Emerald Ash Borer Detected at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Schlitz Audubon, a 185-acre nature center that offers environmental education, confirmed in March the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle on its property according to a release fro the center. EAB kills ash trees, which comprises 35% of Schlitz Audubon’s existing tree canopy. 100 years ago, portions of the property exhibited a post-farming landscape, which provided the ideal conditions for ash trees to naturally take root. This is when much of the Center's existing ash canopy began to grow.
This EAB reality creates a significant opportunity for the Center to reinvigorate the tree population with a wider selection of biotically diverse trees, providing greater ecosystem services to surrounding flora and fauna. The Center’s early detection of EAB enables them to implement a well-rounded response plan including hazard reduction, slope stabilization, ash conservation, reforestation, and savanna conversion.
Schlitz Audubon’s land is in the skilled hands of Director of Conservation Marc White. White has more than 30 years of experience in habitat conservation, remediation and restoration, and oversees all land efforts. White mapped the property’s biological features into 256 stands and assessed the areas in immediate need of habitat restoration. He then created a 15-year land management plan to increase the health and sustainability of the property, of which the EAB response plan is an integral part. The Center is implementing this plan, and will need significant additional monetary and volunteer resources from the community to reach their goals.
As Milwaukee’s only nature center located on Lake Michigan, Schlitz Audubon is home to an amazing range of wildlife and ecosystems. For nearly five decades Schlitz Audubon has been a leader in environmental education for students of all ages. In line with their commitment to education, the Center is choosing to feature this unique moment in biological history as a learning experience.
“The Center’s response to Emerald Ash Borer will support continued environmental education in our outdoor classroom with preschool, elementary, and secondary school students, as well as adult visitors,” said Marc White. “It will showcase forest management and reforestation methods that meet the challenge of EAB and lead to a healthier and more diverse forest that provides improved wildlife habitat.”
Marc White will give presentations that explain Schlitz Audubon’s EAB response plan and how it fits into the long-term management efforts at the Center. These talks will take place on Saturday, April 23 at 9:00 AM and Wednesday, June 15 at 6:30 PM.