Explore native Wisconsin plants with Friends of Wisdom Prairie

Greg Armstrong Benedictine Bridge, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

Prairie wildflowers provide a colorful welcome in the monastery parking lot, above. Meet in the parking lot at 9:30 am on June 13, 2015 to carpool to the UW Arboretum for the next Friends of Wisdom Prairie outing.  As the prairie enters a time of rapid growth at Holy Wisdom, consider joining the Friends of Wisdom Prairie for an opportunity to learn more about native prairie plants. On Saturday, June 13, 2015, 10:00 am-noon we will tour the Native Wisconsin Garden at the UW Arboretum, a condensed, interpretive display of the native vegetation of Wisconsin. The UW Arboretum is in many ways a forerunner …

Holy Wisdom Monastery driveway sign in front of tall evergreen trees

Land restoration spanning more than 60 years

Car McGinley Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

The majestic evergreens at the end of the Holy Wisdom Monastery driveway, ranging in size from 50-80 feet tall, started as seedlings growing in strawberry boxes, recalls Sister Joanne Kollasch. “Soon after the sisters came here (in 1953) we planted seedlings from the DNR in the garden. Several years later we transplanted them to several places on the property.” About 20 years ago, these trees were replanted again to the end of the driveway. The monastery garden, also planted that first year, has grown in size and continues to provide fresh produce for sisters and guests. From these early beginnings, the …

Wisdom Prairie Project declared a success!

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

 We have some exciting news to share with you! The Wisdom Prairie Project is complete! With the help of so many, we have successfully met our goal of raising $1.9 million to cover the acquisition and initial management costs to restore this 53-acre parcel to native prairie and oak savanna. We could not have done this without your support. Thank you to hundreds of families, companies, foundations, and municipalities for supporting our vision of caring for the earth. This project will conserve more land in a rapidly urbanizing location on the north side of Lake Mendota. By restoring this land to native prairie, there …

Cone flowers in the prairie at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

Wisdom Prairie Project declared a success!

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Wisdom Prairie Project Leave a Comment

We have some exciting news to share with you! The Wisdom Prairie Project is complete! With the help of so many, we have successfully met our goal of raising $1.9 million to cover the acquisition and initial management costs to restore this 53-acre parcel to native prairie and oak savanna. We could not have done this without your support. Thank you to hundreds of families, companies, foundations, and municipalities for supporting our vision of caring for the earth. This project will conserve more land in a rapidly urbanizing location on the north side of Lake Mendota. By restoring this land to native prairie, there …

volunteers gathered by new truck ready for work

Preparing for the prairie burn season

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

Volunteers gather before preparing to remove woody invasive species. Special thanks to the Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation for a grant to purchase the pickup truck used to transport supplies. Today, a couple volunteers are going to be cutting woody invasive plants along the fire breaks. The fire breaks are what a burn team will use to stop controlled fires from going beyond the area that we want to burn. Prairie burns are a very effective way to remove invasive plants and allow native plants to thrive. A couple weeks ago, Dane County provided the use of a Fecon mower at the …

Preparing for the prairie burn season

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Wisdom Prairie Project Leave a Comment

A group of six gathered today to do some work in the Wisdom Prairie in preparation for the upcoming prairie burn season. The work was made easier with a grant from the Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation to help purchase a used pickup truck at the end of 2014. Having this extra truck available allows us to haul supplies and transport volunteers to remote parts of the property. It complements our other pickup truck so that we can have multiple groups working at the same time on different projects on different parts of the property. Today,a couple volunteers are going to …

Creating an Oak Savanna at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes Leave a Comment

By Ron Endres and Will Mann As you drive around Lake Mendota on County Highway M and pass in front of the Holy Wisdom Monastery property, you see two primary ecosystems: prairie (or fields that have been recently planted as prairies) and woodland. Prairie and woodland are wonderful ecosystems. If we finished constructing the prairies, cleaned up the weeds and hedgerows, did a bit of maintenance in the woodland, it would be acceptable to call the Wisdom Prairie project complete. But in nature this is not exactly how a prairie transitions to woodland.  In pre-settlement days, the Eastern states were …

volunteers cutting down and burning hedgrerows along snow-covered fields

Winter work activity at Wisdom Prairie–removing hedgerows

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

by Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council Members Ron Endres and Will Mann Winter is the ideal time of year to remove the hedgerows in and around Wisdom Prairie. Hedgerows (also called fencerows) are areas that previously separated sections of crop fields or are rough areas that were too hard to till. Weeds and invasive trees and shrubs grow in these areas and their seeds are easily spread into a nearby prairie, often completely overtaking it. Hedgerows at Holy Wisdom contain species like honeysuckle, buckthorn, box elder, wild grape vine and mulberry.  They shade the ground, thereby preventing grasses and ground …