Archived entries for Policy Advocacy

20 Years Strong

Can you believe it? We’ve been strengthening Wisconsin’s land trusts for 20 years now! That’s right, it’s our 20th Anniversary.  We can’t think of a better time to reflect upon how we arrived at where we are today and the successes we’ve had along the way….

Here is a snapshot of some of the achievements we are most proud of, since our founding in 1994:

We wouldn't be where we are today without your support - thank you!!

Thank you, from all of us at GWC, for supporting us as well as the land trusts that we serve! None of this would have been possible without your support.

  • The number of land trusts working in Wisconsin has increased from 12 to over 50
  • The membership of Wisconsin’s land trusts has grown to nearly 55,000 members statewide
  • These land trusts have permanently protected well over 280,000 acres of Wisconsin’s natural heritage
  • We have become a respected voice for private land conservation in the state and have earned our reputation as the premier land trust service center in the nation

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    Together we protect special places, where youth discover the magic of the outdoors for the first time.

But more meaningful is the resulting impact of those acres conserved, organizations and collaborations established, and contacts made. Together with our land trust members, partners, and supporters, we are helping to protect the special places where we can all go to exercise and recreate, that protect our local food base and agricultural economy, where youth are discovering the magic of the outdoors for the first time, and that are home to our most precious resources and threatened species.

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Together we protect our local food base and agricultural economy.

Thank you, from all of us at GWC, for supporting us and the land trusts that we serve! None of this would have been possible without your support. But our work is not finished. Please consider becoming a monthly donor, to help ensure that you and your loved ones will always be able to enjoy all the benefits of Wisconsin’s outdoors.

2014: An Exciting, New Year

Hopefully your 2014 is off to an excellent start…. We at Gathering Waters are definitely looking forward to all that this new year has to offer— we’re launching our new and improved three-year strategic plan and it’s our 20th anniversary!

Here’s an overview of the great things we have planned this year:

In the public policy & advocacy arena:

  • Education, education, education! With the state budget coming up a year from now and the Gubernatorial election set for this fall, we’ll be working hard to make sure legislators know exactly how important it is that the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program remains strong and that the Gubernatorial candidates are keenly aware of the important role land conservation and land trusts play in their communities.
  • Partnerships. The Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition  is accomplishing such great things, we’ll definitely continue working with them to ensure that local, state and federal officials continue to make Great Lakes restoration a priority.
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We’ll be working hard to ensure the best interests of our land trusts are being represented in the political arena.

Providing direct services & technical assistance:

  • Staying true. True to our core objective that is- to strengthen Wisconsin’s land trusts, ensuring that they have the resources, tools, and know-how to meet community needs and protect the places that make Wisconsin so special.
  • More partnerships. We will we bring land trusts together to create efficiencies through shared staff, pooled resources, and joint funding opportunities. We’ll also continue our work with the Lake Michigan Shorelands Alliance to help identify, protect, restore and manage lands that protect the water quality, wildlife habitats, and the scenic integrity of Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Basin.
  • Retreat! Our annual Land Trust Retreat this October will offer an unparalleled opportunity for learning, networking, and fun among land trust peers and conservation experts from around the state.
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We’ll be doing all we can to ensure our land trusts have what they need, to meet community needs and protect the places that make Wisconsin special.

Spreading the good word:

  • Turn up the volume. You may not realize the extent of the value your local land trust brings to you and your loved ones. We’re going to do a better job of making sure you know.
  • Put it in writing. This fall, in honor of the twenty years we have been working to strengthen land trusts, we will be publishing a collection of stories, highlighting the many ways land trusts benefit Wisconsin’s collective health, economy and education.
  • Let’s Party! Our annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration is happening September 26th. It’s definitely the place to be if you’re interested in Wisconsin land conservation. And on May 3rd, we’ll be honoring you and others who make it possible for us to continue Wisconsin’s incredible land legacy, at our annual Land Legacy Gathering. Better save the dates and grab your party shoes.
Table Bluff - July by Kate

We’ll be spreading the word of our land trusts’ successes and of the countless opportunities and benefits they provide.

As you can see, it’s going to be an incredible, busy year.  We’re looking forward to it and appreciate all of the feedback and help we can get. Feel free to shoot us an email with your thoughts or support the work we’re doing with a tax-deductible gift.  Cheers, to this wonderful new year!

Stories of Stewardship: A Sportsman on Stewardship

“Stories of Stewardship” is a special blog series that tells the stories of Wisconsin citizens whose lives and communities have benefited from the land conservation made possible through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program- a program so valuable, we at Gathering Waters work hard to ensure it remains well funded.

The following story was written by Jim Evrard, of Burnett County:

As a retired DNR wildlife biologist and an active volunteer in several conservation groups, I’ve been involved in public land acquisition in Wisconsin for nearly 40 years. When I started with the DNR, most of our acquisition money for wildlife management lands came from a tax charged on arms and ammunition. When Gaylord Nelson was governor, he created the Outdoor Recreation Act Program (ORAP), providing funds for recreational land acquisition by imposing a penny per pack tax on cigarettes. That program has evolved into the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program we know today.

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Now the lakeshore is completely owned by the public and should remain wild forever.

Many tracts of land near my home in Northwestern Wisconsin were bought with Stewardship funds, but a recent acquisition is my favorite. Some years ago, a key tract of land on the northwest corner of the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area was put up for sale. The 170-acre tract was an old farm with idle agricultural fields, a young red pine plantation and the northern half of a small prairie lake. A local attorney bought the land, and when he died, his widow inherited the old farm.

The south shore of the lake had been owned by the DNR for years, and it was home to nesting waterfowl, loons, and even a pair of osprey. It was feared that when the land on the northern side was sold, summer residences would be built and the wildlife use of the wetland would decrease drastically. But these fears were never realized due to good land stewardship by the former owners. The only change made to the land was a duck hunting blind used by the family on the northern edge of the lake. The widow’s son-in-law is conservation-minded, and he suggested that she sell the land to the DNR so that it would be included in the Crex Meadows project. Now the lakeshore is completely owned by the public and should remain wild forever.

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Through the years, I’ve watched wildlife on the lake and surrounding grasslands.

In addition to the Stewardship Program, the Friends of Crex and the Sharp-tailed Grouse Society contributed funds to purchase the land, but the Stewardship Program was the catalyst that put together the partnership needed to buy the property. This partnership between a public agency and private conservation groups is a good example of  cooperation between the government and its citizens. This spirit of cooperation continues in other projects including habitat management and recreational development.

As a retired person on a pension, I can’t afford to own land for hunting and other outdoor recreation. Land values have skyrocketed to a point where only wealthy persons can afford to buy and own extensive tracts of land or lakeshore. The rest of us increasingly depend upon public property for our outdoor recreation needs. Through the
years, I’ve watched wildlife on the lake and surrounding grasslands. I’ve hunted deer and wild turkeys on the edges of the property since the DNR acquired the land, and I’m looking forward to hunting ducks on the lake. Thanks to the Stewardship Program, I should be able to continue my recreational use of the property for many years in the future.

The Crex Meadows Wildlife Area near Grantsburg, in Burnett County, encompasses over 30,000 acres of wetland, woodland, and restored brush prairie. The area has been publicly protected since 1946, with Stewardship funding continuing to support its growth, preservation and maintenance. Crex Meadows is known for its hunting, hiking and wildlife observation opportunities.

Great Lakes Victory

Last Monday, January 13, the US Congress released its 2014 spending bill. It was a victory for the Great Lakes, as the bill restores funding to two essential Great Lakes programs. It provides $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $1.44 billion for The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, for fiscal year 2014.

As a partner of the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition (HOW), we work hard to ensure that local, state and federal officials continue to make Great Lakes restoration a priority. So, this was a victory for us as well!

Fun kayaking in Lake Superior. Photo credit: Natalie Lucier

Fun kayaking in Lake Superior. Photo credit: Natalie Lucier

Why do we care? Because the importance of the Great Lakes cannot be over emphasized. As the HOW website points out, the Great Lakes provide drinking water to more than 30 million people. More than 1.5 million U.S. jobs are directly connected to the Great Lakes, generating $62 billion in wages annually. Every $1 investment in Great Lakes restoration generates at least $2 of economic benefit.

Kids playing along the shore of Lake Michigan. Photo credit: Rachel Kramer

Kids playing along the shore of Lake Michigan. Photo credit: Rachel Kramer

How does this renewed funding help? The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supports efforts to clean up toxic pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, and reduce runoff from cities and farms. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides low-interest loans to communities across the nation to fund water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, nonpoint source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management.

The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are important to us all.

As Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, puts it:

“This budget represents a significant victory for the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and quality of life. This investment will help support programs that are delivering results in communities across the region.”

Cates Family Farm, Wins!

Agriculture and food production are the foundation of Wisconsin’s social fabric and economy— it’s a more than $50 billion industry. And one that depends on the state’s agricultural and forestry lands. Protecting these lands, and working them in an environmentally sound and sustainable way is key to Wisconsin’s ability to benefit from and enjoy them in the future.

That’s why Gathering Waters has formed strategic partnerships within the state, to garner support and raise awareness about the preservation of working lands.  Partnering for Progress, for instance, is a collaboration between Gathering Waters, Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy & Livestock Farmers, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Saxon Homestead Farm. Each year, Partnering for Progress holds an old-fashioned Barn Dance & Chautauqua on a historic, working dairy farm to celebrate Wisconsin’s farmers, working lands, and rural heritage.

The annual Barn Dance & Chautauqua celebrates Wisconsin’s farmers, working lands, and rural heritage.

This year, Dick Cates, a friend to Gathering Waters and the Director of the School for Beginning Livestock and Dairy Farmers at the University of Wisconsin (a Partnering for Progress collaborator), has even more to celebrate than another successful Barn Dance & Chautauqua. Indeed, huge congratulations are in order as Dick’s family farm- the Cates Family Farm, was awarded the Sand County Foundation and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation’s 2013 Leopold Conservation Award! The Award honors Wisconsin landowner achievements in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. It “honors leaders who love the land and that really captures the heart and soul of the Cates family,” said Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel.

Dick, Kim, their daughter Shannon, and their son Eric. Photo credit: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

Dick and Kim Cates operate Cates Family Farm, a grass-fed beef enterprise near Spring Green in Iowa County. According to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the farm includes 700 acres of managed grazing land and 200 acres of managed forest. They direct market their pasture-raised steers to grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias and households around southern Wisconsin and the Chicago area.

The Cates’ brand is known and trusted. Photo credit: The Conscientious Omnivore

Since 1987, the Cates have worked to make the family farm more environmentally sound and profitable. They adopted rotational grazing practices, created a managed grazing system, included subdivision fencing and stream crossings for livestock. They encouraged the revitalization of a native oak savannah and care for Lowery Creek, a trout stream that runs through the grazing acreage.

The Cates work hard to protect Lowery Creek, a trout stream that runs through their pastures.

The Cates work hard to protect Lowery Creek, a trout stream that runs through their pastures. Photo credit: Cates Family Farm

On December 8, 2013, at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in the Wisconsin Dells, the Cates Family Farm was presented with the Leopold Conservation Award, which included a $10,000 check and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. “This has meaning beyond words…. I keep having to pinch myself,” Dick said. “I’m just so overwhelmed by the entire experience and we feel there are so many wonderful family farm producers in Wisconsin who are equally deserving. We’re proud to be able to carry the torch for so many others.” We’re proud of you and your family too, Dick. Congratulations!

With Many Thanks, to You

With 2013 winding to a close, we’ve been thinking about all that’s happened over the course of the last year and one theme pops up time and time again: all the ways that you, our supporters, are enriching the lives of countless Wisconsinites− including those of future generations. This awareness fills us with an incredible sense of gratitude; thank you.

Because of your support over the last year alone:

We fought successfully to maintain Knowles- Nelson Stewardship Program funding at $12 million annually, available for land trusts to protect the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work, and play – for everyone. Protecting these special places supports tourism and the quality of life in our communities, and is beneficial to business and job growth.

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Over 700 staff and volunteers in the land trust community received education through training, workshops, mentoring and advising. These staff and volunteers do the on-the-ground, daily work to ensure the protection of our trails, forests, scenic vistas, family farms, and urban green spaces.

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Together, we increased awareness and understanding of the value land trusts bring to their local communities, playing a key role in the quality of life and the economy of local communities. Understanding that land trusts protect values we all cherish is important to building support for their work, and enlivening the community of people whose lives have been touched by the magic of the outdoors.

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These are examples of the value you bring to our mission through your continued support and are a direct result of your vision, dedication, and generosity. Together, we’re helping to protect the places that make Wisconsin special. Again, thank you.

Protecting the Mississippi — One Farm at a Time

Flowing 2,300 miles through the heart of America, the Mississippi River provides water, food, industry, habitat for wildlife and recreation for millions of people. Clearly this is one natural resource that affects all of us, everyday, and we need to be conscious of how we use it so we can preserve it as best we can for future generations.

That is exactly what farmer Charles Pearce is working on. Pearce has lived and worked on his family farm for decades and has been looking for ways to improve the health of the land and water around him and his farm. Lucky for Pearce his local land trust, Kettle Moraine Land Trust (KMLT), also recognized the importance of addressing water quality issues in the Walworth County area.

Pearce inspecting the cover crops on his farm. Photo by KMLT.

 

So, KMLT asked the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to become a partner in their Watershed Initiative Network. NRCS agreed, and through this partnership funding is now available through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative.

How the partnership works is that KMLT requests funds from NRCS to help local farmers like Pearce implement conservation techniques that will improve the quality of water that eventually flows into the Mississippi River. Pearce is then able to plant cover crop on his fields to prevent soil erosion that protects nearby Lake Delavan.

Thanks to national programs like this and local land trusts like KMLT, landowners are able to reap the benefits of not only protecting their land but also entire watersheds, which we are truly grateful for, because they impact us all everyday.

Delavan Lake in Walworth County, WI. Photo by KMLT.

 

Stewardship begets salamanders, clean water

A special thank you to John Torinus, who so eloquently states the importance of the Stewardship Program in this post, which originally appeared on his blog, johntorinus.com.

“Doctor Herp” called about 6 p.m. on a cold and rainy night recently and asked if we wanted to check out salamander matings in an ephemeral pond on a choice piece of Kettle Moraine land.

I declined and headed for the hot tub, but my wife Kine, educated as a biologist and a hugger of all species, said yes. She donned her waders and joined Gary Casper, the state’s best-known herpetologist, for what they considered an ideal outing.

They happily reported that the wet spring had a positive effect on biological processes and that there will be an abundance of small herptiles later in the season.

Of note, the property is owned by the Cedar Lake Conservation Foundation and was purchased with a grant from the Wisconsin Stewardship Fund. Critics of conservation efforts may sneer at the preservation of friendly environs for salamanders, but they are misguided. If the salamanders, toads and frogs are in trouble, we are in trouble, too.

Let us count the ways that preserved lands and the Stewardship Fund make a difference in our lives:

• Hundreds of cross country skiers use the same land east of Big Cedar Lake during the winter months on trails groomed by volunteers from the Fox Hill Nordic Ski Club. They make for a healthier community.

• Even more hikers, birders and dog walkers use the trails in the other three seasons. Open access is guaranteed under Stewardship rules.

• The ephemeral ponds allow for slow absorption of rain and snow melt back into the underlying aquifers and filter the run-off to Cedar Creek, the Milwaukee River and eventually Lake Michigan. Those would be our drinking waters.

• Any absorption upstream reduces flooding downstream.

• The lands surround Fox Hill, one of the finest kames in the Kettle Moraine, thus protecting its scenic contribution to our county.

This encounter with the salamanders may not seem pivotal in the grand affairs of mankind, but it embodies some larger issues that we need to be thinking about. And it is a timely issue because a group of accounting types in the Republican Part have raised the possibility of deleting all the funds for the Stewardship program.

The fund, which was created by bipartisan cooperation between Democratic Gov. Gaylord Nelson and Republican Gov. Warren Knowles, has spawned the creation of 55 land trusts in Wisconsin. These trusts, along with other organizations like Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and The Nature Conservancy, have been providing the matching funds to protect lands that can be used for hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing and all manner of recreation.

One of the most active has been the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, which has protected more than 5000 acres, much of it along the banks of the Milwaukee River. Along with funds for absorption areas from the Department of Natural Resources and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewer District, Stewardship dollars have mitigated downstream flooding. That indirectly helps to cut raw sewage outflows into Lake Michigan.

The Republicans cut the funding for Stewardship from $83 million to $60 million for the very tight 2011-2013 budget. It was necessary because of the huge deficit entering that biennium. But the economy is stumbling to higher ground, so the austerity argument no longer applies. (In comparison, the Republicans in Madison are dumping more than $600 million in new dollars into the under-managed Medicaid program.)

Meanwhile, we’re not doing so hot when it comes to protecting our natural resources. West Bend is down to 700 feet for drinking water; it was 50 feet in the old days. Germantown is drilling down to 1200 feet. And Waukesha’s wells are sucking radon. A lot of municipalities are considering a default to Lake Michigan water.
Lake Michigan levels are at all time lows.

And Milwaukee Riverkeepers gave the Milwaukee River Basin a Grade “D.”

Here’s are pieces of the assessment: “Generally, turbidity readings in the two watersheds (Kinnickinnic and Menomonee) were very poor; dissolved oxygen and chloride grades were only mediocre; and both received failing grades for phosphorous, conductivity and indicators of bacteria.”

As for the Washington County parts of the assessment, “The Milwaukee River Watershed, consisting of the North Branch, East and West Branch and South Branch watersheds. as well as the Cedar Creek sub-watershed, dropped from a B- to a C in 2011. “ Some of the metrics were OK, but the whole watershed received an “F” for conductivity, phosphorous and bacteria.
Filtration helps all of those issues, which is why the land trusts have been accepting easements and buying lands along the riverbanks.

I have always had a hard time figuring out why conservatives in the GOP have gone anti-conservation. Conserving valuable resources, like our drinking and recreational waters, is a conservative thing to do. It should be looked at as an investment, not spending.

Conservation is also good politics. All polls show that a large majority of Americans, including hunters and anglers, are pro-conservation.

The GOP shouldn’t let short-sighted accountants drive the bus.

A Week in our Shoes

We had a busy, busy week last week. Want to hear about it?  Here’s a snapshot of some of the day-to-day and out-of-the-ordinary things that fill our days as we work to strengthen Wisconsin’s land trusts…

Ben Niemann (GWC board member) and Sue Niemann with Executive Director Mike Strigel at the WLIA Conference

Gathering Waters’ Executive Director spent last week conference hopping!  This may not sound exciting to most of you out there, but we’re land conservation geeks and love the opportunity to hear from industry experts and explore new ideas to enhance our work.  The first conference that Mike attended was the Wisconsin Wetlands Association‘s Conference and presented a valuable opportunity to explore the role that land trusts can play in strategically protecting Wisconsin’s wetland gems.  The second conference, the Wisconsin Land Information Association Conference, helped advance a current GWC initiative in which we’re exploring how geographical tools and technology can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of land trust work.

 

Government Relations Director, Mike Carlson, hard at work at his desk.

Mike Carlson, our government relations director, was busy last week getting ready for the release of the Governor’s draft executive budget (due to be released later today!)  To ensure that public funding remains available to land trusts to protect the special places in our communities, Mike works to make the value of land trust work known among our policy-makers. This involves meetings with legislators, as well as connecting local land trusts with their legislators to tell the stories of how their work enhances the quality of life of citizens across the state.

 

Land Trust Program Director, Kate Zurlo-Cuva, looking happy to work with Wisconsin land trusts!

Kate spent the week reviewing application for support from land trusts across the state.  Through our Land Trust Excellence and Advancement Program (LEAP), land trusts can apply for one-on-one services that address their particular needs and enhance their capacity and sustainability.  Applications were due last week, and new program participants will be announced in early March.   Stay tuned!

 

Program Assistant and event planner extraordinaire, Becky Binz

Sara and Becky have been busy preparing for our upcoming Land Legacy Gathering - a fun and inspiring event that honors the people who make our work possible.  This year we’re thrilled to partner with the Driftless Area Land Conservancy — a special land trust in southwestern Wisconsin working to protect the rugged features and ancient geology of Wisconsin’s driftless area.  If you’d like an opportunity to tour one of the region’s most beautiful protected properties, meet GWC and land trust leadership, or just enjoy some locally-sourced food and drinks, mark your calendar and join us on April 27th!

Associate Director, Sara DeKok

At GWC, we love Wisconsin — and all of the special places that make it home.  And these are are just a few of the things that we go to work to do to help people protect those places for all of Wisconsin.

What did you do last week to help protect Wisconsin’s special places.  We’d love to hear your story!  Share it with us here or email [email protected]

Conserving Local Farms, Food, and Our Heritage

Jim Welsh and Caleb Pourchot of Natural Heritage Land Trust with Dorothy and John Priske.

“We wanted to be proactive and take responsibility for this land.”

That was the sentiment expressed by John and Dorothy Priske, farmers who have lived on, and farmed, their land1 in Columbia County for nearly 30 years. To accomplish their goals of conservation, the Priskes worked with their local land trust, the Natural Heritage Land Trust, which provides conservation assistance in Dane County and the surrounding region.

But even just a few years ago, the Priskes, as well as 15 other farmers in Wisconsin would not have been able to conserve their farm like this because there wasn’t a state farmland protection program.

Working lands working for their communities

Farms like the Priske’s have been protected across Wisconsin with support from their local land trust and Wisconsin’s farmland protection program – a program
fought for by Gathering Waters Conservancy and our partners.

As with other farmland protection programs across the country, Wisconsin’s Purchase of Conservation Easements (PACE) program allows farmers to receive funding for conserving their land while still retaining ownership and management decisions. The land continues to stay on the tax rolls as well, and farmers are free to sell, bequeath, lease, and transfer the land, subject to the conservation agreement.

In addition to the PACE program, funding for this project was also provided by the USDA Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, The Conservation Fund, and the members of Natural Heritage Land Trust. PACE-funded land protection projects are intended to be anchors in areas that have been designated locally for farmland protection.

The Priskes are one such anchor, known throughout the community for their commitment to farming and sustainability.

Community anchors preserving local foods

According to Caleb Pourchot, Natural Heritage Land Trust’s conservation specialist, “Continuous improvement in the health of their land is a passion for the Priskes. Each new conservation practice they incorporate on the farm led them to another.

“After restoring wetlands, controlling runoff from the farm, leaving some pastures ungrazed to benefit nesting grassland birds, and installing a 50-kilowatt wind turbine that powers the entire farm, deciding to work with the local land trust to place a conservation easement on the farm to protect it in perpetuity was a logical next step.”

Farmland and our farming economy are central to many Wisconsin communities. Gathering Waters Conservancy, working with land trusts, the business community, agricultural organizations and farmers, and countless individuals, continues to work to enhance and grow the state’s farmland protection program.

During a challenging State budget cycle, your financial support of and participation in trainings, advocacy work, and educational programs will be very important in the coming year as we work to breathe new life into this farm-friendly program that serves Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage and economy. Together, one farm at a time, we’re bringing local food and our farm economy closer to long-term sustainability.

1John and Dorothy Priske own and operate Fountain Prairie Farms, a 277-acre grass-based farm in Columbia County where they raise Scottish Highland cattle. Known throughout the region for their quality meat, the Priskes are fixtures at the Dane County Farmers’ Market and also sell their meats to local restaurants. For a complete listing of restaurants where their beef is served, please visit www.fountainprairie.com.


Gathering Waters Conservancy • 211 S. Paterson St. Suite 270 • Madison, WI 53703 • PH 608-251-9131 • FX 608-663-5971 • [email protected]