• NatureNOW (OWLT)

October 2020 Stew News

We hope you have been able to enjoy the autumn colors on the preserves. Now is a great time to appreciate the transitional beauty of nature. Remember to not only dress warm, but wear bright colors since it is hunting season.

Highlighting Donges Bay Gorge Nature Preserve Volunteers

OWLT would like to thank two local groups for their dedicated service at Donges Bay Gorge Nature Preserve.

Green Tree Garden Club had eight workdays with the Stew Crew at the preserve this year. In the spring, they helped remove garlic mustard and dames rocket. They also helped with trail maintenance and woody invasive species control of buckthorn, honeysuckle, and Japanese barberry.

The Service Club of Milwaukee(pictured above) joined the Stew Crew for a recent workday to assist with the invasive species control of buckthorn. They have committed to continue this work during another workday later this fall.

OWLT would like to thank Tom Kroeger, adviser and volunteer, for his commitment to conservation.

A special thank you to Tom for his efforts throughout the seasons at tackle a variety of invasive plants species on the preserve.

OWLT would like to thank Rick Schnell, volunteer, for dedication to nature and the community.

Thank you to Rick for his help in removing garlic mustard and dames rocket. In addition, he is actively involved in management and monitoring of the preserve.

Habitat Restoration to Promote Wildlife

Mayhew, South Oak, and Spirit Lake Nature Preserves

Thanks to funding from the Department of Natural Resources in 2019 the OWLT Stew Crew was able to work on the habitat restoration on three nature preserves. These ongoing restoration and enhancement project will create higher quality habitat available for a wider diversity of species and result in improved ecosystem services. Furthermore, invasive brush control throughout the woodlands

and field edges assists in creating sightlines for wildlife observation and hunting opportunities.

As part of the installation this year all three sites included regular mowing maintenance to eliminate undesirable plant species from going to seed.


  • At South Oak Nature Preserve, the purpose of this project is to provide high quality public access to native mesic and wetland prairie across three acres and to enhance the adjacent 45 acres of hardwood forest. One highlight is that three acres of mesic/wet prairie was installed.

  • At Mayhew Preserve, the purpose of this project is to provide high quality public access to native mesic and wetland prairie across eight acres and enhance the adjacent 48 acres of hardwood forest. A unique success of this project, for the benefit of public safety, is that we were able to limit the wild parsnip seed set (an invasive plant that causes skin burns).

  • At Spirit Lake Preserve, the purpose of this project is to provide high quality public access to native mesic and wetland prairie across three acres. Significant achievement of the project is seen in the installation of several hundred plugs. The project enhances the existing 16+ acres of wetland and the 40+ acres of woodlands.

Thank You Seasonal Staff Members

Gratitude goes out to OWLT seasonal staff members (left to right) Spencer Henkel, Stephanie Krausert, and Rachelle Ketelhohn. Their dedication allowed the Stew Crew to complete tree plantings, invasive species removal, and extensive preserve maintenance during this unique year.

Due to COVID-19, the increase of community visitors to the preserves resulted in greater management needs to ensure the health of wildlife and the land. These seasonal team members assisted with numerous projects throughout this challenging time of limited volunteer activities. We couldn't have done it without you - Thank you!

Join the Journey - Autumn Adventures Video Tour

During the month of October, we invite you to join the journey as we present the Autumn Adventures Video Tour series, shared via email/social media. This micro-series will feature an OWLT team member at one of the many conservation lands as they present various information, activities, highlights and future plans.

Join us during these casual micro-moments to learn more about how our great mission supports community well-being, provides wildlife habitat, and protects nature's health!

This week, Tony Young, Ozaukee County DNR Warden addresses recreation on the preserves, including hunting safety. Video can be found on OWLT's YouTube channel.

Hunting Season Safety Reminders

Most of the OWLT land open to the public has been protected with the assistance of programs that require hunting on these lands. The hunting community is one of our greatest assets.

By partnering with hunters, OWLT can protect and enhance our preserves through partnerships and gain outside knowledge of our sites through the public’s perspective.

We ask that hunters take extra precaution in following the rules of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and continue to operate with the highest level of safety in mind as you participate in this Wisconsin outdoor tradition. We ask that you respect visitors to our preserves. We ask that visitors take extra precaution the next few months by staying on the trail, wearing bright colors or high visibility clothing, and being aware of hunters on our preserves.

OWLT lands are open for community use by all!


Volunteer Opportunities

  • Kratzsch Conservancy Workday, Friday, October 23rd, 9am-Noon.

  • Forest Beach Migratory Preserve Workday, Tuesday, October 27th, 9am-Noon.

  • Kratzsch Conservancy Workday, Thursday, October 29th, 9am-Noon.

  • Decorah Woods Workday, Thursday November 5th, 9am-Noon.

  • Kurtz Woods Workday, Thursday November 5th, 9am-Noon.

  • Forest Beach Migratory Preserve Workday, Wednesday, November 18th, Noon - 3pm.

  • Bratt Woods Workday, Tuesday, November 24th, Noon - 3pm.

The number of volunteers per event is restricted and all activities are pre-register only. 

Contact Josh at jschlicht@owlt.org if you are interested in registering.

Activity Calendar

In order to minimize the potential for infectious transmission of COVID-19, OWLT requires that staff, board and community members, participating in OWLT activities, adhere to state guidelines found at Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Photo Postcard Campaign:

Share that love of Wisconsin's natural areas with your elected officials to help secure funding for these special spaces. Visit the Gathering Waters website for more information.

Bike-n-Hike | Ride-n-Stride

Digital self-guided interactive tour map available on the:

Bike-n-Hike | Ride-n-Stride webpage.


If your company is interested in sponsoring (and being added to the maps) contact Leona at lknobloch@owlt.org.

ARTservancy: Sept 2020

Artists in Residence on the various nature preserves have developed creative and beautiful pieces of art. To learn more about the artists visit OWLT.org ARTservancy or Gallery224. You can view a rotation of the beautiful artwork created during ARTservancy in the new window exhibition space at Gallery 224, 303 N Franklin Street, Port Washington.

An Autumn Interlude of Renewal: Treasures of Oz - Oct 2020

Visit spectacular parks and preserves that are perfect for photography, meditation, hiking and just being in nature. This virtual event will run from October 14th through the 24th - giving everyone time to visit the sites without rush or congestion. Information can be found at Treasures of Oz.


Conserving Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs

To make a forever-lasting difference in our community is a rare opportunity. The Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs acquisition is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to preserve 131 acres of Lake Michigan land to support community well-being, provide wildlife habitats, and protect nature’s health. Supporting the protection of this land today is a legacy that will last forever!

Conserve Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs

We Love Volunteers!

Thank you for your support and dedication from the entire Stew Crew Team!

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