Northsiders guide the Friends of Cherokee Marsh into its second decade

Jan Axelson (left) and Dorothy Wheeler meet in the marsh to discuss an issue.

Jan Axelson (left) and Dorothy Wheeler meet in the marsh to discuss an issue. Photo by Anita Weier.

Anita Weier

(A version of this article appeared in the Northside News.)

Jan Axelson credits her dedication to protecting and restoring Cherokee Marsh to her enjoyment of Wisconsin’s natural wonders after moving to Madison from New Jersey for college. “I had no mentors growing up regarding environmental activism,” she said. “I credit Wisconsin with giving me an environmental consciousness.”

Dorothy Wheeler did have a mentor – her father Richard A. Hemp, who served on the state Natural Resources Board and loved the outdoor world. She recalls the polluted Wisconsin River that flowed through the paper mill town where she lived and how it got cleaned up after laws were passed that made dumping waste into the river illegal.

Both women have served on the Board of the Friends of Cherokee Marsh for 10 years – ever since the organization was started to protect the marsh from development. (Two others, Janet Battista and Muriel Simms, have served for nine years.) All four are Northsiders. Read more

Volunteers celebrate achieving 6-year goal

Jan Axelson

On Sept 29, we celebrated the completion of six years of volunteer efforts to remove invasive phragmites (giant reed grass) from an area of high quality vegetation in the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area (SNA). We will need to return periodically to remove resprouts, but the first and most time-consuming pass through the area is now complete.

We began the project in 2012 at the suggestion of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s newly hired volunteer coordinator, Jared Urban. Stands of phragmites were becoming so dense that the diverse, original native wetland plants were being crowded out. Read more

Adventures of a first year bluebird monitor


Jim Mand (left) and Paul Noeldner check a bluebird box and trail cam.

Jim Mand

Having just finished my first season as the Cherokee Marsh North Unit bluebird monitor, I’d like to reflect on what I have learned.

Having first joined Friends of Cherokee Marsh in 2009, I was not actively involved. But after retiring last year on Labor Day, I was looking for opportunities to contribute.

Volunteer Paul Noeldner mentioned that the group needed a bluebird monitor, and since I only live up the road from the marsh at Cherokee Condos and have had a life-long interest in birds and wildlife, it seemed like an ideal opportunity. And it gives me a chance to get out in nature and hike the trails for two hours while checking the nest boxes. Read more

Conservation crew has successful burn season

Madison Parks crew member Richard Westbury stands watch during a prescribed burn at Cherokee Marsh. Photo by Paul Quinlan.

Did you notice the flames and smoke this spring in the conservation park? Madison Parks uses fire as a tool to maintain prairies, open woods, and even marshes.

Without periodic burns, aggressive plants such as honeysuckle and buckthorn crowd out the native grasses, wildflowers, and other plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife and add much beauty to our natural areas. Read more

County to Purchase Land at Token Creek

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has announced the intent to purchase 54 acres of land in the Town of Burke including a 3/4 mile stretch of Token Creek and 20 acres of mixed hardwood and  pine/spruce forest. The property would be managed as part of the Token Creek Natural Resource Area and may also be classified as a wildlife area. Read more

2016 Financial Statement

financial statementLesleigh Luttrell gives the treasurer’s report.

Our 2016 financial report showed income of $9,130.24 and expenses of $7,081.40, which included $1,250 donated for environmental education and $3,325 donated to the Cherokee Marsh Conservation Fund. Read more

10th anniversary annual meeting to feature talk on cranes

We’re having a party! Mark your calendar for our annual member meeting and celebration of our 10th anniversary on Saturday, January 21, 10 am – 12 noon at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center.

We are excited to announce that our special presentation this year will be Cranes: Ambassadors for Conservation, with Richard Beilfuss, President and CEO of the International Crane Foundation.

Cranes are among the most endangered families of birds in the world with 11 of the 15 crane species threatened and many populations in peril. We’ll explore the role of cranes as sentinels and flagships for conservation worldwide including protecting critical habitat areas for endangered whooping cranes on their wintering grounds in Texas. We’ll also highlight the unique story of crane recovery here in Wisconsin and the role of cranes in conserving some of our most treasured landscapes.

At 10 am, before the presentation, we’ll hold a short business meeting to celebrate our anniversary and elect directors for 2017-2018.

This event is free and family friendly. Everyone, member and non-member, is welcome to attend. If you need further enticement, we’ll have refreshments and our popular door prizes donated by local businesses plus some special children’s prizes.

Annual member meeting

Saturday, January 21
10:00 – 10:30 am—member meeting: accomplishments
and future plans, elect directors
10:30 – 11:30 am—Cranes: Ambassadors for Conservation, with Richard Beilfuss from the International Crane Foundation
11:30 – 11:45 am—Door prizes and social hour
Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625
Northport Dr, Madison 53704

We celebrate ten years!

Jan Axelson

In 2017, the Friends of Cherokee Marsh will celebrate our tenth anniversary as a nonprofit group. From its beginnings as a loose group of advocates responding to a development proposal, the Friends has grown to an organization with 200 members.

The event that sparked the group’s formation was a public meeting in 2006 where City of Madison staff introduced a proposed plan for Cherokee Park, Inc., to develop 260 acres in six parcels adjacent to Cherokee Marsh. Following the meeting, Northsiders Ellen Barnard and Pat Woicek began a conversation about the best way for the public to respond to the plan to protect the marsh as much as possible. Read more