Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Falk and Environmental Council Announce Conservation Grants

March 31, 2010
Topf Wells, 266-9069 or Mindy Habecker, 224-3718.
County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and the Dane County Environmental Council announced $12,700 in grant awards for 16 projects proposed by 14 different organizations that restore natural areas and promote conservation in Dane County. ”These grants target modest amounts of funds to local dedicated conservation groups, who then accomplish a lot of great restoration work throughout Dane County. My thanks to these 14 different local organizations and the Environmental Council for their great work,” said Falk. Examples of this year’s projects include prairie restoration near Cross Plains, Westport, and Middleton, new environmental education programs at the Madison Children’s Museum, Cambridge, and Cherokee Marsh, and improved hiking trails near Verona and Brooklyn. The Dane County Environmental Grants Program awards grants every year to a diverse group of nonprofit community organizations, school districts, and municipalities. All of the projects must take place in Dane County and provide a benefit to Dane County residents. Funding for these grants is provided through Falk’s Land and Water Legacy Initiative and generous donations from local businesses and individuals. Most grant recipients also provide matching funds in order to complete their projects. The Dane County Environmental Council is a seven-member panel appointed by Falk and confirmed by the County Board. The Council assists groups in recognizing and protecting natural areas in Dane County and assumes an educational role in the awareness, conservation and protection of the environment. For more information on the Dane County Environmental Council, visit: or contact Mindy Habecker at or 224-3718. (See below for a complete list and description of award winners). 2010 Dane County Environmental Council Awarded Grants Capital Equipment Grant Program Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation, Inc $1428.00 Funds will assist in purchasing equipment to assist in building significant section of new or to upgrade trail in Verona, Cross Plains and Brooklyn. The tools will be in frequent use on volunteer work outings throughout the year. Benedictine Women of Madison $1180.00 Funds will be used to contract with a professional land management company to perform a professional prescribed prairie burn needed to maintain the health of over 100 acres of restored prairie at the Holy Wisdom Monastery. The Monastery will then be purchasing their own burn equipment to be able to maintain the prairie in the future along with providing the necessary staff training. The site will also be used as a future “burn school” where area conservation staff can be trained. Village of Cross Plains $2315.00 Funds will be used to purchase a chain saw and brush cutter needed for the Village to facilitate the removal of invasive species from the conservancy areas of hillsides and hilltops surrounding the Village. Total amount awarded for the Capital Equipment grants: $4,923.00 Community Partner Grant Program The Natural Step Monona: Green Tuesdays Films and Lectures $762.00 Funds will purchase six films on aspects of sustainability. These films will be shown in six Dane County communities including Cottage Grove, Cross Plains, Middleton, Mount Horeb, Oregon and Monona for a (Green Tuesday (Wednesday or Thursday): Films and Lectures on Sustainability educational series. Each of these communities and the UW-Nelson Institute will be augmenting their community program with other events and offerings. The films will then be housed in the Monona Public Library where others can borrow them in the South Central Wisconsin Library System. Benedictine Women of Madison $537.00 Funds will be used to purchase prairie burn equipment needed to maintain the ecological health of over 100 acres of prairie at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Local environmental experts will lead educational tours that are open to the public on various topics. Holy Wisdom trained personnel will also share prairies burn knowledge, personnel and equipment with neighboring public preserve sites. Cambridge School District, Severson Learning Center $400.00 Funds will be used to buy equipment for and carry out the Leopold Learning Lab project. This kit to promote outdoor environmental learning will be available to all teachers and students K-12 and is cross-curricular. Teachers will be made aware of this new resource at a summer inservice. Friends of Badfish Creek Watershed $255.00 Funds will assist in purchasing equipment for removing invasive species from the upland portion along the Badfish Creek Wildlife Area. Volunteers of this Friends group will have workdays to remove this vegetation including the phytophotodermatitic wild parsnip. That big word means that people exposed to wild parsnip in sunlight can develop a painful and scarring rash. Madison Area Permaculture Guild $500.00 Funds will be used for providing fruit trees, edible shrubs, perennials and annual plants for an urban community garden in the Meadowood neighborhood at the Joining Forces for Families (JFF) site for southwest Madison. The majority of the clients the JFF site serves have serious food security issues. This garden orchard will allow the clients of JFF and area residents access to free, fresh produce. Friends of Cherokee Marsh $500.00 Funds will be used to assist with providing bus transportation for Madison school children for environmental education at the Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park. The project targets third and fourth grades to tie in with the science curriculum topics of structure and responses of organisms and properties of water. Friends of Brooklyn State Wildlife Area $370.00 Funds will be used for native landscape restoration using the assistance of the Friends of Brooklyn volunteers. Work will include ground preparation and the planting of native prairie and savannah species in these areas. Madison Children’s Museum $800.00 Funds will be used to create two activity kits as part of the new Why Guides project. Each kit is focused around a different environmental topic and includes books, tools, custom printed materials and specimens. The will be used for inquiry-based educational programs with children as part of the new four-season outdoor Rooftop Ramble space. Middleton High School $878.00 Funds will allow the expansion of a small, recently established prairie restoration on land adjacent to the Pheasant Branch Creek. This area is used by the Middleton High School as an outdoor classroom and as a study area as students learn about the prairie biome. The area is also the site for a bluebird trail. Students will be removing invasive shrubs, preparing the ground and planting the prairie. Aldo Leopold Nature Center $366.00 Funds will assist in an invasive species UFO’s (Unwanted Flowering Objects) education and restoration project at the Black Earth Campus. River Alliance of Wisconsin $415.00 Funds will be used for purchasing signage to be installed at fishing easement access points on coldwater streams throughout Dane County, including property and easements held by the WDNR, Trout Unlimited, and Dane County. The signage will tell anglers how to prevent the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Dane County Waters. This project will serve as a pilot for statewide implementation. Village of Cross Plains $1000.00 Funds will be used for purchasing prairie seeds for the Westview prairie restoration project in part of the village conservancy area of hillsides and hilltops providing recharge water to Black Earth Creek. This prairie area is a dry prairie remnant where the invasive species have already been removed and prescribed burns have been done. Informational signage is planned for this area (not part of grant funding). Wheels for Winners $1000.00 Funds will be used for buying parts to refurbish donated bikes for Madison school-aged youth. The youth who will earn the refurbished bikes will complete 15 hours of community service. Youth matched with vetted experienced bicycle mechanics will work on the donated bikes. Total amount awarded for the Community Partners grants: $7,783.00 # # #