Wayne Petersen began volunteering in 2005. While on Bur Oak Land Trust’s board at the time when our Belgum Grove property was acquired, Wayne decided to make a further impact on Johnson County, and agreed to be Belgum Grove’s volunteer property steward. In recent years Wayne has worked diligently to remove invasive species such as oriental (asiatic) bittersweet and garlic mustard. Additionally, he and his fellow property steward, Dan Black, have worked on major capital land projects for the property, including the installment of a pond, and the planting of red cedars around Belgum Grove’s pine trees in order to improve the local ecosystem and provide more winter habitat for local fauna. They have also worked to reintroduce prairie grass and other native plant species to create, what Wayne calls, a “snapshot of Iowa’s historical landscape.” These land reclamation and improvement projects have greatly helped stabilize and improve Belgum Grove’s ecosystem, making it a great spot for the public to visit.
An avid outdoorsman, Wayne enjoys hiking and fishing, and often indulges in Belgum Grove’s pond to fish in. He has enjoyed working to improve a local environment, and has often said that volunteering as a property steward has been fun, interesting, and rewarding work. To those who are interested in volunteering, Wayne says: “It is rewarding work, a great way to spend time outdoors. It is easy to find projects with us that fit people’s skills, goals, and abilities. Spending time in nature while making a difference has been a great experience.”