Prairie Sands

Prairie Sands Chapter is located in the geological center of Wisconsin in the sandy soils of ancient glacial lakes.

This region features some of the state’s premier examples of remnant dry prairies, pine barrens and oak savannas.  Research and protection for the endangered Karner blue butterfly and the greater prairie chicken is centered in this region.

The Prairie Sands chapter covers Adams, Marquette, Juneau, Portage, Waushara, Waupaca, and Green Lake Counties in Wisconsin. We invite you to join us! 

Learn more by visiting About our chapter and Sites and projects web pages. For past news, visit our Past News webpage.

Chapter contact:  Mary "Ray" Goehring,

Board representative:  David Hamel,, 608-296-2866

Facebook:  Chapter page

What's New



All June and July field trips have been cancelled due to COVID-19



TIME:  9:30 - noon

WHERE:  John Shillinglaw's Mecan Prairie and Savanna

DESCRIPTION AND CONDITIONS:  Restored prairie and savanna, blooming lupine and Karner blue butterflies.  Some mowed paths. Wear long pants and hiking boots.  Bring water. Port a Potty available. Participants should bring a bag lunch for a picnic afterwards.  Drinks will be provided.

Or, after the Mecan Prairie's morning tour you might opt to enjoy a catered lunch and a tour of the newly completed Karner blue butterfly habitat at Wedde Creek with members of  Pheasants Forever. (This is a fundraiser and reservations are required. See this flyer or contact Ken at ne6359@att net or 715 256-0739). John can give you directions to Wedde Creek.

Or, Another option is kayaking or canoeing on the Mecan River or at Mecan Springs afterwards.  This is not a part of the field trip but John will advise you about where to put in.  Participants will be on their own but shuttles may be possible.

CONTACT:  John Shillinglaw,920-213-8037 



DATE:   SUNDAY, JUNE 21 (Rain Date 6/28)

TIME:    1 - 3  ( MARQUETTE COUNTY NEAR JOHN MUIR PARK -- See this flyer for Marquette Cty Nature and History Trails in case you wish to visit while in the area )

WHERE:  Laurel and Alan Bennett's home oak savanna

DESCRIPTION AND CONDITIONS: Tour will focus on a 12-year effort to restore a remnant oak savanna on the dry, sandy, south-facing slope of a glacial drumlin. Restoration strategies involved: removal of red cedar, buckthorn, prickly ash, and autumn olive; interseeding of native forbs and grasses; and application of prescribed fire. Discussions will focus on techniques that worked and what might have been done differently. The route will start on relatively flat ground before ascending a hill at a roughly 15% grade.

ADDRESS: W2046 Golden Road, Dalton, WI

DIRECTIONS: From Montello: Head south 9 miles on State Highway 22 to Grouse Rd. Turn left (east) on Grouse Rd and travel 3/4 miles to Golden Rd, Turn left on Golden Rd and travel another 1.2 miles to the Bennett’s on the left. From Pardeeville: Head north 8 miles on State Highway 22 to Grouse Rd. Turn right (east) on Grouse Rd and follow directions above.

CONTACT: Alan or Laurel Bennett



DATE: THURSDAY, JULY 30 (Rain date:  Friday, July 31)

TIME:  10AM - Noon


DESCRIPTION AND CONDITIONS:  Pollinators/Butterflies/Insects on a Sand Prairie

Join us in Marquette County to find and identify prairie specialist insects with DNR insect ecologist, Jay Watson.  This central sands site, known as the Hugh Iltis Prairie and Savanna, has been part of the Karner Blue butterfly recovery area since 1998.  Over 80 acres of restored prairie and oak uplands surrounding a 20 acre bog offers varied habitat for insects.  Easy walking; only hazards are ticks and scattered poison ivy.  Bring a bag lunch and join us at the bog after the walk.

CONTACTS:  David and Shelley Hamel, resident hosts. N8973 4th Ave, near Westfield WI, Marquette County.  Google Maps link:   Email:




TIME:  9:30 - NOON

WHERE:  John Shillinglaw's Mecan Prairie and Savanna

I will also have a work day on at Mecan Prairie on Saturday, November 7 from 9:30 until noon.  We will be treating oak sprouts with triclopyr.  Weather permitting we will picnic after or go eat in Wautoma.

(more details about the November Workday closer to the date.)


Prescription Burn Training 2020:   We already have the list started for 2020's Prescription Burn Training Class so if you are interested and wish to be on this list please let Ray Goehring know at any time before next October.  Email her at

For additional burn training classes click here.

Chris Schaefer has volunteered to be our chapter Membership Coordinator.  She will be reminding you of when your TPE membership dues need to be renewed. Thank you Chris for volunteering to do this tedious but necessary job.

Photo by David HamelDecember 4th was the Annual Chapter Holiday Gathering and Seed Exchange. Twenty-four members and guests of the Prairie Sands Chapter celebrated their annual Holiday Gathering and Seed Exchange at More Healthy Foods & Cafe in Montello. TPE's Gary Eldred and Gary Adams, as well as US Fish and Wildlife's Brendan Woodall were the special guests.

While we ate delicious organic pizza, chapter members, Ben Bomkamp and Kerstyn Perrett of Nature Works LLC gave a presentation/tutorial on iNaturalist and Shelley Hamel presented information on the website: Fire Effects Information System ( which provides scholarly articles on the syntheses between fire ecology and fire regimes in the United States.

We are looking for a new volunteer for the TPE board to replace David Hamel who has been in the position for the last 5 years.  No one volunteered at the meeting, but we voted on and agreed to pay $100 for every in-person board meeting the new volunteer attends as representative of our chapter. The Board meets 8 times throughout the year -- 4 by telephone conference call and 4 in-person meetings.  If you have any interest or questions about the position contact David Hamel at

We also voted on and approved a $200 budget for a portable outdoor microphone system for chapter field trips.

Jill Schuettzpelz is our silent auction coordinator for the TPE Annual Conference on March 2.  Cathy Franks will help coordinate getting auction donations to Jill in Madison before the event.  More information will be emailed.  If you have a donation email Jill at:

To see complete meeting minutes, click here. Photo is of the Holiday Party taken by David Hamel.

Karner Blue Butterfly conservation 

Learn more about our work and funding opportunities in this blog post.