Our plan proposes to develop several different plant communities on the Wild Ones WILD Center upland site using only native plant species. The original plan developed by Neil Diboll for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has undergone some changes and has been been partially completed.
The original topography of the land has been restored. A parking area has been constructed on the west side of the property along Butte des Morts Beach Road that has ingress/egress points for one-way traffic.
We have begun to develop a short screen of tree and shrub plantings along most of Butte des Morts Beach Road and in front of the parking area. In the future, a combination of evergreen conifers, hardwoods, and shrubs will be added to provide an attractive and functional screen that will add another level of diversity to the property.
The site is currently seeded in annual rye grass. During the past two years we have been treating the upland site with a broadleaf herbicide to eradicate invasive species, specifically wild parsnip. The planned seeding of the oak savanna prairie during late fall 2011 will be tall grass and mesic prairie species. Along with the bur oaks planned for the oak savanna canopy, additional bur and red oaks will be introduced along the existing woodland edge on the east, and will grow naturally into the existing riparian woodland to the east. Additional oak savanna plantings will also be introduced along the west side of the parking area.
A rain garden using only native plant species has been developed at the base of the northeastern corner of the upland to catch the runoff before it can get into the riparian woodland and then into the marsh. Terracing along this sloped edge of the upland and increasing the length of the raingarden is planned for the future.
The far southwestern corner of the upland site which is adjacent to the egress driveway will be filled with sand in anticipation of planting a sand prairie suitable for short grass prairie, and to welcome the Karner blue butterfly.
A western area outside of the oak savanna area has been set aside for a turtle-nesting habitat. Soil removed from the area will be stockpiled on the southeastern corner of the oak savanna to be seeded with short-grass prairie species, and to provide an overlook of Little Lake Butte des Morts.
Future plans include substantial trail opportunities provided throughout the entire area, which will lead eventually to the rest of the WILD Center site, including the Guckenberg-Sturm Marsh often referred to as Stroebe Marsh and hook up with the Trails of the Fox Cities.
The plant communities planned will be highly complementary, with each providing specific types of cover, food sources, and breeding opportunities. Their proximity to the nearby wetlands to the east further increases their overall functionality.
The Upland Restoration Plan at the WILD Center is underway, and we are now accepting donations for this costly project. Although we welcome donations of any amount, we suggest a donation of $200 toward the purchase of a 2 to 2-1/2 inch diameter bur oak tree for our oak savanna area. Local Wild Ones business member Lake Shore Cleaners has offered to provide the bur oak trees, and will do the work of planting the trees at cost. Your participation in our Adopt an Oak program will let us take advantage of this generous offer – and your name will be added to a donor plaque, noting your special donation.
Help the development of the WILD Center’s oak savanna by sending a generous donation today.