Eagle Oak Opening

What’s in a name? The Wisconsin DNR’s Endangered Resources Program has been rechristened the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be kicking some invasives’ butt with the Endangered Resources crew than resting like a folded doily in some mothballed bureau. What’s not to like about ER? I can’t even pronounce BNHC!

Long live the ER team! It was less than 2 years ago that Jared Urban began coordinating with local volunteers to adopt a State Natural Area and yesterday we saw the maturation of that effort in a splendid workday at the Eagle Oak Opening SNA. ER crew leader Jessica Renley, along with Jared, Adam Stone, Scott Stipetich and Don Dane formed the nucleus of a high powered and highly organized effort to remove red cedar and other unwanted trees from the Eagle Oak Opening.


We had a great group of volunteers!


Jared explains the who, what, where, when, why and how.

The ER team had prepared four different work zones ahead of time by clearing small areas and stacking brush piles. Shortly after we divided into teams, we had 4 fires raging, 3 sawyers sawing, 2 poison daubers and whole lot of brush piling. Actually, there were 6-8 chainsaws ripping and everyone was busy doing their part.

Scott, Jess and Izak.



Jill and her boys work one of the hillside piles.




Don and Zach Kastern led the team at the base of the hill and they had some challenges getting the red cedar out from under telephone lines.



Alex stokes the fire.


Back at the top of the moraine Jared, Maggie, Jim and Nannette worked the pile.


Time, sparks, sawdust and cedar flew as we cleared the hillside.






Some of the volunteers left around noon, as we stopped for lunch and talked about what was working; or not.

Jess set the pace all day!


The DNR crew, Zach and I worked until around 4:00pm.

I didn’t want to leave; I felt totally at peace and savored every minute of it.











Watch the Volunteer Page for the next chance to work with the DNR’s Endangered Resources team at one of our beautiful State Natural Areas.

See you at The Springs!

9 thoughts on “Eagle Oak Opening

  1. Ron Kurowski, retired DNR Naturalist, commented via email:

    Great job on the Eagle Oak Opening! I believe the hill that you were working on near Hwy Z is a place where you can look back to the northeast and see Holy Hill (highest point in the KM) off in the distance. Of course it has to be a clear day but it can be seen. Its’ not everywhere from the southern KM that you can see this high point. If I have the right place from your photograph, I used that high point during the summer to lead nature hikes to point out Holy Hill and its interesting story. When it’s a clear cold day see if you can see it.

    Best Regards,

  2. I agree on the ER/ BNHC point. ER gives a sense of urgency or elevated priority, maybe that’s why the politicians didn’t like it and changed it . A fantastic day nonetheless and don’t forget our other new friend who was able to hang out a little longer with us, was it Maggie? I apologize if I have her name wrong, lot’s of new faces.

  3. Oh yeah, I was hoping to climb all the way up and catch the sunset but I was totally spent and anticpating alot of pain the next day. The pictures you took show a pretty fantastic sunset up there!

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  5. Yes, it was a great day at Eagle Oak Opening with lots of progress made. On another subject, I chuckled at Paul’s little rant about the new name for the Bureau of Endangered Resources. Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation? Ugh, doesn’t trip off the tongue and what does it mean anyway? Consider this: Conserving the natural heritage is like conserving historic buildings. If we don’t save them and preserve them, we will have lost a part of our history. The preservation people choose an era or event with which to interpret the building and we are doing the same by choosing the pre-settlement era and restoring the vegetation as it existed then. Which led me to think about the human impact on the land at the time. It was light as we know compared to modern times, but the tribes did manage the land with fire and also used the plants extensively for food, medicine, craft and spiritual purposes. So I am beginning to appreciate that the new name is expressing the value of learning and preserving the plant lore of the native culture.

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