Decided to stop "bucking" the trends and moved into the 21st Century...we are now on Instagram - click on the link below:
Dr. David Bart of UW-Madison and his students are doing a capstone project on the ABC to determine if our two "dehydrated" calcareous fens can be restored. A fen is a relatively rare microsystem that is an accumulation of peat due to groundwater upwelling which has raised the surface to a height of several meters above the adjoining land, The tiling and plowing of the surrounding grounds make it difficult, but we are hopeful Dr. Bart and his students will have some creative ideas.
I was once a wet swamp, but now I'm blind and can see (waterfowl...better anyway).
Thanks to Cody Watson and his students at the Whitewater High School for building a wildlife viewing blind at the ABC in the pond to the right of the dike path by the ABC sign. It is shown in its final form (with privacy shower curtain and pavers) as well as in stages with Cody giving a thumbs up near the end. There's a wood duck box and a muskrat den within fifteen yards of the blind which will make for good viewing next spring.
Thanks again to Cody and thanks to the Whitewater High School for their efforts!
Thanks to Dr. Eric Compas and his student Aidan Biedrzycki for starting a mapping project at the ABC. Using a drone with a sophisticated camera that records high res film, a detailed aerial map of parts of the Conservancy will help us monitor trends over time in the vegetation. Thanks Eric and Aidan!
Dr. Bruce Eshelman's students at UW-Whitewater conduct research on small animals at the ABC. Pictured are some of the dedicated team that are out in the field every day during monitoring season. They've found voles (M. pennsylvanicus), jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius), birds like warblers and even a least weasel.
A special thanks to Rich Rozelle for blazing some new trails at the ABC.. There's now a route that gets to the woods (and around both sides) and that extends to the fen and up to the drumlin on Findlay Road. The portion of the path that runs from the dike by the osprey nest to the woods is especially pretty - the tall grasses are mostly absent and the variety of prairie plants is pretty nice.
Another big thanks to Dr. Rhine's Advanced Composition class at UW-Whitewater and to Prairie Enthusiast volunteer Zach Kastern for braving the hot fall weather to pick prairie seeds on September 23rd. Most excellent!
The unusually rainy July has kept water levels up, making much of the ABC wet and hard to tramp. Sweet clover pulling is made easy; just wish there wasn't so much of it. So this morning it was..."Pulled until my fingers bled, was the summer of '17" (apologies to Bryan Adams). Between pulls, snapped a few pics of the upland prairie (with the two at the end from the Young Prairie in Whitewater - cute frog and wrap around cone flower.)
Things are springing back after the April burn. Saw several snapping turtles, bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, perhaps some grasshopper sparrows and a host of emerging plants, some of which are in the slideshow below. Also a curious creature taken at 3AM in the lower left in the first picture...owl or animal or other?
Thanks to Prairie Enthusiasts Drew, Zach, Elvira, Chris & Sage for helping plant some Cardinal Flower, Butterfly Weed & White Turtlehead on Saturday. We also pulled some garlic mustard in the woods afterwards before the weather turned on us. Found some wild leek and some irises and a skull! (photo credits to Zach Kastern)
Tallgrass Restorations did a nice job burning the dry acreage at the ABC on Monday, April 24th. More pictures are on the Facebook account.
I'd been blessed with a great upbringing and a wonderful family. One of my passions is preservation - conservation in the natural and material world. I am active on the Boards of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the Archaeological Institute of America. The ABC is a project close to both home and to my heart. Thanks for your interest and assistance .