Dane, Sauk, and Columbia Counties

Empire-Sauk Chapter

Join us on three prairies during our
2014 Praire Tour!

Late June at Mounds View Grasslands.

Empire Sauk Chapter Field Trips
mid-summer and fall 2014

The Volunteer Coordinator for the Empire-Sauk Chapter is Diane Hills, who can be reached at (608) 239-4699. Or send an email to volunteers@ThePrairieEnthusiasts.org

February day at Schurch Thomson

This group of volunteers cut several large trees from around open grown oaks north of the barn, burned the tops and saved the logs for firewood. The big old oaks once again have sunlight and space. Many hands made the work go quickly. Thank-you to all, especially to the students from UW Madison! Standing: Pete, Denny, David, Karsten, Eric, Eric, Jason, Binging (Eva), Huiyu (Mike). Kneeling: Sara, Madeline, Ted, Kathy, Amy, Rich.


Who We Are

The Empire-Sauk Chapter manages and restores 39 prairie and oak savanna sites with over 1000 acres in southcentral Wisconsin. Our main focus is on the conservation and protection of these cherished sites. Currently we manage sites in Dane, Sauk, and eastern Iowa counties. One of our sites, the Mounds View Grassland, is part of the Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area SWGSCA).

Click here for an overview of our sites.

Interns Although our work is carried out principally by volunteers, the Empire-Sauk Chapter also has a summer intern program open to college and university students.

Volunteers participate in all parts of the restoration process. Activities include control of invasive weeds and brush, seed collecting and planting, controlled burns, monitoring and data collection, trail maintenance, plant and animal surveys and inventories, landowner contact and outreach, guiding public tours, presentations to public groups, land protection, development of educational materials and displays, equipment maintenance, and facilities improvement (barn renovation, bridge construction, fencing, posting, etc.).

Volunteering provides unparalled opportunities to learn about and participate in prairie, savanna, and oak woodland ecology, restoration, and management. We work year around. In the fall of the year seed collecting is a major activity.

Burning a black line at a prescribed burn at Schurch-Thomson Prairie.

 

Cutting honeysuckle, prickly ash, and other invasive shrubs on the Steege-Euclide property.
All cut stems are treated with herbicide to prevent resprout. (The red dye helps to ensure that all cut stems are treated.)

 


We work cooperatively with other environmental groups, including The Nature Conservancy, the Ice Age Trail, the Blue Mounds Area Project, the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. One of our principal projects involves management and restoration of preserves that are part of the Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area (SWGSCA).

The "Empire" in our name comes from the vast Empire (or Arlington) Prairie that once occupied major parts of Dane and Columbia Counties, centered on the crossroads community of Leeds, Wisconsin. This prairie was often called "twenty mile prairie", reflecting the distance required to cross it.

With over 250 members in the greater Madison area, we offer numerous opportunities for working and learning about prairie and oak savanna restoration.

Activities

Susan Collecting SeedsThroughout the year, the Empire Sauk Chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts sponsors many different volunteer activities. These activities include: 
  • Seed Collecting late summer and fall
  • Brush cutting late fall and winter
  • Field Trips in spring/summer/fall
  • Prescribed Prairie and Savanna Burns in spring
  • Educational Activities (especially the Annual Conference, held in March
  • Volunteer work days in Fall, Winter, and Spring

 


 

Hunting on Prairie Enthusiasts properties

For hunting policies and a list of properties where hunting is permitted, go to this link.

Site design by Carol Hassler ~ Banner photo by Frank Hassler