WM provides conservation education to Wisc. community
Orchard Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility teaches sustainability

Menomonee Falls, Wisc. After an extremely harsh Wisconsin winter, 45 kids and adults volunteered at the Orchard Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF) to learn about invasive species recently. The visitors were there to work on the Hidden Springs wetland and prairie, a Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) project.

WM Chemist Greg Konsionowski, District Manager Steve Meyer, and the wildlife Management team at the Orchard Ridge RDF hosted the day to provide hands-on learning. “Our focus was on how woody invasive species like buckthorn and black locust negatively affect wetlands, wildlife habitat, and water quality,” Konsionowski said.

A forested wetland at the 50-acre Hidden Springs complex was recently selectively logged to thin out green ash trees to increase sunlight penetration that will allow native wetland plants to flourish. The volunteers then cleared with chainsaws, dragged and piled the remaining buckthorn and woody debris. WM partnered with local community conservation groups including Mequon Nature Preserve, Pheasants Forever Ozaukee/Southeast Wisconsin Chapters, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association Cedar Creek/Mequon Chapter and Eco-Resource Consulting.

Hidden Springs received the Wildlife at Work certification from the Wildlife Habitat  Council (WHC) in 2010 and a three-year recertification in 2012. It also received the Prairies for Tomorrow national award from Pheasants Forever. In 2013 the Hidden Springs Project received the Corporate Lands for Learning certification from WHC hat opens doors to support local community and youth education.

“Our Wildlife Habitat Council project at Orchard Ridge RDF shows what engaged employees cooperating with community partners can accomplish to promote sustainability and conservation education,” said Konsionowski.

PHOTO: Student and adult volunteers learned the importance of conserving the environment thanks to a conservation education work day sponsored by WM.