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A Majority of Wisconsinites Support Reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Members of the Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter meet for one of their Wednesday hikes. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)


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The survey says people in Wisconsin support the work of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and want to see it continue.  The support is overwhelming regardless of political affiliation and demographics. The following press release was distributed by Gathering Waters and the Nature Conservancy on July 18, 2018.

Overwhelming Bipartisan Majorities of Wisconsin Voters Support Congressional Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
LWCF will expire on September 30 th

MADISON — The overwhelming majority of Wisconsin voters want Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with 86% of the state’s electorate in support of continued funding.

A recent statewide survey of Wisconsin voters conducted by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and FM3 Research (D) demonstrates overwhelming public support for Congress to reauthorize and continue to fund LWCF. Support for reauthorization of LWCF extends across party lines,
across the state, and with all key demographic sub-groups.

“The people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support continued investment in the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Mike Carlson, Executive Director of Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts. “These results show that it doesn’t matter if you’re from an urban or rural area, a man or a woman, conservative or liberal – virtually everyone agrees that this is one of the best programs Congress has ever come up with and it should be continued.”

The desire to have continued federal investments in LWCF is evident across all major segments of the electorate, including:

  • 91% of Democrats, 88% of independents, and 79% of Republicans;
  • 92% of moderates, 77% of conservatives, and 95% of liberals;
  • 88% of men and 85% of women;
  • 88% of voters of color, and 87% of whites;
  • 87% of urban voter, 90% of suburban voters, 89% of small town residents, and 82% of rural residents; and
  • 83% of voters in the Green Bay/Appleton media markets, 87% of voters in the Milwaukee media market, 91% of those in the Madison area, and 86% of those in the northern portions of the state.

“There is virtually no other federal conservation program in America that has this level of bipartisan support,” said Mary Jean Huston, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin. “We strongly urge
Senators Johnson and Baldwin, Speaker Ryan, and the rest of the Wisconsin delegation to make permanent reauthorization and funding of LWCF a priority before the September 30th deadline.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided funding to help protect some of Wisconsin’s most treasured places and ensures recreational access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. It has also been a vital program for keeping large tracts of forestland intact and producing timber for local forestry economies.

Wisconsin has received approximately $218 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail, the St. Croix National Scenic River and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

LWCF is America’s most important conservation and recreation program, responsible for protecting parks, trails, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For over 52 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, access to recreation, and the
continued historic preservation of our nation’s iconic landmarks.

LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments.

A copy of the polling memo from the bipartisan research team of FM3 Research and Public Opinion Strategies is attached.

Congress Makes the Right Call on Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Providing Communities with Cost-effective Conservation Programs

The following statement was released by Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.

By fully funding the very popular and impactful Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), Congress guarantees our generation’s best chance to protect and restore the Great Lakes.l michigan13 12rz

Since 2009, GLRI has returned to our states more than $2 billion in the eight-state region. The successful initiative has removed toxic waste from industrial sites, combatted invasive species such as Asian carp, restored critical wildlife habitat and maintained clean drinking water for 40 million Americans. However, President Trump’s original budget released last year slashed funding for the vital program by 90 percent.

In our communities of Ozaukee and Washington counties and the surrounding region, GLRI has been a godsend for our families who depend on a healthy Lake Michigan for our drinking water, our economy, and our way of life.

With funding from GLRI, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) initiated a project to support local community efforts to control invasive plants across southeast Wisconsin.

Invasive species are serious threats to coastal communities along Lake Michigan.  If not stopped now, the great majority of our coastal shoreline, riverbanks and other wetlands will be overtaken by these species and our Wisconsin wildlife habitat and the quality of our water will be greatly diminished by this invasion. The longer we wait, the more costly control efforts will become.

GLRI has allowed the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust to continue its leadership role as an innovator in public and private partnerships. Since 2016, we’ve protected almost 27 miles of shoreline from invasive species – roughly the distance between Port Washington and Milwaukee!

The need for collaboration has never been more urgent as the pervasive threat of invasive species burns across our region like wildfire.

What’s more, our public-private collaborations mean more bang for the buck! Through the GLRI Program, OWLT has generated $831,000 in public and private investment for our community with only 4% administrative overhead. That means more dollars on the ground, doing conservation work and spurring local economic growth.

In addition to OWLT’s efforts to eradicate invasive species across our publicly accessible preserves, our GLRI project’s impact can be seen across the region: from Friends of the Cedarburg Bog’s effort to annually survey and eradicate invasive species from sixty-one miles of roadways surrounding the world class bog (that is one of the largest and most outstanding wetlands remaining in southeast Wisconsin) to efforts by the Cedar Lakes Conservation FoundationRiveredge Nature Center and Mequon Nature Preserve to control invasive plants located on their respective preserve lands, which are visited by tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.

In Milwaukee County, grant support will fund invasive species control efforts at Hunger Task Force Farm, which features one of only two publically-owned remnant oak savannahs surviving in Milwaukee County and will assist Friends of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in support of its Early Detection and Rapid Response Project, which will lead to long-term benefits to the Great Lakes ecosystem by managing and restoring nearshore wetland and upland habitats to sustain the health and function of natural communities.

The same spirit of cooperation for the Great Lakes has extended all the way to the halls of Congress where a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, including Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and local U.S. Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner and Glenn Grothman, rallied to fully fund GLRI.

The enormity of the Great Lakes in both size and significance – and the tremendous challenges they face – demand that we continue to work together to care for this extraordinary natural resource. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the surest way to continue to protect and restore the Great Lakes in a cost effective and collaborative manner.


Tom Stolp, Executive Director

What’s better than a potluck dinner?

Why a potluck dessert competition, of course!

This friendly rivalry between conference goers (and their significant others who may have entered tortuously) has been a tradition for as long as Gathering Waters has hosted this event.

Before our 2018 Land Trust Conference, attendees were reminded to bring their favorite desserts for the competition. We had a fabulous spread of cookies, bars, cakes, and pies.

Carol Abrahamzon had the dubious honor of tasting all the entries

Carol Abrahamzon had the dubious honor of tasting all the entries.

But before one slice was served, our judges sampled the delicious desserts lining the banquet tables. (Being first in line is one of the perks of being a judge!)

The previous winner and this year’s judge, Carol Abrahamzon, of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy took her responsibility very seriously. Not only was she “forced” to sample all the desserts entered in the contest, but she also created the “Land Trust Top Chef” rolling-pin trophy.

Carol, along with MaryKay O’Donnell, Midwest Senior Program Manager from the Land Trust Alliance sampled each entry.

Together the judges selected Janet Smith from North Central Conservancy Trust as the 2018 winner.

Janet Smith won the 2018 Potluck Dessert Competition with a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate mousse cake.

You know it’s good when the only thing left on the plate is the spatula.

While Janet may have received the trophy, she was not only person who won that evening.

Everyone who sampled the delectable,
melt-in-your-mouth SINsational Double Chocolate Mousse Cake was a winner.

At the end of the evening, the only thing left on Janet’s plate was the spatula.

Way to go, Janet!

Thank you for sharing your SINsational recipe with us.

Meet the next generation.


The following post was written by our wonderful land trust member Groundswell Conservancy.

These women are part of an Operation Fresh Start (OFS) conservation crew working to remove invasive species and dying trees at Lake View Elementary on Madison’s north side. They’re braving the cold weather and dense buckthorn forest to clear an outdoor classroom for children they’ve never met. The land they take back will create space for an OFS construction crew to build the newest addition to Lake View’s green schoolyard, a vision created by the teachers and students who learn and play here. The brush they cut down will be chipped and used to create paths that Lake View students can explore. Some of the logs they’re creating will line those paths.

These women are our conservation heroes:


Photo credit: Ben Jones

Groundswell Conservancy purchased the land being restored last December and is working to add it to the school’s impressive outdoor classroom. As part of our campaign to “Save the Woods” at Lake View Elementary, we have partnered with Operation Fresh Start to clear the woods and construct a new learning space. Join us on facebook and instagram to celebrate our conservation heroes and the  work a community is doing to grow the next generation.

See you outside,
Tony Abate








Alma Bluffland Protected through Conservation Agreement with Sale of Property


Conservation Agreement with Mississippi Valley Conservancy Connects Buyer and Seller Visions of Future for the Land

The following post was written by our wonderful land trust member Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

BUFFALO COUNTY, WI – February 23, 2018 – In conjunction with a change of ownership, the bluffland above the town of Alma has been added to the list of properties now protected by an agreement with Mississippi Valley Conservancy. When Larry Jost decided to sell the bluffland property he had climbed and enjoyed in his youth, he wanted to pass it on with the knowledge that the historic, geographic, and ecological value of the land would remain unchanged. When Alma’s Mayor, Jim Wilkie, learned of Jost’s interest in selling the landmark bluff, he had the future of Alma in mind. The visions and values of both parties are now connected through their agreement with the Conservancy.

Jost and a childhood friend, both born and raised in Alma, had for years enjoyed the land for recreation and hunting. Later in life they partnered on some property investments which included the landmark bluff above the town. When the time came to divest of the land, due to his partner’s failing health, Jost looked into the possibility of a conservation agreement to protect the land. “I was told by an excavating contractor that a road could be built to the top and then a house could have been built,” said Jost, “I didn’t want that to happen, I wanted to permanently protect the property.” Neither he or his friend could stand the idea of development on the bluffland. So Jost went in search of a buyer who would value the conservation plan. Among the many people with whom he discussed the property sale was Mayor Jim Wilkie.

Wilkie has his own vision for the land which is adjacent to his property and towers above his great-great grandfather’s brick home where he now lives. Being fully aware of the historic significance of the property as well as its value in Alma’s tourism economy and the town’s very identity, he wasn’t interested in seeing it changed. Looking ahead, he’s interested in the success of the “Flyway Trail” project that will one day connect Wabasha with Winona via a bike trail on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River. To that end, he serves on the board of the Buffalo County Land and Trails Trust. He sees Alma and its bluffs as a jewel on that trail, and on the Wisconsin Great River Road, and that’s something he doesn’t want to see changed. So when Larry Jost told him about his plan to put a conservation easement on the land, the idea was agreeable to Jim Wilke, and he decided to purchase the land for its value to the community.

The property consists of 15 acres of scenic cliffs and blufflands overlooking the Mississippi River valley. The adventurous who climb to the top will find three limestone points looking out over the Mississippi River. The largest of the points includes a historical feature known locally as “Lincoln’s Cave,” due to a carving of the profile of Abraham Lincoln’s face. A crawl through the short tunnel puts one on top of a steep cliff with expansive views of the Mississippi River and the Minnesota blufflands. Visitors to Alma, boaters on the Mississippi River, and those driving along the Great River Road (Highway 35) or County Road E can enjoy the exceptionally scenic rock cliffs and wooded bluff that are now protected.

According to Larry, the site is of important historical significance. When steam ships came out of Lake Pepin, at the mouth of the Chippewa River, they could see “12-mile bluff” (Alma is twelve miles south of the Chippewa River). The name was changed to Alma in the mid-1850’s.

The property plays an equally significant ecological role, according to Abbie Church, conservation director of the Conservancy. The property’s ecological features include oak opening, defined by the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory as a globally imperiled natural community. Oak openings, often surrounded by prairie habitat as can be found on this property, serve as crucial habitat for declining pollinators and grassland-nesting bird species. Signs of foraging pileated woodpeckers can be found in standing dead trees, and soaring bald eagles and red-tailed hawks can often be seen above the bluffs.

“This transaction is a great example of how a conservation easement can serve as a legal tool to allow a landowner to sell land while having a say in the future use of that land,” said Church, “In this case, Larry had a vested interest in seeing that the land not be developed, the woods clear-cut, or the historical features of the Lincoln’s cave destroyed by a future owner. He found the perfect buyer in Jim, who shares his values in recognizing that Wisconsin’s scenic bluffs are a tremendous asset to the local community and to the wildlife that call this area home.”

According to Carol Abrahamzon, executive director of the Conservancy, the wishes of both buyer and seller were entirely compatible and the Conservancy was able to negotiate a conservation agreement customized to what the land itself can support and customized to the wishes of both parties. “Our role now is to ensure that the land protection provisions in the agreement are upheld in perpetuity – not just by the next owner but by owners far into the future,” she said, “With his purchase of the land, Jim Wilkie is carrying on what Larry Jost started – protecting the scenic beauty of the blufflands that can be seen and enjoyed by all traveling the Great River Road through the City of Alma now and forever.”



Founded in 1997, Mississippi Valley Conservancy is a nationally accredited regional land trust that has permanently protected nearly 20,000 acres of scenic lands in southwestern Wisconsin by working with private landowners, businesses and local communities on voluntary conservation projects. The focus of the Conservancy is to conserve the forests, prairies, wetlands, streams and farms that enrich our communities, for the health and well-being of current and future generations. Learn more at


Federal Policy Update

President’s Budget proposal would virtually eliminate critical federal conservation programs. Please contact Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to voice your concern!

Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
  • The Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget proposal would eviscerate the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with a 98% overall cut to the program from this year’s enacted level. The proposal would eliminate state grant programs that support land trust projects, local recreation facilities, state parks, working forests, wildlife habitat and other community conservation priorities, leaving states and local communities in the lurch as they pursue an improved quality of life for their citizens.
  • Individual federal agency budget allocations for LWCF funding at our National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands would be eliminated outright or held so low as to cripple agency efforts, foreclosing any future protection of America’s lands and waters and undercutting efforts to enhance public access to the outdoors for hunting, fishing and a host of other activities that drive a vibrant economy. Popular projects in Wisconsin like the Ice Age Trail which utilize LWCF funds to enhance and develop recreational infrastructure would be set back dramatically.
  • The consequences of gutting one of America’s most important conservation and recreation program to this extent would be far-reaching for land conservation efforts and once-in- a- generation opportunities to secure public access and protect our public lands from private development inside their boundaries would be lost forever.
  • Diversions of LWCF funds in recent years away from conservation and recreation projects has left a backlog of need at the local, state and federal levels.  The Trump budget will exacerbate that beyond all hope.
  • Bipartisan support for LWCF in Congress has been strong and consistent for over half a century.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and related program cuts
  • The President’s budget also proposes cutting important regional programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) which would face a 90 percent reduction from fiscal year 2017 budget levels. GLRI has a proven track record and helps local communities and fish and wildlife habitat clean up toxic pollution, curb polluted runoff, fight invasive species—a cut of 90 percent would severely undermine future success of the program.
  • A reduction of 34 percent from the 2017 budget levels for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which helps administer Great Lakes restoration and clean water protection programs.
  • A zeroed out budget for Clean Water Act Section 319 programs, which helps communities reduce polluted runoff that leads to toxic algal outbreaks—a reduction of $167 million from the fiscal year 2017 budget levels.

Forest Habitat Restored and Protected on Bluff Land Above Kickapoo River

The following post was written by our wonderful land trust member Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

VERNON COUNTY, WI – February 13, 2018 – Forty acres of wildlife-rich bluff land near the town of La Farge have been added to the list of properties permanently protected through conservation agreements with Mississippi Valley Conservancy. Judy Kingsbury and Leslie Grossberg, the property owners, are self-described biology “nerds” who say that their deep attachment to the land dates to when they met on an organic farm at Plymouth, Wisconsin, in 1991.

“So we both have an interest in organic agriculture and conservation,” Judy said recently. The Madison couple stay in La Farge when they visit their property to work on planting, removal of old barbed wire fencing, invasive species removal or to “just relax,” as Leslie put it in a telephone interview. They were drawn to the beauty of the Kickapoo Valley during their search for land where they could work on ecological restoration.

Judy, who is volunteer program coordinator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, said they “highly value” conservation efforts and know the concerns over habitat and species loss.  “We’re just glad to be able to protect this land — honored we can do this.” She paused and added, “It’s our responsibility to do it, to protect it forever. Maybe others will be inspired to do the same.”

The property’s forested areas include a mix of native species, such as red oak, shagbark hickory, burr oak, sugar maple, black cherry, and white ash. Judy said that their primary work on the land is encouraging the regrowth of forest. Abbie Church, MVC conservation director, said that as the ridge-top fallow fields fill in with grassland and young forest, a rich wildlife habitat is available for songbirds, turkey, whitetail deer, bear, fox and coyote. Native bees and other pollinators will flourish where there is an abundance of flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees.

Their agreement with the Conservancy permanently protects the land and resources from habitat destruction, from residential development, mining, inappropriate agriculture and forestry practices, as well as from subdivision that would break up the habitat, according to Megen Kabele, MVC conservation specialist who worked with the couple on the easement. “Judy and Leslie have provided through their conservation easement an enduring legacy to future generations while achieving peace-of- mind, knowing that their land will be taken care of far into the future,” said Carol Abrahamzon, executive director of the Conservancy.

Leslie said that they once considered moving to the La Farge area, but decided it would be better to stay in Madison, close to family. They began working on the easement only 4 1/2 years after purchasing the land so it, and their restoration work, would be protected in case they ever decided to sell it.

Judy said they enjoyed working with the conservancy staff who joined them for a survey of the property and its wildlife and vegetation.  “We were impressed by their level of attention to detail.” She described Abbie Church looking under leaf litter to find a cherrystone drop snail, a Wisconsin threatened species that is unique to the Driftless Area. “Super cool,” Judy said.



Founded in 1997, Mississippi Valley Conservancy is a nationally accredited regional land trust that has permanently protected nearly 20,000 acres of scenic lands in southwestern Wisconsin by working with private landowners, businesses and local communities on voluntary conservation projects. The focus of the Conservancy is to conserve the forests, prairies, wetlands, streams and farms that enrich our communities, for the health and well-being of current and future generations. Learn more at

Rock county land to be transformed and open to public









The following post was written by our wonderful land trust member Groundswell Conservancy.


Good news that on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, through the generosity of Orfordville residents, Norman and Carol Aulabaugh, 75 acres of rolling landscape will be transformed into a public natural resource.

Norm and Carol donated the land, to be named Sunny Peace Prairie, to Green-Rock Audubon Society, who will be responsible for managing the restoration efforts. Groundswell Conservancy was granted a permanent conservation easement on the land to ensure that the Aulabaugh’s wishes for it to remain open for the public’s enjoyment be upheld, forever.

The Aulabaugh’s vision for Sunny Peace Prairie is for it to be a nature education resource and place for quiet contemplation.Transforming the land back into a prairie and oak woodland with walking paths will begin this year thanks to a generous endowment that Norm and Carol have established at the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin.

When asked to say something about what motivated them to donate their land, Norm offered these words from the book O Pioneers! by Willa Cather:

“The land belongs to the future, Carl; that’s the way it seems to me. How many of the names on the county clerk’s plat will be there in fifty years? I might as well try to will the sunset over there to my brother’s children. We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it–for a little while.”

Hear Norm share their story in the above one-minute video .

Our thanks go to Norm and Carol for their wonderful gift to the future and to Groundswell Conservancy supporters that make our work on these projects possible.


Mississippi Valley Conservancy Launches Campaign to Match Anonymous Donor’s Gift as “Our Children’s Natural Heritage Endowment”


The following post was written by our wonderful land trust member Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

LA CROSSE, WI – Mississippi Valley Conservancy announced that it has received a rare gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor who wishes to see the donation tripled to become a legacy for the Conservancy. To bolster its long-term commitment to protect designated lands in the nine-county area it serves, the Conservancy has launched an endowment campaign to fulfill the donor’s vision with a fund named “Our Children’s Natural Heritage Endowment.”

The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, is known to be a long-time supporter of the Conservancy who has protected the natural legacy of her own land, through a conservation agreement with the Conservancy. According to Carol Abrahamzon, executive director of the Conservancy, the donor expressed in a letter that the endowment gift is the best way to further her ambition to “promote long term good for our Earth, and our beloved Driftless Area.” Abrahamzon said, “The gift will kick off a campaign to grow the funds for Our Children’s Natural Heritage Endowment. The vision of the donor is for the endowment to grow to $3 million dollars through matched gifts and pledges.”

Former Conservancy President Warren Loveland said that the “protected forever” signs placed on Mississippi Valley Conservancy-protected properties “suggests the need for an endowment to help provide the financial capacity necessary to ensure that the Conservancy will be there to fulfill its promise.”  Incoming President, Rob Tyser, said the beauty of the donor’s gift is that “this fund will also be ‘forever’ – an enduring resource for safeguarding these lands in perpetuity.”

The Conservancy made a commitment in perpetuity 20 years ago, to protect the unique blufflands, prairies, forests, rivers, and farmlands of the Driftless Area. With the help of many supporters, including individuals, businesses, and foundations, it has now protected almost 20,000 acres and that number continues to grow. “This endowment will help us strengthen the commitment with reserve funds that offer a buffer, in the event of hardship, to ensure the Conservancy will be here to fulfill our forever promise,” said Abrahamzon.

Abrahamzon added that the “the value of individual donations is in no way diminished by the endowment. In fact,” she said, “the strength that members bring to this organization was a major factor in the donor’s decision to make the gift. Individual memberships make up the largest portion of our budget, now and in the future.”



Founded in 1997, Mississippi Valley Conservancy is a nationally accredited regional land trust that has permanently protected nearly 20,000 acres of scenic lands in southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless Area by working with private landowners, businesses and local communities on voluntary conservation projects. The focus of the Conservancy is to conserve the forests, prairies, wetlands, streams and farms that enrich our communities, for the health and well-being of current and future generations. For additional information about the Conservancy, visit


Geneva Lake Conservancy Purchases 77-acre Property on Sugar Creek

The following post was written by our wonderful land trust member Geneva Lake Conservancy.

The Geneva Lake Conservancy has purchased a 77-acre parcel on Sugar Creek in the Town of Lafayette that will be open to the public for hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hunting and other recreational uses beginning this summer.

The property will offer a half mile hike to a rare oak opening, as well as opportunities to walk and fish along Sugar Creek, which is designated as a Class II Trout Stream.

Located on Highway ES east of Highway 12, the property was purchased with a $90,000 grant from the Knowles Nelson Stewardship program of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as well as a $50,000 grant from Ducks Unlimited and funding from private donations.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to open this beautiful parcel along Sugar Creek to the public,” said Kevin Brunner, chair of the Geneva Lake Conservancy’s Land Protection Committee. “It will offer a variety of recreational activities, as well as protect habitat for wildlife.”

Sugar Creek contains several species of concern, including the least darter, a small fish. The wetlands on the property also provide important habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. The purchase will preserve a buffer zone along the creek that will protect the waterway from agricultural runoff.

The property is identified by the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission as a natural area of local significance that should be preserved, Brunner said.

“The Conservancy holds a conservation easement on another property along the creek known as the Sugar Creek Preserve,” said Dennis Jordan, Conservancy chairman. “The purchase of this property will allow us to begin to form a protected stream corridor and we will be talking with other landowners along Sugar Creek who may be interested in placing conservation easements along their streambanks.” This is the first time in its 40-year history that the Conservancy has used Knowles Nelson Stewardship funding to purchase land.

The new property also has historic value. It was along Sugar Creek that the Potawatomi tribe stopped to make more than 1,000 pounds of maple sugar before journeying to other camping grounds in the area, according to records in the Lake Geneva Library.

In addition to the funding for the Sugar Creek property, the Conservancy also was awarded another $160,000 grant from the Knowles Nelson program to purchase a second property in Walworth County that it will be raising matching funds for in 2018, said Karen Yancey, GLC’s Executive Director. “We want to thank all of the private donors who contributed to our new Land Acquisition Fund this year,” she said. “As Walworth County grows, it is so important to preserve land with high scenic and conservation value for wildlife habitat and public use.”

Private funding for the Hansen Preserve was made possible by donations from the following Conservancy supporters: Diane Beu, Charles and Dianna Colman, Chuck and Vicki Ebeling, Al Hermansen and Dorothy Sullivan, Dennis and Diane Jordan, John K. Notz, Jr., Wendy Perks Fisher, the Robert and Patricia Moore Foundation, Peter and Julee Scherrer, and Bill and Barbara Turner. The purchase brings the total number of acres protected by the Conservancy to 2035.

The Conservancy also wants to thank Russell and Cheryl Hansen, the former owners of the property, who worked with the Conservancy throughout 2017 to meet the grant requirements for purchasing the property, Yancey said.

The new Conservancy property will be known as the Hansen Preserve. It is expected to open in July, 2018 and will be marked by a sign along Highway ES.


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