At this year’s Kickapoo Earth Day Celebration in Gays Mills award-winning outdoor writer Tim Eisele will describe how he and his wife Linda restored a prairie on part of the 100 acres they own in Crawford County.
At one time, the land had been a cornfield. Prior to the Eisele’s ownership, it was filled with cool season grasses, goldenrod and some trees, but now it has been restored to prairie. The goal was to benefit wildlife, restore warm season grasses and increase the land’s bio-diversity.
Eisele’s 45-minute PowerPoint presentation uses photographs to show what the land was like originally when the Eiseles purchased it in 1990, how the vegetation was changing, the process of spraying with Roundup, a controlled burn and disking the soil. The seed was then hand sown, and the results are shown in color photos with many close-up photos of flowers and grasses. Viewers will see the required upkeep along with the insects, birds and wildlife that now use the restoredprairie.
In 2005, Tim and Linda Eisele were selected for the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wild Turkey Woodland Owners of the Year Award. In 2011, they received the Forestry Award from the Crawford County Land Conservation Department and Tim received the Madison Audubon Society’s Jim Zimmerman Award for Excellence in Environmental Communication.
As a full-time freelance outdoor writer and photographer, Tim Eisele covers natural resources and the Department of Natural Resources for Wisconsin Outdoor News and his articles have appeared in many other publications.
Eisele served two years on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame, a member of the Board of the Friends of the UW-Madison Arboretum, and on the Board of Advisors of Trees For Tomorrow in Eagle River.
Following Eisele’s Earth Day presentation, Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo of Viroqua will present information on karst geology, fracking and frac sand mining. Southwestern Wisconsin is in the middle of a frac sand mining boom as extensive areas around the country are being utilized for natural gas extraction through the fracking process. Frac sand is used in fracking operations to hold open fissures underground after blasting to allow the gas to be released. According to opponents of this process, fracking has devastating effects on the landscape including contaminating the groundwater, killing trees and even cattle. Essentially, opponents claim the land becomes a barren wasteland after fracking.
Juliee de la Terre of Viola will provide information on how communities can perform a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) regarding frac sand mining and other activities. Health Impact Assessments are like the human side of an environmental impact statement and have been used globally to affect decision-making processes that typically don't capture the health impacts on communities resulting from poor planning and regulation. An HIA includes stakeholder input and comprehensive data analysis. Currently, Governor Scott Walker’s administration has turned down all HIA requests related to the effects of fugitive silica dust from frac sand mining. HIAs can be a powerful community voice for social and economic justice. Other groups involved in the Crawford County frac sand issue may also participate in the discussion.
The April 20 Earth Day event is the fourth annual celebration in the Kickapoo Valley and will be held at the Gays Mills Mercantile Center and the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center.
This year’s theme is “Art-Rageous” to celebrate creative expressions inspired by nature. The event is being co-sponsored by the Gays Mills Arts Collective. Local artists are invited to participate in the event and can contact Lila Marmel at 608-624-5269 or email@example.com, or call the Arts Collective at 608-735-4321. This year’s event also features other speakers, workshops, local organizations and music. More information and the full schedule will be made public as the event draws nearer.