The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Madison resident Jim Trumpy as the 2023 State Natural Areas Volunteer Steward of the Year for his contributions to Mazomanie Oak Barrens State Natural Area.
Trumpy has volunteered at Mazomanie Oak Barrens State Natural Area for the past eight years. He learned about the need during a field trip to the site, where he learned about this unique property. After the trip, he asked one of the leaders if they needed help managing the site.
Bob Hay, the leader of the trip and the volunteer steward of the location, was eager to have Trumpy’s help, who soon became a loyal helper.
“Jim quickly picked up on the wide variety of work we do,” Hay said. “He is a workhorse and has worked year-round, one day per week, for an average of 42 weeks per year since asking to help.”
Through Trumpy’s volunteer work, which has focused on invasive plant removal, the abundance of at least 13 different invasive plant species has decreased dramatically, and an active search is now required to find many of them. Trumpy is meticulous, bringing an ability to focus on cleaning up an area from a previous career as a janitor.
“People like Jim are a crucial part of our program,” said Jared Urban, State Natural Areas volunteer coordinator. “He is smart, consistent and humble. He is willing to get his hands dirty and is pleasant to be around, but not eager to gain attention. Anytime you go hiking with him, he will likely pull weeds as you walk.”
While Trumpy is a person who prefers to live on the sidelines and out of the spotlight, his work has been crucial to shining a light on the quality of this globally rare oak barrens.
Become A State Natural Area Volunteer
State natural areas are designated to conserve the best of Wisconsin prairies, forests, wetlands and other habitats. These unique places support populations of 90% of Wisconsin’s threatened and endangered plant species and 75% of the animal species. Nearly all properties are open to the public to enjoy while bird watching, hiking, hunting and fishing.
The Wisconsin DNR is actively recruiting volunteers to help care for these unique places. No experience is necessary, and training and equipment are provided on-site.
To get involved and sign up for notifications of workdays, visit the DNR’s State Natural Areas Volunteer Program webpage.