An Ice Age National Scenic Trail Restoration Project
Team building experiences are an essential practice of many successful groups and work teams. Whether your group’s goal is to get to know each other better, get inspired, or make a positive impact on the community, team building experiences can help your team achieve all of the above. If you’re unsure where to start with planning your next team or group experience, Verona, Wisconsin is an excellent location with a variety of resources for visiting groups. With a range of on-trend, small-group, or seasonal team building opportunities, visitors can find the right service project or team activity to make a positive impact on their team, the community, or both! Read on for a successful trail restoration team building experience on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Verona, and to see the effect that a similar experience could have on your business team or group.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail
Being located directly along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, one of the options for a team building event in Verona is volunteering for a restoration project on the trail. The Ice Age Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States, and it stretches for over 1,000 miles all contained within the state of Wisconsin. Although the trail is under the authority of the National Park Service, a nonprofit group called the Ice Age Trail Alliance supports, restores, and manages the trail from its base in Cross Plains, Wisconsin with the help of hundreds of volunteers. The trail stretches for about 7 miles through Verona and is managed by a retired
doctor and former Ice Age trail Alliance board member, David Lonsdorf, who has volunteered with the alliance for 20 years.
EnsoData and The Ice Age Trail Alliance
One successful team building event on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Verona involved Ensodata, a Madison-based artificial intelligence company that works with large health organizations such as Gundersen and Mayo Clinic. Though they are based out of Madison, EnsoData Chief of Staff, Xica Wiltgen, described their reasoning for taking time to plan and participate in team building events explaining, “Twice a year, I help organize our In Person Team Summit events. We have a team of almost 50 employees, 14 working at our headquarters in Madison and the rest of the team scattered across the nation. We get our team together twice a
year to work on long-term planning and team skills.” Working together with the Ice Age Alliance and Lonsdorf, EnsoData and Wiltgen planned a trail restoration project for their team building event that took place in 2022.
2022 Ice Age Trail Restoration Project
With a combination of planning and then rescheduling, due to bad weather, EnsoData and a crew of Ice Age Alliance volunteers led by Lonsdorf were able to complete their team building project in October of 2022. The project was focused on the restoration of the trail which included clearing undesirable brush, buckthorn, and honeysuckle that had built up alongside the trail in Verona. When asked about the planning process, Lonsdorf noted, “It’s sort of a community improvement project. And the Ice Age Trail Alliance has a program called the Ice Age Trail Community Program that tries to get each city and town along the trail on board with
officially hosting the trail. Verona had become an Ice Age Trail Community a number of years earlier, and so the city was on board with cooperating for this project and so happy to have us do this.” The team building project lasted three hours and included six crews of Ensodata employees, each led by an Ice Age Alliance volunteer.
Successful Team building Event
Working alongside Lonsdorf to plan the team building experience, EnsoData was able to easily plan out their time in the Verona area, utilizing local bus services and stopping in town afterward for lunch at a local eatery, Sugar River Pizza. In planning their event, EnsoData also had goals of volunteering their time with a service project and working outdoors, making the Ice Age Trail and the Ice Age Alliance perfect for their project. Wiltgen explained, “Our team also loves being outside and in nature and giving back our time to the community. And so, this project was a perfect fit for us. Making the Ice Age Trail a little more beautiful was a great way
for members from various departments to connect with those that they don’t usually get to work with.” EnsoData’s successful team building experience is just one example of how businesses and groups can utilize Verona as a home base for their own team building projects.