Nature Conservancy Land Steward Recognized As an Invader Crusader

Jerry Ziegler leads the effort to control and manage invasive species on the Conservancy’s preserves in southeast Wisconsin.

MADISON, WI | June 07, 2012

Ziegler Award

Jerry Ziegler receives Invader Crusader Award at Olbrich Gardens in Madison. (Left to right: Paul Schumacher, WCIS chairman and active former Nature Conservancy trustee; Pat Morton, WCIS Council member, Nature Conservancy Mukwonago River project director; Jerry Ziegler, Nature Conservancy southeast Wisconsin land steward; and Dr. Jim Reinartz, WCIS Council member and former Nature Conservancy trustee. © Hannah Spaul/TNC

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce that Jerry Ziegler, our land steward in southeast Wisconsin, has received an Invader Crusader Award from the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species for his efforts to control the spread of invasive species.

The Invader Crusader Award honors Wisconsin citizens and organizations for their significant contributions to the prevention or eradication of invasive species that harm Wisconsin’s lands and waters. The award recognizes both volunteer and professional efforts.

Jerry received his award, in the Professional Individual—Nonprofit category, at a ceremony at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison on June 6, 2012.

Jerry has been a volunteer and professional land steward for 30 years at The Nature Conservancy. He leads the effort to control and manage invasive species on the Conservancy’s 1,500 acres of preserves in the Mukwonago River watershed in Walworth and Waukesha counties as well as at Chiwaukee Prairie on Lake Michigan in Kenosha County. He is a member of the Conservancy’s prescribed burn crew, which plays a key role in long-term control of invasive species populations.

Jerry was instrumental in helping to organize and build capacity for the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium and currently serves as vice president. His work also extends into local schools. For the past four years, Jerry has managed the Mukwonago Area High School Intern Program.

Jerry has successfully written several grants to fund invasive species work, which includes some new and exciting approaches for aquatic plant restoration. He is collaborating with University of Wisconsin-La Crosse faculty member, Tim Gerber, to pioneer a method to restore native aquatic plants to areas where invasive Eurasian water milfoil has been removed.

New approaches are important in the fight against invasive species, which take a big toll on native habitats and on the nation’s economy. A recent study by the Anderson Economic Group, commissioned by The Nature Conservancy reports that the direct cost of aquatic invasive species alone to the Great Lakes basin is more than $100 million annually, and likely significantly more.

Through his expertise and actions, Jerry embodies the essence of a true Weed Warrior, ever patient but always persistent toward his goal of making prairies, wetlands and other native habitats healthy and resilient for the future.

The Invader Crusader Awards ceremony kicked off Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) — a statewide educational campaign aimed at not only educating and raising awareness of invasive species, but also aimed at giving people the knowledge they need to prevent and manage invasive species incursions throughout the state.

During ISAM, numerous field trips, workshops, presentations and work parties will be held throughout the state to teach citizens about invasive species and what they can do to stop the spread. To learn more, visit

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Cate Harrington
Senior Conservation Writer
(608) 316-6416

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