Below are a few photos from some of the restoration ecology projects that I tracked in 2018. I have found that restoration ecology is a forward-looking, multifaceted discipline that has deep roots in the past and a future-oriented perspective. It is plenty challenging and lots of fun and hard work. I have also learned that the scale of restoration ecology projects vary from a few hectares to thousands of hectares, and include wetland, aquatic, and terrestrial systems that are conducted by private individuals, conservation groups, neighborhood associations, and government agencies.
Field trip to a restoration site near Stevens Point, Wisconsin during the 10th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration. The conference, and field trip, went on as scheduled despite the late April snowstorm.
Post-conference social (SER-MWGL 10th Annual Meeting) in Stevens Point, Wisconsin in April, 2018.
Prescribed management burn of a neighborhood prairie planting along the SW Commuter Bike Path in Madison, WI. Prairie planted and managed by the Westmorland Neighborhood Association.
On a tour with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin of prairie restorations at the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Prescribed management burn of a private prairie restoration in the Town of Dunkirk, Wisconsin.
The professional burn crew that conducted the prescribed burn in the Town of Dunkirk photo above.
A prescribed management prairie/savanna burn conducted on the UW-Madison Arboretum’s Grady Tract by the Arboretum’s professional and certified burn crew.
A pollinator/butterfly garden in the shadow of a pedestrian/bicycle overpass near the Beltline Highway. The garden was planted and is maintained by the Crawford-Marlborough-Nakoma Neighborhood Association.
The Empire-Sauk Chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts, like many organizations, collects a lot of prairie seed each year for use in its restorations.
And some of those seeds about to be scattered as an over-seeding into a hillside restoration. Yes, it was cold, but this afternoon was the perfect time to get seed sown so that, during the winter freezing and thaw cycle, the seed can work its way to the soil surface and be ready to germinate in the spring.
Seeds being evenly distributed among the planting crew on a recent late-fall Sunday afternoon.
This has been a very small sampling of the totality of restoration ecology that is practiced in Wisconsin. The extent of restoration ecology in Wisconsin–and elsewhere in the United States and around the world–means that there is likely a restoration project nearby you. To find one close by, go exploring and discover how you can be involved and contribute in the coming year. Your help is needed and will be greatly appreciated.