Spring is supposed to come, eventually. Ah, but this is Wisconsin and April 1st dawned with a temperature of 17 degrees and the first day of planting by our hardy volunteers for the Wild Flower Sale, it snowed. Though the sale is 4 weeks away on May 12th, working to get ready in an unheated barn while it is snowing outside presents more than a few challenges for our dedicated volunteers and we applaud them for all their efforts.
While some of the traditional signs we look for, sandhill cranes, robins and red-winged blackbirds, have been here for a couple of weeks or more, others are yet to arrive. Now with the snow cover, we’ll have to wait a little longer.
Our resident beavers were rather busy this winter, as evidenced by their work on trees near Lac Lawrann. The ice went out on the lake well over a week ago providing more evidence of their presence. To help mitigate the damage the Friends have received generous grants from the West Bend Noon and Sunrise Rotary Clubs to plant trees along the Railroad Spur trail but the ground is still quite frozen so that will have to wait as well.
In non-weather related news, plans are being finalized and contractors lined up for the shelter that will be built on the site of the Maurin house. The funds for the shelter are from donations made as memorials and from volunteers. We hope to have a construction timeline for the shelter available soon and will let you all know when it begins.
Now, for some really fun and interesting stuff: Quite a while back Meghann, our Naturalist, applied for a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Cooperative Weed Management Area managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The good news is that, thanks to Meghann’s grant writing skills, we got the grant. The even cooler news is that a portion of the grant will go to pay for a small herd of “eco goats” to spend several days at the conservancy. These eco goats are trained to eat only burdock, buckthorn and Russian olive. (And, leave in its place a healthy dose of organic fertilizer!) We are still working out the timing details and we will post them so you can stop by and take a look at a truly natural and organic way to control invasive plants.
That’s all for now, so keep warm, think plant sale and hope to see you on the trails.
Paul De Chant
President Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy