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Good news that on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, through the generosity of Orfordville residents, Norman and Carol Aulabaugh, 75 acres of rolling landscape will be transformed into a public natural resource.

Norm and Carol donated the land, to be named Sunny Peace Prairie, to Green-Rock Audubon Society, who will be responsible for managing the restoration efforts. Groundswell Conservancy was granted a permanent conservation easement on the land to ensure that the Aulabaugh’s wishes for it to remain open for the public’s enjoyment be upheld, forever.

The Aulabaugh’s vision for Sunny Peace Prairie is for it to be a nature education resource and place for quiet contemplation. Transforming the land back into a prairie and oak woodland with walking paths will begin this year thanks to a generous endowment that Norm and Carol have established at the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin.

When asked to say something about what motivated them to donate their land, Norm offered these words from the book O Pioneers! by Willa Cather:

“The land belongs to the future, Carl; that’s the way it seems to me. How many of the names on the county clerk’s plat will be there in fifty years? I might as well try to will the sunset over there to my brother’s children. We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it–for a little while.”

Our thanks go to Norm and Carol for their wonderful gift to the future and to Groundswell Conservancy supporters that make our work on these projects possible.

2020 Updates: Click here to see a short video documentary about the prairie planting at Sunny Peace Prairie. And here’s a late summer video update on the prairie.