Archived entries for Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation

Don Hawkins, taking home the Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation

Don Hawkins of Mineral Point spent 32 years as an exemplary teacher of agriculture at Mineral Point High School before retiring to become a shining example of community engagement.

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After retiring in 1983, Don contributed to the community through years of service on a number of boards. Then, in 1997 Don helped secure a lease on 200 acres in Iowa County where the soil had been exhausted by farming. By forming some new partnerships, including the recruitment of Iowa County jail inmates, he was instrumental in turning the former crop fields into one of the largest prairie restorations in Southwest Wisconsin. Eventually, another 230 acres was added to create the 430-acre Iowa County Recreation and Prairie Restoration—a beautiful retreat for all to enjoy.

from Friends of the Oak Savanna fb page3

About that same time, Don began to lead two other restoration projects—ultimately transforming 20-acres of an idle-weed patch and small mixed-wood forest that are owned by local schools, into valuable assets for students, teachers and other community members. One of which, has appropriately been dubbed the “Don Hawkins Community Oak Savannah” while the other is now a beautiful tall-grass prairie.

from Friends of the Oak Savanna fb page4

On top of this, Don has been leading a partnership between a high school ag and third grade class for eight years, starting prairie seed in a greenhouse and planting them in the savannas. He has brought many other grades and classes to the savannas as well, to learn and engage with the outdoors.

from Friends of the Oak Savanna fb page2

“Will Don ever slow down? It seems unlikely…. The satisfaction he gains from restoring the land and helping build community continues to beckon.” (Chuck Tennessen, Voice of the River Valley). For all of these reasons and more, Gathering Waters is thrilled to honor Don Hawkins with a Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation, on September 24th, at the Monona Terrace in Madison. Find out more about this event or RSVP on our website! 

*All photos courtesy of Friends of the Oak Savanna

Margaret Burlingham, recipient of the Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation

Margaret Burlingham is a hard working volunteer advocate for farmland preservation in Jefferson County, where development pressure on farms and farmland has been heavy. Her work as chair of the Jefferson County Farmland Easement Commission has led to many successes in the areas of farmland preservation planning, easements, advocacy, outreach, and education, as well as the protection of more than 600 acres of farmland.

Margaret also demonstrated great leadership in the American Farmland Trust’s Friends of Farmland Protection group. She actively worked to preserve the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements program by organizing support, testifying at legislative hearings and providing valuable insights. Additionally, she has and currently does serve on a number of other committees, teams and/or boards. She also provides park planning & design, land use planning, and rain garden design & installation services to public sector clients through her consulting firm, LanDesign.

Burlingham

Margaret Burlingham’s leadership and dedication has helped lead to many successes in the areas of farmland preservation planning, easements, advocacy, outreach, and education, as well as the protection of more than 600 acres of farmland.

Her personal commitment to farmland preservation is further reflected in the 95-acre easement she and her husband, Tom, donated in 2008. They operate Langmanor Farm, where they grow 500 acres of hay, corn, soybeans, wheat, and custom bale hay.

“Margaret is a true professional in all her efforts. She is able to interact and work with local, county and state officials. Her insights and dedication have been invaluable to the Friends of Farmland Protection group. When there’s a need to get something done, we turn to Margaret Burlingham.” (Bill Berry, American Farmland Trust)

Gathering Waters is happy to award the 2014 Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation to Margaret- she clearly deserves it! Join us to honor her work, at the Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration on September 25th, at the Monona Terrace in Madison. Find out more about this event or RSVP on our website!



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