Science Thursdays at Wingra Park--free for kids

by Debi Leeper

We are in full swing with our Science Thursdays and the first two sessions have been great!

Liz Metloff and Natalia Kulas did an outstanding job, starting our season off with a walk to the spring and comparing water in the spring and the lake.

The students were like little scientists with their little testing kits and they really went away understanding what determines water quality. 


Plans for cutting aquatic plants in Lake Wingra


If you've seen Lake Wingra recently, you may have noticed big changes.  The water is much clearer--but there are more lake weeds--especially Eurasian water milfoil.

Since removal of carp during recent winters, these destructive fish have been greatly reduced in numbers.  They no longer stir up the bottom sediments, making the water cloudy, and disturbing rooted plants.

This has allowed water milfoil to increase, because it gets more light in the clear water.  You can now see vast areas of this invasive plant--because the little flowers are protruding above the water.

Plans for mowing aquatic plants

The 5-year permit for mowing in Lake Wingra has expired, so the Dane County Land & Water Resources Dept. is seeking public input on plans for the next 5 years.  

Recently, test strips were mowed, as shown on the map below:

"Open water areas" are found in the middle of the lake, where the water is too deep for water milfoil to take root.

The orange strip was cut to allow easy access by boats or distance swimmers across the lake.  The yellow strips are designed to allow predatory fish to penetrate into the shore areas, where they will help to restore the balance between predator and prey, leading to larger fish for anglers.

If you have comments, address them to Darren Marsh, Parks Director, 608-224-3766; marsh@co.dane.wi.us


Can you name the wetland critters?

Take the skull challenge...

at Friends of Lake Wingra's display tent
June 16, 9:30 am-4:00 pm
at Jazz in the Park, Wingra Park, Madison WI

Can you name the wetland animal that matches each skull?

The relative sizes are shown.  The largest is 7 3/4" long, and the smallest is 2 3/8" long.

A. hint:  omnivore (eats a wide variety of animals and plants)


How I became a woodland gardener

If you have lots of shade, and no money for plants--
here's an easy method.

I used to have a traditional yard--almost entirely grass, with shrubs around the edges.

Along the side, between my house and the next, it was very shady. Grass would hardly grow there, but the weeds did. I’d mow it twice in the summer to lop off the scraggly weeds. The mower would kick up clouds of dust--I’d have to hold my breath. In the fall, I raked leaves--creating more clouds of dust.
My yard (right) used to be as barren as the left side of the fence.

The Clean Lakes Festival is looking for groups to participate

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Clean Lakes Festival was started in 2007 by the Mad-City Water Ski Team, with a goal of improving the quality of our lakes. The festival's Education/Discovery Center is the environmental centerpiece--staffed by environmental and community groups. We have exciting things in the works for the Festival...Don't miss it!


Home projects for watershed health

Projects that homeowners can undertake are especially appropriate, now that the Friends of Lake Wingra has begun a partnership with City Engineering to study how management of the whole Wingra watershed can improve the lake. 

And, home projects also fit with the Arboretum's desire to reach out into the surrounding community.

I've been testing several projects people can do at home...