Land Conservation and the Gathering Waters Conservancy

After reporting in the previous post (below) about the Barn Dance & Chautauqua at the Saxon Homestead Farm near Cleveland WI, I was curious and wanted to learn more about one of that event’s co-sponsors, The Gathering Waters Conservancy.

In case you need it, too, here’s a capsule description – the Conservancy is a kind of umbrella land conservation group that exists to support and connect all the individual land trusts throughout the state; in its’ own words, to support “the remarkable growth and success of Wisconsin’s private land conservation movement.”

Gathering Waters Conservancy was established in 1994 and since then “the number of non-profit organizations permanently protecting land has increased from 12 to over 50.”

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Niagara Escarpment Forest at the Door County Land Trust’s Bayshore Blufflands (Photo by Joshua Mayer)

The Barn Dance is just one of the big events on GWC’s plate for September. On Thursday, the 25th, the Conservancy will host its 12th annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration, at Monona Terrace in Madison.

Land Conservation Leadership Honorees for 2014

This will be an impressive gathering of the conservation community from all parts of the state and the party this year is also an occasion for GWC to celebrate its own 20th anniversary. But the major focus of the evening is to spotlight those Wisconsin citizens being honored for their conservation leadership.

The honorees will include:

Roy and Charlotte Lukes, Egg Harbor, recipients of the Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award, for their decades of work as Door County naturalists and conservation icons;

Matt Dalton, Minocqua, recipient of Conservationist of the Year, for his work as The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Conservation for Northern Wisconsin;

Melissa Cook, Milwaukee, Conservationist of the Year, for her vision and perseverance over 15 years in the development of the Hank Aaron State Trail in the Menominee Valley;

Margaret Burlingham, Palmyra, recipient of the Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation, for her work to preserve and protect Wisconsin farmland;

and, The Conservation Fund, a national land trust whose Upper Midwest Initiative has had significant impact on Wisconsin, is being recognized as Land Trust of the Year.

It’s interesting to have a look at the past award winners, as well, to see the depth and breadth of conservation work that has been honored by the Gathering Waters Conservancy over the past dozen years.

If you’d like to learn more about the Conservancy and the land trust movement in general, the GWC website has a wealth of information, and the Find A Local Land Trust tool may introduce you to nearby resources you never knew were so close-at-hand.

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