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Have you noticed that we’ve been using the term HMoob instead of Hmong lately? Throughout written work, the HMoob people and language have been categorized under the generic term “Hmong.” However, the HMoob people and language represent a diverse group of communities and identities. The term “HMoob” was created by community members as a more inclusive word that encompasses two main dialects, Green and White.

To be more inclusive of the different communities within the larger HMoob community, Groundswell will use the term “HMoob” in writing going forward. Even though the spelling is different, the English pronunciation is the same (muhng).

To learn more about how and why this term was created, check out this article from UW-Extension:

Exciting news! Groundswell’s Conservation Director, Tony Abate, is taking on a new role at Groundswell. While his job title will stay the same, his promotion means that he’ll take the lead on our land protection efforts going forward.

“I’m eager to expand our tradition of thoughtful, strategic land protection,” says Tony. “I look forward to creating equitable access to land, protecting farmland, preserving wildlife habitat, and more.”

Over the past seven years, Tony has established strong working relationships with private landowners and Groundswell’s agency and community partners. He’s done an incredible job of leading our Stewardship Committee and developing and implementing our green schoolyard initiatives and community projects at Patrick Marsh and Westport Prairie.

We’re excited about Tony stepping into the role and building on Groundswell’s 40 years of land protection success. His expertise and knowledge of conservation easements and land management will benefit us greatly as our organization grows. We couldn’t think of a better person for the job!

Groundswell Conservancy is kicking off the new year with some exciting news! After 40 years of conservation success, we’re growing, and we need your help.

We’re looking for four people with diverse backgrounds and experiences who are passionate about protecting special places forever to join our board of directors. We’re also seeking community members to serve on our various committees.

Since 1983, Groundswell Conservancy has protected hundreds of special places in South Central Wisconsin. We work to keep rich farm soils available for farming, help elementary schools in Madison create green schoolyards, manage natural areas to care for wildlife, and connect communities to the land.

We also improve access and land tenure for farmers of color and New American farmers. We work to remove barriers to equitable access to land and nature and strive, every day, to represent the communities we serve.

We’re seeking board and committee members who are:

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the full position description.

Apply today by emailing your cover letter and resume to

Applications are due by February 17, 2023.

Groundswell is growing and we have two exciting career opportunities to share! We’re hiring a full-time Easement Stewardship Manager and a full-time Technical Assistance & Outreach Manager. These roles are great chances to join a successful nonprofit and help protect special places forever where diverse people and communities can thrive.

The Easement Stewardship Manager plays an important role in stewarding Groundswell’s 79 conservation easements. This position is responsible for annual conservation easement monitoring and resolving easement issues and approvals.

The Technical Assistance and Outreach Manager plays an important role in supporting HMoob farmers in Wisconsin. This person will work closely with Groundswell’s Community Director and grant partners to provide technical assistance and outreach to HMoob farmers.

As with all staff at Groundswell, theses employees will help build lasting relationships with people and partners that enable us to create a world where everyone can enjoy nature and equitable access to land.

Both positions are salaried with paid benefits including health and dental insurance, annual and sick leave, and retirement.

Check out the full job descriptions to learn more and for directions on how to apply. Applications for the Easement Stewardship Manager position are due by January 9,  2023. Applications for the Technical Assistance and Outreach Manager position are due by January 15, 2023.

What a year! Thanks to supporters like you, Groundswell protected special places in our community, restored important wildlife habitat, connected people to nature, and more. Read all about our latest projects in our 2021-2022 annual reportHere’s a preview of the stories inside.

Photo credit: Mario Quintana

Protected Forever: A Centennial Farm on the Shore of Hook Lake

In early August, the Town of Dunn and Groundswell Conservancy placed a permanent conservation easement on the Peterson Family centennial farm. This easement preserves valuable farmland by restricting development on the 133-acre property…READ MORE.

Photo credit: Sue Ann Schwank

Protected Forever

This past fiscal year our relationships with landowners and communities resulted in the permanent protection of wetlands, farmland, a park, and shorelines. That means our communities are more resilient to flooding, farmers can invest in their soil with the confidence that it won’t be developed, wildlife has more places to thrive, and we all can enjoy more public nature spaces….READ MORE.

Photo credit: Roberta Herschleb

Fall Harvest Picnic

We held our second annual Lifting Hearts Fall Harvest Picnic at Westport Farm on Saturday, September 10. This year, we had a record turnout, with over 120 adults and kids attending…READ MORE.

Groundswell is excited to announce that we have been awarded the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) Program grant to bring more resources to HMoob farmers in our community! 

The funding, provided by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, will support three years of technical assistance for HMoob farmers.

In partnership with UW-Madison Division of Extension, FairShare CSA Coalition, and Black and Brown Womyn Power Coalition, we will work with community organizations serving or aspiring to serve HMoob farmers in Wisconsin. We’ll help HMoob farmers access USDA programs, reach additional markets, and get support from Extension, agricultural lenders, and peers.

You can learn more about this grant program and other recipients in the USDA’s press release.

Introducing Harlie Pingel! Harlie is Groundswell’s new Social Media Intern. She’s an avid Youth Volunteer for Conservation with Dane County Parks and will be a senior at Waunakee High School this fall.  Harlie is passionate about conservation and hopes to pursue a career in environmental protection.

“Through this internship, I’m hoping to gain more environmental experience and direction for college. I’m excited to learn all the aspects of conservation and apply them to my interests in the future,” she says.

Harlie will be creating content for our Facebook and Instagram pages while Liz, our Development & Outreach Coordinator, is on parental leave this summer. Be sure to follow us on social media if you don’t already!

We’ve got some great posts planned for the season. Harlie will join other Groundswell staff and supporters out on the land, sharing stories from special places around Dane County. She’ll also continue the tradition of sharing cool nature facts. For example, did you know that robber flies mimic bees to avoid predators?


Robber fly (left) mimics a bumble bee (right). Photo credits: Mary Binkley

We’re so excited to have Harlie be part of the Groundswell team this summer. You can get in touch with her on social media or at until September. Thanks for helping us welcome her!

Groundswell is growing and that means we need more support! We’re hiring a half-time Administrative Assistant. This is an exciting opportunity to join a successful nonprofit and help protect special places forever where diverse people and communities can thrive.

The Administrative Assistant plays an important role in the success of Groundswell. This person works as part of our team of seven staff members, making sure our events run smoothly, bills are paid on time, and donors, volunteers, and board members have positive and meaningful experiences. As with all staff at Groundswell, the administrative assistant will help build lasting relationships with people and partners that enable us to create a world where everyone can enjoy nature and equitable access to land.

This is a half-time (20 hours/week), salaried position with paid benefits including health and dental insurance, annual and sick leave, and retirement.

Check out the full job description to learn more and for directions on how to apply. Applications are due by Friday, July 22, 2022.

I’m excited to join Groundswell Conservancy as its new executive director! Before joining the team, I spent decades helping to protect the environment and working with underrepresented communities with groups like Wisconsin Conservation Voters. I’m a hiker, biker, paddler, and I love getting out in nature. I’m also a storyteller. To introduce myself, I thought I’d share the story of the week leading up to my first day with Groundswell. It goes like this…

It was late February, and there was a chill in the air. I was feeling overjoyed after landing an amazing job. Unfortunately, as with all lucky streaks, the universe decided to strike back. You’ve been there, I’m sure. First, my computer broke down. Then my collie Rose developed a stomach bug. Last but not least, my car stalled in the drive-up lane at the local Walgreens. “Why me?” I remembered thinking, only to be met by the harsh, cold stare of my darkened dashboard. What could I do? I turned towards the intercom to let the pharmacist know that my car decided it needed a rest. That’s when I noticed them – two tiny snowflakes on the driver’s side window. Just before they melted, I took in their lacy, intricate designs and thought “no two snowflakes are identical”. It was something I’d known…well…forever, but at that moment, I was filled with awe. Suddenly, my horrible week seemed pretty insignificant. Nature in all its wonder and diversity had come to the rescue and put everything in perspective.

Now it’s spring, and, if we’re lucky, the snowflakes are fewer and far between in Wisconsin. The cranes and robins are nesting, and
the prairies, farms, and wetlands we love so much are reborn. Yes. There are challenges ahead: overdevelopment, pollution, food insecurity, inequitable access to the land, and the greatest of all – climate change. But I’m an optimist. I know what engaged and empowered people can achieve. And I know that our Groundswell community is strong and diverse. I also know how committed we are to protecting the land forever and for everyone, and that fills me with hope. Finally, I know that, in a world where billions upon billions of snowflakes have fallen and no two have ever been alike, anything is possible. I can’t wait to meet you and get started!

To read more stories from our Spring 2022 Newsletter, click here.

We have excellent news to share!  We would like to introduce you to Angela West Blank, as we welcome her as our new Executive Director. 

Angela comes to us with a depth of nonprofit leadership experience. Most recently she was the Director of Strategic Development for Wisconsin Conservation Voters. She oversaw the development program and played a leading role in strategy and capacity building. She has a passion for bringing people and groups together to promote healthy ecosystems, diversity and equity, and meaningful change in the community. We are thrilled that she will bring her creative energy to Groundswell.

“I love the mission and incredible team at Groundswell,” Angela says. “I am thrilled to have the chance to help protect Wisconsin’s farmland, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and streams. Connecting people from all walks of life with these special places excites me. Groundswell is on a solid path and has a strong track record of success. I’m honored to be a part of it. Here’s to the new and groundbreaking things we can all accomplish together!”

We are deeply grateful for the legacy Jim Welsh leaves in his retirement. Anyone who has worked closely with Jim has heard him echo the following Groundswell truisms: “conservation doesn’t happen by accident” and “we are in the business of building relationships.” Angela’s leadership and commitment to environmental and social justice will ensure that we continue to protect special places forever for everyone. Angela is known for building strong relationships among staff, board, organizational partners, and volunteers.

Jim has been planning his retirement for some time. He is leaving Groundswell in a strong financial position with an incredible team of skilled and passionate staff. His last day was Friday, February 25th. Angela’s appointment is the culmination of a multi-month hiring process that attracted more than 70 applicants. We worked with Mark Richardson of Unfinished Business Consulting to help guide us through the search. He specializes in talent recruitment and process coaching with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Our hiring committee was a team of ten current and past board members as well as staff. We are grateful for their time and commitment as they shared decades of Groundswell knowledge to help us land in the right place!

Groundswell has big plans for the future. We look forward to working with Angela as we continue to connect people with nature, act on the climate crisis, provide equitable access to land, and create green school yards. Together we will continue our mission to protect special places forever. We know this is essential for our communities’ physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

As Groundswell moves into this exciting new chapter, we thank you for your continued support.