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We are happy to share good news that today, December 11, 2019, thanks to the foresight and generosity of Patrick and Patricia Hermsen, we permanently protected 59 acres of field and forest overlooking the Village of Oregon. Pat and Patricia’s goal is to create a conservation park on their beautiful property overlooking the west side of the Village.

Like many great endeavors, setting the stage for this new park has taken perseverance. Pat and Patricia approached us in early 2015 about helping them achieve their goal.   With the cooperation of the Town of Oregon and the Village of Oregon, the conservation easement recorded today on the property keeps the property open for park and nature-based recreation purposes, as well as a link in a future bike/hike trail. The Hermsens intend to donate the property to the Village when they no longer live there. It would become a village conservation park at that time.

It takes conservation-minded landowners like Pat and Patricia to set aside great places for the enjoyment of future generations. I think that the words of Mahatma Gandhi are an appropriate conclusion for Pat and Pat’s endeavor, “The future depends on what we do in the present”. Our thanks to the Hermsens for their generosity and vision and also to all the supporters of Groundswell who help make these conservation successes possible.

Here is something to be thankful for as 2018 comes to a close: a conservation-minded landowner working with Groundswell to permanently protect important land and water. Today, December 5, 2018, we purchased 36 acres of land on Swan Creek from landowner Brian Pasley.

A fourth generation landowner, Brian has been determined to protect the last remaining part of his family’s farm upstream from Waubesa Wetlands. Brian told me he was motivated by the impending development of land in the City of Fitchburg, some of which is in the headwaters of Waubesa Wetlands. Over the next few years, more than one square mile of farmland and rural open space will be transformed into a new neighborhood, bringing changes to the quality and quantity of water heading into Waubesa Wetlands via Swan Creek.

We will be remembering Brian’s family’s history on the property in our name for it, Pasley’s Swan Creek Farm.

We are now working with Robert Pierce and Neighborhood Food Solutions to locate some of Robert’s innovative agricultural programming on the property – creating a place for kids and adults to learn about where food comes from and how to grow it.

We were able to purchase the property thanks to Brian’s generosity in selling the land to us at a discount, along with funding from the Dane County Conservation Fund, Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, the estate of Marie Fraser, two anonymous donors, and the supporters of Groundswell who help make these conservation successes possible.