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.

Events

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

Workdays

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.

PLEASE NOTE:
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.

Monthly Update – January 2020

A New Year Dawns on Chiwaukee – photo by Jack Shouba

Greetings Friends of the Prairie,

The beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan pictured above is in utter contrast to the horrific nor’easter storm that hit this past weekend. Huge waves fed by winds at times over 50 miles per hour deposited sand, rocks and debris, flooded yards and roads, and tore apart poorly protected shoreline areas, including in the Kenosha Dunes. The facts that the lake is near or at its all-time high and that there is no ice pack along the shoreline to act as buffer exacerbated the damage. The waves pushed sand and gravel into the mouths of creeks blocking out-flow and contributing to flooding. Residents in the area reported water in areas and at levels they have never before seen. But it has happened before and will likely again.

Newsletter

Our annual fundraising Newsletter went out in December and has had a great response. If you did not get it in the mail, you can read it online by clicking here. It details our mission accomplishments in 2019, plans for 2020, lists of volunteers and donors, as well as expressions of kinship between humans and Chiwaukee Prairie. The dollar for dollar match up to $20,000 from individuals continues until January 31, 2020.

Read more about it and please consider donating at
www.chiwaukee.org/donate

Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Long view across the winter Prairie rich in native grasses and forbs, free of invasive brush.
Photo by Jay Johnson

Happening on the Prairie…

This winter, a combination of grant funded contractors, DNR staff, and, of course, our volunteers are making great strides in removing invasive brush and returning the Prairie to its native plants. Beneath the brush waits a seed bank of native grasses and forbs that, given this chance, will explode on the scene and send their roots deep into the soil to sequester carbon and provide habitat for the Prairie’s more mobile occupants.

Workdays

Before
During
After

On Saturday, December 21, we planned to start clearing an entire quarter acre lot of invasive brush and small trees. WE DID IT! (The small trees came down 5 days later.)

This Saturday, January 18, we will move all that cut brush into burn piles. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely we will be able to burn because of the wind conditions. The prediction is for AM snow showers, winds WNW at 20-30 mph and a high of 32 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.

PLEASE NOTE:
We will meet on 2nd Avenue at 121st Street.

Stop by the Cottage at 204 -102nd Street after the workday for snacks and beverages. Bring your lunch.
Please park on the south side of 102nd Street

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

If you would like to be notified about additional workday opportunities, plant scouting opportunities or plant identification walks, 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.

Monthly Update – December 2019

Holiday Impostor – photo by Jay Johnson

Greetings Friends of the Prairie,

It may appear as though this sprig of green in the Savanna is trying to celebrate the season by emulating a Christmas tree. A fun scene to come upon during a quiet winter walk, but we can’t be fooled. It is actually Queen Anne’s Lace, one of the Prairie’s exotic invasives, demonstrating its tenacity. For more color, the Savanna sports red viburnum berries drooping like ornaments in front of a Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area sign. That’s it for red and green. The Prairie itself is grasses of tan and gold and copper interspersed with the dried remains of forbs in all shapes and sizes. It is quiet now. No frogs or birds or insects clamoring for attention. But they will return soon enough, as soon now the days grow longer.

As the calendar year closes, we wish you all peace and happiness shared with family and friends.

State Natural Area Ornaments – photo by Jay Johnson
Snowy December Sunset – photo by Jay Johnson

Newsletter

Our annual fundraising Newsletter is out! It details our mission accomplishments in 2019, plans for 2020, lists of volunteers and donors, as well as expressions of kinship between humans and Chiwaukee Prairie. If you have not, but would like to receive a mailed copy, let us know at cppf@chiwaukee.org. The newsletter is also on our website. Please check it out here.

GREAT NEWS!
$ for $ Match up to $20,000

For all donations received from individuals until January 31, 2020.

Read more about it and please consider donating at
www.chiwaukee.org/donate

Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Workdays

November Volunteers – photo by Eric Howe

Our November workday volunteers did a great job removing buckthorn and honeysuckle that was encroaching on two sites which are home to endangered species. This Saturday, December 21, we will be starting to clear an entire lot of invasive brush and small trees. We will have folks using brushcutters as well as hauling and dabbing. The prediction is for a partly cloudy day with a mild west breeze and a high of 40 degrees. We supply work gloves, tools, instruction, water and answers to all your questions about the Prairie. The workday is from 10AM to 1PM. Come for part or all of it.

PLEASE NOTE:
We will meet on 2nd Avenue at 121st Street.

Lunch at the Cottage at 204 -102nd Street after the workday!
Please park on the south side of 102nd Street

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

If you would like to be notified about additional workday opportunities, plant scouting opportunities or plant identification walks, please email volunteer@chiwaukee.org.

Workday cancellations will be posted on our website and Facebook by 8:00 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.

Monthly Update – November 2019

Greetings Friends of the Prairie,

The red twig dogwood is now bare, copper leaves clinging to the scattered oaks will hang on until next Spring, and grasses wave in a dozen shades of gold. There is no mistaking late Fall on the Prairie. There is also no mistaking that it is a wetland, a designated Wetland Gem and a Wetland of International Importance. The entire growing season has been wetter than usual with flooding and roads closed more than once. Because of continuous wet conditions, complete trail mowing was accomplished only once all season. We postponed extensive fire break mowing south of 116th Street until after the first hard frost to be sure we did not interfere with seed setting. Unfortunately, heavy rains at the end of October pushed mowing into November. Because of equipment problems, we barely finished the day before last Sunday’s major snow. The plan is for a joint prescribed burn across the state line by next spring. Fingers crossed!

Thanksgiving is two weeks away and we want you all to know how very, very thankful we, the CPPF Board members, are for all of your interest, volunteering, and support throughout the year. Amazingly, you hale from all over the area and the country, sharing the deep belief that this amazing jewel of nature is well worth all our caring. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Rick Wadleigh pauses during his three days and several miles of fire break mowing.

Annual Newsletter

We anticipate our CPPF annual print newsletter will be in the mail the first week of December. The Prairie News features an update on our mission accomplishments, plans for 2020, donation details, thanks, donor and volunteer listings. Again this year, we are most fortunate to have a dollar-for-dollar matching grant up to $20,000 of donations received from individuals during December and January. If you would like to receive the newsletter but don’t think you are on our mailing list, please send your name and street address to the email below. A link to the Prairie News will also be in the December Monthly Update.

Workdays

Don’t tell the calendar, but winter has definitely arrived. So, do we have workdays in the snow? Definitely we do, with a few caveats: not if it’s too deep, not if it’s below 10 degrees or 10 degrees windchill, not if it’s a whiteout, not if there is lightning. Really though, we seldom cancel workdays.

Don’t the folks in the photo above look happy (see photo)? They were justly proud of their accomplishment. They cut and dabbed and hauled buckthorn for the better part of three hours. For their efforts, they went home that day with a belly full of Pam’s famous chili and the satisfaction of really helping the Prairie.

Jenny says, “Come on out for fun and hard work!”

This Saturday, November 16, the weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies and temperature high of 34 degrees with a 10-15 mph SSE wind. We plan to clear and treat invasive brush in three special areas south of 122nd Street. Best to wear old clothes, sturdy shoes and dress in layers. We supply work gloves, tools, water, instruction and answers to all your questions about the Prairie.

The workday is from 10AM – 1PM. Come for part or all of it.

PLEASE NOTE:
We will meet on 2nd Avenue at 122nd Street

Lunch at the 102nd Street Cottage after the workday for the volunteers!

(Map of the vicinity 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.

All photos above by Pam Holy.

Monthly Update – October 2019

A Prairie Welcome Sign (photo by Jay Johnson)

Greetings Friends of the Prairie,

It is the time when Woolly Bear caterpillars cross the path where the very little Redbelly snake is sunning and hawks migrate high overhead. And much else is happening on the Prairie as blossoming comes to an end. Plants, as long as they are green, continue packing energy into their roots for spring. Hibernators, like Ground Hogs and Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, are packing on fat while other furry critters, like Chipmunks, are storing food in burrows and Coyote and Fox are fashioning dens. Insects are laying eggs in stems, or migrating, or tucking themselves into bark crevices, like the adult Mourning Cloak butterfly. Pollinators are winding down their flurry of activity to get the last food of the season to pack with their eggs. All this activity, yet it is a relatively quiet time on the Prairie. A magic time. A time when the tall grasses wave in the wind almost like a “Sea of Grass” and spiders still have their welcome sign out!

Prairie Plant Walks with Kay have ended for this year but will resume next Spring. On the last walk of the season, September 28, many varieties of Asters, Goldenrods, and Grasses along with petite Lady Tresses orchids and the most splendidly blue Gentians were all on display.

Eight inch tall Lady Tresses orchid (photo by Pam Holy)

If you would like to be notified about plant scouting opportunities or plant identification walks, please email volunteer@chiwaukee.org.

Workdays

Looking west on 122nd Street toward railroad (photo by Pam Holy)

The most wonderful September workday volunteers removed truckloads of brush that was narrowing the 122nd trail. It was a rain shortened workday but not before everyone had a chance to view Gentians off the side of the trail.

You all did a terrific job! THANK YOU!

“Karen and the Giant Saw-Tooth Sunflower” (photo by Pam Holy)

Karen Kaplan wanted everyone to know that the Saw-Toothed Sunflower really can be over 7 feet tall. She was taking a break from loading brush into a truck during the last workday.

This Saturday, October 19, the weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies and temperature high of 61 degrees with a 10–20 mph SSW wind. We plan to continue clearing invasive brush in the areas we worked in the last two winters. Best to wear old clothes, sturdy shoes and dress in layers. We supply work gloves, tools, water, instruction and answers to all your questions about the Prairie.

The workday is from 10AM – 1PM. Come for part or all of it.

PLEASE NOTE:
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 the volunteers!

(Map of the vicinity 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.

Monthly Update – September 2019

Pollinators flock to Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) Photo by Rick Wadleigh

Greetings Friends of the Prairie,

Fall has painted the Prairie yellow with 10 kinds of Goldenrod, Sunflowers 7 feet tall, Sneezeweed and False Sunflower. Mixed in beautifully are the white, blue and purple Asters, purple Ironweed and lavender Joe-Pye-weed. All are attended by the tall bronze and golden Big Bluestem and Indian Grasses waving. Drive down 1st Court south of 116th Street to take in a vista that will make it easier to say goodbye to Summer. But something you won’t see from the road are the exquisitely blue Gentians that nestle among the other plants but can often be found along the trails. Chiwaukee is home to four Gentians: Bottle, Downy, Fringed (photo below) and Lesser Fringed. To pollinate the Bottle Gentian, a bumble bee must force its way inside. How does it learn to do that? Like so much in nature, when you look carefully, it is astounding. Come see Fall on the Prairie!

Top photo of Asters and Goldenrod Photo by Pam Holy
Ironweed and Swallowtail Photo by Pam Holy
Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita) Photo by Jack Shouba

Fall has painted the Prairie yellow with 10 kinds of Goldenrod, Sunflowers 7 feet tall, Sneezeweed and False Sunflower. Mixed in beautifully are the white, blue and purple Asters, purple Ironweed and lavender Joe-Pye-weed. All are attended by the tall bronze and golden Big Bluestem and Indian Grasses waving. Drive down 1st Court south of 116th Street to take in a vista that will make it easier to say goodbye to Summer. But something you won’t see from the road are the exquisitely blue Gentians that nestle among the other plants but can often be found along the trails. Chiwaukee is home to four Gentians: Bottle, Downy, Fringed (photo below) and Lesser Fringed. To pollinate the Bottle Gentian, a bumble bee must force its way inside. How does it learn to do that? Like so much in nature, when you look carefully, it is astounding. Come see Fall on the Prairie!

PRAIRIE PLANT WALKS

Naturalist, Kay McClelland, will lead the last Chiwaukee Prairie Walks of 2019 later this month. Information includes a little history, a little geology and lots of plant names and facts. There will be a plant list.

Later Fall Bloomers: Thursday, September 26, 9-11 AM
Plant Identification: Saturday, September 28, 2-4 PM

Meet at the intersection of 121st Street and 2nd Avenue. Park on 2nd Avenue. Wear good walking shoes or boots and long pants. Sunscreen, insect repellent for possible ticks, and a hat are wise. We go in light rain but not if there is lightning.

Kay McClelland, Naturalist
262-994-1939 Mobile
Kaymac1939@gmail.com

Longest Serving Director Retires

Dawn Feldman-Brown joined the CPPF Board of Directors in 1993 motivated by a love of the Prairie and a strong desire to help preserve it. Living across from the Prairie made Dawn uniquely positioned to engage neighbors and newcomers about its importance and over the years she brought new directors and many volunteers to CPPF. She was our liaison to the Carol Beach Property Owners Association and to our longtime supporters, the Four Seasons Garden Club. Leaving the Board, but not leaving the Prairie! THANK YOU, DAWN

Students travel far to visit Chiwaukee

Classes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Milwaukee Area Technical College made the trip recently to study the native plant communities of the Prairie. In the upper right of the photo below, the specks are dozens of monarchs which took flight as the students moved into the field for a closer look.

Mequon MATC class visit Photo by Pam Holy

Bat monitoring opportunity

The Department of Natural Resources has an easy to use echometer to do bat surveys at Chiwaukee. If you are interested in doing a bat survey, email Samantha Kiser at samantha.kiser@wisconsin.gov.

WORKDAYS

Last month, volunteers gleaned a variety of invasives along the sides of all the trails south of 116th Street including Queen Anne’s Lace, white sweet clover, chicory, mullein, asparagus, sow thistle and cottonwood saplings. The volunteers were handsomely rewarded with hotdogs and chips!

This Saturday, September 21, we may be gleaning invasive forbs or collecting seed or cutting sumac or something else. Reconnaissance before Saturday will determine the task. Sorry for the uncertainty. The prediction is for mixed clouds and sun with a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms, a high of 77, and southwest wind at 10-20 mph. Wear old clothes, long pants and sturdy shoes or boots. We supply work gloves, tools, water, instruction and answers to all your questions about the Prairie. We will work unless there is lightning in the area or a downpour.

The workday is from 10 AM – 1 PM. Come for part or all of it.

PLEASE NOTE:
We will meet on 2nd Avenue at 121st Street.

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.

(Map of the vicinity at www.chiwaukee.org/about/where/)

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

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