Unveiling the Master Plan
A crowd of fifty attended Hawthorn Hollow’s Master Plan unveiling on Thursday, October 24th. The last long-term planning for the property was when Clarence Godshalk was hired to design the Arboretum and trail system 45 years ago.
Hawthorn Hollow has evolved from the time it first opened to the public in 1972. Today, we have over two thousand school children visiting the property each year for the 1906 School House program, Cornucopia of Fall, It’s Maple Sugarin’ Time, Spring Discovery and other custom tailored field trips for scouts and schools.
Once a sleepy little nature sanctuary and arboretum, we are now becoming more well known, with many more visitors each year. This led to the realization that we need to plan for the future to preserve the charm of Hawthorn Hollow, while expanding our services to the community.
Developing the Master Plan began almost a year and a half ago, made possible with a grant from the Mary Frost Ashley Charitable Trust and additional funding from We-Energies. We started the planning process by looking at our Mission Statement: “To cultivate appreciation, understanding and stewardship of our natural and local heritage through environmental education and sanctuary preservation.” To Ruth and Margaret Teuscher, “education” and “preservation” were key words that both held close to their hearts.
The Master Plan shows a new visitor center near Green Bay Road, with a handicapped accessible trail winding through lilacs to the current Nature Center; just south of the Nature Center, an outdoor class room area; a handicapped accessible trail leading to an overlook in the Garden that looks out over the Hollow; new and expanded rock gardens south of the
Garden; diverting storm water drainage off of the Old Mill Road (main trail down to the Amphitheater) to a dry river bed drainage way along the bottom of the rock gardens that will divert the storm water from the Pike River to the Hollow; and more. You can view the plan on our website at hawthornhollow.org.
Thanks to Friends of Hawthorn Hollow for initiating a new Master Plan Fund, we’ve already begun implementing parts of the plan, such as the handicapped accessible trail to the Garden. Expect to see more improvements as the years go by.
Scout Takes on Bee Hives for Eagle Project
On Sunday, August 25th, Brad Gertz did his Eagle Scout project, a requirement for the highest rank in scouting, at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum in Kenosha, WI. For an Eagle Scout Service Project, the scout must organize, raise money for, and lead volunteers in an undertaking that benefits the community. Brad decided to build bee hives for
Hawthorn Hollow’s upcoming educational pollinator program. With the financial help of the Racine/Kenosha Beekeeping Association, Brad lead a group of 9 volunteers and constructed 3 Bee Hives. That is 3 hive bodies, 9 supers, and 30 frames in beekeeping lingo.
The Staff of Hawthorn Hollow have been training this year with local veteran beekeeper, Tim Fulton, in preparation for the 2014 beekeeping season. Hawthorn Hollow plans to install Brad Gertz’s bee hives next spring.
Rare Visitor Forages at Hawthorn Hollow
This summer we spent some time learning about the pollinators that visit the property as part of a SC Johnson grant we received. This same grant is helping us learn how to manage honeybees on the property. While surveying the property for pollinators, we discovered that the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) was foraging on plants in our prairies, woodlands, and gardens. Bumble bees don’t travel as far as honeybees for food, so it’s possible that the rusty patched also nests here.
The Xerces Society, a group that promotes invertebrate conservation, has the rusty patched bumble bee on its Red List of native bees in decline. According to the Xerces Society, the rusty patched is “Imperiled,” meaning that it is at high risk of extinction due to a very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, or other factors. Historically, the rusty patched was common in more than 25 states in the northeast and Midwest, but has disappeared from 87 percent of its historic range. In January of 2013, the Xerces Society and partners filed a petition to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act.
We hope that the rusty patched has made Hawthorn Hollow its home and that it will be a familiar visitor in the future.
This year was an exciting year at Hawthorn Hollow for Bluebird monitoring. We have 8 Bluebird nesting boxes on the property that we monitored once a week throughout the summer. The boxes were monitored to see what species were building nests, laying eggs, and how many of those eggs hatched and fledged. Eastern Bluebirds with the right conditions can have up to 3 broods a season. So between the 8 boxes we had 5 that successfully had Bluebirds occupying them for the entire season. We observed 33 total Bluebird eggs laid and had 22 recorded fledglings, which is a very successful season. Our data was sent to the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (BRAW), whose mission is to monitor and increase the production of the Eastern Bluebird and other native birds statewide. We would like to thank the Hoy Audubon Society, as well as Rick Fare and Stan Rosenstiel for providing us with a few new boxes and helping us set them up in their new locations.
New Roof and Windows for the Nature Center Hawthorn Hollow is pleased to announce the completion of the new roof on the Nature Center and Residence along with the installation of the new windows. It was a much needed improvement and would not have been possible without the help of the Mary Frost Ashley Charitable Trust. We would also like to thank Chadwick Construction Company for all of their hard work.