Our collaborative approach to land care treats research, land care and volunteer participation as vitally interdependent. Strategies we employ to care for our land are responsive to new research findings. The work of volunteers and new land management practices, in turn, contribute to the pool of worthwhile research ideas.
Formerly, our land care management efforts were focused entirely within the Arboretum's boundaries, treating ecosystems such as prairies, savannas and woodlands as immune to the effects of the urban environment beyond our porous borders. Ignoring these cross-boundary influences was a common paradigm in ecological thinking. But now we realize we have to think not only about the Arboretum itself, but also about what is happening 2 miles away from here in other parts of the Lake Wingra watershed.
As a steward for a significant part of the watershed and lake shoreline, the Arboretum has a responsibility to help find solutions and management answers that reduce impacts on the lake and watershed. Viable management approaches include the components of rigorous scientific inquiry, exemplary land management practices and active civic/community participation.
Pursuing this new philosophy, we are working with others in the watershed to develop comprehensive plans for management of storm water and invasive species in the Lake Wingra watershed. This approach requires a collaborative team effort. In addition to our usual partners of Arboretum staff, UW researchers, students and volunteers, we routinely work with representatives from the City and Town of Madison, City of Fitchburg, state agencies, neighborhood associations, healthy lawn teams and organizations such as Wild Ones, Friends of Monona Bay and Friends of Lake Wingra.