Play Nice by Frannie Sleger

Play Nice


Frannie Sleger, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In collaboration with Jeanne Scherer, Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist and Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension

Play Nice is inspired by Jeanne Scherer’s work in biocontrol outreach, managing the spread of purple loosestrife and reducing its influence on native ecosystems using Japanese “Cella” beetles (Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla). These beetles feed on their leaves and shoots while leaving native plants alone, allowing for an environmentally sound control of the plant. Historically, outreach strategies have used inflammatory rhetoric that aims to demonize non-native plants, though language has been shifting towards a more honest and holistic future of invasive species management. While purple loosestrife can limit native species’ ability to live harmoniously in Wisconsin’s wetlands, it’s hard not to admire its beauty and resilience. When Sleger thinks of beauty, harmony, and balance, they think of a classic art form: still-life bouquets. By including purple loosestrife in a bouquet filled with thriving native species–grey goldenrod, swamp milkweed, elderberry, and sawtooth sunflowers–Sleger hopes to communicate that non-native species, when properly controlled, can “play nice” with others. 


Frannie is a queer writer and visual artist based out of Wisconsin. Their art focuses on liminal spaces found in everyday scenes. They are inspired by “lived in” residential houses, front doors, garages, and alleyways, and the way angles and compositions appear naturally in the built environment.

They are currently open for commissions–see more of their artwork or contact them on their website.

ABOUT THE Water Partner

As the Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist, Jeanne helps complete the deliverables of the DNR AIS contract with UW-Extension and the Environmental Resources Center. Her work includes delivering outreach programming to a network of AIS Coordinators, developing new AIS programs, and serving on the DNR AIS Team work groups. She is also a Water Resource Management Specialist focused on AIS monitoring with the DNR. A career change in 2009 brought her home to the waters of Wisconsin that she had grown up playing, swimming and fishing in as a child. She has a B.A. in Liberals Arts from Carthage College, a B.S. in Physical/Environmental Geography, minor in Biology from UW-Whitewater and has held teacher certifications in Illinois, California, and Wisconsin. Although she’s spent most of her life in Wisconsin, life’s twists and turns have also landed her in Japan, Washington, California, Illinois and Virginia with many interesting travels along the way.