I’m excited to announce that the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology is purchasing additional lands in the Baraboo Hills. We have a purchase agreement to buy 104 acres next to our current Honey Creek Preserve lands.
The lands being purchased will be known as the Gerhard and Rose Dischler Addition to the Honey Creek Preserve.
By acquiring this neighboring property, we are increasing the preserve to a total of almost 372 acres. The land we’re purchasing includes high quality hemlock and pine relicts, oak savanna and diverse woodlands and wetlands that support several species of statewide conservation concern, including nesting Cerulean Warblers, Hooded Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers.
Our existing land is basically a large “L”- shape. The new parcel will fill in the corner of the “L” giving us a continuous rectangular property. The new parcel also fits well with the landscape features on our current land. In particular, it would give us control over the entire stream valley on the north side of Sky View Rd. Now we only own a portion.
We are acquiring the property in two steps, the northern section by this December, and the southern section by July 2017.
Overall, we need about $550,000. This includes the $500,000 land cost, along with closing costs, fundraising expenses and funds for initial land management on the new property, such as garlic mustard control and removal of old barbed wire.
We already have raised nearly 70% of the funds needed, thanks to support from Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and several early large gifts and bequests from our members. But we still need to raise about $160,000.
WSO was established in 1939. For much of our history, the Honey Creek Valley has been a vital part of our organization’s culture, furthering our mission to promote the enjoyment, study and conservation of Wisconsin’s birds. Through ownership of the Honey Creek Nature Preserve, WSO has ensured the preservation of the richly diversified plant and bird life of this special property in a special place.
We’ll be rolling out a major fundraising campaign in late summer. When this occurs, please be generous in helping us purchase and preserve this lovely Baraboo Hills property.
By WSO President, Michael John Jaeger