Wetlands hold a special place in Joy Zedler’s heart, especially the Waubesa Wetlands, where she has lived alongside of for the past 14 years. She’s been studying wetlands like those since returning to Wisconsin in 1998 and recently compiled her own experience into a book highlighting the major significance of the Waubesa Wetlands and why they need international recognition.
Zedler is the Aldo Leopold Professor Emerita of Restoration Ecology and Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While active at the university, she mentored and trained MS and PhD students, authored numerous research papers, helped shape Wisconsin wetlands restoration for the UW Arboretum and, most recently, published “Waubesa Wetlands: A New Look at an Old Gem.” Now she’s taking the role as an advocate for environmental preservation by gaining international recognition for the Waubesa Wetlands.
As one of the nation’s foremost experts in coastal wetland ecology, Zedler’s relationship with wetlands is one of scientist and subject, but she’s developed a personal connection with them as well.
While paddling through the waters of the Waubesa Wetlands with her husband, Zedler was charmed by the landscape. As they continued up the stream, her curiosity eventually led them to what would become their current home in the Town of Dunn.
“We wanted to know where the stream originated but we couldn’t paddle any further. We returned to our car and drove around the wetlands until we saw a driveway with a for-sale sign,” Zedler said. “When we saw the nearby spring, we knew it was the place for us.”