Volunteer Events and Work Party Calendar

January-June 2018

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. 


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. 

Sauk County 

Volunteer work parties in the Baraboo Hills help maintain and protect the Nature Conservancy preserves in this unique landscape of quartzite bluffs and large contiguous forest blocks. Contact Sherren Clark (608-225-2974 or sclark99@outlook.com) for more information about the work parties below, or to subscribe to monthly email updates about the Baraboo Hills work parties.

The Baraboo Hills work parties listed below are on Saturdays. We meet at 9:00 and work until 12:30 or 1:00, then usually eat lunch/snacks together before heading home.

If weekdays are better volunteer days for you, contact Steve Jandl (sajandl7008@gmail.com) to join his email list for weekday work parties in the Baraboo Hills.

Work party plans sometimes change, so if you’re planning to attend a future date, it’s a good idea to check back here within a week of the work party date to confirm.

January 6: Battle Invasive Buckthorn at Baxter’s Hollow, 9:00 – 12:30
Control buckthorn and other woody invasives in the large Baxter’s Hollow preserve. Meet at 9:00 at the Hwy 12 pull-off parking—directions below—and we’ll head out to the work sites from there.

February 3: Battle Invasive Buckthorn at Baxter’s Hollow, 9:00 – 12:30
Control buckthorn and other woody invasives in the large Baxter’s Hollow preserve. Meet at 9:00 at the Hwy 12 pull-off parking—directions below—and we’ll head out to the work sites from there.

March 3: Thin Tree Plantings or Remove Invasives, 9:00 – 12:30
The March work party plans will depend on the weather and turnout. One task will be to thin pines in a tree planting area. If we have a big crew and it’s still wintry, we will also keep working on buckthorn, but if it’s already spring we may work on getting grids marked for the upcoming garlic mustard control season. Meet at the Hwy 12 pull-off parking—directions below—and we’ll head out to the work sites from there.

April 7, 14, 21, and 28; May 5, 12, and 19; and June 2: Control Garlic Mustard at Hemlock Draw and Durst Rockshelter Preserves, 9:00 – 12:30
The spring work parties will be scouting, pulling, and/or spraying garlic mustard at various locations. Come to one work day or come to a few and see how the spring ephemerals progress. It’s a beautiful time to be in the woods, and the garlic mustard work helps keep it that way. Meet at 9:00 at the park in Leland—directions below—and we’ll drive to the work sites from there.


To Highway 12 pull-off parking: Take Hwy 12 north from Sauk City or south from Baraboo to a pull-off on the east side of the highway at the top of the south bluff, south of the intersection with Ski Hi Rd. We will drive or hike to the work sites from there. Link to map

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. We will drive to the work sites from there. Link to map 

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)

Thomson Memorial Prairie (Schultz tract)
January 13,
9:00 – 12:00
February 10,
9:00 – 12:00
March 10,
9:00 – 12:00

Volunteer activities will involve cutting invasive brush and weedy trees like mulberry and boxelder and cleaning up the debris in the cleared areas.

Directions: Coming from Madison on Hwy 151, about 0.7 of a mile past Hwy F, you'll come to the intersection of 151 and East Brigham Rd. Turn left (south) onto E. Brigham Rd and continue for about 0.4 of a mile. Turn right (west) onto Thronson Rd. There is a gravel parking lot near the end of the road.

Muehllehner Addition to the Barneveld Prairie
April 14,
9:00 – 12:00
May 12,
9:00 – 12:00

In April and May, volunteer activities will include brush clean-up and piling and garlic mustard control.

Directions: Meet at the parking lot just north of the Hwy K & Prairie Grove Rd intersection

Thomson Memorial Prairie (Hwy F)
June 9, 9:00 – 12:00

Pulling wild parsnip


Our partner, the Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area, is hosting a week of pulling garlic mustard along the Bad River floodplain near Mellen, WI. The goal is to control this infestation from spreading into Caroline Lake Preserve, Copper Falls State Park, and the Bad River Reservation. Volunteers are welcome to work a few hours or all day. All volunteers are welcome to a free cook-out at noon on May 17th at Copper Falls State Park!

May 14 to 18, all day beginning 9:00 am

Directions: Meet at the corner of Hwy 169 and Butler Rd in Mellen, WI.

Contact: Ramona Shackleford, info@northwoodscwma.org, (715) 373-6167

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 with control of invasive plants, trail building, and repair and maintenance of buildings at the preserves. If you would like to bring a group of people to help with work at any of our preserves, contact our watershed office at 262-642-7276. 

Crooked Creek Preserve – New Chapman Hills Girl Scout Camp Property
Saturday, January 20, 2018 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Saturday, March 24, 2018 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Come out and work with Land Steward Jerry Ziegler as we begin restoration work at the former Chapman Hills Girl Scout Camp, the newest segment of our Crooked Creek Preserve. We’ll work on removing invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle on this 107-acre site to encourage the growth of native plant species. Bring a lunch to eat in the lodge while Jerry explains our goals for the property and talks about our work in the Mukwonago River Watershed. Directions: N9372 Scout Road, East Troy.

From Milwaukee:

  • Take I-43 southwest to Exit 43, the Mukwonago exit, which is State Highway 83.
  • Turn right at the top of the exit ramp and immediately get over into your left lane.
  • Turn left at the first light, which is Bayview Road (Citgo Station on your left).
  • Follow Bayview around to the next traffic light, which is Highway ES.
  • Turn left on ES.
  • Follow ES for a mile or so to Highway J. (You’ll see a pale yellow barn on the right with a huge smiley face painted on it.)
  • Turn right on J and follow that for 6.6 miles to Little Prairie Road, on the right.
  • Turn right on Little Prairie and go for 1.5 miles to Scout Road.
  • Turn right on Scout Road and go for 1.2 miles to a group of red farm buildings and a silo on the right. Turn right and follow the directional signs on the driveway to the lodge, which is painted pale blue.

From Madison:

  • Take Highway 12 east to the juncture of Highway 67.
  • Continue straight ahead on Highway 20 for 1.5 miles.
  • Continue straight ahead on Highway J for 1.5 miles.
  • Turn left on Scout Road.
  • Follow Scout Road for 2.25 miles to a group of red farm buildings and a silo on the right. Turn right and follow the directional signs on the driveway to the lodge, which is painted pale blue. 

Join the effort to restore Waubesa Wetlands! In Madison’s backyard, Waubesa is known for its high-quality wetlands and springs that provide habitat for waterfowl and migrating birds. The Nature Conservancy is partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to protect and restore the wetlands and surrounding woodlands. 

May 5, 9:00 – 12:00 

This workday will focus on removing invasive garlic mustard on an oak ridge overlooking the meadow. Dress for the weather and bring gloves and drinking water; we will have equipment for volunteers. Link to event flyer

Contact: Alex Wenthe, aewenthe@gmail.com, (608) 282-5403. 

Directions: From the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and County Highway MM south of Madison, go south on MM 1.3 miles, then east on Goodland Park Road 0.9 mile, then south on Lalor Road 0.8 mile to a small parking area east of the road. Google map


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 the Door office at (920) 743-8695 or visit the Door Stewardship Alliance web page.

Mink River Preserve Tree Planting

Join The Nature Conservancy, the Climate Change Coalition of Door County, and local high school students to plant trees in celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day! Volunteers will plant 4,000 native tree and shrub seedlings to restore a previously grazed field at our Mink River Estuary Preserve. Please visit the event website here. Contact: Kari Hagenow, khagenow@tnc.org.

April 26, 9:00 – 3:00
April 27, 9:00 – 3:00
April 28, 9:00 – 12:00


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