2021 is a year of new beginnings, new growth, and reconnecting. Our reforestation effort in Manitowoc County upholds this sense of hope for the year and beyond.
Beginning on Friday, April 30 – National Arbor Day – 60 volunteers came together to plant 5,500 young trees on the Ice Age Trail Alliance-owned Brownrigg-Heier Preserve. Volunteers (some coming from three hours away) donated 730 hours to help improve the earth in an effort extending beyond their lifetimes.
Over three days, this project helped convert a portion (25%) of a pine plantation, established originally in the 1950s, to a more natural and sustainable forest. The newly planted trees are hardwood species estimated to have increased adaptive capacity to changing climate, including white oak, bur oak, black cherry, and sugar maple.
Currently, (as can be seen in the image below) 75% of the plantation remains in pine, which has reached its peak and will continue to decline in value. With the guidance of a certified forester, the remaining acres will be logged and replanted with the help of future volunteers. The transformation of the Preserve will contribute to the region, an area of more than 1,000 contiguous acres of heavily wooded northern forest. This large-scale habitat is a unique refuge for wildlife, who struggle with ever-increasingly fragmented landscapes. Ultimately, it will also benefit humans looking to reconnect with nature – the Preserve will one day be home to a section of the Ice Age Trail.
To everyone who helped make this event a success, a special thanks to:
- Dennis Salzman, who lent us lent a vehicle for shuttling people and supplies to and from the parking lot and worksite each day.
- Previous landowners, Tom and Deb Heier, for their continued support before and after the project.
- John Brotz, the neighbor who let us drive through their property
- The UW Oshkosh volley ball team players and coaches, who showed up with excess energy both days.
- The Lakeshore Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, who patiently waited, since 2020, for the project to be rescheduled and who whole-heartedly participate in the event.
Generous Sponsors of the 2021 Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Season include: