Connecting people to conservation in Wisconsin
BRIDGES • WINTER 2019
FROM THE DIRECTOR David Clutter Hello Foundation members and supporters! It is with great excitement that I officially greet you as the Foundation’s new Executive Director. I look forward to working with you and our outstanding board, staff, and conservation partners to protect Wisconsin’s natural communities and connect people to the land. I also wanted to let you all know that it is a true honor to build upon the outstanding contributions of my predecessor, Ruth Oppedahl. I’ve known Ruth since the mid 1990’s and have been privy to the many great things she’s done for conservation in Wisconsin ever since, including her I Heart Wisconsin river trip that was a source of inspiration for so many of us. Her accomplishments over the years have magnified our conservation impact throughout our great state, and it is a privilege to follow in her footsteps. This fall’s newsletter focuses on a topic near and dear to my heart, as it is dedicated to the importance of Wisconsin’s private lands to protecting the diversity of life within our state. I’ve spent much of my career working with land trusts and private landowners to protect important lands, waters and wildlife. Even during my previous six-year tenure with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin as our Director of WisConservation Corps and lands program, many of our AmeriCorps members were placed with land
trusts working to protect State Natural Areas (SNAs) under private ownership. Though the Foundation has historically focused on stewarding public lands, unique habitats and wildlife know no boundaries. Of the 34.7 million acres in Wisconsin, over twothirds of land is privately owned. In fact, in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, where I spent the last nine years as executive director of Driftless Area Land Conservancy, more than 97% of the 7.4 million-acre land mass is in private ownership. While the Foundation’s mission is centered on protecting, restoring and sustaining public lands for future generations, private landowners are critical to preserving our state’s waters and lands. Everyone — even those of us who do not own land — plays an important role when it comes to protecting Wisconsin’s natural character and diversity of life. So, thank YOU for your role in making land and water conservation possible. I look forward to working with each you to create a more beautiful, sustainable, and ecologically rich Wisconsin for generations to come!
David Clutter, Executive Director
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kristine Krause, Board Chair Mark LaBarbera, Vice Chair Jim Matras, Secretary Tom Dott, Treasurer Dave Adam James Bennett Linda Bochert Bruce Braun Kristine Euclide Rebecca Haefner Martin Henert Jim Hubing Diane Humphrey Lueck William Lunney Tom Olson Bill Smith Michael Williamson FOUNDATION STAFF David Clutter, Executive Director Shari Henning, Operations Manager Jaime Kenowski, Communications Coordinator Lauren Koshere, Member Philanthropy Officer John Kraniak, Membership Director Kim Kreitinger, Outreach Coordinator Emily Sprengelmeyer, Office Manager Christine Tanzer, Field Trip Director Caitlin Williamson, Director of Conservation Programs Camille Zanoni, Director of Philanthropy OUR MISSION Connecting generations to the wonders of Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through conservation, education, engagement, and giving.
Honorary & memorial gifts
June 19, 2019 – October 17, 2019
The Foundation recognizes gifts made in honor or memory of the following people:
In Memory of Fred Madison Gretchen La Budde Richard McFarlane
In Memory of Stephen Solheim Sheri Moor
In Honor of John Bates & Mary Burns Jean & Mark Ledman
In Memory of Paul Butz Joanne & John Powles
In Memory of Deanne Bauer & Sally Manzara Jarell Kuney
In Honor of Shelly Culea Oconomowoc Area Retired Educators Association
In Memory of William H. Born Lois Best Champion Brick Maureen Fantazzi Vicki Gallardo Barbara Humke Kathy Humke Sherilyn Kochanski Rob & Liz Kroll Don Kroll Jean Mack Nancy Mahnke Linda Meyer Constance Stoner Kristin Weber
In Honor of Leone Eiting Jean Oliva
In Memory of David Middleton LaVonne Middleton
In Memory of Leslie Hamilton Wayne Block
In Honor of Ruth Oppedahl Julie Hastreiter Barbara Arnold
In Memory of Maggie Stewart Robert & Elizabeth Biskobing Sarah Newbauer Lisa Pekar Kathryn Petrie Ryan Reynebeau Nancy Steffes Sandra Kay Taub Natalya Wells Carol Werner
In Honor of Marsha Rea Susan & David McAlister
In Honor of Delores Thomas Michelle Helin
In Memory of Janet Schopper Cheryl Schultz
In Memory of Kathryn Trudell Carol Fisher
In Memory of David Schulz Linda Gruhlke
In Memory of Audrey Waldo Lawrence Mirkes
In Memory of Steve Hopkins Anita Clark Paul Fanlund Sue Reddan Patricia Simms
In Honor of Nico & Arvina Martin Carousel Bayrd
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Leaving a Conservation Legacy
aving retired after working at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for over 30 years, we are keenly aware of the outstanding contributions the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has been making toward the protection and enhancement of Wisconsin’s environment since their founding in 1986. As a result, we are very grateful to be in a position to lend our continuing support to the important work of the Foundation, through annual giving as members of the Foundation, as planned giving donors, and more recently through the establishment of the George and Linda Albright Fund. Part of our endowment fund will be used to support a program near and dear to our hearts, the Foundation’s C.D. Besadny Conservation Grants Program. We have fond memories of the years Buzz Besadny served as the Secretary of the DNR as well as in other positions, and Buzz played a key role in the creation of the Foundation. We also appreciate the grant program’s statewide reach and focus on leveraging local conservation efforts. The other portion of our fund will be directed to support operational needs of the Foundation. Hopefully these funds will help the Foundation continue to grow and prosper as it works to address ever greater stressors on our vitally important natural world here in Wisconsin. We encourage like-minded folks to join with us in supporting the Natural Resources Foundation, be it through annual donations, a future planned gift, or through the creation of an endowment fund. – George and Linda Albright, Natural Heritage Circle Members
For more information on joining the Natural Heritage Circle and including NRF in your estate plans, visit WisConservation.org/give or contact Camille Zanoni at (608) 409-3112 or Camille.Zanoni@WisConservation.org
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Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Working together for Wisconsin The critical role of private landowners in conservation By Jaime Kenowski
f you were to take a walk through Wisconsin prior to European settlement in the 19th century, it might feel like you were in another world. To the south you would see a diverse mosaic of wetlands teeming with wildlife, swaying fields of native prairie, and savannas dotted with majestic oaks. To the north, you’d find seemingly endless forests of towering old-growth pine and hemlocks. Since then, the landscape has changed dramatically. Wetlands were drained and filled for urban and industrial development, savannas and prairies were converted into cropland to feed a growing population, and poor logging practices reshaped the forests and landscape of central and northern Wisconsin. While Wisconsin forests have rebounded, the rapid use and development of our natural resources took its toll on the land. Today, it is estimated that only 1% of the old-growth forests, 50% of wetlands, less
than 1% of native prairie, and 0.01% of original oak savanna remain. But in partnership with people like you who care, we’re making a difference by protecting and restoring the beauty, splendor, and diversity of Wisconsin’s native lands, waters, and wildlife. Wisconsin’s private lands Behind many of Wisconsin’s most inspiring wildlife success stories, the recovery of the sandhill crane, trumpeter swan, wild turkey, gray wolf, and most recently the Kirtland’s warbler, there is a key player — the private landowner. Two-thirds of Wisconsin’s 34.7 million acres belong to private landowners, both individuals and corporations. The remaining 6 million acres are held by public entities for conservation purposes, such as parks, forests, natural areas, and wildlife areas. Private landowners play a vital role in protecting the plants, animals, and water quality of our great state. With an ever-
growing population and demand on our natural resources for industry and development, their involvement will only become more critical. What we’re doing to help Though an important part of our mission is to help protect and steward public lands, we also provide support for private lands conservation. While we don’t give grants or financial support directly to individuals for private lands work, we do fund partner organizations who work on important private land conservation and restoration efforts. For instance, by working in partnership with a land trust, NRF can establish funds that support private land conservation and stewardship both now and in the future. These funds can target land management practices like habitat restoration, removal of invasive species, or prescribed burns, and assist with land acquisition of conservation lands Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Resources for private landowners Are you a private landowner with conservation goals for your property? Whatever part of your land that you love most, there are helpful people, resources, and programs to support your vision. LAND CARE
Do you want to prevent or manage invasive species? Improve water or soil quality? Restore wetlands, native prairie, or savanna? • Department of Natural Resources dnr.wi.gov/topic/Landowner • Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin • The Learning Store (UW Extension) • Your county’s Land & Water Conservation Department wisconsinlandwater.org/about/directory-search
Do you want to see more wildlife on your land? Create more habitat for threatened or endangered species? Improve trout streams or increase wild game like turkeys, deer, or quail? • dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/ • dnr.wi.gov/topic/endangeredresources/pollinators html • NRCS Conservation Programs • Partners for Fish & Wildlife • WI Landowner Incentive Program • Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries
protected by a land trust. As an example, the West Dane Conservancy Fund was created to support ongoing management and recovery efforts to restore remnant prairie, oak woodlands, and wetlands on a permanently protected — but privately owned — land in western Dane County.
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
LEAVING A LEGACY
Are you interested in selling, donating, or gifting your land for charitable purposes? Do you want to limit future development of your land, or ensure that it does not conflict with your conservation goals? • gatheringwaters.org/find-land-trust-near-you
EVERLASTING SUPPORT FOR WISCONSIN PHOTOS BY JOSHUA MAYER
Collaboration is key A bird’s eye view of Wisconsin may look like a checkerboard of forests, fields, and city blocks, but we know that nature does not stop at property lines, and neither do threats to our natural communities like invasive species, tree diseases, forest fires, and floods. When government agencies, non-profits, businesses and private landowners and concerned citizens collaborate, we can work together across these invisible lines to preserve our natural resources and leave a healthier, more diverse and beautiful Wisconsin for future generations.
Do you want to create a management plan for your forest? Do you have questions about how to manage storm damage, invasive species, wildfire prevention, or timber harvesting? • Department of Natural Resources foresters dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestry.html • My Wisconsin Woods • Natural Resources Conservation Service • US Forest Service • Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association
Do you want to provide permanent financial support for the places or causes that you cherish? Through the Wisconsin Conservation Endowment, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin serves as a community foundation for the state of Wisconsin. • WisConservation.org/give/endowment-funds BRIDGES/WINTER 2019
Foundation Member Spotlight As a member of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, you are part of a community of over 5,000 dedicated individuals across the state who are invested in creating a healthier, more beautiful, and more sustainable Wisconsin for future generations. We know many of you are invested in managing and restoring private lands — here are just a few members who are working alongside you.
Restoring wildlife habitat in southern Wisconsin After our retirement from medical careers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 2002, we moved to Wisconsin and began new careers as full-time stewards of Fair Meadows, our 380 acres of rural property in Rock County northern Rock County near Lake Koshkonong, where we now live. Fair Meadows is made up of a diverse mixture of restored prairie, oak woodland, oak savanna, lowland hardwood swamp, marsh, sedge meadow, wetlands, and natural springs. It is also home to the federally threatened eastern prairie white fringed orchid. This rare plant has made a steady comeback thanks to the success of management practices like removing invasive species, prescribed burning, and native species planting. This area is also home to a wide variety of birdlife, including black terns, great egrets, and ospreys. We’re happy to say this beautiful area was named a Wisconsin State Natural Area in 2005. Our close relationship to the land has given profound meaning to our lives, which is why we decided to create an endowment fund with the Natural Resources Foundation to ensure the future management of this special place. - P enny & Gary Shackelford Foundation members, NRF Field Trip leaders, and creators of the Fair Meadows State Natural Area Fund
New life for an old farmstead Seventy-five acres of over-grazed wood lots, sagging wire fences, leaning buildings, fields of worn-out soil and an abundance of invasive species like burdock, Canada thistle, and boxelders. While this might not sound like your idea of a dream home in the country, we snapped Pierce County it up 30 years ago after a long search for a “hobby” farm in rural Wisconsin outside of River Falls. The challenges, failures, and successes are never ending, but so worth the adventure. Our tall grass prairie has now replaced much of the old cropland. We planted wildlife corridors with native highbush cranberry, and native prairie trees like ninebark, burr oaks, and hazelnut now connect our woodlots. We also added pollinator plots and acres of forest with the help of county tree planting programs and built ponds with the help of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as well as water and soil conservation agencies. As for wildlife, we’ve found the saying that fits and is so true, “build it and they will come!” - Leslie & John Watschke Foundation members, Natural Heritage Circle members, and NRF Field Trip leaders
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
A safe haven for the endangered Karner blue butterfly Beginning in 1984, acquiring Mecan Prairie’s 230 plus acres in Wisconsin’s sand county inspired me to restore the land to native savanna and prairie and to protect this ecosystem’s inhabitants. Waushara County In 2018, I established the Mecan Prairie Fund with the Natural Resources Foundation to provide long-term support for the care, management, and restoration of this land. These restorations have supported the repopulation of the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, which are most abundant in the sand prairies and oak savannas of central Wisconsin. A group of Prairie Enthusiasts and volunteers are working to restore habitat for them, primarily by planting wild lupine, the plant on which Karner larva depend, as well as other native plants like prairie smoke and leadplant. This has been successful, and the Karner populations are increasing. One of my personal highlights has been leading Natural Resources Foundation Field Trips on the property to showcase these butterflies as they thrive on the restored acres of lupine. You can see a photo a friend took this past summer of a butterfly who made a guest star appearance by resting on my sock as I introduced a group to the prairie, calling it “John’s trained Karner blue.” - Dr. John Shillinglaw Foundation member, NRF Field Trip leader, Natural Heritage Circle member, and creator of the Mecan Prairie Fund
Improving wildlife habitat in the Driftless area Decades ago, we hiked abandoned farms for sale in the “Driftless” area known for its natural beauty. The region held numerous spring fed trout streams, majestic sandstone bluffs, hemlocks, oaks, and white pine forests, as well as prairie remnants and wildflowers. All the above we found one Sunday in Richland County, on an old dairy farm which was for sale. Dale fell in love Richland County with the land and we went from lookers to owners. The untilled land was stunning, but it was tired and worn from years of row crops. Over the last 24 years, we have stopped the erosion by planting 40 acres of tall and short grass prairies with numerous flowering plants. By enhancing the trout streams through management, they now hold more fish than ever. Finally, we’ve also planted hundreds of trees for wildlife diversity. For the above work, the Richland County Natural Resources Conservation Service awarded us the Wildlife Habitat Improvement award in 2010. Our farm is protected by a conservation easement which protects the land in perpetuity and guides the current land management projects. We have also designated a bequest through our estate plans to the Natural Resources Foundation to establish the Willow Valley Conservation Fund to support the long-term management of our land in the future. Inspired by Aldo Leopold’s classic A Sand County Almanac, we feel we have improved the landscape for generations to come. - Phil and Dale Grimm Foundation members, NRF Field Trip leaders, Natural Heritage Circle members, and creators of the Willow Valley Conservation Fund
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Lawrence Creek Fish & Wildlife Area By Mike Kuhr
An angler’s reflections on a cherished wildlife habitat in Central Wisconsin
This year, the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund awarded $12,000 to the Lawrence Creek Fish & Wildlife Area in Adams County to improve hunting opportunities and enhance the site for outdoor recreation, including fishing on the Class 1 trout stream. Trout Unlimited’s State Council Chair Mike Kuhr shares his reflections on what this special place means to him, and its importance to Wisconsin.
probably resembles a ditch to the arrived home on a Sunday afternoon untrained eye. — late, again. I was returning from a fishing trip, so my family was A closer look probably expecting it. Charlie, our But the water is gin clear, and its two-year-old black lab, was not so sandy bottom snakes through a valley understanding. surrounded by high quality wetlands, I grew up in the Fox Valley but now prairie, and stands of forest. The native reside in the Madison area. A couple brook trout that call this place home times a year, I make a point of joining are small and camouflaged with some old friends to fish the green, wormlike markings trout streams we fell in love upon their backs. Most of with decades ago in Central the fish I catch here are and Northeast Wisconsin like between 5 and 7 inches. the Pine, the Tomorrow, and the Occasionally an 8 incher Wolf. is brought to hand. Small Lately, I’ve been cutting my flies, slow movements, trips short and heading home a and well-placed casts will few hours early so I can spend improve the catching. these extra hours exploring The colors on these “We’re investing a little trout stream about fish are spectacular. Red in the care and halfway between Stevens spots in blue halos are maintenance of Point and Madison off of I-39. mixed in with yellow our public lands so Lawrence Creek runs all of 3 spots along the sides that that our kids and miles from its headwaters to give way to a fire orange grandkids can enjoy an impounded lake bearing belly. The orange fins are all that Wisconsin’s the same name. The creek distinctly marked with outdoors has to offer.” is about 5-10 feet wide and black, then white lines on
the ends. These colors intensify as the season gets closer to fall, when these trout will spawn and rear the next generation. I don’t believe an artist couldn’t conceive of a betterlooking fish. As I work upstream around the meanders, spooking most of the fish and occasionally fooling a few others, I’m reminded of why they are here. On just about every bend is a small trickle of cold water flowing in from a nearby spring. This is a special landscape whose geography and hydrology are remnants of receding glaciers during the last Ice Age. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Globally significant research I heard it used to be cow pastures in the early 1900’s, but the land around the Creek is now public, and known as the Lawrence Creek Wildlife Area. A portion of this land, including the headwaters of the Creek, has been designated a State Natural
Area — affording the landscape further protections and outdoor recreationists’ opportunities to enjoy it, whether fishing, hunting, hiking, paddling, or birdwatching. The oak and pine forests around the Creek are managed by the state. Occasional timber harvests and invasive buckthorn clearings do occur, but the deer and turkey don’t seem to mind. The prairie lands and wetlands act as a buffer, filtering the cold, clean water that eventually ends up in the Creek. Even in the middle of a summer heatwave, this water is ice cold. It’s good for the native fish, as brook trout don’t do well when water temperatures get above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. So, of the 13,000 miles of trout streams in Wisconsin, why did I choose this tiny piece of water to fish? I came for the history lesson. You see, this little creek is one of the most well studied fisheries in America. Starting in the 1950’s, biologists and researchers like Drs. Oscar Brynildson, Ray White, and Bob Hunt have used
Cherishing Wisconsin I cherish the outdoor opportunities that Wisconsin’s woods and waters have afforded me, and many others do as well. We use the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund to pay it forward. By contributing to the Fund, we’re investing in the care and maintenance of our public lands so that our kids and grandkids can enjoy all that Wisconsin’s outdoors has to offer. Upstream, a dimple breaks the water’s reflection of blue bird skies and the occasional cloud. It’s a brook trout, rising to eat a mayfly. I aim my next cast a few feet in front of the rise. My dry fly, no bigger than an ant, lands gently on the surface and starts floating downstream. In a flash, the trout rises, grabs my fly, and I’m hooked up with another little brookie. For once, everything just seems to be working out. Soon I’m back at the car, packing my gear and preparing for the final leg of my trip home. It’s here that I realize my two-hour side trip to Lawrence Creek has turned into four. I’ve got that “kid in a candy store” smile on my face. It’s been a fine afternoon, and thoughts of the small speckled gems that I caught that day fill my head. I’m only a few hours late, and I hope my family will understand.
Mike Kuhr is an Architectural Home Designer, small business owner, and a volunteer leader for Trout Unlimited. Mike has always had a passion for the outdoors and feels most at home knee deep in a trout stream. He currently serves as State Council Chair for Wisconsin Trout Unlimited. Mike lives in Monona, WI with his wife, two daughters, and their black lab Charlie. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
About Cherish Wisconsin Created in 2012, the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund provides permanent support for Wisconsin’s public lands for generations to come. The fund is built through small donations made when patrons purchase a hunting or fishing license through the DNR’s Go Wild system, or through donations via NRF. Previous grant sites include the Tyrone Tract of the Lower Chippewa River State Natural Area and the Bluff Creek and Clover Valley Fen State Natural Areas in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. Cherish Grant Review Committee • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers • Friends of Wisconsin State Parks • Natural Areas Preservation Council • Pheasants Forever • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation • Ruffed Grouse Society • Trout Unlimited •W isconsin Bird Conservation Initiative • Wisconsin Conservation Congress • Wisconsin Waterfowl Association • Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
CherishWisconsin.org JOSHUA MAYER
Lawrence Creek to study and develop their principles for sustainable trout management. Their research and conclusions are well known and respected by fisheries experts worldwide. The fact that I can stand in the same creek and admire the fish and the landscape decades later is a testament to their work. It’s proof that their legacy is being passed on through the generations.
Your Support AT WORK By: Katie Herrick
Restoring habitat for wildlife on the Mississippi
Crucial work is being done to restore Maiden Rock Bluff State Natural Area, one of the many priority SNAs that we support. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will remove invasive plants as well as carry out prescribed fires. This area has seen a dramatic change thanks to this work, restoring an important site for wildlife including neotropical songbirds and raptors including bald eagles, golden eagles, and gyrfalcon , as well as Wisconsinites that love the amazing views.
Accessibility for all
© Lee Recreation
In 2019, our C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund is helping to fund the Friends of High Cliff State Park’s new ADA-accessible playground and recreation area. High Cliff State Park has been around for over 50 years and receives thousands of visitors annually. By ensuring that visitors of all ages and physical abilities can access the park, new doors to nature will be opened for more Wisconsinites than ever.
Bringing a successful volunteer program to the Northwoods
For several years, the Friends of Lapham Peak have been working to remove invasive species, restore lands, and create accessible areas in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Recently they have received both our 2019 C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant that will fund invasive species removal, and a 2019 grant from the Norma & Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund for trail improvement.
You can help Help us preserve Wisconsin’s incredible public lands, waters, and wildlife. Donate. Whether you give a general gift of choose a special purpose for your donation, every dollar makes a difference for Wisconsin. Visit WisConservation.org/give to learn more. Leave a Legacy. Create an endowment fund dedicated to a place or cause you love. Visit WisConservation.org/endowment to learn more.
After success in southern Wisconsin, the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program is coming to northern Wisconsin! The program prepares groups of local volunteers to care for Wisconsin’s natural communities by removing and searching for invasive species, clearing brush, and monitoring rare species.
Improving trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest
Get invoLVed! You can make a difference by giving your time as a volunteer. Visit WisConservation.org/volunteer to learn more.
Jonathan Pell Ela Fund JOSH MAYER
Featured Fund By Jaime Kenowski
ucked away on the eastern side of Door Peninsula is a place like no other. Balsam fir, white spruce, paper birch and hemlocks that are usually found much farther north thrive in the cool winds blowing in off Lake Michigan. White cedars, some hundreds of years old, cling stubbornly to limestone bluffs. Rare species like the federally endangered dwarf lake iris and Hine’s emerald dragonfly make their home on the pristine acres of boreal forests, marshes, wetlands, cedar swamps, and long stretches of undeveloped shoreline. It was along these cobblestone beaches and sandy shores that Jonathan Pell Ela swam and played as a boy, creating some of his earliest connections to the natural areas he would later dedicate his life to protecting. A tireless champion of conservation Jonathan’s career in conservation began in 1968 when he worked for Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, who became an influential mentor. The following year Jonathan began what would be a lifelong connection to the Sierra Club — a national conservation organization founded by John Muir in 1892 — where he worked to protect Alaskan lands, the California Redwoods, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and the Lake Superior Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Of his many conservation impacts, some highlights include his time helping pass landmark national environmental initiatives, including the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, writing the book The Faces of the Great Lakes, and serving on the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board from 2003 to 2011, as a member and later as its chairman. Honoring a Legacy Jonathan died on October 31, 2012, and a year later the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, in a unanimous decision, voted to name a section of the Bailey’s Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural
Area (SNA) the Jonathan P. Ela Unit to recognize his lifelong contributions to Wisconsin conservation. “Jonathan would have been overwhelmed by the gesture,” shares his wife Patricia Stocking. “Those who knew him knew that he was fair. He could look at all sides of an issue and bring people together to find a solution. Many people that he mentored, trained, worked with or befriended over the years remember him for his intelligence, his warm and generous spirit, and his mischievous sense of humor.” Lifelong Impact In 2017, Patricia established the Jonathan P. Ela Fund for Bailey’s Harbor Boreal Forest State Natural Area with the Foundation to provide permanent funding for land management for the SNA. This property also holds special significance to Patricia, who had helped acquire many properties in Door County for protection during her own conservation career working for the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. In 2018, The Nature Conservancy donated 362 acres of land in the heart of the Bailey’s Harbor SNA, nearly doubling the size of the area and connecting pieces that had been isolated from each other. “Working at The Nature Conservancy I learned the importance of setting up long term care for places like our State Natural Areas,” she shares. “Even if land is protected it still needs to be carefully managed, especially areas like this that are a safe haven for so many endangered and threatened species.” Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands SNA is open to the public for walking, wildlife and bird watching, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, as well as hunting and trapping. It has also been used for education and research. We are grateful for Patricia’s gift that will preserve and protect this fragile and globally unique ecosystem so future generations can experience the rich biodiversity and natural wonders of this special place.
To learn more about how to create an endowment or support existing endowments for Wisconsin, visit WisConservation.org/give/endowment-funds. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
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