What's not to love about an oak savanna?

Wisconsin State Farmer

Craig Maier will be one of the speakers at this year’s Toward Harmony with Nature natural landscaping conference on Jan. 28 at the Oshkosh Convention Center.

Maier will give conference attendees an introduction to Oak savannas and woodlands and help them to identify and strategize for their restoration. Open, bright, and buzzing with life, what's not to love about an oak savanna?

Craig Maier shown by one of his bellowed oak savannas. Craig will be one of the speakers at the Toward Harmony with Nature conference on Jan. 28 at Oshkosh Convention Center.

Wisconsin historian Reuben Gold Thwaites (1853-1913) once wrote that one of the first men who came to this territory wrote in his diary that our area had “a scattering of giant oaks with a carpet of wildflowers beneath.” Wildlife like bobwhite quail, native bees, wild turkeys, whippoorwills, redheaded woodpeckers and many other critters find their niches in these open, sunny oak ecosystems.

Today, Oak savannas are among the rarest natural communities in Wisconsin. While clearing has led to substantial loss of Oak groves, there are examples of these ecosystems hiding in the shadows of native forest trees and often in exotic shrubs. A nearby example of a local savanna remnant is on the UW Oshkosh campus in the Fredric March Theater/Fine Arts Building area.

Craig Maier enjoys exploring and learning about remnant prairies and oak savannas wherever they might be found, from roadsides to farms to State natural areas. He is the coordinator of The Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium, a network that thrives on accelerating the awareness, understanding, and adoption of fire science across the Upper Midwest.

Craig grew up in southern Wisconsin. He earned a BS in Geoscience from Northland College and completed a MS at UW Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

The efforts of those who are now planting oak savannas and woodlands on former farmlands can be rewarded with healthier soils, cleaner water, outstanding wildflower displays and a greater number of wildlife visitors. Plan to join us and learn more about life in the natural landscape. Join us to hear Craig Maier and ten other speakers at the Wild Ones Fox Valley Area’s 21st annual natural landscaping conference Toward Harmony with Nature held at the Oshkosh Convention Center.

For more information and to register, go to www.towardharmonywithnature.com.