Groundswell continues to improve access to Westport Prairie and to restore the prairie landscape for plants and wildlife. To care for our restored prairies and to mow our new trails, we are raising funds for our first tractor (~$25,000) and pull-behind mower (~$2,500), including insurance and maintenance.

We’re planning to buy these items used, so the kind of tractor and mower will depend on what we find available on the market. Here’s an example of a tractor and mower we’re interested in purchasing.

Give today in support of a tractor and mower! You can give online (indicate in the gift notes: for tractor) or mail a check to Groundswell at 303 S. Paterson St, suite 6, Madison, WI 53703. Indicate in the check memo: for tractor.

To date, we’ve raised $13,529 for the tractor and mower thanks to these generous donors:

The tractor and mower will be instrumental in our efforts to restore and care for Westport Prairie.

Of the original 64,000-acre Empire Prairie that historically covered much of Dane and Columbia Counties, there are only 202 acres left that are protected. This huge loss of prairie habitat has led to dwindling populations of native plants, insects, and animals.

Westport Prairie is a 227-acre wildlife area in Waunakee, WI managed by Groundswell. It is open to the public for recreation with 1.5 miles of hiking trails. It is also part of the Empire Prairie State Natural Area that preserves approximately 100 native plant species—some endangered—and many types of grassland birds. Each year, Groundswell converts more and more agricultural land to prairie at this special place for the benefit of people and the biodiversity Dane County.

We are in year 4 of an ambitious 14-year plan to convert a total of 170 acres of land to native prairie using local-genotype prairie seed. This type of seed is well adapted to the region and has a high chance of seeding success. As we continue to plant more prairies, we need proper equipment to manage the land and ensure that the prairie habitats we’ve planted continue to thrive well into the future. Groundswell would like to purchase a tractor to help us with the long-term land management at Westport Prairie.

If you have questions about the tractor/mower, please contact BJ at