A spring day in 2020 at the Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum.

Wisconsin Arborist Association to hold 2022 Day of Service Friday at Hawthorn Hollow

Trees, shrubs and bushes at 55-year-old arboretum to get quality care


Hawthorn Hollow grew out of love for the land. As a nature sanctuary and arboretum, Hawthorn Hollow has been connecting people and nature through environmental education for more than 50 years. Hawthorn Hollow is owned and operated by the Hyslop Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501 c3 organization formed in 1964.

The Wisconsin Arborist Association will be holding their 2022 Day of Service at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum on Friday (March 25). On that day, arboriculture professionals from all across Wisconsin will come to Hawthorn Hollow to help maintain and care for some of the almost 600 different trees, shrubs, and bushes in the arboretum.

The Day of Service, according to WAA Publicity Chair Adam Alves, is “an opportunity and commitment the WAA and its members make to give back to the community, and support other non-profits or community centers with exceptional tree-related needs.”

A tree service expert cuts some diseased high branches.

The WAA chose Hawthorn Hollow for its 2022 Day of Service because “their mission is similarly aligned with the WAA; both organizations are dedicated to developing a better understanding of the nature around us,” said Alves, who is also a Dane County Forester and Instructor with Madison College’s Forestry program.

“The wide range of opportunities at Hawthorn Hollow also allow us to bring in forestry students to work with industry professionals, to better develop their career growth.”

Past WAA Days of Service have taken place at UW Arboretum in Madison, Eco-Justice Center in Racine, the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt, Camp American Legion in Tomahawk, and City on a Hill in Milwaukee.

Gateway Technical College’s Arboriculture/Urban Forestry Technician program students will also be at the arboretum to participate in the event, helping to maintain and care for the trees and shrubs on the site.

The work offers them a way to give back to the community while also using the skills they gained in the classroom in a real-world setting to help a local nonprofit organization.

Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum opened in 1967 when Ruth & Margaret Teuscher, teachers from Racine, donated their 40-acre estate to the Hyslop Foundation with the understanding that it would be used as a public nature preserve, providing both a valuable educational resource and a protected habitat for native plants and animals. One of their first tasks was to convert their former horse pasture into a 15-acre arboretum, or tree-focused botanical collection.

Flowers in bloom at the Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum.

Clarence Godshalk, famed Director Emeritus of the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago, assisted the Teuscher sisters in designing the arboretum, as well as selecting and planting the specimens.

While many of the original trees remain, they must be regularly pruned and maintained to make sure they stay as healthy as possible. Time also takes its toll on the 55-year-old arboretum.

“Many of our specimens, such as our crabapple, beech and magnolia trees, are reaching the ends of their lifespans and need replacing,” Hawthorn Hollow director TJ Leveque said.

Last year’s drought conditions, losses from parasites such as the emerald ash borer, and the widening of Green Bay Road are some of the other challenges Hawthorn Hollow has had to face in recent years to keep the Arboretum in good shape, according to Leveque.

The WAA was founded in 1964 by 38 arborists dedicated to the study and maintenance of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants in the state. Since that time, the WAA has grown into a large organization of commercial, municipal, utility and academic arborists, and is now a chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture which has representation in over 30 countries.

According to the Wisconsin Arborist Association website, “WAA members serve Wisconsin by providing private and public arboriculture services through research, technology, and education, and promote the professional practice of arboriculture to foster a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees.”

“Having some of the best arborists around dedicating their time to our trees is truly an honor,” Leveque said.