Rusty patched bumble bees a matter of concern to scientists

The rusty patched bumble bee population has declined dramatically over the years, but there’s an effort to turn the numbers around. Keith White Prairie is a place on UW-Green Bay campus, where bumble bees swarm flowers known as bee balm. There are around 20 bee species that are native to the state of Wisconsin, but the decline of the rusty-patched is a concern to scientists.

“I think all bee ecologists are worried about the rusty patched. Again, this was a species that was once very common,” UW-Green Bay Biology Chair Amy Wolf explains to Fox 11. Experts say the causes of decline in population are extreme weather, loss of habitat and pesticides. Alumnus and DNR Conservation Biologist Jay Watson ’09 believes a disease is to blame for the crash. “It’s pretty alarming because the rusty patched bumble bee, I don’t think it’s alone. It’s not an isolated incident,” said alumna and U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Biologist Reena Bowman ’17. 

Principles of Ecology classs working in arboretum

Prairie companions: UW-Green Bay ecology class works at restoring Keith White Prairie

Equipped with work boots, buckets and loppers, UW-Green Bay Prof. Amy Wolf (NAS) and her Principles of Ecology students continued the restoration and maintenance of UW-Green Bay’s Keith White Prairie Oct. 4. Students worked to remove invasive and woody species and collect seeds. They also worked in the greenhouse preparing plants donated by Prairie Nursery (owned by UW-Green Bay alumnus Neil Diboll), for transplanting. Ecologist Bobbie Webster, Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Natural Areas, assisted with the project.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

UWGB Ecology

– Photos by Bob Howe, Natural and Applied Sciences

Students working on Cofrin arboretum plugs

Preserving the prairie

Thanks to an endowed gift by UWGB prof. Emeritus Keith White, and alumnus Neil Diboll, Canada Goldenrod and other invasive species are being replaced by prairie plants to increase biodiversity in the Keith White Prairie on campus. This fall, UWGB students and volunteers are transplanting plugs into larger pots, where they will continue to grow until next spring, when they are large enough to survive planting in the prairie. Diboll, owner of Prairie Nursery, is donating plug flats for both the arboretum and Baird Creek. The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity facebook page does a great job of updated those interested on projects like these, and biodiversity-related topics related to campus and community. Find it here.

Record number of scholarship funds presented to science students

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay honored some of its top science scholars Friday, Jan. 29, with more than $32,900 in scholarship funding presented to 30 recipients. Flanked by parents, faculty members and donors, students were recognized for high grades, outstanding scholarship, innovative research and overall academic excellence. Receiving awards:

Cody Becker (So. Environmental Science and Geoscience major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Chad Moritz and Beth Meyer Annual Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Worked in the robotics laboratory at UW-Milwaukee, where he studied, designed, and built a kite-based multispectral imaging system to rapidly assess the growth of near-shore algae in Lake Michigan and a large radio-controlled pontoon boat for plankton sampling. In Spring 2015, he presented his research from UW-Milwaukee at the UW-System Undergraduate Research Symposium and won the Most Outstanding Poster Presentation Award for his aerial imaging research. He has since worked with Prof. Bob Howe at the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity on a multitude of projects, including vegetation mapping, mammal surveying, and the creation of a drone program. Based on his drone research experience and summer aerial imaging work, Becker has become involved with UWGB’s Risk Management Committee to aid in creating a UW-Systemwide policy on drone use.

Krystal Clark (Sr. Environmental Science major, Menominee, Mich.) receiving the Alfred O. and Phyllis E. Holz Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: An active member of the Public and Environmental Affairs Council (PEAC), Round River Alliance, American Fisheries Society (AFS), SLO Foods, and the Geology Club. She was elected President of PEAC this year. Served a summer 2015 internship as a research assistant for the Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries Lab where she assisted with a Sea Grant project on quantifying coastal wetland in the area. Recently returned from the travel abroad course to Panama. She is interested in a career involving environmental consulting, pollution control/prevention, and waste management.

Molly Dederich (Sr. Mathematics major, Menomonee Falls, Wis.) receiving the Todd and Julie Bartels Annual Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Extensively involved in the Green Bay Optimist Club and serving her third year as co-president for the organization. Lead staff member with the Greater Green Bay YMCA’s school age childcare program. Volunteer with Terror on the Fox, Kid’s Autumn Adventure, the Center for Childhood Safety, the Brown County Library, the Neville Public Museum, and Green Bay Preble High School helping students prepare to take the math portion of the ACT. Member of the UWGB Pep Band. Her goal is to teach math at the middle school level.

Amy Deringer (Fr. Environmental Engineering Technology and Business Administration major, Ringle Wis.) receiving the Faith Technologies, Inc. Annual Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Participated in a porcupine ecology study conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In high school she was part of the Wisconsin Youth in Government program sponsored by the YMCA. Currently, she is working 10 hours a week as a drafting intern for a window and door manufacturing company. Her plan is to pursue a law degree in either environmental or corporate law.

Stephanie Hermans (Jr. Animal Biology major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Herbert Fisk Johnson Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Active volunteer at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary for the past five years. In summer 2015 interned with Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River, Wis. Worked with graduate student on researching and collecting data on mushrooms in Door County. Was a resident assistant for Residence Life last year, and now serves as a community advisor. She is vice president of Student WEA, and is active in other organizations including Healthy Choices Task Force, Residence Green Life Committee, and Phi Eta Sigma. Her goal is to work with animals in a wildlife sanctuary or zoo prior to becoming a science teacher.

Elisabeth Hidde (Fr. Environmental Science major, Appleton, Wis.) receiving the Carol R. De Groot Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: For a class project, she observed and noted the effects of a controlled prairie burn. Has had multiple opportunities to observe and study an entire pond ecosystem at her high school. Faculty member noted that her essays are easily among the best in class. She is interested in the NAS integrated bachelor’s to master’s degree program.

Dessiray Koss (Jr. Mechanical Engineering Technolgy, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Susan Finco and Ed Kralovec Endowed Scholarship, and the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance Future All-Stars Annual Scholarship.

Accomplishments: In May 2013 received and Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Design Technology from NWTC as well as a Parametric Modeling and CAD Certificate. Was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa while attending NWTC. Has worked full-time as an engineer designer at Essco Inc. for more than two years.

Allison LeMahieu (So. Mathematics Statistics major, Franklin, Wis.) receiving the Herbert Fisk Johnson Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Serves as a resident assistant. Is vice chair for SUFAC, and the secretary of “Love Your Melon.” An active member in Public and Environmental Affairs Council, Habitat for Humanity and Oxfam America. Is involved with various committees including the Dining RFP Committee, Inclusivity in the Workplace Subcommittee, and the Childcare Alliance. Intends to pursue a career in actuarial science.

Faith Lindermann (Jr. Chemistry major, Cleveland, Wis.) receiving the Nancy Sell Memorial Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Serves as a resident assistant. Completed a research project with Dr. Mike Mcintire in studying the oxidation rate of iron. Will be working with Dr. Franklin Chen in the area of polymer chemistry soil research. Will be joining Tutoring Services next semester as a tutor for Chemistry.

Haley Lucas (Jr. Environmental Science major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Brown County Waste Transformation Team Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Developed a volunteer internship through the Richard Mauthe Center, in which she researched, engineered, and constructed an aquaponics system, consisting of a 350-gallon fish tank and a 100-gallon grow bed. Has launched and maintained several projects including community composting, vermicomposting and a vegetable garden. Summer 2015, she interned for the Green Bay Botanical Gardens as the invasive species manager. Active member since 2013 of the UW-Green Bay Phoenix women’s swimming and diving team. Made the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll and also received the Team Leader Award in 2015. She has been inducted into the Phi Eta sigma National Freshman Honor Society. She is looking forward to continuing research in sustainable land management, and receiving her master’s degree at UW-Green Bay.

Matthew Malcore (Sr. Environmental Science and Environmental Policy and Planning major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Alfred O. and Phyllis E. Holz Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Active member of Public and Environmental Affairs Council since Fall 2012, and managed the budget as the PEAC treasurer since Spring 2013. In Spring 2014, he received an EMBI internship with Zeus Recycling, and established a plastic film recycling program on campus. He is considering graduate school for Environmental Science and/or Policy. He is interested in renewable energy and in pursuing a career in nuclear power or the solar photovoltaic industry.

Samuel Mantel (Sr. Cellular and Molecular Biology major, New Berlin, Wis.) receiving the Nancy Sell Memorial Scholarship.

Accomplishments: In summer 2015, was given a fellowship in the lab of Dr. Andrea Sweigart at the University of Georgia, where he worked with a graduate student on a portion of his dissertation research investigating the effects of transmission ratio distortion on the maintenance in a 2-locus Dobzhansky-Muller Incompatibility in Mimulus. He is currently conducting research with UWGB Prof. Uwe Pott on developing a size standard of the human D1S80 VNTR. Inducted into Tribeta, the National Biological Honor Society, is president of the Newman Club and has worked for the grounds crew at UWGB for three years. He is planning on a career in genetic research and is pursuing admission to several Ph.D. Programs in genetics for next fall.

David Maruszczak (Sr. Mechanical Engineering Technology major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Beth and Richard Gochnauer Scholarship.

Accomplishments: His interest in mechanical engineering blossomed during his youth on a farm and helping his father maintain the farm machinery. His acquired knowledge about mechanics which has fueled his interest in mechanical engineering technology. His dedication and persistence is noted by UWGB faculty.

Brianna Messner (Sr. Mathematics and Spanish, from Seymour, Wis.) receiving the Science and Mathematics Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Member of the Phoenix soccer team, Spanish Club, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the freshman honor society Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi — the academic honor society dedicated to the recognition and promotion of academic excellence in all fields of higher education. As a freshman she presented at the Academic Excellence Symposium after working closely with Prof. Greg Davis on a study regarding math and sports.

Ashley Morin (Sr. Animal Biology and Ecology and Conservation Biology major, Niagara, Wis.) received the Herbert Fisk Johnson Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Worked with a graduate student through electrofishing of Green Bay tributaries, performing seine hauls, and conducting fyke net surveys. Assisted the DNR with duck banding at the George W. Mead Wildlife Area. Volunteered to restore the Keith White Prairie on campus, and assisted with the prescribed burn last November. She has worked for the USDA-Wildlife Services on research related to wolf depredation on livestock for the past two years. Inducted in 2014 to the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

Joshua Moyer (Sr. Cellular and Molecular Biology major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Ganga and Elizabeth Nair Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Working with graduate student Samantha Nellis on performing research looking at microbial populations in nectar. He was inducted into the TriBeta, Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Societies. He volunteers with his church’s confirmation program. He plans on finishing his undergraduate degree in Biology, and then pursuing higher education in graduate or medical school.

Matthew Nichols (Sr. Chemistry and Individual major, Wausau, Wis.) receiving the Northeast Wisconsin Engineering Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Interned for the past two summers at the Marathon County Health Laboratory where he performed bacteriological and chemical laboratory testing on private drinking water, sewage effluent, hotel pools, and hotel whirlpools. Volunteered for the DNR as a lake water quality monitor in Lincoln County for the past two summers. Currently working on a research project with Prof. Ryan Holzem to provide the company ProfitProAG with a performance evaluation on their Manure MasterTM product. Member of UWGB Nordic ski team, serving as captain for three years. His goal is a career in environmental engineering or environmental science, focusing on water quality.

Kenzie Ostien (Fr. Environmental Science major, Appleton, Wis.) receiving the Carol R. De Groot Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Passionate about environmental topics such as agriculture, alternative energy resources, and hydrology. Immersed in many organizations like the Camping and Climbing Clubs, Ballroom Dancing Club and intramurals. Volunteer for Good Times Programming (GTP).

Eric Short (Jr. Environmental Engineering Technology major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Dykema Family Endowed Scholarship and the Superior Diesel Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Has balanced work in a construction company for five years, and in a bakery for two years, while taking classes at NWTC. Aspirations for a career in environmental engineering technology.

Jeremiah Shrovnal (Sr. Ecology and Conservation Biology major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the James E. Casperson Memorial Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Actively engaged, and current president of UWGB’s American Fisheries Society, which has provided him many opportunities such as assisting in a Manitowoc based pre-restoration, working at the Strawberry Weir fishery, catching and documenting returning Chinook Salmon, sampling larval Lake Whitefish on the Menominee River, monitoring Northern Pike populations in the Green Bay wetlands, and attending the Wisconsin state chapter conference of the American Fisheries Society. Involved with Round River Alliance on campus, along with HIVE, and SLO. Last summer he researched the spider communities in Phragmites in Green Bay, and volunteered for Nicolet National Forest Bird Survey. Inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor society. Has plans to apply to graduate school to study terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems’ ecology, conservation, and restoration.

Angela Smet (Jr. Environmental Science major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Katie Hemauer Memorial Scholarship and the Herbert Fisk Johnson Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Volunteered this past summer 230+hours as a National Park Volunteer for Pictured Rocks in Munising, Michigan. Taught as a graduate mentor for the TRIO and Precollege Comparative Anatomy students this past summer. Working with Dr. Franklin Chen in researching the effects of the polymers on sand soil nutrient retention property using EDTA titration route. Inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Societies in 2015. Hopes to use her background in Environmental Science to understand the negative health effects to humans at home and across the globe.

Benjamin Stratman (Fr. Pre-engineering major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Northeast Wisconsin Engineering First Year Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Contributed to the Einstein Science Expo by building and testing models present at the expo, and helped build a pitching machine and a billiard ball machine. Was a state championship qualifier for Bay Port High School. Active member of church functions at Celebration Church and St. John the Baptist parish. Will participate in a 10-day mission trip to India this spring. His goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Sahara Tanner (Sr. Environmental Science major, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Morgan/Macaluso Family Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Represented the Wisconsin Farmers Union in the National Famers Union Washington D.C. Fly-In in fall 2013. Was a teaching assistant for Prof. Patrick Fosythe’s Introduction to Environmental Science course. Worked with Prof. Mathew Dornbush and graduate student Brianna Kupsky on the Cat Island/Duck Creek Habitat Restoration Research Project. Managed UWGB’s organic garden as co-president of Sustainable Local Organic (SLO) Food Alliance. Works with Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, helping with events such as the prairie burn, and organizing/consolidating data from numerous Green Bay research projects. Recently returned from a study abroad trip to Panama.

Emily Vandersteen (Jr. Ecology and Conservation biology major, De Pere, Wis.) receiving Moose Lodge Rod and Gun Club Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Worked for the Door County Soil and Water Department as a conservation LTE, where she managed and controlled terrestrial invasive plant species. Currently serves the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity and its campus natural areas. Tutors biology and environmental science students. Active volunteer at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. She hopes to acquire a position with the DNR or U.S. Fish and Wildlife after graduation.

James Vasquez (Jr. Mechanical Engineering Technology, Green Bay, Wis.) receiving the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance Future All-Stars Annual Scholarship and the Lee and Kathy Anderson Endowed Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Worked full time in manufacturing for more than five years at Krueger International in Green Bay. Is s transfer student from UW-Milwaukee and aspires to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering technology. Said a faculty member, “James’ engineering judgment, while still developing, is at the top of his class.”

Touhue Yang (Sr. Humanistic Studies and Ecology and Conservation Biology major, Suamico, Wis.) receiving the Bradford L. Cook Memorial Scholarship.

Accomplishments: Worked as a student intern for the Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries Lab at UW-Green Bay. Currently assisting a graduate student on looking at the distribution of larval fish in Green Bay and is organizing, enumerating and identifying the larval fish samples. Currently working with Prof. Patrick Forsythe examining the distribution of zooplankton in Green Bay. Active volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay. Has plans to pursue a master’s degree.

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If you missed Thursday’s Log Extra

….it was a dandy. We had stories about:

* A gift by Prof. Emeritus Keith White and his wife, Betty, to revitalize the Keith White Prairie on the Cofrin Arboretum,
* A reminder on Profs. Heidi Sherman and Alison Gates presenting ‘The Flax Project’ at the next ‘After Thoughts’ Tuesday.
* Stats and more photos recapping the success of last Friday’s UWGB participation in ‘Make a Difference Day.
* A story about Prof. Rebecca Meacham’s Documenting Memory class, and Humanistic Studies students and Social Work interns documenting the lives of Unity Hospice respite patients.
You can find the entire issue archived on the web.

Keith White Prairie Restoration Planning Meeting

Slideshow: Couple’s gift could revitalize UWGB prairie

A retired professor and his wife have stepped forward to promote revitalization of the tallgrass prairie on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Keith L. and Betty A. White of Green Bay agreed earlier this fall to make a generous, five-figure gift to the University to create a permanent endowment for improvements to the prairie, a signature feature of the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum encircling campus.

(The Whites, in blue and purple parkas above, posed with staff, faculty and friends who toured the site and discussed plans for the endowment with them in mid-October.)

The amount of the gift was not revealed publically, but the principal is expected to spin off up to several thousand dollars annually for student research, projects and plantings aimed at maximizing diversity and bringing the prairie to full flower.

“What we’re looking for is that, 20 years from now, there will be many more patches of color and much more diversity, especially in the ‘understory,’” Keith White said while walking the 8.5-acre site. “Right now, we have perhaps 50 (plant) species present here. I’d like to see 200.”

Prairie pioneer urges revitalization

White joined the then-new UWGB in 1968 as a founding member of the biology and ecology faculty. He made the first prairie plantings on the bayshore campus in 1973, in an area of former farm fields along South Circle Drive. Five years after he retired in 1989, the University named and dedicated the Keith White Prairie in his honor.

In the decades since, the prairie has come to be dominated by the success of climax species including big bluestem and switchgrass, along with invasive goldenrod, whose taller stature and deep roots crowd out other plants.

The relative lack of diversity today limits both the attractiveness of flowering-plant displays for casual visitors and the range of species available to researchers studying succession and other ecological issues.

In a thriving prairie, flowering forbs become evident throughout the growing season, a pattern often called “sequential blooming.” Some of the flower species evident at the UW-Green Bay prairie include yellow cone flower, prairie dock, lupine, black-eyed Susan, spiderwort, and false indigo, but White reiterates there should be more.

“I hear from friends of mine, people who make the drive here because they want to experience a native prairie, and they tell me, ‘I didn’t realize so much of it would be grasses,’” White relates. “We need to change that. That’s my primary goal.”

In lieu of bison

Faculty and staff of the University’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity manage the prairie with periodic spring burns to mimic the natural wildfires that, on America’s pre-settlement grasslands, revitalized the native plant communities and discouraged invaders.

Both White and Prof. Bob Howe, who directs the biodiversity center, are in agreement, however, that another natural contributor to prairie ecology is unavailable here.

“We have never had bison and elk roaming free on this prairie,” Howe said, “and I’m not going out on a limb here by saying we never will.”

Those keystone species were vital to the biologic diversity of America’s native prairies because their grazing habits, massive size and sharp hooves periodically disturbed the grasslands and encouraged understory plants to gain a toehold. Bison, in particular, had a habit of digging out depressions to wallow in the dust, their shaggy coats picking up seeds and depositing them elsewhere as their herds traveled the land.

At a little under 10 acres in size, bordering the boundary road for the busy central campus and criss-crossed by hiking and biking trails, UWGB’s Keith White Prairie is not a prime candidate for a large-ungulate transplant. That leaves it to humans — using tools, seeds and plans developed via the White’s recent gift — to promote biodiversity.

Plans to use the White endowment

Howe says that the first step will be a comprehensive inventory of the existing prairie documenting species diversity and relative abundance, with an assessment of non-native invasives and soil conditions.

Over a period of years, the White endowment would encourage researchers to move forward with individual projects that would likely begin with rototilling and manually clearing small pockets within the exiting prairie, replanting with diverse species, and continue with monitoring of the new plants’ success.

Partnering with UW-Green Bay on the project is alumnus Neil Diboll, a former student of Keith White, who during his undergraduate days in the 1970s assisted in developing and expanding the campus prairie. Diboll is today known nationally for his expertise in prairie planting and restoration through the success of the company he founded, Prairie Nursery Inc., based in Westfield.

Students who receive grants from the White Prairie Restoration Endowed Award Fund will be expected to pursue their projects under the supervision of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, in consultation with Diboll, as they conduct plantings, transplants or other measures to increase the diversity of native plants, insect pollinators and animals. They’ll also be required to maintain careful records and maps of activities to facilitate long-term monitoring.

“The gift from Keith and Betty will provide tremendous opportunities for our students,” Howe says. “It is very appropriate that, during this University’s 50th Anniversary year, they have committed their support to the Arboretum, this prairie and our students.”

Photos by UWGB Marketing and University Communication staff member Kimberly Vlies.

Click to advance slideshow
Keith White Prairie Restoration Meeting - Oct. 16, 2015

Dry weather frustrates prairie fire, for now


If it’s April, it must be time for the seasonal controlled burn to reinvigorate the Keith White Prairie in the UW-Green Bay Cofrin Memorial Arboretum, adjacent to South Circle Drive. Originally scheduled for last Wednesday, the burn was postponed because of the windy, tinder-dry conditions that have led to burn bans (and plenty of grass fires) over much of Wisconsin. We’ll keep you posted.

Where there's smoke, there's prairie fire

Prescribed burns on the Keith White Prairie are likely later this week. After surveying the prairie Monday morning with Gary Fewless, project coordinator Joshua Martinez says conditions look good for the sort of controlled, periodic burn necessary in nature to rejuvenate a prairie and keep it in top condition. So, don’t be alarmed if you see a little smoke – you’ll also see a team of Arboretum professionals keeping a close eye on things. The best guess now is that things will start heating up around noon this Thursday (April 26).

Alumna donates 'Pink Canyon' to art collection

click to see larger image

Paula White, a 1983 graduate of UW-Green Bay’s Humanistic Studies program, recently donated a color photograph titled “Pink Canyon” to UW-Green Bay’s permanent art collection.

White is the project manager of Formative Assessment Records for English Language Learners (FLARE) at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, UW-Madison. She earned her Ph.D. at UW-Madison.

Her ecologist father, Prof. Emeritus Keith White, was an influential founding faculty member with the University’s widely renowned environmental sciences program. The Keith White Prairie in the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum is named in his honor.

Giving back: Diboll’s donation plugs prairie plantings at Baird Creek

Neil Diboll, photo by David GreerThe Baird Creek Preservation Foundation is asking for the public’s help in handling a unique donation from a company founded by a UW-Green Bay alumnus.

The donation comes about through the lifelong passion of Neil Diboll, UW-Green Bay Class of ’78, and it is perfectly in keeping with his alma mater’s, and his own, “green” roots.

Diboll’s company, Prairie Nursery, Inc., of Westfield, Wis., has donated 12,000 plants to help re-establish native plant communities in the Baird Creek greenway on Green Bay’s far east side, not far from campus.

Volunteers for the Preservation Foundation have planted about 6,000 plant plugs in a series of outings over the last month.

The fourth and largest planting — hence the public call for additional volunteers — is set to begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, near the end of McKenzie Lane. The meeting site is a few blocks south of Humboldt Road and Baird Elementary School.

Volunteers that have them are encouraged to bring their own planting tools. A cordless drill with a one-inch flat, wood bit works well, organizers say, as would a small shovel or trowel.

Keith White Prairie, UW-Green Bay

Diboll (shown here in file photos) studied at UW-Green Bay during the height of its “Eco U” heyday, earning a degree in Environmental Sciences. He contributed to the early development of the University’s Cofrin Arboretum and its restored prairie, since renamed the Keith White Prairie in honor of a distinguished faculty member and Diboll’s mentor.

Diboll returned to the UW-Green Bay campus last December when he was invited to deliver the commencement address. He shared his personal story of founding Prairie Nursery during the economic lean times of the early 1980s, when natural landscaping was relatively unknown. He advised the graduating seniors that if they have passion and skills and a decent idea, they’d never regret taking a shot at being an entrepreneur.

Neil DibollToday, Prairie Nursery ships native seeds and plants nationwide from its headquarters in Westfield, in central Wisconsin. Magazine stories have billed the evangelistic Diboll — always touting the financial savings and aesthetic gains of natural landscaping — as the “Prairie Prophet.”

The firm founded by Diboll designs and installs attractive, eco-friendly landscapes throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States. Among its high-profile clients are the Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits golf courses near Kohler, Alliant Energy headquarters in Madison and the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

Much the nursery’s business involves prairie wildflowers. The donation to the Baird Creek project is mostly native prairie grasses.

The Baird Creek Preservation Foundation is a non-profit organization whose stated mission is to assist the City of Green Bay in acquiring land in the Baird Creek Parkway and to help enhance the Parkway’s value as an ecological, recreational, and educational resource for Northeastern Wisconsin.