Volunteer work parties tackle specific tasks at Nature Conservancy preserves including invasive plant removal, brush cutting, seed collecting and planting. New volunteers are always welcome! Work party leaders will contact regular attendees with information about upcoming land management projects and scheduled work parties. Click here for a printable version of the volunteer events and work party newsletter (95 KB pdf).
WHAT TO WEAR/BRING TO WORK PARTIES
Dress appropriately for outdoor, grubby work. Long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy footwear re essential, and always bring work gloves. If brush pile burning is mentioned in the work description, please DO NOT wear synthetic clothing (polyester, fleece, etc.) as it will melt or easily get burn holes in it from embers. Eye protection is always a good idea as well!
In most cases, work parties go on regardless of the weather, but we will cancel in the event of pouring rain or hazardous weather like thunderstorms. Watch for instructions about weather in individual work party descriptions. If you’re not sure, call the work party leader early the morning of the scheduled work day.
Kudos to Volunteers
A big thank you to the volunteers at Chiwaukee Prairie for decades of stewardship work including invasive species control, prescribed fire break installation, scientific monitoring and general care of the preserve totaling many thousands of hours. In the coming year, The Nature Conservancy will transfer this special place to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the people of Wisconsin. The care and management provided by the volunteers at Chiwaukee has ensured that the preserve’s diversity is maintained and that restoration efforts have been ongoing. We know they will continue to be as valuable a partner to the DNR as they have been to the Conservancy, ensuring many more decades of care for the preserve.
Help maintain and restore this spectacularly diverse prairie along the shore of Lake Michigan. Work parties will be held the third Saturday of every month. Check the web site for updates, www.chiwaukee.org. Contact: Pam Holy (262) 658-8336
Saturdays: January 18/February 15/March 15/ April 19/May 17/June 21
10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Throughout the winter and into early spring, we will cut and treat woody invasive species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle and cherry trees. In the spring and early summer, volunteers will help remove pesky garlic mustard, dame’s rocket, and other herbaceous invasive species.
From I-94 between Kenosha and the Illinois state line, drive east on Hwy 165 for about 6 miles. Turn south (right) on Hwy 32 (Sheridan Rd.) for 1 mile. Turn east (left) on 116th St. (Tobin Rd.) for 1 mile. Turn south (right) on 1st Court. Travel 5 blocks to 121st St. Turn right and go 1 block to 2nd Avenue. Turn right (north) and park in front of kiosk.
MILITARY RIDGE PRAIRIES
Dane / Iowa Counties
The Nature Conservancy is protecting hundreds of acres of critical habitat for grassland birds in this beautiful rolling landscape dotted with prairie and oak savanna remnants. Contact: Jim Lesniak (608) 576-3310
Muehllehner Addition--Barneveld Prairie
Volunteer activities will involve cutting invasive brush and weedy trees like buckthorn and box elder and cleaning up the debris in the cleared areas. In April and May, activities will include brush clean-up/piling and garlic mustard control.
Saturdays: January 11/February 8/March 8/April 12/ May 10
9 a.m. – 12 Noon
Directions: Approximately 0.2 miles east of the village of Barneveld, turn south on Cnty Hwy K. Follow Hwy K for 2 miles and turn into The Nature Conservancy’s parking lot on the right. If you pass Prairie Grove Road, you have gone too far.
Thomson Memorial Prairie
Saturday, June 14
9 a.m. – 12 Noon
This preserve is a lovely remnant of dry prairie that has managed to survive in a mostly agricultural landscape. Volunteers will pull wild parsnip from the remnant. Note: wild parsnip contains juice that can cause a rash or burns if it comes in contact with skin and with sunlight, so please wear long sleeves and gloves.
Directions: From the town of Mt. Horeb, take US Hwy18/151west to the intersection with Cnty Hwy F on the southwestern edge of Blue Mounds. Turn south on Cnty F and continue for just over one mile. At the intersection with Cnty Hwy Z, turn right - this will keep you on Cnty F. The preserve will be on your right in about one-half mile. Park in the small fenced parking lot or alongside of the road.
Baxter’s Hollow is remarkable for the large area of deep forest and the mountain-like creek that it protects. Baxter’s Hollow is the Conservancy’s largest preserve in Wisconsin. There are many different volunteer activities and locations within this large preserve. Contact Sherren Clark at (608)225-2974 with any questions about these work parties below or to subscribe to e-mail updates about the Baraboo Hills work parties.
Saturdays: January 4/February 1
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Help control invasive buckthorn in the Happy Hill Road area near the northern limits of the Baxter’s Hollow Preserve. Meet at the intersection of Forest Drive and Happy Hill Road.
Directions to Forest Drive: From the intersection of US Hwy. 12 and County Hwy. W on the south edge of Baraboo, go west on Hwy. W. Travel 2.8 miles to the intersection of Happy Hill Road. Turn left (south) on Happy Hill Road. Travel 1.5 miles to the intersection with Forest Drive.
Durst Rockshelter and Hemlock Draw
Durst Rockshelter contains an important archeological feature located within a southern mesic forest and provides a beautiful display of spring ephemeral wild flowers.
Hemlock Draw supports a stunning contrast in vegetation, with plant and bird species typically found in the northern areas of the state growing close to those typically found in southern Wisconsin.
Saturdays: March 1/ April 5/April 12/April 19/May 3/May 10/May 17May 31//June 7
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Help control invasive garlic mustard at Durst Rockshelter and Hemlock Draw preserves. The March work party will be marking the grids we use to organize the control efforts. The April to June work parties will be scouting, pulling and/or spraying garlic mustard at various locations. Meet at the park in Leland and we will drive to the work sites from there.
Saturday, April 26
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Plant trees to fill in an old farm field opening near the north end of the Hemlock Draw preserve. Note: Plans for this work party are tentative as of the newsletter publication, so email Sherren Clark or call (608) 225-2974 to confirm or with any questions. Meet at the park in Leland and we will drive to the work site from there.
Directions to Leland: Take US Hwy. 12 north from Madison or south from Baraboo. Go west on County Hwy. C (across from the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant) for about nine miles, past Natural Bridge State Park, into the village of Leland. Meet at the gravel parking lot next to the park and mill pond.
SPRING GREEN PRESERVE - SAUK COUNTY
Many rare plants and animals such as prickly pear cactus and several rare leafhopper species are found on the bluff and sand prairies of Spring Green Preserve. We often hold volunteer work days throughout the winter to remove invading red cedars from the ecologically significant habitats located on the property. If you are interested in volunteering at Spring Green Preserve, please contact Gary Gates at (608)255-2337 for more information on upcoming work parties.
In partnership with the Door County Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy holds work parties every Tuesday from April through early winter. If you are interested in more information or in joining the email list, please contact Mary Erickson at (920) 743-8695.
MUKWONAGO RIVER WATERSHED - WALWORTH & WAUKESHA COUNTIES
The Nature Conservancy’s preserves in the Mukwonago River Watershed in southeastern Wisconsin offer a mix of wetlands, grasslands and woodlands, including rare oak savannas. They are a little more than a 30 minute drive from Milwaukee and a little over an hour from Madison. Volunteers are always needed to help out with control of invasive species of plants, trail building and repair and maintenance on buildings at the preserves. If you are interested in an opportunity as an individual or would like to bring a group of people to help with this important work, contact our watershed office at 262-642-7276.