The Ides of Marsh

Version 2The fall of 2015 marked a turning point in the history of The Marsh: the return of The Buckthorn Man.  After watching the buckthorn resuming it’s domination over the last four years — and all of my hard work going for naught — I was inspired by my friends at the Ice Age Trail Alliance, the Village of Hartland and the Waukesha County Land Conservancy (the Hartland Marsh Restoration Committee) to pick up the torch again, and try to save The Marsh.

Marlin Johnson has championed the restoration effort since around 1990 and over the years he has played a key role in preserving and protecting this primary ecological corridor and natural habitat area in the Village.  He recently shared all of his records with me and I will be scanning them and posting them here in the near future.  It’s all there: fish counts, land acquisitions, archaeological sites, glacial history, and contact information for all of the Friends of the Hartland Marsh who worked with him.  Don’t be surprised if you get a call or letter from The Buckthorn Man: I am taking over coordination of the Friends of the Hartland Marsh and will soon have a new version of the brochure stocked in the Ice Age Trail Alliance trailhead map boxes on Maple and Cottonwood Avenues.

Please do check out the new Hartland Marsh page on this site for a who, what, where, when, why and how breakdown of the restoration effort.

In 2007, when the Waukesha County Land Conservancy acquired the 27 acre Minogue property that straddles the Bark River, Marlin asked if Pati and I would like to be the caretakers of this property.  Since then, it’s felt more like home than the rest of The Marsh, and that is the first place where I resumed my work.  Thousand of young buckthorn were thriving on the old Parker Brothers homestead site and I began cutting and poisoning them.  Over the course of 4-5 workdays I cleared the area marked in red on the map below.


On September 23, 2015 Lynn, Cindy and other members of The Hartland Business Improvement District met The Buckthorn Man at the Cottonwood Wayside for a discussion about The Marsh followed by a short tour.  I really appreciated the opportunity to share the beauty of The Marsh with members of the community who had yet to experience it.  I’m hoping to partner with The Hartland BID in the future restoration efforts!


On October 17, 2015 The Village of Hartland became the first Ice Age Trail Community partner and there was a very nice celebration at Nixon Park including coffee and some outstanding cake.


With winter fast approaching and hand surgery scheduled (followed by 5-6 weeks on the bench), I was eager to capitalize on the new spirit of enthusiasm in the Village for The Marsh, and I scheduled a workday for November 14, 2015.  Our goal was to continue the brush clearing that the DNR did for us back in March along the hillside below the Cottonwood Wayside.  It’s the area marked in blue on the map shown above.   We had great weather and an outstanding turnout.  So unlike the Ides of March, the future bodes well for the Ides of Marsh.

See you at The Marsh!

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