Here’s how Indigenous wild rice is helping restore wetlands in the Green Bay area
SUAMICO – As Cindy Reffke looks out across the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve, she imagines the wild rice plants that have disappeared, but are now desperately needed to restore the environment and sustain the waterfowl she loves.
“I’ve always believed that if we would’ve listened to the Native Americans we wouldn’t have the problems we have today (with the environment),” she said.
Reffke is president-elect of the Appleton Breakfast Rotary Club, which helped gather volunteers and funding to assist in a UW-Green Bay restoration project this month to plant about 300 pounds of wild rice seeding in the Green Bay region.
Experts say wild rice is an essential food source for many of the migratory birds in the area, including many species of ducks, pheasants, owls, cranes, geese and songbirds.