Friends of Cherokee Marsh Newsletter Feb / Mar 2017
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Cherokee Marsh


Feb / March 2017

In this edition

Rich Beilfuss of the International Crane Foundation shares his experiences conserving cranes around the world.

Cranes, cake, and celebration featured at annual meeting

Our annual meeting's special guest, Richard Beilfuss, of the International Crane Foundation (ICF), introduced us to crane species of the world and the challenges and successes of crane conservation at home and abroad.

We learned that North America is home to both the most abundant (sandhill crane) and least abundant (whooping crane) crane species. Among its many projects, the ICF is working in Asia to protect wetlands used by the Sarus crane, the world's largest, at 6 ft tall with a massive 8-ft wingspan.

Director Dana Erlandsen reviewed our decade of accomplishments and gave a look ahead to the future.

Friends member and State Representative Melissa Sargent presented President Jan Axelson a Citation of Commendation for the group in recognition of our anniversary.

The members elected directors to serve in 2017-2018: Timothy Baker, Janet Battista, Dana Erlandsen, Russ Hefty, Lesleigh Luttrell, and Mary Manering. Elected for a 1-year term was Don Hammes, who previously served as an advisor for the group. Continuing directors in the middle of their two-year terms are Jan Axelson, Jim Krause, Paul Noeldner, Dick Walker, Anita Weier and Dorothy Wheeler.

After the member meeting, the directors met briefly to elect officers for the coming year: President Jan Axelson, Vice President Timothy Baker, Secretary Janet Battista and Treasurer Lesleigh Luttrell.

We want to thank the many Northside businesses and others who helped make our event a success, including Willy Street Co-op for donating two fabulous anniversary cakes, Mielke's Northside True Value Hardware for coffee urns, and our generous door prize donors:

Ale Asylum Brewery
Barb Jenkin
Benvenuto's Italian Grill
Cafe La Bellitalia
Culver's Restaurant on Northport
Dane County Lakes and Watersheds
D&S Bait and Tackle
Jim's Meat Market and Deli
Jung's Garden Center
Lesleigh Luttrell
Madison Friends of Urban Nature
Madison Mallards
Mielke's Northside True Value Hardware
Murphy's Bar and Restaurant
Noah's Ark Pet Center
Steve Lang
Warner Park Community Recreation Center
Willy Street Co-op North

Thanks for renewing

Thank you to all who have renewed your membership for 2017. If you haven’t renewed or would like to join the Friends, please take a minute to go to to renew online on download a form to mail.

Thanks to Leslie Paynter for a $40 donation in memory of Richard Paynter.

T-shirts still available

If you missed your chance to get a Friends of Cherokee Marsh anniversary T-shirt, we have a few still available.

To find out if we have your size and how to order, send an email to with a subject line of tshirt

The shirts are white organic cotton, short sleeved, and feature the Friends logo. They are available in men's and women's sizes and cost $25, delivery included.

All profits from the shirts will go to support hands-on environmental education at Cherokee Marsh.

Anita Weier thanks the Common Council for their resolution honoring the Friends. Also pictured, from left, Jan Axelson, Jim Krause, Janet Battista, and Mary Manering. Photo by Katie Crawley.

Madison Common Council honors Friends' anniversary

On January 17, Madison's Common Council passed a resolution honoring the Friends of Cherokee Marsh on our tenth anniversary. Alder Rebecca Kemble presented the Friends with a framed copy of the resolution.

Read the resolution on Mayor Soglin's blog. 
Photo by Jim Krause

County to Purchase Land at Token Creek

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has announced the intent to purchase 54 acres of land in the Town of Burke including a 3/4 mile stretch of Token Creek and 20 acres of mixed hardwood and  pine/spruce forest. The property would be managed as part of the Token Creek Natural Resource Area and may also be classified as a wildlife area. 

Token Creek, which flows into the upper Yahara River at Cherokee Marsh, provides nearly half of the base flow of water for Lake Mendota. The County, along with other governmental units and nonprofit organizations, has actively worked on water quality and habitat improvement measures for many years to protect and enhance this resource.

A resolution approving the purchase was introduced Thursday, January 12 to the Dane County Board. Once approved by the board and signed by Dane County Executive Parisi county will close on the property later this spring.

We wrote about a restoration project at Token Creek in our June/July 2015 newsletter.

Madison Parks is hiring conservation workers

Madison Parks will be hiring two seasonal workers to work in City of Madison conservation parks from approximately April through September. Parks will also be hiring one person to work exclusively at Hoyt Park from approximately June through August. The deadline to apply is Feb 13. Find out more here:

Eagles, sparrows, woodpeckers, and more spotted on Christmas Bird Count

Jan Axelson
On December 17, a team of bird enthusiasts combed Cherokee Marsh and nearby areas with a goal of finding as many species as possible for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Started by the Audubon Society as an alternative to competitive hunts, the count has been taking place yearly since 1900.

The core team consisted of Paul Noeldner, Timothy Baker, Jim Hughes, and myself. Also joining us for portions of the day were Barb Noeldner and three folks — Ellen, Bob and Jerome — who learned about the count from our Facebook page. Joleen Griffin, Steve Lang, Jeanne Mawbey, and Tim Becker shared their bird feeders and sightings with us.

With several inches of new snow and continuing snowfall through the afternoon, many birds seemed to be tucked away out of sight though there was much activity at the feeders.

Our rarest find was a fox sparrow, a rusty colored bird that normally winters in Illinois and points south, found at Jeanne Mawbey’s feeder. At Cherokee Marsh, we had good looks at a young bald eagle and a large flock of tree sparrows, which breed in Canada and Alaska but migrate to Wisconsin and other northern states for the winter.

We saw four types of woodpecker (downy, hairy, red-bellied, and northern flicker) but did not find the red-headed woodpeckers that have wintered at Cherokee in previous years. Our only wild turkey was an end-of-day sighting at the Becker farm. We ended up with 24 species.

Each year, the count proves that if you go looking for them, you can find a surprising number of birds that survive and even thrive in the snow and cold.

A version of this article appeared in the Northside News.
Lesleigh Luttrell gives the treasurer's report.

2016 Financial Statement

Our 2016 financial report showed income of $9,130.24 and expenses of $7,081.40, which included $1,250 donated for environmental education and $3,325 donated to the Cherokee Marsh Conservation Fund.

View PDF version

Thanks to our volunteers

A big thanks to our dedicated volunteers who assembled and set out 450 luminaria for our candlelight walk at North Cherokee — and then picked them all up again when the walk was over! Photo by Dana Erlandsen.

Upcoming events

See full calendar

Bird and nature walks

Sun, Feb 5, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm with naturalist guide Paul Noeldner
Sun, March 5, 1:30pm – 3:00pm
with naturalist guide Dee Wylie
first Sunday of every month, ALWAYS 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Free, family-friendly bird and nature walk.

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, North Unit, 6098 N. Sherman Ave. Follow N. Sherman Ave. north to the parking lot at the end of the gravel road.  (map)

Sponsored by Madison Parks, the Friends of Cherokee Marsh and Madison Audubon Society. Questions? Contact Paul Noeldner at (608)-698-0104 or

Board meetings

Wed, Feb 15, 5:30 pm 7:30 pm
Wed, March 15, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Members and the public are welcome at our monthly board meetings. Occasionally we reschedule, so contact us to confirm: (608) 215-0426,

Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Dr

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