Volunteers of America

I’ve been asked to make a short presentation about my experience as a volunteer and volunteer opportunities at the upcoming Oak Savanna Alliance workshop.

2015 OSA Oak Opening Workshop Flyer v4

I’m a little worried that The Buckthorn Man will show up and start ranting like he is prone to do.  I asked him recently what his problem with volunteering was since he does so much of it, and that really set him off (don’t worry, none of this will make it into my presentation on May 16.)  The Buckthorn Man talks fast and loud when he gets excited, but I think I got the gist of it, which I will relate here now.

We need Volunteers to start a Revolution!

Make informed, free will choices, to spend your time and attention, your spiritual currency, in harmony with Natural Law


and take RIGHT actions in the world!


The Trivium: Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric, are the tools a rational mind applies to make sense — common sense — conscience (to know together) out of the world we live in.  You need a conscience to volunteer.  You’ve got to see the need!

If not me, who? And if not now, when?  Mikhail Gorbachev

I’ve been cutting buckthorn on State owned land for 20 years because I see the need.  According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association: “Wisconsin consists of approximately 34.8 million acres of land.  Over 5.7 million acres of this land, or 16.5 percent, is publicly owned and used for parks, forests, trails and natural resource protection.”  The lands are owned by federal, state and county governments, none of which apply the resources necessary to be good stewards.

Yes, there are caring individuals in all levels of government (especially the Wisconsin DNR), who see the needs, but they are constrained by a lack of funds to providing only a veneer of stewardship i.e., just enough to maintain good public relations and earn money to help offset the maintenance costs.  I’m not a fan of government, so I’m not suggesting we plead with them: I’m an anarchist (yes to rules, no to rulers).  Government is mind control.  It takes away rights we have and assumes rights no one has; taxes, prohibition, licenses and malum prohibitum laws are evidences of that.

Right here, right now, we have to deal with the cold, hard facts that, of the money government currently steals from us, the vast majority is going to fight wars of aggression, build an all powerful security state and line the pockets of the titans of finance who are really running the show.  We are rapidly headed towards a One World Government, a New World Order, make no mistake about it.

The opportunity to volunteer has never been better.  Open your eyes!  An Abrams 1 tank costs $8.5 million and Wisconsin State government plans to spend only $5 million employing 33.5 full time employees on endangered resources in 2016.  We have 673 State Natural Areas on which the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation (formerly endangered resources) focuses and they all need tender loving care but the priorities of politicians are elsewhere.  The Department of Defense plans to spend $495 billion in 2015 as compared to the entire Wisconsin DNR budget of $570 million.  The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are estimated to have cost $6 trillion.  We have spent almost $1 trillion on intelligence agencies since the false flag attacks of 9/11.  Do you see the problem?  I know I’m conflating state and federal budgets here, but the political hierarchies are just there to obscure the illegitimacy of the whole structure.

This is why the Volunteers Marty Balin sang about must start a revolution.  We must say NO! and reject the whole concept of authority — that some folks have a right to rule, so long as some other folks say they do — and create a society of voluntary association.  There never was a time when the politicians who styled themselves “The United States of America” were accountable to “we the people”.  Read Gustavus Myers’ History of the Great American Fortunes, and see how this country was born in infamy.  What, besides threats and coercion, binds you or I to the U.S. Constitution and grants jurisdiction i.e., control, to these bureaucrats?

It comes down to this: my problem with volunteering on publicly owned land is that it tends to make it look like the current system is succeeding.  As a society, formed into bodies corporate and politic (governments), can we continue giving short shrift to being good stewards of the land in favor of exploitation and continued degradation while relying on expanding the army of volunteers to make everyone feel good about it?  It ain’t RIGHT!

Remember, “You are the Crown of Creation, and you’ve got no place to go.”

Well, thanks Buckthorn Man, that was interesting, but I wouldn’t dare bring any of that up next Saturday at the Oak Savanna Alliance workshop.  Personally, I volunteer to help restore the quality and diversity of “the commons” as a way to preserve my sanity in a world gone mad.  Making a positive difference, no matter how small, means everything to me.

Way back on April 27th, I enjoyed the opportunity to help the Kettle Moraine Land Trust on a workday with young people from the Elkhorn Area High School at the Beulah Bluff Preserve.

Herb Sharpless introduces the plan for the day


Views from the bluff before we set to work

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The view at the base of the bluff where we began working


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It was a great day!

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I’ve been super busy cleaning the house from top to bottom and preparing for my adventure in legal land, which is still ongoing, and I haven’t gotten out to The Springs nearly as much as I’d like to.  But, I did find time to join Pat Witkowski and her team of “Monday Mudders” on a beautiful late afternoon working on the Ice Age Trail just east of The Springs.  There is a short section of trail that was rerouted a couple years ago and Pat was not happy with the results, so she is moving the trail up the slope a little to improve the drainage.


Part of the team worked on a stewardship zone, just a bit up the trail, that Dave Cheever has had his eyes on.  There is a cluster of 10 or so massive, native white pines, that stand out conspicuously from the surrounding red pine plantation, once you know what you are looking at, and Dave thought it would be a great idea to clear the buckthorn from around their bases.  Right on!

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I hope to join Pat and the “Monday Mudders” again soon!

Last week I finally got back to work again at The Springs and spent a morning pulling weeds in the area around the Scuppernong Springs.  This patch of garlic mustard is history!



Last year Ben Johnson and I weeded the lupine patches on the west slope of the sand prairie and I returned to get any spotted knapweed that we missed.  There is going to be a stunning outburst of lupine this year!


Some curious friends stopped to see what I was up to and show off the beautiful morels that they found in the river valley on the east side of the sand prairie.  I went looking myself but came up empty.

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The spring flowers are in full bloom!

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Last Saturday I was planning to join Zach, Ginny and Jared for a State Natural Areas workday at Bluff Creek West, but I’m faced with fields of flowering garlic mustard at The Springs.  Instead, I spent the day brush cutting garlic mustard.  Now you may scoff at the idea of mowing garlic mustard but I am seeing great results in some areas.  It depends on how much seed is dormant in the ground and how thoroughly you can prevent new seed from maturing.  This was an unusually busy spring for me and I’m way behind on the garlic mustard, but I see that this approach, as opposed to foliar spraying poison, is going to work in the long run.

Late in the afternoon, I donned my chest waders and pulled watercress from the river.  I’m not trying to get it all out, I just want to keep a channel open.


It was past 6:00pm when I finally called it quits.

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See you at The Springs!

The Buckthorn Metaphor

Like Neo in The Matrix Trilogy, I took the Red Pill a long time ago; I knew there was something wrong with the world.

A People’s History History of the United States, by Howard Zinn woke me up to the genocide perpetrated on the Native Americans by the European Invaders. Winston Churchill said: “History is written by the victors”, so instead of mourning the tragic loss of life, culture and wisdom every November, we “celebrate” Thanksgiving.

The War on Drugs, one of the first in a series of endless wars, implemented via the government’s usurpation of ownership over our bodies, only continues because of the fallacious belief held by most people that government actually has the authority to do so.

I began to fight back, to serve The Truth, and raise awareness of our government-run-amok, by exposing the harm caused by the Drug War. It was then that I began to appreciate the African Proverb “Whoever tells the truth is chased out of nine villages.”

Around that time, in the mid-90s, I began cutting buckthorn, another European Invader, at Brady’s Rocks. Here was a foe that I could lick, well, at least I got my licks in. I couldn’t stop the madness of the Drug War, but I could save an oak tree and, by serving Nature, preserve my sanity.

After “W” was elected in 2000, I drifted back to sleep until rudely awakened by Loose Change to questions concerning the events of 9/11. Was this another case of American blood on American Soil, Remember the Maine, sinking of the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin incident, all cases of disputed “facts” used as pretexts for war? No bones about it, I’m a Truther now; I live to serve The Truth.

By this time I was cutting buckthorn at the Hartland Marsh fighting the powers that be in the village to do the right thing and restore the jewels of the marsh.

I began to realize, after 23 years, that I wasn’t cut out for corporate life as an IT Administrator at a quiet, ultra conservative, insurance company. The stifling of creativity, the constraints of corporate dogma and ideology, the dehumanization of playing the role of “human resource” and the constant pressure to produce under layer upon layer of bureaucracy was killing me.

The frustration of being surrounded by people who were asleep in my family, at work and on the street, and the realization that we had completely lost our moral compass; that ignorance is strength; and that war is peace, was literally killing me. I don’t know if my depression and alcohol abuse brought on my cancer, but I do know that I had a death wish. I couldn’t see the point of continuing in a world where truth had been replaced by government propaganda and mind control, and where millions of people were dying needlessly as a result.

Through all this turmoil there were two things that kept me going: the love of my mate, Pati, and cutting buckthorn. Working in the forest to make the world a little more beautiful was something I could do, where I could influence the outcome without interference. After my cancerous tumor was removed in June, 2011, I resolved to leave the corporate scene and I retired “quietly” in February 2012. I don’t wave 9/11 Truth signs and pass out dvds on the streets of Milwaukee anymore. I came to realize that most people are under mind control; they believe in the authority of government, of religion, of their peer groups. Their metaphysics is based on the “primacy of consciousness” and they will stubbornly refuse to allow any facts into their heads that might disrupt their worldview.

I took the “red pill” however, and I live to serve The Truth and the best way I can do that now is by cutting buckthorn. Sounds silly maybe, but my fight against buckthorn is a metaphor for my fight for The Truth; for the primacy of existence. Buckthorn is a menace, it hides and destroys the beauty of our forests, it has got to go! I’m not waiting for our government “leaders” to address this problem; they are too busy serving their corporate masters, lying to us, and waging wars of aggression to take care of the land.