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Contribute to the Cherokee Marsh Conservation Fund

Cherokee Marsh is the largest wetland in Dane County, Wisconsin. The marsh is located just upstream from Lake Mendota, along the Yahara River and Token Creek (map).

The Friends of Cherokee Marsh formed in 2007 to protect, preserve, and restore the beauty, value, and health of Cherokee Marsh and the upper Yahara River watershed.


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All events are free unless indicated otherwise.

Phragmites Fridays

Join us as we bundle, cut, and treat Phragmites (giant reed grass), which is invading the rich wetlands of the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area.

Phragmites spreads quickly through a network of underground and above-ground stems, choking out the native plants. This project will stop the spread of the phragmites and allow the diverse native sedges, grasses, and flowers to persist.

Be prepared to walk on uneven ground that may have some standing water in spots (though it has been dry so far). Wear long pants, footwear that can get wet, and wear or bring a long-sleeved shirt and hat. Bring drinking water.

We’ll be working on these Fridays: Sept 4, Sept 11, Sept 18, Sept 25, always 9 am – noon. We will cancel if raining or threat of thunderstorms.


Meet at 4401 Hoepker Rd, Madison, WI 53704. From downtown Madison, head east on E. Johnson St. Continue onto Pennsylvania Ave. Continue onto Packers Ave. and stay in the right lane to continue onto County Rd CV. After passing the VFW post with the airplane on the left, continue for about 0.2 mile. At the bottom of the hill, turn left onto Hoepker Rd and park in the grassy area on the left. The work area is a quarter mile hike from the parking area.

If you can help out on any or all of these days, it’s very helpful if you can let us know at We can then inform you of any cancellations or changes.

Monthly bird and nature walks

Sunday, September 6, 1:30 – 3 pm
Sunday, Oct 4, 1:30 – 3 pm

First Sunday of every month, ALWAYS 1:30 – 3 pm

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, North Unit, 6098 N. Sherman Ave. Get directions.

Free, family-friendly bird and nature walks. Sponsored by Madison Parks, the Friends of Cherokee Marsh and Madison Audubon Society.

Prairie seed collecting

Wednesday, Sept 23, 9 am – noon, Catfish Ct or Caton Ln entrance (to be determined)
Yahara Heights County Park, 
Get directions.

Help collect seeds of prairie flowers for use in restorations in county parks. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirt. Bring drinking water. Gloves and pruning shears will be available; bring your own if you prefer. Contact Rhea at 224-3601. Sponsored by Dane County Parks.

Explore the wild lands of Cherokee Marsh (fundraiser)

Saturday, Sept 12, 9 am – noon

Hike off trail through a large, diverse peat wetland to discover scenic sedge meadows, fens, and emergent marshes. Visit an oak savanna island undergoing restoration to benefit red-headed woodpeckers.

This trip is a fundraiser for the Cherokee Marsh Conservation Fund. $17 per person. More information and registration. Field trip guidebook.

Indian mound tour at Yahara Heights

Saturday, Oct 3, 9-11 am
Yahara Heights Park, Catfish Ct entrance.
Get directions.

Take a walk through prairie and woods to view the effigy mounds at Yahara Heights, including 208-ft water spirit and bear mounds. The tour leader is Bob Birmingham, former Wisconsin State Archaeologist.

This walk is a celebration of the extensive volunteer work restoring the area around the mounds and the new Yahara Heights Park brochure created by volunteer Erika Zar. Sponsored by the Friends of Cherokee Marsh

Hayrides and Hikes

Saturday, October 17, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, North Unit, 6098 N. Sherman Ave. Get directions.

The Friends of Cherokee Marsh are leading short nature hikes (no charge), and Madison Parks is providing hayrides ($2/person). No reservations needed. Show up any time from 9 am to 11:30 am for a hayride, a hike, or do both! More information.

Bees and other pollinators

Here are some links provided by Dr. Hannah Gaines Day, the speaker at January’s annual meeting.

Bee conservation

The Xerces Society

Honey bee health

Bee Informed Partnership

Project Apis m

Insect identification

Bug Guide

Discover Life

Citizen Science Projects

The Great Sunflower Project

Bee Spotter