The Friends of the Cedarburg Bog is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization that supports preservation, stewardship, appreciation, and scientific study of the Cedarburg Bog in cooperation with the Department of natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station. The Cedarburg Bog is one of the largest and most biologically interesting wetlands in Southern Wisconsin. The Bog Friends seek to make the public more aware of the Bog’s uniqueness by creating opportunities for people to visit. It organizes projects and volunteer workdays for invasive species control; it improves facilities for educational and scientific programs, and supports long term monitoring and research.
The Executive Committee administers the Friend’s day-to-day business under the guidance of the Board of Directors.
The Stewardship Committee helps maintain the University and DNR lands in the Cedarburg Bog. The Committee plans projects and organizes volunteer workdays for invasive species control, to improve facilities for educational and scientific programs and to support long-term monitoring and research.
The Events and Education Committee offers indoor and outdoor educational and entertaining programs for school groups, youths, adults and the public at large.
The Communication Committee works to promote the work of the FOCB through its website, traditional and social media, print and electronic mail. It also publishes a quarterly newsletter with articles on natural history, local issues and upcoming events. It also seeks to increase membership in the FOCB.
The Fundraising and Grants Committee raises funds to support projects approved by the Board of Directors. The Committee applies for grants from governments and private foundations and solicits support from corporate and individual donors.
Jim has joined the board after retiring from nearly 40 years working as Manager, and then Director, of the UW Milwaukee Field Station. Jim received his PhD in Botany and Plant Ecology from Duke University in 1981. He taught courses on the vegetation of Wisconsin, physiology and identification of plants in winter, invasive plant control, vegetation sampling methods, and various other topics. Jim’s primary areas of research were wetland ecology, rare plant ecology and genetics, the control and ecology of invasive plants and natural area management. He is deeply involved in the preservation and management of natural areas and has written management and stewardship plans for many natural areas in southeastern Wisconsin. He was one of the founders of the Ozaukee Washington County Land Trust and served on the board of the Wisconsin chapter of the Nature Conservancy and other organizations. Jim has explored every part of the Cedarburg Bog and shares his deep passion for the wetland, and has now taken on the role of President for the FOCB.
Steve Sirkis has recently been voted onto the FOCB Board of Directors. Steve recently retired from a 35-year career in commercial real estate, serving the last 18 years as a real estate project manager for a local development firm. Steve was responsible for leading complex projects from conception to completion, directing multidisciplinary teams of architects, engineers, contractors, accountants, lenders, brokers, tenants, attorneys and consultants. Property types included biotech labs, government office buildings, student housing, and retail shopping centers.
He has a lifelong passion for conservation, developed through his hiking, camping, fly fishing and birding activities. Formative experiences along the way include stints at Audubon camps as a camper and counselor, founding a high school ecology group, and earning an Environmental Studies degree from the University of California-Santa Barbara. Steve started a birding hobby at Beber Camp in Mukwonago with his wife Trudy and has taught field identification and conservation concepts to youth ages 7 to 13 for the past ten years. Steve is looking forward to making additional contributions to conservation in Wisconsin through service with the Friends Board of Directors and land protection activities (fee simple and conservation easement acquisitions) with the Prairie Enthusiasts.
Andy Holman is a semi-retired CPA who has worked with nonprofits throughout Southeast Wisconsin for over 40 years while also enjoying biodiversity wherever he can find it. He has traveled to all seven continents during his quest for immersing in biodiverse environments.. However, he has always been rooted in Milwaukee. His photos have been exhibited at the Milwaukee Public Library, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and the Racine Art Museum and they have been published in Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Andy also is an instructor with the Helen Bader Institute of Non-Profit Management at UW-Milwaukee focusing on nonprofit financial management.
Jim is the Resident Naturalist and Land Steward at Turtle Springs Farm in SW Sheboygan County where he and his wife, Patricia “Patti” Baker Ellis, along with a community of family and friends, are creating a wild life habitat and natural area on 40 acres that was once an active farm. He is also a Teacher Naturalist at Riveredge Nature Center and a Wisconsin Master Naturalist. Jim joined the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog in 2014 as a trail steward at Watt’s Lake. In the same year, he was elected to the Board of Directors and, since has served as Stewardship Chair, Vice President and, most recently President. Having retired from his psychotherapy practice as a clinical social worker, Jim has turned his attention to expanding his knowledge and understanding of the natural world. He has a passion for helping folks develop a closer relationship with nature and to appreciate the interconnectedness of all living things. Jim, Patti, and their two dogs enjoy hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and working in the prairies and woods at Turtle Springs Farm.
Cory recognized his passion for the Green Industry over 20 years. He has been an ISA Certified Arborist for over 15 years and is a past president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association. Currently, Cory is the Director of Restoration and Operations at Mequon Nature Preserve. In addition to land management duties, Cory facilitates the maple tree tapping program, and Restoration Rangers, an intergenerational volunteer training group that executes land restoration projects. Cory provides K-12, college students, Scouts and community volunteers with field experiences that focus on forests, wetlands, prairies, wildlife, and sustainability. More recently, he has become the handler for Tilia, the State’s first on-staff conservation dog. Together, they are on a mission to eradicate wild parsnip, an invasive plant species that can cause third degree burns when coming in contact with the skin, as well as to locate salamanders, an indicator species difficult for humans to find, but simple for a dog to scent. Cory is adept at utilizing equipment necessary to complete successful land restoration projects including a tracked skid loader, utility tractor and UTV to aid in large volume plantings. In fall 2017, MATC hired Cory part time as a Horticultural Instructor to teach all types of curriculum relating to career paths for arborists, garden center management, grounds management, horticulturists, landscape construction management and landscape design.
Julia has over ten years of experience working in natural-resource management. She has worked throughout the Midwest on various projects including multi-taxa biodiversity assessments, habitat restoration, environmental education and community engagement, and environmental planning. Before coming to Waukesha County Parks in April of 2018, she worked for the Urban Ecology Center and Milwaukee County Parks. Julia also serves on several conservation-related boards and committees including the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory’s Science Committee, and Waukesha County Land Conservancy’s land management committee. In 2016 the community-based wetland monitoring program that she developed for Milwaukee County was awarded the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Citizen-Based Monitoring Program of the Year award. Julia graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UW–M) in 2012 with a BS in biological sciences and a BS in conservation and environmental sciences, and in 2018, she was named “Graduate of the Last Decade” by UW–M’s alumni association.
Andrew Struck has served as the Director of the Planning and Parks Department for Ozaukee County, WI for 15 years and has more than 20 years of experience in regional planning and geographic information systems (GIS), parks and trails, ecological protection and restoration, Great Lakes fish and wildlife habitat, environmental policy and education and outreach. Andrew has an M.S. in Applied Ecology / Regional Planning from Indiana University – Bloomington and a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Throughout his career, he has worked on collaborative, large-scale, intergovernmental park, trail and natural resource planning, protection, restoration and management issues while securing over $20 million in ecologically focused grant funding for the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department including development of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail and the creation and development of the Ozaukee Fish Passage Program that has received approximately $14 million in grant funding since 2009 and honored with the National Association of Counties Achievement Award (2011) and the Milwaukee RiverKeeper River Hero of the Year award (2011). Andrew also serves on several planning, tourism, ecological, and environmental non-profit Board of Directors including past President of the Milwaukee Audubon Society and Wisconsin Audubon Council and Treasurer of the Ozaukee County Tourism Council. Andrew has received several awards including the Planning Initiative Award from the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) for the development of the Ecological Prioritization GIS Tool for Ozaukee County (2021), Gathering Waters Land Conservation Leadership – Conservationist of the Year Award (2013), Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust – Watershed Champion Award (2016), Wisconsin Citizen Based Monitoring Program of the Year Award (2013), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Partnership Awards (2016), the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust’s Timothy Kaul Leadership and Patricia Wilmeth Stewardship Awards (2013 and 2016 respectively), the Treasures of Oz — Wizard of Oz Award for environmental leadership (2012), the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce – Outstanding Achievement Award (2009), and the Grafton Chamber of Commerce – Distinguished Service Award (2010).
While with the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog, Andrew has assisted the Friends and WDNR with development of education and outreach materials for the importance of groundwater and groundwater recharge in and around the Bog to the Hines Emerald Dragonfly (federally endangered species) and unique Bog habitat. Andrew has served on the Friends Board of Directors since 2015.
Pam is currently employed as an Environmental Educator at Riveredge Nature Center. There her duties include developing and implementing programming for their Home School EdVentures Program, serving as a Recreational Tree Climbing Facilitator and summer camp counselor. Pam comes to us with a wealth of experience as an environmental educator. She earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from the Colorado College. Prior to her work at Riveredge Nature Center, she served as an Instructor for the Wild Rockies Field Institute, and was the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Great Bear Foundation in Missoula, MT as well as Seasonal Special Educator at the Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner, NY. She is well versed and experienced in teaching. Conservation and ecology of black, brown, and polar bears is of special interest to her.
Paul is the acting Director of the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee Field Station for 2023. His responsibilities at the Field Station include administering the research and educational activities of the Field Station, managing the natural areas owned by UWM, supporting other researchers and educators using the Field Station, and supporting educational outreach activities. On the main campus of UWM in Milwaukee, Paul manages the Biological Sciences Greenhouse, including supporting the botanical needs of the Department’s instructional courses and overseeing the research activities in the greenhouse. Paul also holds an Adjunct Full Professor appointment at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.
In 2014, Sharon became the DNR representative on the Bog team. She works as an ecologist for the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where her territory spans the southeastern counties of the state. The Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation is tasked with preserving Wisconsin’s special places and non-game species, and managing Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas. In addition to providing expertise to other DNR programs involved in decisions and actions impacting natural communities and native species, she is also the assigned property manager for several State Natural Areas in southeastern Wisconsin, in addition to the Cedarburg Bog. Sharon is a native Minnesotan who earned her Bachelor’s degree from UW-Stevens Point and her Master’s degree in Ecology from UC-Davis. She is interested in birds, spends as much time as she can outdoors, and has already put in some time cutting buckthorn in the Bog.