The 14th Annual Invader Crusader Awards

Each year, the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council requests nominations for individuals, groups, or organizations to be recognized for their exemplary efforts at addressing issues surrounding terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, including plants, pests, animals and disease-causing organisms.

Recipients of the 2018 awards will be recognized at an awards ceremony taking place at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6 at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Award recipients will be announced on the Invasive Species Action Month website and in the news media.

Congratulations to the 2018 Invader Crusader Award Winners!

Professional Individual Category
  • Katelin Anderson
  • Tim Gerber
  • Brad Herrick
Professional Group Category
  • Johnson’s Nursery – Menomonee Falls
Volunteer Individual Category
  • Ruth Marshall
  • Milly Thissen
  • Jim Reinartz and Jill Hapner
 Volunteer Group Category
  • Friends of Festge Park


2017 Invader Crusaders

2017 Invader Crusader award winners

As June is Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM), there is no better time to announce the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council (WISC)  Invader Crusader award winners. IPAW would like to recognize Christa Shaefer, Jeff Epping, Jared Urban, Robert and Dorothy Moe, Pam Nelson, Daniel Pawlak, Mark Acherman, and the Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area (FOTECLA) and the Town of Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Committee (TOBAISC) for their significant contributions to the prevention, control, and eradication of invasive species in Wisconsin.


icon-certificate For the past four years, Christa Schaefer has served as President of the Invasive Plants of Wisconsin (IPAW) board, a position through which she has worked tirelessly to combat invasive species in Wisconsin. She has encouraged greater communication and support for Wisconsin’s  Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs). Christa has overseen IPAW educational displays, serves on the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference advisory committee, is a board member for the National Association of Invasive Plant Councils, and has been involved in the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, as an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), Christa has consistently advocated for preventing the spread of invasive species on roadsides by setting up a program to allow volunteers to control invasives on state highway corridors, training state and county maintenance staff, ensuring that prohibited species are controlled on state highways, and many other efforts. For several years she has chaired the Council’s Education Committee that oversees ISAM. Christa’s hard work and dedication to fighting invasive plants in Wisconsin has made a significant contribution to the management and awareness of invasive species in Wisconsin.

icon-certificate  Jeff Epping, the Director of Horticulture at Madison’s Olbrich Gardens, has influenced invasive plant management through his efforts encouraging gardeners to use native and well-behaved non-native plants. He regularly appears on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Garden Talk show and frequents garden expos across the upper Midwest. In addition, Jeff has assisted in developing management plans and conducting studies on control of invasive plants and jumping worms in collaboration with state agencies, horticulturalists, and researchers. He has repeatedly advocated for measures to prevent the spread of invasive species, fighting for the removal of invasives before there were any signs that the species might become invasive. In the past, he has addressed numerous established invasive populations. Jeff’s dedication to educating gardeners and preventing the spread of invasives has been vital to combating the effects of these species.

icon-certificate Jared Urban serves as coordinator of the Department of Natural Resource’s State Natural Areas SNA) volunteer program. Since joining the DNR in 2011, Jared has developed a structured volunteer program for citizens interested in helping to manage Wisconsin’s SNAs. This program began in southern Wisconsin and has since begun expanding to other parts of the state. Jared’s SNA volunteer program actively recruits, trains, and supports volunteers and, consequently, has significantly increased the quality and efficiency of volunteer work. As of 2016, the program included more than 250 volunteers in 29 groups. Jared oversees the work that the groups do by visiting sites to prioritize projects for the upcoming year and providing suggestions and assistance coordinating DNR tools and supplies throughout the year. In addition to his hands-on work with SNA volunteers, Jared created a handbook to help the lead volunteers to recruit, train, and retain other volunteers. Jared’s enthusiasm and dedication to restoration efforts and invasive species control has helped to manage invasive species in many of Wisconsin’s SNAs.


icon-certificate Robert and Dorothy Moe have worked tirelessly to control purple loosestrife in the areas surrounding Bear Lake, protecting the Bear Lake Sedge Meadow State Natural Area and the lake’s wild rice populations from the effects of the invasive plant. The Moes have donated many hours of volunteer work and the use of their pontoon boat and equipment to the Barron County Department of Land Services in order to control purple loosestrife on Bear Lake. Additionally, each year they have surveyed the lake and provided the department with detailed information regarding the locations and amount of purple loosestrife, then developed a plan on where to distribute Galerucella beetles raised on their property in order to best control purple loosestrife. Furthermore, the Moes are passionate about educating other Bear Lake residents on the impacts of invasive species. Their dedication to invasive species control and education has helped to ensure the health of the Bear Lake ecosystem for years to come.

icon-certificate Pam Nelson has been involved with invasive species management on Horseshoe Lake, ever since Eurasian water milfoil was discovered on the lake 9 years ago. Initially serving on the committee to collaborate with the DNR and investigate possible control methods for the invasive species, she later took on the role of Invasive Species Coordinator for the lake association, spearheading a plan to control milfoil and maintain the lake’s ecosystem. Currently, the Horseshoe Lake Improvement Association regularly monitors the lake for invasives, has scuba divers that pull milfoil found on the lake, and regularly applies chemicals in collaboration with a lake management firm and the DNR to mitigate the milfoil. Additionally, Pam has helped to organize educational initiatives at events reaching people of all ages, involving local residents in ecosystem management.

icon-certificate Daniel Pawlak has served as a volunteer parent at Eagleville Elementary Charter School for the past four years. When he began volunteering, Dan started an afterschool science club which now has about 30-40 students each year. From 2014-2015, he focused on invasive species, educating students in grades 1-6 about the impacts of invasives on the local ecosystem, focusing on Jericho Creek, a nearby tributary of the Mukwonago River. With Dan’s mentorship, students have learned to identify, monitor, and prevent the spread of invasive species. One of his projects involved the invasive Asiatic clam; with his help, students searched the creek for native and invasive clams. No Asiatic clams have yet been found, but Dan plans to continue this in the future to monitor the area. Through Dan’s mentorship, countless students have become more aware of invasive species in their area and have gained a greater appreciation for the natural world around them. Dan’s hard work has paved the way for the next generation of environmental stewards.

icon-certificate Mark Acherman has worked to educate his 5th, 6th, and 7th grade classes on invasive species, in particular, aquatic invasive species, and has influenced the next generation to be responsible stewards of the environment. He and his more than 50 students each year have created posters intended to educate students and community members on the importance of invasive species control, and by doing so have reached many individuals throughout the community. He is an active fisherman and will take students fishing on occasion, often taking the opportunity to explain more about invasives and strategies that can be used to prevent their spread. In addition to educating his students, Mark has raised biocontrol beetles to prevent the spread of purple loosestrife at various sites, including Yellowstone Lake. Through his dedication to invasive species awareness and management Mark has brought awareness and action to many young people.


icon-certificate The Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area (FOTECLA) and the Town of Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Committee (TOBAISC) are recognized for their commitment to prevention, management, and education related to invasive species in the surrounding lakes and rivers. With substantial funding from FOTECLA, ToBAISC was able to research and build a Diver Assisted Suction Harvester (DASH) boat, which allows for much more effective and efficient removal of invasive plant species in lakes and waterways. They are the first organization in the region to independently develop and build their own boat. In addition to the DASH boat, the two organizations have also collaborated to develop the Lake Ecology Education Program, or LEEP. Downloadable as a full curriculum from their website, LEEP has been used as a program for approximately 30 Drummond 7th gradesr each year. This program educates students on natural resource conservation, integrating invasive species education, as well.


2016 Award Winners

Recipients of the awards were recognized at an awards ceremony on June 9th at 1:00PM, taking place at Horicon Marsh Educational Center in Horicon, Wisconsin. The video by the contest winner was featured at the ceremony as well! View the 2016 Ceremony Program. 2016 Invader Crusaders

Winners in the Volunteer Individual category:

  • Debra Feirer
  • Fritz Funk
  • Fred and Mary Kueffer
  • Valerie Stabenow

Winners in the Professional Individual category:

  • Tim Campbell
  • Michelle Nault
  • Brock Woods

Winners in the Volunteer Group category:

  • Lower Chippewa Invasive Species Partnership
  • Mequon Nature Preserve Restoration Rangers
  • Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance

Winner of the Sustaining Crusader Award:

  • Mike Fort

Other Invasive Species Awareness Month Activities…..

Do you have an invasive species event you would like to advertise on our online invasive species activity calendar?
Email the details to

Previous Invader Crusader Award Winners


Volunteer Individual category:

  • Sherry Speth
  • Paul Molzina
  • Jamie Kosloski

Professional Individual category:

  • Christal Campbell
  • Kaycie Stushek

Volunteer Group category:

  • Friends of MacKenzie Center
  • Florence County Lakes and Rivers Association


Volunteer Individual category:

  • Judy Ruch
  • Greg Karch
  • Tammy Bieberstein

Professional Individual category:

  • Chrystal Seeley-Schreck
  • Tom Ward
  • Jason Nickels
  • Mike Yanny

Volunteer Group category:

  • Girl Scout Troop #2789, Volunteer Group

Professional Group category:

  • Door County Invasive Species Team, Professional Group


Professional Individual – Government category:

  • Mindy Wilkinson at Wisconsin DNR

Professional Individual category:

  • Anne Kretschmann at the North Lakeland Discovery Center

Volunteer Individual category:

  • Habitat Healers at the Riveredge Nature Center
  • Melissa Warner

Volunteer Individual – Nonprofit category:

  • Daniel Wallace at the Friends of Brooklyn Wildlife Area


  • Phil Pellitteri
  • Youth Environmental Projects of Sauk County (YEPS)
  • Martha and John Lunz
  • Jerry Ziegler
  • Eric Tarman-Ramcheck
  • Ted Ritter


  • Carol AveLallemant
  • Jack Rasmussen
  • Lee and Mary Krueger
  • Milwaukee County Parks Department/UW-Extension Natural Areas
  • Brian Swingle
  • Paul Skawinski
  • Mark Renz
  • Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition


  • Alycia Crall
  • Ron Richter
  • Lawanda Jungwirth and Audrey Ruedinger
  • Transportation and Utility Rights-of-Way BMPs
  • Tom Boos & Bernie Williams
  • Diane Schauer
  • Connie Ramthun
  • Peter Flaherty
  • Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center


  • Susan Kenney
  • Roma Lenehan & Glenda Denniston
  • Peter Layton
  • Bill Moore
  • Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.
  • Gypsy Moth Suppression Team


  • Jerry Doll
  • Gene Roark
  • Greg Long
  • Ron Martin
  • Ryan Everson
  • Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area


  • Baraboo Hills Stewardship Volunteers
  • Tom Boos
  • Kathie and Tom Brock
  • Linda Spelshaus
  • Laura Felda-Marquardt
  • Eunice Padley
  • Becky Sapper
  • Rick Shulte


  • Vilas County Aquatic Invasive Species Partnership
  • Vilas County Lakes Association
  • Jane Swenson
  • Amy Staffen
  • Mike Fort
  • South Central Region State Natural Area Crew
  • Rhonda Reisenbuechler
  • Gigi La Budde
  • Fred Clark


  • St. Catherine’s High School Environmental Club
  • Terri Lyon
  • Betty Czarapata
  • Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
  • Kelly Kearns
  • Kristin Westad

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