UW-Madison Winter Enrichment series, founded by Aldo Leopold students, in its 50th year

To help prevent ticks from getting on your skin, tuck pant legs into socks and spray pants with Permethrine. (Photo by Tim Eisele)

Winter may be time for some to “hibernate,” but in Madison, it is a time for learning. And quality of life is all about life-long learning.

The UW-Madison Arboretum began its 50th annual Winter Enrichment series in January. The event began in 1968 when professors from Wildlife Ecology, such as Joseph Hickey, Robert McCabe, and Robert Ellarson (who were graduate students under Professor Aldo Leopold) gave weekly winter presentations to Arboretum naturalists in an old Civilian Conservation Corps barracks.

That tradition continues. Each Thursday at 9 a.m., more than 100 people who want to learn more about natural resources pack the Arboretum’s visitor center. Ten lectures cover topics such as monarch migration, Wisconsin furbearers, and climate change.

The second lecture featured ticks and tickborne disease by Professor Susan Paskewitz, chair of the UW-Madison Department of Entomology.

The Upper Midwest has 15 to 17 different species of ticks, but the primary ticks of concern in Wisconsin are the wood tick (formally the American dog tick) and the deer tick (the black-legged tick). A third tick, the lone star tick, used to be found further south, but has now been found as far north as Douglas and Vilas counties.

The deer tick is of most concern because it can transmit Lyme Disease to humans. More than 1,000 cases are reported each year in the state.

You can see photos and get updated information on Paskewitz’s web site, “Wisconsin Ticks.”  Soon you’ll be able to send a photo of a tick on your skin and Paskewitz will help with identification.

Preventive techniques include tucking pants into socks and spraying pants with Permethrine to help keep ticks off of you.

The Arboretum’s Winter Enrichment Series goal for 50 years has been and is, “An educated and concerned public.”

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