Land Care Report: UW Students Work the Land in Summer

Mark Herbeck and Leah Stolts (Photo: Michael Hansen)

Mark Herbeck and Leah Stolts (Photo: Michael Hansen)

In summer, the Arboretum hires UW–Madison students to assist the land care crew with the outdoor work that needs to be done during the busy growing season. The students provide much needed—and greatly appreciated—help in the Arboretum’s natural areas and gardens removing invasive species, collecting seeds, pulling weeds, and spreading mulch, among other duties. And, in the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea and Wisconsin Experience, they gain important hands-on experience in fields such as horticulture, botany, forestry, and wildlife ecology. This summer’s small but mighty student crew of two has proven to be a hard-working pair and a fun and productive addition to the permanent staff.

Mark Herbeck is a Senior Forest Science major (with an Environmental Studies certificate) hailing from Rochester, Minnesota. His favorite task has been seed collecting and learning the species we plant in our restorations. Working at the Arboretum has helped him learn “how management goals are set and what goes in to the decision-making process.” He’s also learned “the importance of community involvement, education, and outreach, and the importance of setting [i.e., urban vs. rural] as things to consider when managing land,” which he said would be helpful to him as a future land manager.

Leah Stoltz is a Junior Landscape Architecture major (with an Agriculture Business certificate) hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Like Mark, her favorite task has been seed collecting. She said she has learned “a lot about different restoration methods, plant identification, and the importance of managing invasives species.” She’s also learned about the “many different considerations required when choosing plants for a design and what their needs will be,” which she expects will help her in her future landscape architecture endeavors.

Although this summer hasn’t been overly hot, the working conditions have still been challenging at times due to a ferocious mosquito population. Nevertheless, Mark and Leah have forged on, working in about 20 different units of the Arboretum and at 6 outlying properties. Mark and Leah plan to work a few hours each week once the fall semester starts, and we look forward to having them here awhile longer and seeing where their paths lead in the future.

Thank you, Mark and Leah, for all of your good work!

—Michael Hansen, Arboretum land care manager

Note: Meet more summer student workers in the “Gardening with Native Plants” column.