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Cherokee Marsh

Aug / Sept 2022

In this edition

Goats perform "prescribed grazing" in South Unit

And they're scheduled to return in August!

A herd of forty goats arrived at Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park’s South Unit, 802 Wheeler Road, to graze on invasive plants this June. Hired from a local farm, the goats consume an average of eight pounds of vegetation per day and will graze a total of six acres at Cherokee Marsh over the summer.

Paul Quinlan, Conservation Resources Supervisor for Madison Parks, reports, “We are using the goats to target woody species—shrubs and small trees—which in the selected areas were mostly invasive species. After two or three seasons of grazing, we will add native seed and transition to prescribed burning to maintain the area.” 

Electric fencing keeps the goats contained. Water and minerals are provided, and someone checks on the goats each day. The herd left at the end of June but is scheduled to return in mid-August for another round of grazing. 

Help look for aquatic invasive species on Snapshot Day

The Friends of Cherokee Marsh and Wild Warner are hosting a volunteer site for Snapshot Day, a statewide, one-day event that connects volunteers, water lovers, and local groups in a citizen science search for aquatic invasive species.

Join us to play a part in protecting Wisconsin's rivers and lakes from invasive plants and animals that negatively impact habitat, wildlife, recreation and health. The event is coordinated in partnership with UW-Madison Division of Extension, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, local partners, and our many volunteers.
The event is Saturday, August 20, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm.
No experience is needed. Volunteers will meet at Warner Park for a brief training and will travel in teams to the monitoring sites. Using rakes, nets, waders, plastic bags, and cameras, volunteers will search for problem plants and invertebrates at a variety of sites. On completing the search, volunteers will return to the staging area to drop off equipment and samples.

The sites will likely include locations at Cherokee Marsh, Six Mile Creek in Waunakee, Warner Park, Starkweather Creek, and Token Creek.
Specimens gathered by volunteers around the state are sent to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and shared on the Surface Water Integrated Monitoring System (SWIMS) database.
A brief online training will be available, both live and recorded.
Registration is requested.

More information and register

Recent happenings around the marsh

The Prairie Partner interns have completed 10 of their 12 Tuesday workdays with us. These hardworking young folks have cleared enormous quantities of garlic mustard, Japanese hedge parsley, sweet clover, and other invasive plants from the woods and prairies in Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park's three units, Meadow Ridge Conservation Park, and Yahara Heights County Park. The work the interns do is making a real difference in our natural areas.

Thank you to our contributors who have donated to support the Prairie Partners.

Donate to support the Prairie Partners

Thanks to Jeff Steele for leading our annual moth walk at North Cherokee. Thanks also to Chet's Car Care for their donation of a battery, which meant Jeff was no longer limited to locations accessible by extension cord!

The organization Get Kids Outside brought children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County to Cherokee Marsh in early July for a Wetland Wonders hike.

We tabled at the Northside Farmers Market in July. Join us there again on Sept 11, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, in the Northside TownCenter near Willy Street Co-op.

The prairies are alive with flowers and butterflies. Be sure to get out and pay them a visit!

Our mission and vision

Most nonprofits have mission and vision statements that help guide the group's activities. Our mission is our purpose, or what we do, and our vision is what we are working toward.

This year our board reviewed our mission and vision statements and made a change to our mission to include the importance of appreciation and enjoyment of the marsh.

Our mission

We work to protect, restore, and foster appreciation and enjoyment of Cherokee Marsh's lands, waters, and living beauty.

Our vision

Cherokee Marsh is vital to the ecology of the Yahara lakes and waters. The marsh is a place of great beauty, a natural treasure alive with diverse native plants and animals, and a refuge for the renewal of the human spirit. People value Cherokee Marsh for its educational and recreational opportunities, filtering of stormwater runoff, tempering of flood surges, and other wetland functions.

Upcoming events

Unless otherwise indicated, events are free with no registration required.  

Sign up to receive notices about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities including announcements for last-minute events and volunteer opportunities that don't make it into the newsletter.

See the full calendar for latest information.

Bird and Nature Adventures

Sunday August 7, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Learn Prairie Plant ID
with naturalist guides Lynn Persson and Eva Roos

Sunday Sept 4, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Summer feasting
with Master Naturalist Kathlean Wolf


first Sunday of EVERY month, year-round, ALWAYS 1:30 pm – 3 pm

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - North Unit, 6098 N Sherman Ave. Follow N. Sherman Ave. north to the parking area at the end of the gravel road.

Contact: Paul Noeldner,, 608-698-0104

Madison Parks bird and nature adventure page


Beginning Birders at Cherokee Marsh with Madison Audubon (waitlist)

Saturday August 6, 9:00 am – 10:30 am

More information and to join the waitlist


Paddling - Intro to Canoe, with MSCR. MSCR provides instruction, lifejackets, boats, and paddles. 

Saturday August 6, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

More information and to register

Birding by Boat with Madison Audubon (waitlist)

Sunday August 7, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Join Madison Audubon and the BIPOC Birding Club of Wisconsin for a slow paddle exploring the incredible diversity of Cherokee Marsh at sunset. Get a great experience looking for birds, insects, and aquatic plants by boat; we expect to see species like Green Heron, Kingfishers, swallows, Sora, and more!

More information and to join the waitlist

Aquatic Invasive Species Snapshot Day 2022

Saturday, August 20, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

See story above in this newsletter.


Paddling - Intro to Kayak, with MSCR. MSCR provides instruction, lifejackets, boats, and paddles. 

Saturday, August 20 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

More information and to register


Paddle Cherokee Marsh with State Senator Melissa Agard

Wednesday August 31 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join State Senator Melissa Agard and her staff for a paddle with the Friends of Cherokee Marsh on the upper Yahara River at Cherokee Marsh. Launch at the paddlecraft landing at the corner of Burning Wood Way and Mosinee Lane in the Cherokee Park neighborhood. If you want to participate but need a boat, please contact Jan at 608-215-0426. Event will be canceled if thunderstorms threaten, if it is raining, or if winds are greater than 15 mph. See web calendar at for cancellation information, will be posted by 8 am on day of event.

Meet the Friends at the Northside Farmers Market

Sunday, Sept 11, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

We'll be tabling at the market. Stop by and say hi!

Northside TownCenter, 1865 Northport Dr, near Willy St Co-op. 

Beyond Backyard Birding with Madison Audubon

Sat, Sept 24, 7:30 am – 9:30 am

More information and register

Help remove invasive phragmites (giant reed grass)

We'll be continuing our ongoing project to keep the high-quality wetlands in the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area free from phragmites and invasive cattails. We'll have work parties from mid-August through September. 

To be informed of volunteer events, be sure you are signed up to receive event notices.  

Sign up to receive event notices.


Board meetings

Wed, August 17, 5:30 – 7 pm
Wed, September 21, 5:30 – 7 pm

Our board of directors is responsible for planning, coordinating, communicating, and managing our activities. Everyone is welcome to attend board meetings. We've resumed in-person meetings in the Warner Park Community Recreation Center or outdoors at the Warner Park rainbow shelter. Contact to confirm location.

Save the dates

Sun, Oct 2, 1:30 pm: Fall Colors at Cherokee, with naturalist guide Sean Gere, Cherokee Marsh, North Unit

Wed, Oct 12, 5:30 – 7:00 pm, Tour the North Unit with Parks staff

Sat, Oct 15 Hayrides and hikes

Self-guided nature adventures

Get ideas for your own self-guided nature adventures at Cherokee Marsh and other locations.
Copyright © 2022 Friends of Cherokee Marsh, All rights reserved.

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