Saturday was a great day for woodland restoration. The temperatures were cool (ok cold and sleeting) but let’s look on the bright side, no mosquitos yet. Quentin Maxwell, Ernie Meyer, and Joe Meyer started cutting buckthorn early Saturday morning at the Schoenstatt Retreat Center in Waukesha. The sister’s own several hundred acres of beautiful rolling hills including agricultural land, marshes, and woodlands.
The woodland we worked in is full of a variety of hardwood tree species like oak, hickory, and cherry. There are many different tree sizes in the woodland including multiple 200+ year-old oaks and hickories. The invasive European buckthorn was interspersed throughout the woodland and removing it allows light to reach the native wildflowers and the next generation of hardwood saplings.
After cutting for several hours, we were joined MUHS students Owen Byrne, Sebastian Pruhs, Max Neimon, and Jacob Baisden. These guys did a great job stacking the buckthorn into piles that will be burned later in the year but for now serve as a haven for wildlife.
Ernie Meyer donated an Aldo Leopold style bench to the sisters that we placed amongst a spectacular Oak Opening. We also began to make a woodland trail that will be accessible to people on retreat who want to meander through the gorgeous woodland. Laudato Si’ Project looks forward to continuing this and many other projects on the Schoenstatt Retreat Center property including more bluebird nest boxes and prairie plantings. After a hard but satisfying few hours of work, the sisters had a nice hot lunch waiting for us in the retreat center to thank us for our work.