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Horticulturist at Olbrich Gardens, Hayward area groups among 2017 Invader Crusader award winners
Contact(s): Kelly Kearns, 608-267-5066
MADISON -- The lead horticulturist of Madison's Olbrich Gardens, the president of a nonprofit association working to control invasive plants, and the coordinator of volunteers helping to care for State Natural Areas are among the eight Wisconsin residents and two groups receiving awards for their significant contributions to education about and the prevention and control of invasive species in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council will present Invader Crusader Awards in a ceremony June 8 at the MacKenzie Environmental Center in Poynette. The ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m., is among the activities marking June as Invasive Species Awareness Month.
Invader Crusader award winners, their hometowns, and a brief description of their contributions follow. More detailed write-ups can be found on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council website (exit DNR).
- Jeff Epping (Madison) the horticulture director at Madison's Olbrich Botanical Gardens, has removed most invasive plants from the gardens, which span 16 acres and attract an average of 300,000 visitors annually. He encourages gardeners to use native and well-behaved non-native plants, and has assisted in conducting field studies for managing invasive earthworms in collaboration with state agencies, horticulturists, and researchers.
- Christa Schaefer (Madison) has volunteered for the past four years as president of the Invasive Plants of Wisconsin (IPAW) board. In addition, as a landscape architect with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Schaefer has consistently advocated for preventing the spread of invasive species on roadsides by implementing policies and staff training, as well as creating a program allowing volunteers to control invasives on state highway corridors.
- Jared Urban (Madison) serves as coordinator of the Department of Natural Resources' State Natural Areas volunteer program. Jared has developed a structured volunteer program that actively recruits, trains, and supports volunteers and has significantly increased the quality and efficiency of volunteer work on the highest quality natural areas in the state. In 2016, 36 volunteer groups devoted 5,820 hours at 43 state natural areas and directly benefitted 3,514 acres.
- Robert and Dorothy Moe (Haugen) have donated many hours of volunteer work and the use of their pontoon boat and equipment to control purple loosestrife in the areas surrounding Bear Lake, protecting the Bear Lake Sedge Meadow State Natural Area and the lake's wild rice populations from the effects of the invasive plant.
- Pam Nelson (Turtle Lake) has been involved with invasive species management on Horseshoe Lake ever since Eurasian water milfoil was discovered nine years ago. She later took on the role of invasive species coordinator for the lake association, spearheading a plan to control milfoil and maintain the lake's ecosystem.
- Daniel Pawlak (Mukwonago) has served as a volunteer at Eagleville Elementary Charter School for the past four years, leading an after-school science club with 30-40 students each year. Through his mentorship, students have gained greater awareness of local invasive species and a greater appreciation for the natural world around them.
- Mark Acherman (Darlington) educates his fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade classes in Darlington schools on aquatic invasive species awareness and management. He and his classes create informational posters that are displayed throughout the community, educating many on invasive species control and influencing the next generation to be responsible stewards of the environment.
- The Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area and the Town of Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Committee (Hayward) are being recognized for their commitment to prevention, management, and education related to invasive species in the surrounding lakes and rivers. With substantial funding from the friends group, the Town of Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Committee was able to build a diver-assisted suction harvester boat, which allows for much more effective and efficient removal of invasive plant species in lakes and waterways.
Last Revised: Tuesday, June 06, 2017