What we did in 2016

2016 was another busy year as we continued and expanded our activities to protect, preserve, and enjoy Cherokee Marsh. Here are some highlights.

We restored natural communities

Volunteers Tim Nelson and Jim Hughes take a break in the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area.

In the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area (SNA), in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), volunteers continued in our project to remove invasive giant reed grass (phragmites) from the high-quality wetlands. We also pulled garlic mustard in Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park with the Madison Area Weed Warriors and removed invasives and collected prairie seeds with County Park volunteers at Yahara Heights County Park.

The Cherokee Marsh Conservation Fund, started by us in 2013 and managed by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, now holds over $21,000 to provide a permanent source of funding for conservation of the marsh. The DNR crew plans to use this year’s distribution to fund a crew to control invasives in the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area

We advocated for a healthy marsh

Commercial fisherman net carp at Cherokee Lake.

We worked with the Clean Lakes Alliance and Dane County to provide funding for carp removal in the upper Yahara River. We began working with Dane County to find a solution to shoreline erosion on the upper Yahara River.

We provided input on the plans for a new stormwater pond along Wheeler Rd and an improved entrance to South Cherokee.

We contributed $1250, including $175 from our Benvenutos fundraiser and an additional $320 donated by Friends members, to bring schoolchildren to the marsh for hands-on, outdoor environmental education. We provided information cards to inform teachers about the marsh and how to schedule a guided visit for their classes. We led a tour to introduce the naturalist guides to the conservation park.

We talked to folks and shared stories while tabling at the Northside Farmers Market, and we kept you informed with our newsletter, Facebook page, website, emails, and Northside News articles.

We explored and had fun!

Our bird and nature walks have proved to be very popular.

Our monthly, guided Bird and Nature walks continue to draw folks from around the city and beyond.

Other tours we cosponsored and promoted included a warbler walk, woodcock walk, paddle tour, butterfly walk, Hayrides and Hikes, and a candlelight hike. Our tour partners included Madison Audubon Society, Madison Parks, the Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Association, and new this year, the Sierra Club Four Lakes Group and Outdoor Afro. With the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, we sponsored two fundraiser tours for the Cherokee Marsh Conservation Fund.

Thanks to a generous donation by member Mike Rewey, Cherokee Park has a new purple martin house with member Ellen Barnard as caretaker.

We supported Master Naturalist training on Madison’s North Side with a scholarship to Kathlean Wolf.

We sponsored a presentation about bats at our 2016 annual meeting.

You make it possible

Guide Alex Singer gathers a group for a bird and nature walk.

With your support and participation, we can continue to expand our activities to promote land and water protection, restoration, education, and enjoyment of Cherokee Marsh. If you have ideas for activities or would like to help, we want to hear from you. Call (608) 215-0426, write (janaxelson@gmail.com), or attend one of our monthly meetings.

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