Wisconsin Landscapers Donate $20,000 Project to Wildlife Center

As part of PLANET's annual Day of Service campaign, the Milwaukee Chapter of the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association installed an outdoor education station at the Wildlife Center In Need.

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Every year on Earth Day (April 22), PLANET coordinates a blitzkrieg of community service projects across the country. One such project this year took place in Oconomowoc, WI, at the Wildlife In Need Center (WINC). Green Industry Pros was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the event, held right in its own backyard.

Roughly 15 volunteers from the Milwaukee Chapter of the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association (WLCA) installed an outdoor education station. The project included a paver patio and boulder wall, roughly a half dozen new trees, and numerous perennials.

Watch a video from the event

The project was led by contractor Dean Pipito of Aquatica. Pipito (see group photo, first row far right) is the current president of the WLCA-Milwaukee, and also happens to sit on the board for the WINC. After the WLCA held a meeting at the Center a few months ago, the light bulb went on in his head.

"What a great place to do our Day of Service project," Pipito said in reference to the WINC's admirable work and overall appreciation for nature. "It's a shame more people don't know about what this Center does. It really is remarkable."

Milwaukee-area contractors, suppliers join forces. The size and scope of the project was impressive, valued at roughly $20,000. The all-volunteer landscaping crew worked from 8 a.m. to mid-afternoon to complete the installation.

Other participants from the WLCA-Milwaukee included:

  • Todd Buran and Damion Draeger, Aquatica
  • Brad Mayer and Dan Sengpiel, Mayer Landscapes
  • Tom Ball, Ground Affects Landscaping
  • Bill Trapp, Plant-Trans-Plant Landscape Services
  • Gary Rollinger, Rain 4 Rent Services
  • Ken Schumm and Gerardo Rojas, Crawford Tree & Landscape
  • Sam Adams, Reinders Inc.
  • Greg Crouse, The Brickyard Inc.
  • Bob Klovas, Unilock
  • Roger Blair, Jasperson Sod Farm
  • Bob Gerlach, GPS Track USA

The pavers were donated by Unilock and delivered by their area supplier, The Brickyard. Pipito brought in several pieces of equipment including a Caterpillar track loader, Bobcat excavator and Wacker compactor. Mayer Landscapes supplied the other hardscaping tools. The trees were provided by Johnson's Nursery and Plant-Trans-Plant, while the perennials were donated by W&E Radtke. Many of the boulders were found on site, with the rest being provided by Aquatica. Additionally, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply supplied the traffic bond (crushed aggregate for the paver base), Reinders provided the grass seed, Lemke Stone provided the flagstone, and SEK/Surebond supplied the polysand.

Dakota the Owl very grateful. Somewhat of a hidden gem in southeastern Wisconsin, the Wildlife In Need Center did gain a bit of notoriety a few years ago. The Center's most popular refugee, Dakota the great horned owl, was abducted by some imbecilic, prank-minded teenagers looking for a laugh. Dakota managed to quickly escape his captors, but remained on the loose for several days. Unable to hunt for his own food and quickly losing weight, Dakota was days from death when a homeowner saw the owl in his backyard. Dakota was soon returned to the WINC and nursed back to health.

What the WINC does. The Wildlife In Need Center provides rehabilitation to Wisconsin wildlife with the intent to release wildlife back to their native habitat, conduct research designed to further the positive impact of rehabilitation, and provide quality community education programs and services. The organization is led by Joan Rudnitzki, executive director, who oversees a small staff and numerous volunteers. She can use all the help she can get as the WINC cares for as many as 3,000 animals every year.

For more information, visit the Wildlife In Need Center's website.