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1994 Proceedings
North American Conference on Savannas and Barrens


K. J. Cartwright
and M. Fifield-Murray
University of Wisconsin - Madison Arboretum
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Living in the Edge: 1994 Midwest Oak Savanna Conferences

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum is currently restoring an Oak Opening consisting of approximately 16 acres. The project is coordinated and was designed by Arboretum staff using volunteers to conduct most of the restoration activities.

The Arboretum, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum Services, offered an intensive 50-hour training course for volunteers who wished to become Team Leaders of the volunteer work parties. A total of 22 potential leaders were chosen through an application process which judged their interest in restoration and their commitment to the one-year training program. Participants agreed to match their 50-hour training with a 50-hour work contribution as a Leader during the year following completion of the program. Topics included in the training were: Plant identification (desirable and undesirable species), seed collection and native plant propagation, ecological principles, chain saw use and safety (optional), herbicide use and safety, mechanical methods of control, and leadership training. Training was a mixture of classroom and hands-on experiences.

Approximately 15 of the original participants finished the training and are working as Leaders. In general, we found the program to be a success. However, in future programs, we will make the responsibilities and training more limited in scope. Some work, such as plant propagation, requires Leaders with more specialized training than they received in the pilot program. In the future, participants will concentrate on mastering fewer skills. This approach would involve intermixing more extensive hands-on field training with the classroom experience, or selecting only those people who have previous workparty experience.


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