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  • Grace Milanowski

New Volunteer, Peter Wadlund Returns to his Roots in Platteville

New volunteer, Peter Wadlund joined our PCA corps of volunteers earlier this spring and we’re sure glad to have him aboard! Peter decided to get involved with the PCA because he’s been a frequent trail user over many years while visiting family in Platteville. Peter grew up in Platteville but has been living in Lake Geneva for the past few decades; he became a permanent resident here again in fall of 2021.

Peter at the PCA sun garden plot

When he returned to Platteville last year, he says he “was amazed to discover that the trail also had a groomed cross country track next to the snow covered walking path. It was at that point I felt I wanted to volunteer to show my appreciation of the beautiful trail system, a way of giving back. I found volunteer information along the path that day and made a commitment to call in the spring.”

Starting this spring, Peter gets credit for keeping our sun garden plot looking fabulous and weed-free! He says, “for me gardening is free therapy.”

After a brief orientation to the sun garden’s initial plantings and how to identify the weedy grasses that can quickly overrun the plot, Peter was ready to jump right in and has already put in more than 25 hours this season of weeding alone. He says, “I have been gardening as a hobby throughout my life, starting with working at the Timbers in the 70's while attending PHS. Mert Velzey hired a few of us Wadlunds and other staff to tend and to harvest food from her countryside garden plot. She was doing farm-to-table before it was a thing. I've since designed, built and maintained many garden plots. Weeding is necessary and rewarding but never finished. So patient persistence is required.”

sun garden plot in early summer (left) and late July (right)

Peter also gets credit for helping Grace, PCA Lead Coordinator, to plant about 75 new transplants this year in the same plot that were generously donated by Juli and Chris McGuire of Two Onion Farm. More transplants found homes along the trail and in other volunteer gardeners’ plots. PCA plans to tend to these transplants carefully (thanks to Peter and other gardeners’ help) to ensure they can become a seed bank to harvest from and spread along the rest of the trail. Thanks to some supplemental watering and special care, Peter helped these transplants make it through a few heat waves we’ve had this summer and so far and they’re all looking great!

When he’s not weeding out grass in the sun garden, Peter is an outdoorsman and can often be found on his bicycle. He says, “I've ridden countless miles on these local trails. I'm a bicycle commuter most of the year, and of course I enjoy cross-country skiing. The groomed trail was a short distance of about a mile– in just 15-20 minutes a person can experience a winter wonderland using the PCA. Thank you to whoever had that idea and made it happen!” (That credit goes to Platteville Human Powered Trail group). Peter also enjoys mushroom hunting and eating, berry picking, kayaking, fishing and hiking in Governor Dodge State Park.

Once his schedule allows, he’d like to join a weekly trail maintenance team, and he’s more than welcome- thanks for all your efforts in the garden so far, Peter!

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