Jeffrey Kante, forester for the Village of Chenequa in 1980, was named the 2015 Mike King Wisconsin SAF Field Forester of the Year at the recent state SAF conference.
Jeff has been an active SAF member since 1990, organizing chapter tours, assisting with the planning of several statewide meetings, and serving as Southeast Wisconsin Chair in 2006-2007. He has been a valued member of several SAF public outreach projects – Wisconsin Science Olympiad, Ag-Venture Day at the Wisconsin State Fair and numerous “Walk in the Woods” events with local school districts – in addition to presenting Arbor Day Programs to the area grade schools for the last 30+ years. He has given numerous forestry presentations community groups, schools, and scout troops and serves as an advisor to the Lake Country Elementary – school forest committee.
Jeff’s village forester position is a unique blend of arboriculture and traditional forestry. Chenequa is a small community comprised of large wooded lots surrounding several lakes. The village has retained the wooded/rural atmosphere despite the increasing urbanization of southeastern Wisconsin. Many of the public roads are lined with greenbelts which have been planted to blend into the natural landscape.
His biggest challenges are the lack of natural regeneration due to the high deer population and the effect of exotic invasive plants. Jeff annually plants approximately one hundred 2-3 yr. transplants protected in 5-foot wire cages. The preferred species are white oak, swamp white oak and white pine which are often planted in areas which have been cleared of invasive brush. Dead and hazardous trees along the roadways are marked and removed annually.
He also provides consultation to private landowners on topics ranging from control of invasive species, insect and disease issues, and woodlot management. As part of his oak wilt identification and control program, Jeff inspects previously discovered pockets of oak wilt for expansion and patrols local roads for trees showing symptoms. He has also used aircraft and aerial photography to detect oak wilt pockets with some success. Local ordinances require the removal or “abatement” of infected trees and he contacts landowners to discuss oak wilt control and other management options.
As part of his deer management program for the village, Jeff conducts an annual aerial helicopter survey to determine local deer populations and movement and uses sharpshooters to reduce whitetail deer population. Harvested deer are given to the public through a lottery.
Jeff is also responsible for lake management and water quality issues for the village. He meets with property owners to encourage shoreline landscaping to trap nutrients and sediments before they enter the water and to enforce local ordinances regulating cutting of vegetation within 75 feet of any lake shore.
Jeff also served as a firefighter from 1988 to 2007, holding all ranks including Chief.