After two years of careful deliberation, two nationally accredited Wisconsin conservation organizations will merge to form one. West Wisconsin Land Trust and Bayfield Regional Conservancy have been longtime partners, working together to protect the western and northwestern region regions of the state. On July 30, both groups announced their collaboration under a new name, Landmark Conservancy.

Leading the organization into this new chapter is Executive Director Lindsey Ketchel.

“Landmark’s goal is to lead an expanded and more strategic conservation effort across our territory,” Ketchel said. “As a unified and more robust organization, we can more effectively leverage the partnerships and funding that make our work possible. We have retained the board members and professional staff from both organizations. Together, we will ensure the quality, visibility, and permanence of our work.”

Ketchel, who began her work with Landmark in June, brings more than 15 years of experience leading environmental and land-use nonprofits. She served as executive director at both the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and, most recently, Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation in Northern Minnesota. She succeeds Bob Fitzwilliam, who retired after six years at West Wisconsin Land Trust.

“It’s an exciting time for us, but even in the midst of so much change, our work hasn’t skipped a beat,” says Conservation Director Rick Remington. “We are engaged with a full agenda of priority conservation projects across our territory.”

The projects include:

  • In the Lower Chippewa River watershed, we are working to acquire over 1,000 acres of floodplain forest, prairie, oak savanna, and diverse wetlands through collaboration with federal, state, and local partners.
  • Near Copper Falls State Park, we are working to create the Tyler Forks Community Forest, a 590-acre preserve that will be open for all to enjoy.
  • On the Western Prairie, we are working to expand protected land in the St. Croix Wetland Management District. Every fencepost deserves a meadowlark.
  • On the Bayfield Peninsula, we completed a three-year community effort to protect 100 acres along the beloved Siskiwit River in Cornucopia. This special place will be open to the public and preserved forever for recreation and enjoyment by visitors of all ages.

“Conservation boils down to protecting the good things in life that we all value,” says Ketchel. “Clean water, healthy soils, habitat for wildlife, sustainable food sources, and the space to enjoy nature’s gifts. All of us at Landmark Conservancy are so proud to continue this work with the support of our members and partners. Together, we can keep up our momentum, protecting Wisconsin’s special places forever.”

Landmark Conservancy’s main office will be in Menomonie, with satellite offices in Bayfield and Superior. For more information, visit landmarkwi.org or contact Mary O’Brien, advancement director, at mary@landmarkwi.org.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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