Tom and Kathie Brock honored for conservation efforts

Tom and Kathie Brock were honored for their work to stop the spread of invasive species during a ceremony at the State Capitol on June 6. Tom Brock is an Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology. The Brocks, along with 7 other individuals and groups, were named 2007 Invader Crusaders. an award was created to honor Wisconsin citizens and organizations for their contributions to the prevention or eradication of invasive species that harm Wisconsin’s land and waters. The award recognizes both volunteer and professional efforts.

Tom and Kathie BrockKathie and Tom deserve an “A+” not only for their understanding of invasive species control efforts, but also for applying what they learned at two special places that today truly reflect their tremendous efforts; The Nature Conservancy’s Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie and their very own Pleasant Valley Conservancy, now permanently preserved by conservation easement to The Prairie Enthusiasts. They have invested a great deal of time, sweat and finances to turn both sites into two stunning and successful restoration efforts.

“What clearly sets them apart is their ability to communicate their experiences and successes in invasive species control efforts to all of us doing restoration work- whether we are paid staff of an agency or organization, or private citizen,” says Steve Richter, Director of Conservation and Land Management at Wisconsin’s Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “I have become one of their students, whereas fifteen years ago, I was teaching them.”

The Brocks have also been active in efforts to conserve UW-Madison campus natural areas. This is not the first time their efforts have been recognized: Last year they received a Leopold Restoration Award from the Friends of the Arboretum in partnership with the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Many professional biologists from federal and state agencies, such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service or the WI Department of Natural Resources, and non-governmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy arrange a visit to the Brocks’ Pleasant Valley Conservancy to see for themselves the success of their invasive species control efforts.

Kathie and Tom share their restoration experiences and successes with others through dozens of field trips, their own web page, presentations at conferences, and frequent postings to the Invasive Plants of Wisconsin list serve.