A BLM natural resources specialist discusses island ecology with students from Bartels Middle School in Portage, Wisconsin.
A BLM natural resources specialist discusses island ecology with students from Bartels Middle School in Portage, Wisconsin.
Credit: BLM

Bureau of Land ManagementWisconsin River Island, Portage

Member Since: 12/28/2015

Primary Contact: Derek Strohl

626 E. Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 200
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Partner School: Wayne E. Bartels Middle School

Educational Partners: Bartels Middle School

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This is the BLM's largest island that it manages in Wisconsin, and it is unique in that it contains a mix of woodland, wetland, and upland savanna habitat types. It's large size makes it an ideal outdoor classroom, with room to study different habitat types and monitor restoration in progress.

The BLM and Bartels Middle School have cooperated over the last 2 school years to take up to 15 students to the island to study different habitats, learn about land management, and conduct basic stewardship activities.  The BLM is currently removing non-native, invasive species from a large portion of the island in order to restore native savanna habitat, which is one of the most endangered habitat types in North America.  This restoration process will take many years and will provide ample opportunity for students to participate in the work, monitor the progress, and learn the principles of ecological restoration.

Due to the island's large size and easy accessibility, the island is an ideal location for survival training and camping.  The BLM aims to expand its outreach to scouting troops and other outdoor education organizations who will bring groups of paddlers to the island for overnight camping and survival skills training.  These groups would be invited to conduct invasive species removal and/or assist with environmental monitoring, trail building, or other stewardship activities during their stays on the island.

  • Savanna restoration
  • Invasive species
  • Fire ecology
  • Riparian habitats
  • Leave-no-trace outdoor ethics
  • Survival skills training

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Last Updated: 01/20/2016

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