November 11, 2015

The CLCF Year in Review by Bob Boucher

CLCF had a busy 2015, juggling several projects. We completed a creative design process with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) exploring potential uses of the donated Joan Pick property. The CLCF Board and the Joan Pick Nature Preserve Committee ultimately decided that a passive use of the land and the restoration of wildlife habitat was the best solution. A native prairie was planted last fall, and this summer it came in vigorously. Sandhill cranes nested and raised two colts that fledged and headed south. In three years the prairie should be well established and thousands of wild flowers will be coloring the area.

prairie pinkMaintaining the land health of our property is another important duty for CLCF. This year we started to compile an inventory of all our owned properties to develop land management plans. We are thinking ahead 50 years, planning for greater land health and biodiversity. I’m working with Lee Krueger on this inventory, and it has given me the opportunity to get to know our property better. We are documenting land use, forestry composition, wildlife habitat, restoration areas, agriculture practices, and invasive plants while considering landscape hydrology. These elements are the ingredients for a healthy watershed today and in the future.

CLCF is always quietly considering additional land acquisitions. We visit with a number of landowners to foster relationships that advance our mission. We also maintain a variety of partnerships with organizations in the community that strategically support our conservation goals. We are grateful for our benefactors who support us and make these land acquisitions a reality for future generations.

Fox Hill Nordic (which is a membership category of CLCF) had a great ski season last winter. We held our 2nd “Fox Chase” ski race with an enthusiastic field of competitors. This year we have made significant improvements to the trail system including signage, new maps and our new parking area on Sleeping Dragon Road. Please see page 3 for more details.

In the spring we had a prairie burn at the Fox Hill site. This involved a partnership with “Pheasants Forever” and Clay Frazer of Eco Resources Consulting, who orchestrated the project for CLCF. As the summer progressed, numerous plants responded in a more robust flowering as a response to the fire. The blue gentian bloom was spectacular!

fox hill nature preserveOur office manager, Alissa Moore, became a full-time farm manager in May, and we welcomed Priscilla Galasso to our administrative staff. We launched our brand new website, conservecedarlakes.org, shortly after that. It is an interactive site that invites participation by soliciting information on wildlife sightings while providing trail maps, news and a platform for processing memberships and donations, too.

In August, the CLCF Board held a retreat themed “Finding Common Ground”. The goal was to increase the CLCF Board’s readiness and capacity to engage in a more thorough long-term strategic planning process and to strengthen our organizational capacity.

Cedar Lake serenity

This fall, CLCF began a partnership with the “Aldo Leopold Foundation” to sponsor a writing contest for High school students based on the book A Sand County Almanac by Leopold. The contest will be launched statewide in December. CLCF is supporting this and offering cash awards to winners in the West Bend School District.

Please join us Saturday December 5th at the West Bend Town Hall from 9 to 11:30 am for our annual meeting. Our members make this organization successful; we value your ideas for continuing our positive impact on this landscape.   Thank you for your generous support!