The Friends and their park partners were active on a wide front in 2021. The year brought many firsts for the group.
Co-hosting events, conducting prescribed burns on both sides of the park, collaborating on geology of the moraine signage.
2021 saw the retirement of Darren Marsh and the passing of the torch to Interim Director Joleen Stinson. DCP was there for Prairie Moraine Park throughout the year.
Yes, we know it's February already, but we've been busy! The hours have now been tallied and the total for 2021 is in. Prairie Moraine County Park volunteers - on the Ice Age Trail and the Dog Park sides together - put in an estimated 2,960 hours on various projects in the park. Thirty to 40 different people were involved on the Dog Park Side and another 40 or more on the Ice Age Trail Side, with some people working on both. Now that's something to be proud of!
OFS is out working in the park in all seasons and in all weather ...
In addition to all those volunteer hours and individuals, many participants and crew leaders of Operation Fresh Start (OFS) have also been involved. While regularly assisting with restoration over the years on the Ice Age Trail side of the park under the direction of Dave Lonsdorf, in 2021 OFS also helped with the clearing of the 11-acre Oak Opening/Savanna restoration area in the southwest corner of the dog park. Their contribution is greatly appreciated!
Volunteers from Prairie Moraine Friends got together to spread native savanna seeds in February. Doing this in winter gives the seeds a chance to go through several freeze/thaw cycles. This helps increase the germination rate. Even so it will take three years or more before the plants mature.
The several dozen species of seeds with a retail value of over $5000 were provided by Dane County Parks' seed collection program. Thanks to Lars Higdon, DCP naturalist, for his guidance.
Dane County Parks' Darren Marsh and Shane Otto kicked off the day's event in the Prairie Moraine parking lot.
Much was accomplished at Prairie Moraine County Park on Earth Day 2021, thanks to over 90 participants who showed up and lent a hand. But the event was about more than the work that got done!
Operation Fresh Start's Cory Rich, along with OFS team leaders, organized the OFS participants as they split off into groups that rotated stations on the hour throughout the day. This was a great way to celebrate Earth Day. While working on restoration in the park, there was an emphasis on learning not just how to do the work but how it helps the environment. With a geology tour of the park as one of the day's work/education stations, the participants also learned about the formation of the moraine during the last Ice Age.
June 12th's Prairie Moraine Dog Park Pop Up was attended by John Kalson of jKal Photography who is graciously allowing us to share a selection of the photos he took that day. So ... here's your chance to re-visit the event and view it through his camera lens.
Note: He is not responsible for our photo captions!
2021-22's Oak Opening/Savanna restoration project was kicked off on October 20th when a temporary fence was installed around the work area -- 11 acres in the southwest corner of the park. This allows work to continue safely without disruption to park users and their dogs.
Work continued apace through November, December, and January. We barely took time off for the holidays! By February 11, 2022 the "rough cut" of the restoration work area was complete. Cleanup will begin in the spring; tree planting will start in the fall.
Dane County Parks staff and volunteers work together on hot, humid summer days to control Wild Parsnip in the dog park.
Dog Park users have reason to be grateful for PMF volunteer Lorna's almost single-handed war on Burdock in the park. Fewer trips to the groomer to remove burrs this year? That was due to Lorna's work!
PMF volunteers responded to a report from a park user of an infestation of Japanese Hedge Parsley. It was cut immediately -- to catch it before it could go to seed -- and has been mapped for follow-up in subsequent years.
Dog Grin Photography · October 16, 2021 · Time to toot our hornage!
Dog people in Dane County have an amazing dog park. Dog Grin Photography has used Prairie Moraine many times because of the beautiful scenes there so we thought, why not help the park as a thank you? I'm happy to announce that we have teamed up with Prairie Moraine Friends - the folks that work with Dane County Parks to make Prairie Moraine dog park such a beautiful destination. We'll be providing photo support for them as they work under the county parks direction to make things even better! Big plans are underway! Yesterday, we added seasonal Dog Grin images of the park to the new east and west kiosks. Stop and take a look!
This is the "before" picture ...
New for 2021 was site preparation for "Rey's Place" -- a new seating area of dolomite limestone blocks -- part of the Karcher-Pohl family's unique memorial gift to Prairie Moraine County Park. Our thanks, on behalf of all the Prairie Moraine park users, go to Matthew Karcher and Megan Pohl! Delivery and installation of the blocks and related work on the project is scheduled for spring of 2022.
Ongoing activities for 2021 included Bluebird monitoring; refreshing materials in the park kiosks; and cleanup work in the park. We continue to create new native plantings like "The Rocks" as well as maintaining and adding to 2020's Pollinator Garden and Prairie Corner. We also enjoy working with Fiskars and appreciate the generosity they demonstrate in so many ways!
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