Volunteer for the Wild!

February 7, 2024–February 29, 2024
Location
La Crosse and Ferryville

Happy Ground Hog Day! Mississippi Valley Conservancy is thankful for you and all of the amazing volunteers who help us conserve and restore the Driftless Area. We could not do it without you.

This February, get ready for a series of volunteer events happening in the La Crosse Blufflands and at Sugar Creek Bluff near Ferryville. We've got a several restoration projects lined up that you're not going to want to miss. Join us outside and don't let these shorter days give you cabin fever....

Wednesday, February 7
Woodland restoration @ La Crosse Blufflands
9:00am - 1:00pm

Tuesday, February 13
Prairie restoration @ Sugar Creek Bluff (Ferryville)
9:00am - 1:00pm

Saturday, February 17
Woodland restoration @ La Crosse Blufflands
9:00am - 1:00pm

Thursday, January 29
Woodland restoration @ La Crosse Blufflands
9:00am - 1:00pm

Contact Levi by email with questions or to sign up. He'll send out final information a day or two before the activity date. 

 

Why is this work important?

La Crosse Blufflands woodland restoration:

Within La Crosse's blufflands there are a number of rare, remnant prairies and savannas that have been overcrowded with invasive brush and are no longer healthy or visible. Remnants and savannas are small remaining patches of the original landscape that have not been destroyed by development, agriculture, or invasive spread. Very few remnant prairies exist in the mid-west today and even fewer examples of savannas exist, and all are in need of careful management if they are to be conserved. We have identified one of these remnant prairies with adjacent former savanna habitat and are in the beginning phases of restoring it. The first step (and what you'll be helping us with) is to remove all the invasive woody brush that has choked out the prairie and savanna plants. By clearing this brush we create space and resources for native prairie grasses and forbs to return which in turn creates habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

What you will be doing in the La Crosse Blufflands: Volunteers and staff will group into teams of two or three: a cutter, a brush piler, and a herbicide treater. The person cutting the stumps will use a handheld lopper (or if properly trained, a chainsaw). The piler will haul the brush to a designated location and the treater will apply a small amount of diluted herbicide to the stump to inhibit regrowth. Cutters and treaters should remain close to one another to ensure stumps are not missed. Volunteers will be given training and have access to an experienced lead throughout the event. PPE will be provided. 

Sugar Creek Bluff prairie restoration:

Throughout the year the Conservancy's Land Management team and volunteers remove invasive woody species and create firebreaks. Both of these activities result in excess woody material that can sometimes be in the way of a project or smother the growth of native plants underneath. In these instances, we pile up this woody material in strategic locations to be burned in the winter when fire danger is low and there is snow on the ground. Now its time...let's burn those piles baby! At the same time we're burning piles, we'll be continuing to improve firebreaks and remove undesirable woody brush within our prairies.

What you will be doing at Sugar Creek Bluff: To burn these piles and cut undesirable brush safely we will be going out on a day where snow covers the ground to prevent the chance of spot fires and minimize soil disturbance. Staff will use chainsaws to cut undesirable trees and brush and volunteers will move limbs and brush to the existing piles. Once the piles are lit, volunteers will also monitor the terrain around the burn piles to watch out for flying embers. Volunteers will be given appropriate PPE for safety and crampons for traction in the snow.

Learning opportunities at these volunteer activity days

Learn how to identify and eradicate invasive species, habitat management techniques, prescribed burn planning, and equipment operation. Let us know that you're interested in these and we will make sure you leave with new knowledge and skills!

February 7, 2024–February 29, 2024
Location
La Crosse and Ferryville
Directions

Meet-up locations and directions will be sent out to all who have signed up for specific days.