May minutes

May 3, 2011
Present:   Jim Carrier, Trish O’Kane, Kathie Free,  Alex Singer, Dolores Kester, Jack Hurst, Lori Chadli, Marlene Hardick, Betsy Tuttle.

Next meeting: Tues, June 7, 6-8 pm

Betsy Tuttle came to her first meeting after attending the Bluebird Walk and reading Northside Discuss. She is interested in eliminating invasive species and other projects in Warner. Welcome to Betsy.
Jim Carrier called the meeting to order. Marlene Hardick appointed as recording secretary for this meeting.

Sightings:  Jack has a woodchuck in his yard; Laurie saw an eagle in Warner Park for the first time; Trish saw a northern water thrush, purple martin, pine warbler, bringing the species count in Warner up to 106. She found blood root, trout lilies, and other wildflowers in the woods behind tennis court and a beaver in the lagoon; Alex saw a raccoon in his yard; Marlene saw a kestrel perched on a pole at corner of Fordem & Johnson. Jack has been traveling and saw 25 black squirrels and pelicans near Portage.

Trish O’Kane recently hosted  Dr. Quentin Carpenter, a wetland ecologist, for a walk in Warner.  He had never been in the park before because he associates it only with Rhythm and Booms. He was amazed at the wetland plants he found in the park.  He may have his UW students do some wetland research in the park.

Earth Day
Timothy Garrett led the trash pickup. There were at least 6 people who did litter pick-up, including Tim Nelson’s in his kayak  and another canoe in lagoon. Lagoon yielded many tennis balls, probably lost from dog park.
Alex Singer led group in pulling of garlic mustard and other invasive plants in the Woods.  There were 6 helpers with this project and a small dent was made, with lots more still to be pulled. A few more wildflowers will be able to survive.
Good turnout by Wild Warner members.

Bluebird walk and houses
Twelve enthusiasts built four bluebird houses, taught by Audubon bluebird expert, Paul Noeldner. There were 10 seniors, 1 father and his son. While they worked at Warner Park on a windy Saturday, April 30, they learned a great deal about the bluebirds who currently nest in the park. All visited the houses that have been up and occupied for several years.
Noeldner kept one house and erected one along a Warner path. Another has been put up outside the windows of the NESCO senior meal site and one is outside the windows of the Warner Park Center exercise room.  Noeldner will return again this summer to present a NESCO senior program. This bluebird event was a joint project of NESCO and Wild Warner.

After Rhythm and Booms last year, three bluebird houses were found, knocked to the ground or destroyed. They were probably still occupied at the time. The first bluebird houses and wood duck houses were donated and erected by Dane Conservation.
More Bird Houses erected
Two more wood duck houses were erected this spring. Tim and Alex cleaned and put fresh wood shavings in all of the wood duck houses this spring. Eight Bird Buddies were taught to make eight bird houses from large recycled cans covered with wood bark in April. Each youth selected a spot for his house and erected it in the park.

Brentwood Grant
Wild Warner requested $5000 from City of Madison Brentwood Project, received $2500 for a project to work with youth in Brentwood.  Alex and Trish did most of the work on writing this grant. Grant specifies $2000 for materials, $500 for operating costs. Initial thoughts would be to involve youth in nature education, trail maintenance.
Discussion about how to implement this grant.  Northside Planning Council will act as fiscal agent for this grant.  We need to be sure that it is the Brentwood neighborhood that is involved in programs. Alex has been exploring connections with school, neighborhood centers.  St. Paul’s Lutheran has a family program that could be invited to participate.
Alex asked for $500 for expenses incurred in writing and researching the grant. Discussion was that there cannot be payment for activities that occurred before grant was received, must be used to administer the grant after it is received.  A more detailed plan is needed to begin to implement. UW students might be available as interns, but there must be a solid proposal as to what they would do. Liability issues were discussed.  It is probably too dangerous to put kids in boats on the water.  Alex will work on developing a more detailed plan for the program and bring it back to June meeting.

Island Burn
The island in the lagoon was burned in April. This was a controlled burn by Russ Hefty and staff from Madison Parks Dept.  He mentioned that fire department had asked him to burn the undercover. He also hopes  that this will discourage some geese from nesting.  Because the burn was so late, some other species were already nesting on the island, as were some geese.
It seems that a lot of trees that provide bird habitat on the island have fallen down or been knocked down. Why are they falling?

Audubon Art Fair
Marlene will create a display at a table at the Audubon Art Fair in Warner Park on May 7. Kathie will distribute info regarding the geese control plan.

Flower Pots in front of Senior Meal Site
Wild Warner/NESCO/WPCRC will work together to plant three flower pots: one to attract birds, one to attract butterflies,  one to smell/touch/admire.  Marlene is working on this, welcomes ideas.

Fishing in Lagoon
It is likely that most fish in Lagoon died over winter for lack of oxygen when snow covered the ice.  DNR has stocked some panfish there this spring.  To become healthy, the Lagoon needs attention.
Jack and the Yahara Fishing Club will teach a group of kids to fish in June on “Take a Kid Fishing” day on June 4. Many will receive fishing poles or a tackle box.  This will occur in Warner Park Lagoon.  Wild Warner is not involved in this, but members should stop by and encourage the kids.
June 4-5 is free fishing weekend all over Wisconsin.  Try the lagoon for yourself. No fishing license required that weekend.

Jim Carrier said that that Wild Warner’s success in defeating a cyclocross race in Warner Park was a recognition by the Parks Commission of Warner’s natural area and our work in using it for education.
Our first grant, for Brentwood, also recognized this work.
But the Brentwood grant, essentially a contract with the city, involving money, responsibility, a fiscal sponsor, and liability, created the need for a more formal structure for Wild Warner, including a charter, a board, and subcommittees. He asked D. Kester and M. Jacobsen to write a charter with him. He suggested subcommittees to include:  Finance, Education, Fundraising and Recruitment. Recruitment needs to focus on creating new members, and the need for diversity in membership.

Press and Publicity
Kathie and Lori outlined Geese Peeps Strategy for the upcoming Parks Commission decision on geese management. Lori was designated to make the official Wild Warner positioin.

Christa led a bird and plant walk on Sunday, May 15, attended by 18 adults.  (See Story and photos on blog and home page)
She pointed out many fungi growing in the woods and on trees. She noted that she had seen Northern Pike spawning in the Lagoon. She noted that the Lagoon was originally created as a spawning place for pike.
She identified unusual and common plants, teaching some participants to recognize garlic mustard.
Bluebirds hung out on the roof of their house and a heron made an appearance. A redstart and several other warblers bobbed in the trees and a Baltimore Oriole showed off his colors. Blackbirds sang.