By BJ Byers
As the newest member of the Groundswell team, I’d like to introduce myself and share some of my objectives as conservationist. I’m excited to work with such a motivated and goal-oriented land trust, and I’m looking forward to using my knowledge and skills to help give back to the community and improve the quality of our green spaces.
In 2017 I graduated from UW-Madison with a master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology. I was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a biologist, where I worked with private landowners to restore their land to prairie, oak savanna and wetland habitats. While there, I worked jointly with Ducks Unlimited to help write and administer North American Wetland Conservation Act grants, which resulted in two grants totaling $2 million. All grant funds will be used for wetland acquisition, restoration and enhancement in Wisconsin.
One of my goals as conservationist is to maintain and improve the quality of our green spaces. Every month I work side-by-side with our extraordinary volunteers who help pull invasive weeds and cut brush at Westport Prairie and Patrick Marsh. During the summer, I supervise five Prairie Partners interns who join my quest to eliminate invasive plants.
Every spring and fall I will monitor our many conservation easements and coordinate site improvements at community farms and “green school yard” projects. This includes well installation for our community farms so growers can irrigate their crops, as well as helping to install rain gardens and outdoor educational infrastructure at local schools so children can play and learn about their natural world.
When I’m not working, you’ll likely find me pulling weeds at other natural areas (I just can’t stop), hiking, camping, fly fishing, canoeing, playing soccer or vegetable gardening with my wife, Carolyn, and 2-year old son, Jay (yes, named after the bird).