Although our volunteer program is largely on hold right now, we can still celebrate the volunteers and donors that truly make the difference for the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. With just three full-time staff and the need to raise $70,000-100,000 per year to carry out ecological restoration, land management, and maintenance work, it truly is the people who come forward to invest their time, talents, and gifts who make the difference between a piece of land and a healthy, ecologically functioning, and facilitated outdoor classroom for the UW community.
In 2019, 616 individual volunteers and 45 volunteer groups contributed 2,434 hours of service to the Preserve. The value of this volunteer work adds up to an impressive $61,896.
Volunteers restored Preserve lands by planting 650 plants, clearing 35 acres of woody invasive shrubs, collecting 32 species of seed, sowing 8 acres, and scouring 85 acres for garlic mustard. They monitored 12 miles of trails, sharpened tools, assisted with vegetation surveys and collected research reports.
Many volunteers report they donate their time in order to give back to this special campus resource. They use the Preserve as a place to socialize, exercise, and enjoy respite from the stress of school and work, as well as for learning and research. In 2019, donors gave 87 gifts totaling over $185,569.
Private gift funds support the Preserve Endowment and Stewardship funds, allowing the Preserve to purchase the equipment and supplies that make our work possible, including hand tools and gloves for volunteers. In 2019, donors also made possible the addition of 3 seasonal staff including two students who gained practical hands-on experience in land management.
The Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve provided support in 2019 by continuing to fund the Prairie Partner summer interns–five undergraduates who work one day a week for 10 weeks in the summer. In addition, the Friends donated $4,000 directly to the Preserve Stewardship fund and coordinated nature walks that served over 600 community members.
If you would like to support the Preserve financially, gifts can be made through the University of Wisconsin Foundation website or keep an eye on the Preserve Events Calendar for future volunteer opportunities.