Chris Mann

Chris Mann

Chris has been a big help at both the Ottawa Lake Fen State Natural Area and at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.  He is an expert sawyer and extremely knowledgeable about trees, bushes and plants.  Thanks Chris!

Chris loves this...

Chris loves this…

Visit Chris at his new website Kettle Moraine Land Stewards, LLC and listen to what he has to say about The Buckthorn Man here.

Here are links to some of the recent workdays that Chris participated in.

Life On The Edge

The Kilkenny Family Project

Tis’ The Season To Cut Buckthorn

Buckthorn Resolution


Steve Brasch

Steve Brasch

Steve Brasch grew up at the Scuppernong Springs.  His mother used to drop him off there with his friends in the morning with a promise to pick them up for supper.  All day they ran wild; building forts, floating on rafts in the ponds, catching creatures, running, hiding, looking, simply being in the woods.  He never lost his love of nature and, armed with a degree, he pursued a career in forestry.  Those were the Reagan years and budgets were tight; Steve had to make some tough decisions and leave the forest behind.

“Those were golden years spent roaming the woods.  I felt like Thoreau and even had some of his writings at that time.  The pond was kind of my Walden!  When I got out of college in the mid 80’s they say the economy was terrible but I don’t really remember that as I struggled to get my degree and keep moving.  I applied for federal jobs in forestry etc. and I was told there were 200 applicants for each opening (even temp jobs )!  It was discouraging so I went back to school.”


Over the years Steve found opportunities to volunteer with many organizations working on land restoration and his passion for the outdoors never flagged.  He moved into the Scuppernong neighborhood and, noticing the changes taking place at the Springs, decided to get involved.

“As I look back it seems it was the right thing to do and I must have been guided by a higher power?  I love volunteering with you, TNC and others as I truly believe that what we do has a big part in maintaining our quality of life.”

Thanks for volunteering with us Steve!

You can check out some of Steve’s contributions here:

A Child of Nature

Friendly Fires

The Kilkenny Family Project

Tis the Season to Cut Buckthorn

Steve Brasch and Chris Mann

Steve Brasch and Chris Mann

Steve, Lindsay, Chris and Andy

Steve, Lindsay, Chris and Andy


Andy Buchta

Andy Buchta

Andy in Australia -- January 2015

Andy in Australia — January 2015

I first met Andy back in October 2013 at a picnic hosted by the DNR to show their appreciation for volunteers.

andybuchtaWe had been in contact via email before that and our meeting at the picnic was the beginning of a very happy and productive collaboration.  Andy can swing a chainsaw but mostly he has helped pile and burn buckthorn.  Often I would show up at a work site and see that all of the brush cut on a previous outing had been neatly stacked.  Thanks Andy!



Here are just a few of the blogs that document Andy’s contributions:

WDNR Appreciates Volunteers

Three For All

Thanks for the Springs

The Inevitability of Buckthorn


A Cold Day At The Springs

I Am The Buckthorn Man

Kettle Moraine Natural History Association

Buckthorn Alley Breakthrough

Soul PowerIMG_1648

Buchta Wins Gold in PilingStyle

Burn The Alley

Order Out Of Chaos

SEWTU Conserving, Protecting and Restoring the Scuppernong River Watershed

The Bluff Creek Springs

Fire Works at The Springs

The U.S. Government is a Pyschopath

Ugly BuckthornIMG_1686

The Pike Lake Springs

Winter Break

Blind Traveler

Marsh MadnessIMG_6879

Sky Dancing




Lindsay Knudsvig

Lindsay Knusdvig

I had my first encounter with invasive species fifteen years ago when I married my wife Connie and moved into her house on an old abandoned pasture.  After many years spent clearing a trail and winning back some lawn we brought in an environmental consulting firm and decided to do an Oak Savanna restoration project.   They did some initial mowing and spraying then guided me as I did follow up control of the invasives.

The project led me to enroll in the Horticulture/Landscape Technician program at Blackhawk Tech in Janesville where classes like Weeds and Invasives and Landscape and the Environment inspired me to do an internship at the UW-Arboretum working in their Restoration and Nursery programs where I learned a lot about Native Plant Communities and Restoration.

Then while attending S-130/S-190 fire classes I met Paul and he told me about all the brush piles he had to burn in the Kettle Moraine State Forest out by Eagle.  Well, I live not too far away in Delavan, so I offered to help and here I am making more piles for this winter uncovering the intoxicating beauty that is Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.

Paul and I also completed FISTA chainsaw safety training together and I have a State of Wisconsins Pesticide Applicator Lisence.  So with the help of Paul, the helpful people at the DNR in Eagle and the generous people of the Kettle Moraine Natural History Association I feel Iike I’m  becoming a good steward of the Land that we all share.

It has been a real pleasure to meet Lindsay and work with him.  Check out these stories that include Lindsay’s volunteer contributions:

Pulling Water Cress

Cutting buckthorn at the Indian Springs

Helping coordinate volunteers piling brush and phragmites,

Phragmites mowing and discovery of the Hidden Spring

Indian Spring Buckthorn cutting in summer heat, here and here

Lindsay posted this story about quack grass at the indian spring

Phragmites mowing in the Scuppernong River valley

Clearing the area along the river below hwy 67

Foliar spraying phragmites

Bundling and poisoning phragmites

The Three Brushcuteers

Hatching House Springs (now called the Fish Hatchery Springs)

Opening up the Lost Trail, and here (now called the cut-off trail)

Journey down the Scuppernong River (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

Sowing seeds and cutting buckthorn

Burning brush piles on hilltop above hillside springs

Burning brush piles near the Scuppernong Spring

Oak Savanna Alliance award

Burn the Scuppernong

Return of the Three Brushcuteers

Boardwalk Repair

Cutting Buckthorn at Ottawa Lake

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

A lot has changed since Ben Johnson began volunteering with The Buckthorn Man at The Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail and the Ottawa Lake Fen SNA back in November of 2013.

He completed his Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning and Management at the University of Illinois at Springfield, in part by leveraging his volunteer work with me for his master’s thesis.  Ben no longer works at Waukesha Electric Systems, Inc. as a Transformer Test Technician, but rather, following his heart and dreams, he now works as a Land Survey Assistant with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) — his new career is headed on an exciting trajectory.

Ben’s philosophy hasn’t changed, and the results of his acting on those principles are becoming manifest not only in his career change but in his creation of the Waukesha Fox River Conservation Group (and on Facebook here.)

Ben has contributed in so many ways including: building and hanging almost 100 birdhouses, building and installing (with help from Karen Johnson) 4 benches and a series of steps down the sand dune at the Indian Campground, getting us off to a successful start on our first deck reconstruction project, rebuilding the deck at the springs just below the Scuppernong Spring, rebuilding 3 long sections of boardwalk (here, here and here), extracting 18′ foot oak beams from the old trout farm raceway, and cutting, piling and burning buckthorn (and I’m leaving a lot of stuff out!)

I am truly grateful for Ben’s volunteer contributions!  Thanks Ben.

I improved the trail while Ben applied the finishing touches.

I improved the trail while Ben applied the finishing touches.