Upcoming Events

Monthly Update – February 2020

Grand Surprise – photo by Jack Shouba

Greetings Friends of the Prairie,

So why a butterfly in February? Because this big beautiful butterfly may be seen basking in the sun on warm days all year-round. The Mourning Cloak overwinters as an adult hibernating in hollow logs or creases in tree bark. With an up to 4-inch wingspan and their unique coloration, they are easy to identify. They breed in early spring and adults emerging in June or July may live up to 11 months. We could all use some sunshine about now!

Before the next Monthly Update, it is likely the creators of the nest pictured above will be returning to stake out their 2020 territories. The male Red-winged Blackbirds will be filling the Prairie with calls that all sound alike to us, but that the females will have no trouble distinguishing. Likewise, in the next month the shrill and repetitious “peep” of diminutive (0.7 to 1.1 inch) Northern Spring Peepers will be heard across the wetlands. These little noise makers reproduce very successfully in our fishless wetlands. It doesn’t seem like it now with snow and ice all around, but in no time the first sounds and sights of spring will be upon the Prairie.

Northern Spring Peeper (archive photo)

Newsletter Donation Match

Our annual newsletter in December promised a dollar for dollar match for all donations received from individuals until January 31, 2020. Great news! You all dug deep and we received just over $20,000, which is being matched by Jack and Terry Shouba and anonymous supporters. We are deeply grateful to all who donated and to all who matched your donations. As always, all donations are available for land acquisition and, if designated, also for land management.


National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is February 24 to 28. Some things to know: Aside from trail mowing, almost all of our management activities involve the control and removal of invasive species from the Prairie. The list of invaders is long. The methods and timing of management vary with each one. How did invasives get here? Some blew in on the wind, some were distributed in bird poop, some came in yard waste dumped in the Prairie, some were planted in the 1920’s golf course, some came on roadside mowers, some hitchhiked on animal fur, some flew off passing trains, and others came in ways unknown. What can you do? If you are a Friend of the Prairie, you already help; likewise, if you are a workday volunteer. Make sure you do not have invasives in your own garden and spread the word. The biodiversity and peak ecological function of the Prairie depend on controlling invasives.

SPRING INTO GARDENING, Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Union Grove High School
The keynote address, “Genetic Diversity & Plant Preservation” by Neil Diboll from the Prairie Nursery, promises to be inspiring for anyone interested in getting native plants into your garden. Several other sessions involve native plants, pollinators, monarchs and lots of great gardening information. CPPF will have an information table at this event. For more information on all the sessions and to register go to https://kenosha.extension.wisc.edu


Nathan, Suzanne and Rick burning the December workday brush.
A well-soaked oval of ash is all that remains!

In December, the workday volunteers set out to clear a quarter acre lot of 8- foot buckthorn. When they finished, the lot was cleared but surrounded by neatly lined up huge piles of cut brush! We had hoped to burn that brush in January, but snow caused the workday to be cancelled. Last week, after two days of hauling and a total of eight hours of burning, all that remained was a six by eight foot oval of ash!

This Saturday, February 15, we will continue to clear invasive brush in the areas around the Cottage. We will have folks using brushcutters as well as hauling and dabbing. The prediction is for a mostly cloudy day with a 10-20 mph SW wind and a high of 35 degrees. We supply work gloves, tools, instruction, water and answers to all your questions about the Prairie. The workday is from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Come for part or all of it.

We will meet at the Chiwaukee Cottage at 204 -102nd Street.
Please park on the south side of 102nd Street.

Lunch at the Cottage after the workday for our volunteers!

(Map at www.chiwaukee.org/about/where/)

If you would like to be notified about additional workday opportunities, please email volunteer@chiwaukee.org.

Workday cancellations will be posted on our website and Facebook by 8 AM on scheduled workdays. If you are unsure whether a workday will take place, please use good judgment when deciding whether to attend.

If you have questions, email volunteer@chiwaukee.org or call 773-515-2772.

Thank you for your support,
Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund, Inc.