On Friday, August 5, 2022, the Town of Dunn and Groundswell Conservancy placed a permanent conservation easement on the Peterson Family centennial farm (see map link). This easement preserves valuable farmland by restricting development on the 133-acre property. A 300-foot wide vegetative buffer between the cropland and Hook Lake will protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat. The Lake encompasses Hook Lake Bog State Natural Area, a rare community in southern Wisconsin.

We thank landowners Lea Ann and Randall Heacox for their dedication to protecting this land. We also thank the Town of Dunn for their leadership on this project, and for their continued commitment to conservation through their Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program. Since 1997, Groundswell and the Town of Dunn have worked together to help protect nearly 4,000 acres of rich farmland.

Lea Ann’s great-grandparents, Rasmus and Minnie Peterson, bought the property in 1910. They passed it down through her grandfather Elmer Peterson to her mother Norraine Peterson Kvammen. According to Lea Ann, “The Town of Dunn’s PDR program was instrumental to keeping this farm in our family. We are very grateful.” Click here to see more photos of the farm taken by Mario Quintana, including a present day recreation of a circa 1950 aerial photo.

With this easement, this land will remain farmland forever, helping to protect productive topsoil—a precious limited resource—and to maintain farm-friendly communities in Dane County.

This project was made possible by the generosity of Lea Ann and Randall Heacox, the Dane County Conservation Fund, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Town of Dunn residents, and supporters of Groundswell like you.