Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Chapter

Since our Chapter’s beginning in 1994, Wild Ones Fox Valley Area (WOFVA) continues to celebrate and promote the use of native plants in home and civic landscaping.  We lead the natural landscaping movement in exploring, teaching, and changing the practice of gardening to include the use of  native plants.  Join us in helping to restore our natural world. WOFVA serves Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Outagamie, Waushara, Waupaca and Winnebago countries.
PO Box 385, Appleton, WI 54912 / [email protected]

Thank you to all who attended the Toward Harmony with Nature Fair! If you missed the fair, you can purchase access to the videos. Please send us an email at [email protected] to inquire.

Native Plant Classes

Are you interested in learning more about native plants?

We have hired a great team of professionals to teach native ecology classes on everything from botany to landscaping to insects and uses of native plants!  Find out more here!  New class are added on an ongoing basis. Download the current flyer here!

What We Do

Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to increase biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.  Wild Ones is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization.

Archived newsletters can be viewed here.

Please join the mapping project by answering the questions about your property. Photos would be great, but are not necessary.  Specific species information is optional.

We also sponsor an education grant program, Natural Landscapes for Tomorrow.

Looking for help? Check out our videos

Our Partners

Winnebago Audubon Society
Outagamie County Master Gardener Association
Paper Valley Garden Club
Many more!

About Us

Meet the Board

Shannon-Davis Foust – President & Education Chair

Shannon has her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from UW-Milwaukee and has widespread interests in native and invasive species, habitat restoration, and reconnecting people with nature.  She presently teaches courses at UW Oshkosh in Biology and Environmental Studies, is an Affiliate of the Sustainability Institute of Regional Transformations organizing outreach events on environmental topics, and advises the Student Environmental Action Coalition and Sustainable Beekeeping Club. Shannon has been serving on the Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Board since 2010.

Stephanie Losse- Vice President

Stephanie has been active in organic farming and horticulture for over ten years. She works in urban forestry and  landscaping, and is a longtime advocate for wildlife conservation in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. She has an AAS in Sustainable Horticulture and is currently working toward a degree in Biology with emphasis in Ecology and Environmental Education. Her goal is to educate others on the importance of ecologically-sustainable and native-friendly practices. 

Ron Jones – Treasurer & Grants Chair

I’ve worked as a forester for the past 46 years, 34 years with the Wis DNR and the past 12 years as a parttime consulting forester. As a forester, I have observed the vital role of native plants in the forest ecosystem, and it has been alarming to witness invasive plants slowly invading the local natural landscape over the past 20 years. I’m glad to be helping the Chapter with Wild One’s mission of educating and spreading the word about the vital importance of native plants in providing ecosystem services both in our rural and urban landscape.

Deb Benada – Secretary

My husband, Robert, and I have been learning about native plants for the last 20 years and have installed native landscaping around our homes in California and Wisconsin – Waupaca and Neenah. I really enjoy the camaraderie, education and inspiration of Wild Ones.

Dawn and Dan Barker – Membership Co-chairs

Dawn and Dan Barker are new to Wild Ones, joining in 2022. Both of us have spent the majority of our years in the Fox Cities and have resided in the Town of Neenah for the past 33 years. We have four wonderful children and seven delightful grandchildren.

Both of us are graduates of UW- Oshkosh. Dawn’s career was as an RN for Theda Clark and  later at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Dan spent forty nine years in Manufacturing working at both Pierce Manufacturing and then the Ariens Company. Dawn retired in 2020 and Dan last year in 2022.

In retirement, Dan gardens extensively, and is working to restore native habitat to our property. Dawn is busy canning and freezing what our garden produces and also helps with the habitat restoration. We both also like to hike, travel, especially to see our children, and are busy readers.

Robert Benada – Newsletter Editor

My wife, Deb, and I fell in love with landscaping with natives in California in 1983 and have enjoyed that journey with each place we’ve moved.  It is a joy to see how they thrive in the right conditions and how they attract birds and pollinators.  We’ve really learned much more since joining the Board and editing our chapter’s newsletter and EBlast. through working with fellow members.

Mary Swifka

Mary Swifka – Program Chair

I joined the WOFVA board in 2020 and serve as the program committee chair.
I worked as an environmental educator for more than 35 years before retiring in 2022. During that time, I found Wild Ones to be a valuable source of information and resources to further the mission of my organization. As a person who has a desire to transform our semi-urban yard into a native habitat for wildlife, belonging to Wild Ones was a no-brainer.

When we bought our house in 1990, the yard was a typical lawn and lilacs type of area. My original plan to have a prairie planting in the backyard has had to be amended as our trees are 30 years older and 30 years larger. So we’ve pivoted to planting more shade-tolerant species.

Although we still mow, the scrawny lilac is still standing and we don’t think we’ll ever get control of the dame’s rocket or buckthorn, I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far. If we can keep the rabbits from girdling the hazelnut, and what’s left of the big box elder from falling on our fire pit, we might just keep on doing this for a while.

Janet Carlson – Publicity Chair

I first got inspired to convert my garden to native plants after attending my first conference several years ago.  My small yard is now surrounded by native gardens and has attracted multiple birds for our enjoyment.  I also joined the Master Gardener program in order to expand my knowledge on other aspects of gardening.

Grace Elonen – Plant Sale Chair

I’m honored to become part of the Wild Ones family. My husband, dog, and I moved to 10 acres in the Oshkosh area about three years ago. The best part about living there is natural beauty which grants the ability for me to create a garden, which is what lead me to join this group.

This coming year my husband and I plan to expand the veggie garden and will be adding more flowers, of course including natives around the ponds!

I love to knit and have a dedicated space for cozy nights in. I also love to workout in the evenings and recently completed a half marathon.

Look forward to seeing you at the Plant Sale and getting to know you!

David Langer – Plant Rescue Chair

My name is David Langner and I have been extremely interested in plants and nature since I was young. I have my associates degree as a Natural Resource Technician. I was an assistant naturalist intern at 1000 Islands Environmental Center in 2015 and in 2017 I was the LTE assistant naturalist at Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit. I have and currently volunteer at multiple nature centers in the Fox Valley doing environmental education, invasive plant removal, and giving edible plant programs. The  winter of 2021 I wrote and had printed a short native and invasive edible plant cookbook which I used as a fundraiser for area nature centers. This year I taught an elective class on native and invasive edible plants for the Wisconsin Native plant certification through Wild Ones of the Fox Valley. 

Mel Mohr – Web Chair

Mel currently works in Fisheries Management for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She has a passion for the ecology of our world and finding solutions for a proper synergistic relationship with our human-centric living. She does have many passions. She is an orca lover, a bird-nerd, an urban farmer, and now diving into the plant identification world. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology and Environmental Studies from UW Oshkosh.

Amanda Zehren – Social Media Chair

Amanda is an Appleton-based artist and environmental activist. She has made nature her primary creative subject for years, and has been using her art and her skills in social media outreach to educate people and promote a healthier relationship with the planet.

Dana Hartel – Display Chair

My husband and I live in a rural “neighborhood” between a lake and a marsh.  When we moved here, I wanted to enjoy the nature around us and didn’t want all the lawn on our one-acre property so started adding native plant areas or allowing natives to grow.  A few years ago, I started removing a wet section that was dominated by reed canary grass.  It was exciting when small native sedges started revealing themselves and showing their purpose as a miniscule sedge meadow.

I am working toward an Associates Degree as a Natural Resources Technician. My goal upon graduating this fall is to work somewhere that allows me to help people understand the importance of our natural resources and be good stewards of these gifts.  My time is also spent in doing volunteer work for several organizations, and I have a special affinity for birds of prey.

Everett Grosskopf – Mentoring Chair

Everett is an Environmental Scientist at an environmental consulting firm. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Reclamation from UW-Platteville. He enjoys teaching others about nature, wetlands, plant identification, and wildlife. He is a firm believer that every beneficial impact we can make, no matter how small of a change can positively impact wildlife and our environment. In his free time, he spends time with his dogs, kayaking, ice fishing, farming and trips with his wife.


Sue Pichotta-Berard – Conference Chair

My love and appreciation of nature started with my grandparents. My grandparents owned a tree farm consisting of 160 acres of red pine, three ponds with a stream running through it, and a shelter for a fire.  I was very fortunate to learn how to catch frogs, catch and clean trout, clean wood duck nests, and spread clover seed at “Peaceful Valley”. My grandfather attempted to cure my fear of snakes by having me hold snakes, encouraging me to watch a large pine snake crawl through the wood pile, and talk to his pet snake who hung out on top of the wood pile sunning himself-inside the cabin. He was very consistent in his attempts to deter my fear of snakes but…the fear is alive and strong. 

After retiring from nursing two years ago and finishing up parenting, I contemplated what and where  I would like to spend my free time and the answer was to embrace nature by learning  more about native plants.  We have three acres, and I tore up part of our lawn to plant a prairie.  I’m in the learning stages and am still trying to eradicate weeds. LOL  I’m serving on the education and conference committees. I love to teach and am hoping to return the favor my grandparents gave me and teach other children about nature. 

Speaker’s Bureau Chair – Vacant