The eagle has landed.

December 8, 2020

A pair of bald eagles is building a nest on the marsh island.

Photo – Mary Lacy

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Snapping turtle just hatched. Photo by Patrick Hasburgh.

September 8, 2020

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Wild Warner Urban Tree Alliance

December 4, 2015

healthy sapling

In the spring of 2015, Urban Tree Alliance and Wild Warner got together and planted 29 trees in Warner Park. We did it mainly in response to emerald ash borer disease, which had devastated the ash tree population in Warner Park. Urban Tree Alliance supplied the trees, Wild Warner and other volunteers provided the muscle to get them in the ground. We watered the trees throughout the summer and fall and will water them again in 2016. The trees should be well established by then.

Wild Warner made a pre-winter inspection of the trees in November, 2015. Of the 29 trees planted, 25 appear to be in good shape. One shagbark hickory appears to be dead. Three larch trees, also known as tamaracks, were accidentally mowed down in early fall. It is possible that they are still alive. Next spring we will search the area to see whether they are growing back.

These are the 25 trees that as of November, 2015 appear to be doing well.

Species Count
Bur Oak 4
Hop Hornbeam 2
Blue Beech 2
Kentucky Coffee Tree 4
Swamp White Oak 5
Hackberry 4
Triumph Elm 1
White Oak 1
Larch 1
Shagbark Hickory 1


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Warner’s sandhill cranes show off two chicks

June 24, 2015

Greg Weller, one of Wild Warner’s resident photographers, got these terrific closeups of the resident Sandhill Crane family. He writes:

“They are very cute. Have never seen a sand hill crane chick. I heard about them and took a camera.”

The cranes often graze along Forster Drive, and spend a lot of time on the prairie island, the former “fireworks island” where they are not harassed. We believe they nest on the marsh island, protected by the wetland moat.

Chick oneCrane with chicks - Greg Weller Two chicks with parent

Kids Fishing Day June 6 – a great event

May 21, 2015


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Wild Warner’s vision for Warner Park 4/29/15

April 29, 2015

The Madison Parks Department is gathering “visions” for the future of Warner Park.

Here is Wild Warner’s vision:

1. Nature recreation – Emphasizing the value of nature education and recreation, and using the park as a classroom. Promoting STEM fields through tutoring and support.

2. Keeping and maintaining nature recreation i.e. fishing, bird sighting, nature walks, expansion through nature center.

3. No expansion of mowed lawn. No construction in current mowed open space. Look for opportunities to increases non-mowed areas.

4. Keeping and restoring natural areas of the park. Maintaining a balanced usage of the park.

5. Make community center more appealing / inviting to children from the area. More family friendly. Expansion of nature center, mentoring.

6. No additional motor vehicle parking lots or structures.

7. Place new buildings / facilities adjacent to the Community Center. Use multiple-use concept in existing buildings.

8. Keep proposed library and Brentwood neighborhood center out of Warner.

9. Include in any Master Plan surveys of the number of people who use the park for nature or leisure recreation, swimming, walking, running, bird viewing, picnickers, dog park etc. along with a complete biome survey of natural areas.

10. Restore and protect habitat of the wetlands.

11. Restore fishery.

12. Plant more than 100% trees that were cut down. Plant more native shrubs.

13. Ongoing support and improvement of beach area / put up algae buoys.

14. If splash pad goes in, put it adjacent to the Community Center.

15. Convert sports field lighting to Dark Sky Compliant.

Wild Warner, volunteers, plant 30 trees to replace cut ash trees

April 18, 2015

Wild Warner would love to give a BIG THANKS to all of the people that came out to help plant 30 TREES!!

Wild Warner would love to give a BIG THANKS to all of the people that came out to help plant 30 TREES!!

Members of Wild Warner, Boy Scouts, students from Madison College and workers from the Urban Tree Alliance planted 30 trees in Warner Park and Warner Beach in April 18 to replace ash trees cut down. Wild Warner has pledged to water the trees this summer.

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Wild Warner Minutes 3-03-2015

March 4, 2015


Kathlean Wolf
Karen Hickel
Blair Panhorst
Paul Noeldner
Jonathan Santana
Dolores Kester
Tim Nelson
Mike Rewey
Jack Hurst
Trish Okane
Marlene Hardick
Jim Carrier

Urban Tree Alliance: Patricia Chakravorty—canceled, sick.
Approval given from Parks Department.  As per original agreement, Wild Warner volunteers will dig holes and water trees.

Craig Klinke with City Parks needs to be contacted about locations; our recommendations about species will be considered.

Madison Area College: Jonathan
So far, has talked with kids about making things on March 28th; 2015, making bird or bee houses, etc.  Discussion determined that construction is too complex to set up in the amount of time available.  Wild Warner wants trash pick-up and records of early signs of Spring.
Expecting 10-15 students; he will put it out to all students and may get more students who want volunteer hours.  Jonathan is supervising students.
Need bags, gloves, dumpster, spikes.
April 18th preferred activity is tree-planting.  If Parks digs holes for trees on Friday, we can plant on Saturday.  Tim will get ahold of the Patricia Chakravorty and Craig Klinke—will plan on the April 18th to be tree planting.
Addendum:  This activity will most likely not work on this date due to timing of tree planting and digging of holes.
Students will be invited to participate in Tree-Week kickoff on Sunday the 19th.

Informational and membership brochure Update:  Blair
Membership: dues-paying members can vote on issues.  There are 85 people on the email list; we can send out requests for re-upping membership and fundraising.
Unanswered question:  Who has the spread sheet on members and membership payments 2015?
Mock-up / first draft of brochure was submitted for correction, comments and input.  Suggestions offered by each person in attendance were recorded.  Trish Okane and others will email information and edits, all other Board Members were invited to email corrections and suggestions.
We need to price out printing of 500 for 14” x 11” black-and-white brochures.
Karen suggests having many brochures on-hand at the June 28th Northside Fourth of July celebration.  Paul and Karen and Blair have a list of places to put brochures out.

Internet presence:
Facebook is currently a closed group that requires administration approval to join.  Discussed opening it up to gain more members. The majority view is to keep it closed to maintain control over Wild Warner’s integrity and public image.
Unanswered question: Who is managing the email list?  We need to decide this solidly.  Paul mentioned mailchimp, an email listserve that allows people to add themselves.

Projects/ Calendar Update:
Need to publicize Earth Day and Arbor Day details; Invite media, FB page, Northside News, Madison Northside.  Marlene will assist with publicity.
Paul sent around his article he wrote.  I will also write a small blurb for the Northside News about my “Mercy of Trees” photography project.  Email Aba directly to ask, Marlene will be help with contacts.

Nature Center/ Walks: Paul
Dedicate the Nature Center on April 19th.
Wood for the bookshelves was purchased for $385.  (Need to inquire about reimbursement?)  Paul and Kathlean will build them.
Donations formerly originally intended to go toward the professionally-constructed bookshelf ($3500) will instead fund other display items for Nature Center.
Paul talked with Arboretum and Aldo Leopold about developing our Nature Center; bird-cam with display at the center, Adventurer Backpacks, DVD’s, etc.
Trish was asked if there’s any way to get some skeleton stuff
Walks going well.  Aba wrote a piece about getting people out in Nature.
Parks can certify people to be “Steward” / Nature Docents.  Primary qualifications is “I would like to lead Nature Walks.”  Parks will provide other training opportunities.
Trish’s program—we’re in the partnership with Anke and the Nelson Institute / University to do the Explorer’s program.  She points out that Paul is a major factor of why this exists.

Website Facelift/ Update: Jonathan
Jonathan has added some templates in WordPress to change the backgrounds, layout, buttons, etc.  Needs to meet with Jim about what changes to actually make.  Jan Axleson is a resource for Jonathan who could help with the WordPress design.
The account for the website is currently paid through Jim’s account.  It needs to be switched to someone else, and fee payment arranged.

Need for members to commit to Park Commissioner’s meeting (2nd Wednesday of every month)
Meetings are at 6:30 p.m. often held at the Water Utility; need to attend or at least monitor the agenda.  This is how we’ve been able to advocate for ecologically sound policies in the past, and is also a good learning experience for attendees.  Agenda posted a week before on the City website.  Tim, Kathlean, Karen, and Marlene agreed to attend in rotation as needed.

Update on grant for gardening: Kathlean
Grant is not going to be integrated with Wild Warner.  In the future, we might integrate/expand.
Kathlean mentioned Bird Atlas 2015, Tree Inventory, for those who might be interested in exploring these activities in the future.  Might invite Tree Inventory project director from Atwood as a speaker in the future.

Grant for the Lagoon: Jack
Sally Swanson’s $25,000 grant has probably been approved.
Madison Fishing Expo isn’t going to happen again after this.  So the money for Jack’s fishing program is up in the air; some benefit from what’s there right now, but we’ll need to replace that funding.  Fish prize … Jack is having problems with funding right now.  Jack has a raffle going.

April 19th Arbor Day/Earth Day/Bird City: Paul
Mark your calendars.  Paul has a lot of things planned; he will present at next meeting.

Invite Jacob Tisue to next meeting. What do we want to ask him?
Can Wild Warner begin receiving mail at the Rec Center?
What is his vision for the park, the Nature Center, the interaction between the park and the Rec Center?
What became of the issue of pesticide use around the Rec Center grounds?

General Park questions/comments:
Jim:  Question of salting on trails.  Need to walk Castle Creek to pick up trash and check the condition of the creek.
Kathlean: undertaking project to photograph the stumps of all trees that have been cut down in the park.
Bird and animal sightings:
robins, ducks, geese, bluebirds both sighted and heard, red-tail hawks, brown creepers, 15 deer in 2 herds near Jack, 9 deer at his neighbor’s
Unconfirmed sightings of a 4 foot tall barn-owl (Jonathan) and a squirrel wearing underpants (Tim).

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Bird and Nature Walk – Sunday 2/15 1:30-3 p.m. at Warner Park Shelter.

February 12, 2015

Free, family-friendly, nature, recreation, and education! To celebrate Madison being formally recognized as a Bird City, Madison Parks, in collaboration with other organizations, will offer free monthly bird and nature walks.

The first one is this Sunday, 1:30 – 3 p.m. Meet at the colorful Warner Park Shelter by the lagoon near the Warner Park Community Recreation Center. Parking is available nearby.

Free, family-friendly, winter, nature, recreation outing! Have a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the wild side of Warner Park in winter from the natural lagoon ice rink to the upper prairie sledding hill.

Bring the kids and your choice of nature recreation gear for sledding, snowshoeing, skating, and cross-country skiing. Dogs are ok on this walk, but must be on a leash unless in the dog park area. Volunteer co-leaders welcome.

Contact: Paul Noeldner (608) 698-0104. Walks at Warner Park are the 3rd Sunday of every month, and are co-sponsored by Madison Bird City partners: Wild Warner, Madison Audubon, and Madison Parks.

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Wild Warner Minutes 02-03-2015

February 11, 2015

Marie Jacobsen, Chair
Jack Hurst
Marian Celesnik, Treasurer
Patricia Chakravorty
Mike Rewey
Blair Panhorst, Membership Coordinator
Marlene Hardick
Marcia Finger
Joan Ryan
Paul Noeldner (late), Education
Kathlean Wolf (late), Secretary


Blair acted as Secretary to begin the meeting.

Patricia’s introduction from the Urban Tree Alliance: She said the urban tree alliance has free trees for people to plant if they can get volunteers to commit to watering them reliably over the next 2-3 years.
They are planting oaks, Kentucky Coffeetree, sourgum, and a variety of other trees for diversification. The baby trees are 3 to 6 feet tall in 5 gallon pots and have tree protectors around them. She has talked with Charlie Romain who gave a tentative yes to the project. (Notes amended to state:) Final approval is pending.
Urban Tree Alliance selects areas where there was a low canopy cover and a 20% or lower poverty level, but some areas have mixed economic areas within them. Paul said that Kay Rutledge will want to tell us where to plant the trees. The trees will require 5 gallons of water per week for the first year but I didn’t catch the amount for the following year.
Mike Rewey wanted to make sure that we get trees that are native to Wisconsin. The trees are purchased from Possibility Place, in Illinois, and only certain ones are available, hawthorns and Hackberry are not available. The conclusion of the conversation was that WW offers sufficient volunteers to take care of 20 trees in 2015 to help replace the 80 ash trees that are being cut down.

Additional note from Kathlean: In reviewing the canopy coverage for our area on the Urban Tree Alliance webpage, , it is obvious that our area is considered to be low-canopy for two main reasons: 1. Warner Pond is water and marsh, yet on the map, it is included in canopy count rather than as an adjunct to the Lake. 2. Ball fields and the shopping area across the street combine with the water/pond factor to make it look much less tree’d than our area actually is.
However, being designated both low-income (Brentwood apartment area, Vera Court), and low-canopy gives us an advantage when it comes to remediating the insufficient replacement rate for our ash trees!

Kathlean took over note-taking at 6:15 p.m.
I. Patricia Chakravorty from the Urban Tree Alliance proposed providing trees to the park if we supply volunteers to water them. They have a variety of types of trees including trees that will fit into smaller spots. Large-growth trees to be planted wherever possible.
a. Mike Rewey requested we obtain only Wisconsin native trees, to general agreement.
b. All present voted that we would like to obtain these trees.
c. It was agreed that we would provide 10 volunteers to tend 20 trees for the pilot year of 2015.
d. Wild Warner will need to decide on what types of trees from their list of available trees we would prefer to plant.
e. Suggested that we add Urban Tree Alliance to our list of alliances.

II. Marie stated that we need to develop consensus about the objectives for the coming year, 2015, based on Mission Statement.
a. Expanding membership and promoting awareness of both Wild Warner and of the park itself will be a major focus.
b. We will build a brochure of past achievements and activities, mission statement, and upcoming projects; membership form will be attached to the brochure.
(Amendment to notes:) Marie pulled together an informational brochure of WW for Jonathan, with the help of Jim.
c. Marie read our objectives for 2015 from the list compiled in October. Kathlean requested that we revisit this list and update it from current perspective.
d. Blair and Kathlean mentioned the similar discussion had during a meeting of the Membership Co-coordinators; the mission of Wild Warner has expanded considerably from simply advocating for the park with government agencies, to developing real outreach to the community.
e. Website integration and promotion:
i. Jonathan requests to develop a different theme for the website. He will talk to Jim about working with the web design program in more depth; this is likely to take two months.
ii. Kathlean is one of the admins on Facebook; need to be certain to integrate the webpage and the Facebook page so important information is not skipped over by those who only check one      of these two sites.
iii. Marlene noted that the blog on the Wild Warner website has become only minutes and announcements. Suggested that it become a blog again; Kathlean suggested there be separate links on the WW site to access minutes, board members, etc., so that the blog can stand alone. Marlene requested information about who is allowed to write blog posts; this question was not answered.

III. The following will be presented / completed by the March meeting:
a. Blair will develop a Wild Warner brochure for information and membership promotion.
b. Trish will have history of Wild Warner ready for the “WW info packet”.
c. Jonathan will update the website; progress report in March, updated by April meeting.

IV. Additional points:
a. Jack mentioned that Sally Swenson, City Engineer, will know by the end of February if we get the grant to evaluate / improve the condition of Warner’s wetlands. He also mentioned that Larry Palm and libraries were mentioned in the Northside News; we need to verify the nature of the proposed library projects.
b. With Earth Day on April 22nd and Arbor Day on April 28th, we need to solidify our plans for these days.
c. Jonathan is going to do a presentation about Wild Warner to students at MATC on February 10th as part of the Trio Program, and will speak with the Community Service Board about getting volunteers from the general student population. He will have student volunteers working in the park on March 28th and April 25th.
i. Suggested projects: digging holes for trees to be planted in April; canoe / kayak trash-pick-up; building bird houses, mason bee houses, etc. Bird houses require permission from Parks and also require lumber.
d. Several members left to begin the Owl Walk.
e. It was mentioned that we need to get the Wild Warner Logo in good shape for use with our alliances, including MATC.
f. Kathlean mentioned grant program to be applied for under the Wild Warner banner; will write up and present to Board members for a vote, by email, as these grants are due before the March WW meeting.

Meeting Concluded at 7:15 p.m.

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