and Tom Bluett - University of Wisconsin-Extension. The Center connects visitors with historic, cultural and natural resources in the Great Lakes Region. The center approaches invasive species through educational programming, management activities, exhibits and trails, and other educational activities. The Center also works closely with the Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area by providing a meeting place and houses a community tool shed. The Center loans GPS units used for documenting invasive species locations.

Peter Flaherty, co-winner of the Professional Individual-DNR Award. Flaherty, of the DNR's legal services, first learned about invasive species in the Great Lakes and started calling for regulations to stop invasive species. In September 2009, after five years of tireless efforts in drafting the rule and following procedures, Wisconsin's Invasive Species Identification, Classification, and Control Rule (NR 40) became effective. This process and type of regulation is being used as a model in other states, such as California and New York.

Bernie Williams and Tom Boos, co-winners of the Professional Individual-DNR Award. Williams and Boos were involved in the development of all four tracks of the Best Management Practices (forestry, recreational users, urban forestry, and transportation & utility rights-of-way). They brought the experience of working on other tracks and the knowledge of how invasive species travel.