On Wednesday, Apr. 27 the Land Conservation Society drove out to a preserved, private piece of land near Amherst to remove invasive species.
Doug Henderson is a retired psychology professor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and he owns the land which the student group was doing restoration work on. His land is part of the North Central Conservancy Trust.
According to their website, the North Central Conservancy Trust aims to “protect the worthy, scenic, working lands and environmental resources for the benefit of the people of Central Wisconsin.”
Not only is Henderson’s land protected from development, but being part of a land trust, or easement gives him tax reductions, and a portion of the profits when the Department of Natural Resources harvests timber on his land.
Autumn olive is an invasive shrub that grows in shaded areas. The plant has small leaves that are dark green on top and have a lighter, sliver green on the underside of the leaves.
The shrub, originally from Asia, was introduced as an ornamental plant, it was also used for erosion control.
The plant poses a threat to other species because it is quick growing, and competes for space and resources that other native species need. Autumn olive isn’t easy to remove, It cannot simply be cut, it must be pulled out by the roots.
This makes controlling its spread extra difficult.
Land donors that are part of the North Central Conservancy Trust, are connected with the student-run Land Conservation Society on campus.
The group aims to educate the public about land trusts, and also assist current land donors in preserving habitat on their land.
Brewster Johnson, senior land use and planning major, was one of the students in charge of organizing the trip. He values the relationship formed between the students and the land, but also between the students and the land owners.
Johnson said, “At the end of the day, we make cross generational friendships and help restore some habitats while we do it.”