Freeing the Big Burr Oak at Badger
Story by Alison Duff (Restoration Committee) and Curt Meine
On Saturday, October 10 more than 40 volunteers organized by the Alliance worked to free a massive burr oak on the 15-acre Hillside Prairie site at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant. Located on the Wisconsin DNR’s portion of Badger, the site includes not only one of the area’s highest quality prairie remnants, but a grove of venerable oaks. In the absence of grazing or fire, the understory of the grove has grown up into a dense thicket of autumn olive, boxelder, Eurasian honeysuckle, and other opportunistic shrubs. The “release” project was planned to expand our recent intensive work in the prairie remnant to this adjacent oak savanna site. Work focused on a corner of the site that serves as its “entry point” from the south. Our volunteers were able to clear more than 1/2 acre of dense shrubs from the oak savanna in less than 3 hours!
The before/after photos show what a difference an enthusiastic restoration team can make.
Our crew included Alliance members, students from the UW-Madison, and a large contingent of volunteers organized by Madison’s REI store, including their staff. REI is a leading outdoor gear and sporting goods store and has been an important partner in the Alliance volunteer program since 2012, providing support for our volunteer leadership training and land stewardship events at Badger.
Photographer Kurt Eakle of Prairie du Sac recorded a “time lapse” sequence of the morning’s work. Click here to view his images.
We have one more workday scheduled for November 14th, from 9 am to noon. We will be meeting at the Highway 12 entrance to the former Badger Plant by 9 am. For more information, interested parties should visit this description of the work day.