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OWLT News

2013 Preservation Award Winners

We're very proud to announce our 2013 Preservation Award Winners to be honored at our Annual Dinner on August 24 at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

This year OWLT’s Timothy Kaul Leadership Award will be presented to Andrew Struck and Andy Holschbach.   The award is given to a public servant or community leader who has shown outstanding leadership in conservation. 

Andrew Struck is the Director of Planning and Parks for Ozaukee County. He oversees the Ozaukee County park system including ten parks, two golf courses, one disc golf course and miles of trails.  He was instrumental in developing the Interurban Trail that runs the entire length of the county and the Milwaukee River Watershed Fish Passage Program, which was featured in 2011 at The World Rivers Conference in Vienna Austria.

Andrew serves with other local organizations to further environmental initiatives in the region: Milwaukee Audubon, Ulao Creek Partnership, Wisconsin County Planning Directors, the Ozaukee County Tourism Council, Bird City Wisconsin, South East Wisconsin Watershed Trust, the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology, SEWRPC Regional Land Use Advisory Committee, Wisconsin DNR Beach Act Work Group, and Treasures of Oz.

Andy Holschbach is Director of Land and Water Management for Ozaukee County which administers the sanitary, shoreland zoning, manure storage, and nonmetallic mining ordinances for Ozaukee County. He works closely with Ozaukee County farmers and farm organizations. He knows the history of the farming community, probably better than anyone else, and has developed good relationships with farm owners.

Andy's energy and dedication to Ozaukee goes beyond his excellence as director. He is involved in working with many organizations whose work fosters the health of our water and land. He brings people and groups together to improve and sustain our resources.

Andy is the past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, on the board of directors for the Ulao Creek Partnership, Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, the Land Conservation Partnership of Ozaukee County, the Ozaukee Treasures Network, Treasures of Oz, the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership, the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trusts, and founded the Sucker Brook Partnership.

Jay Johnson is this year’s Arthur E. Schait Award for outstanding volunteerism winner.  Jay Johnson has been a classic unsung hero for us through the years and we’re proud to finally give him his due.  With almost no direction from our staff, Jay keeps a watchful eye on one of our most visited preserves – Fellenz Woods in West Bend. He builds, repairs, and places benches, assists in mowing over two miles of grass trails, cleans up litter, clears buckthorn and keeps the woodland trail clear of hazards.  We usually find out about the projects he’s done after they’re finished, because he doesn’t want us to feel obliged to help.  What a guy!  He also runs the trails once or twice per week to check on things and joins us on other volunteer work days.  Jay accepts no money and no accolades – he just enjoys what he’s doing and we love him for it. Our volunteers play an important part in our land protection efforts.     

Our Stewardship Award has been named after Patricia Wilmeth to reflect her tireless work on behalf of OWLT and the environment.  Pat was always ready to share her time and talents with us serving on the OWLT board and chairing our Advisory Committee.  She will be greatly missed by all. 

The Patricia Wilmeth Stewardship 2013 award goes to Cheryl Brickman for her outstanding restoration of her property outside of Mequon and her years of volunteer support to OWLT.  Cheryl Brickman continues to energize OWLT with enthusiasm for love of our wetlands, waters, woods, and wildlife.  She is a powerful force in securing new ecologically sensitive properties and is always ready to help.  From helping feed our AmeriCorps workers, hosting the Green Star event, keeping us informed on land acquisition potential, and contributing to stewardship projects, she gives of her time,  talents , and treasure supporting the work of OWLT. 

The story of the restoration of Mark and Cheryl’s Mequon property, Dragonfly Farms, is a love story of land and wildlife.  The property is dotted with bird houses and feeders.  The Brickman’s donated a conservation easement on their 15 acre homestead in 2001.  What was in 1997 an old farm field and stream bank full of invasive plants with little wildlife value has been transformed into a rolling meadow full of native grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees.  A several acre wetland restored on the property in 2004 is providing important habitat for reptiles and amphibians and has become a seamless natural part of the landscape.  Cheryl and Mark are working to restore the areas adjacent to a stream that flows into the nearby Milwaukee River.  In addition to the turtles, frogs, and fire flies, they have noted more than 80 bird species on their property and expect that number to increase as their restoration efforts take hold.

As Cheryl Brickman said in 2001, the beauty of our donation is that, “It will go on after us, and all of our work will mean something.  Anyone can do this, more people should…. The rewards are many.”

Our Outreach Award has been named after Michael Frome to honor his excellence in educating or sharing information related to land preservation and the environment.   Michael Frome is an internationally renowned environmental leader and wilderness author.  At 93 years old is still writing strong and working to protect wilderness and America’s public lands.  Michael and his wife June could have chosen any place in the world to settle down and enjoy life – they chose Port Washington. 

A few of Michael’s books (Battle for the Wilderness, Greenspeak, and Heal the Earth, Heal the Soul)  are part of the OWLT library.  For this reason we choose to celebrate Michael Frome’s 93rd trip around the sun, and honor of his continuing life’s works by renaming our Outreach award. 

The 2013 Michael Frome Outreach Award winner is William Mueller.  Bill took a long walk for the birds this spring.  He hiked unassisted from Lake Michigan to Prairie du Chein (over 200 miles).  This walk was for education and outreach efforts to benefit the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. Bill also coordinates the efforts and research of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory.  His research on birds and bats is providing a new understanding of migration patterns along the Lake Michigan Flyway. 

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