The update below was written by Brandon Wolf, Peninsula’s Invasive Species Coordinator. Friends of Peninsula State Park funded this seasonal position.
I am a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where I majored in General Resource Management and minored in International Resource Management. Post-graduation I entered the field immediately as a wildlife technician for the USGS in Nevada. This was a research based position which monitored the reproductive success of the Greater-Sage Grouse. I also held a position in Nebraska for the Audubon Society improving Sandhill Crane habitat along the Platte River.
Prior to this position I was part in a Lesser-Prairie Chicken project in Oklahoma. Once this position is through I plan to get my masters in order to acquire an ideal position studying wildlife and their habitat. Currently I am speaking with professors in Colorado and have plans to meet with them in person to discuss their programs and how I might fit in with them.
My tasks here in Peninsula State Park have been vast. Most of these tasks have been the attempt to mitigate the spread of invasive species within the park. The long term goal of this position would be to successfully eradicate invasive species from the park. These goals are met by the use of chemical and manual methods to remove or terminate the target species. These target species have varied depending on the season. Initially the target species was Garlic Mustard. The focus then shifted to Wild Parsnip. Now that both of those species has gone to seed I have been focusing on Buckthorn, Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Barberry, Purple Loosestrife, Spotted Knapweed, Honeysuckle, Bittersweet, and in some areas Wild Grape.
In addition to dealing with these species I have also spent time improving the habitat in and around a very important Dwarf Lake Iris patch near Tennison Bay. This position has taught me a lot regarding plants, and the interactions between them within an ecosystem. Prior to gaining this position I had a good understanding of how invasives affected an ecosystem, but seeing how they are affecting Peninsula State Park has opened my eyes even more. I hope that the funding for this position continues for years to come, as this park deserves to be as pristine as possible.