The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded $28,043 to 30 organizations across Wisconsin through the C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund. The fund annually awards grants up to $1,000 that support grassroots conservation and education projects that benefit Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife, and that connect people to Wisconsin’s natural resources. This year’s grant awardees are listed below.

The projects funded in 2018 range from providing outdoor learning for urban youth to rare plant monitoring throughout the state. NRF is proud to support this wide range of conservation and education projects across Wisconsin. We are especially excited to invest in the work of our partners who are engaging youth of color and other traditionally underserved communities in environmental education. For example, Lussier Community Education Center, one of this year’s grant recipients, will use the funds to bring K-5 youth from their afterschool program to UW-Madison Arboretum throughout the year, for a series of on-site open exploration, interactive activities and games (pictured above).

“Nearly all young people in LCEC’s free afterschool and summer programs are children of color and live in households with limited means, and their access to and use of the diverse, beautiful natural places that surround Madison is often limited,” said Susan Ramspacher, assistant director of the Lussier Community Education Center. “This project aims to shift that dynamic and expand children’s sense of self in nature by introducing young people from LCEC to the wild and natural areas of our community. We see this as a critical first step in building life-long stewards of nature among our kids, by fostering comfort in the outdoors and an awareness of the wonders found in nature.”

C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund Grant Awardees for 2018:

  • Bayfield High School: Building an Anishinaabe Sugarbush Longhouse (Bayfield County)
  • Bird City Wisconsin: Growing Bird City Participation in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon (Statewide)
  • Boston School Forest: Emily’s Arboretum Path Tree ID Trail (Portage County)
  • City of New Richmond: Willow River Water Trail (St. Croix County)
  • City of Reedsburg: Granite Avenue Park and Smith Conservancy Education Program (Sauk County)
  • Clean Lakes Alliance: Lake Explorer Camp (Dane County)
  • Discovery World: SHARP Literacy and Discovery World Life of Salmon Conservation Program (Milwaukee County)
  • Friends of Lapham Peak State Forest: Invasive Species Removal and Habitat Restoration (Waukesha County)
  • Friends of Perrot State Park: Plant Identification Signs for Pollinator Prairie (Trempealeau County)
  • Friends of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center: Ephemeral Wetland Monitoring Project (Milwaukee County)
  • Friends of The Bird Sanctuary: “You Are Here,” An Invitation to Explore the Barrens of the Douglas County State Wildlife Area (Douglas County)
  • Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands: Entrance Sign for Beaver Hollow Education Area (Bayfield County)
  • Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center: Raptor Environmental Education Programs (Statewide)
  • Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter of Trout Unlimited: Trout in the Classroom at Hammond Elementary School (St. Croix County)
  • Lussier Community Education Center: Outdoor Club at UW-Madison Arboretum (Dane County)
  • Malcolm Shabazz City High School: The Land Ethic Initiative (Dane County)
  • McDill Elementary School: McDill School Forest Storywalk (Portage County)
  • Navarino Nature Center: Wolf River Water Trail Signage and Maps (Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca Counties)
  • Neighborhood House of Milwaukee: Nature Center Stewardship Activities (Milwaukee County)
  • North Lakeland Discovery Center: Nature Playscape Pollinator Garden (Vilas County)
  • Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department: Bird and Pollinator Habitat Enhancements at Virmond County Park (Ozaukee County)
  • River Bend Nature Center: Bat Conservation Education and Outreach (Racine County)
  • Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance: Effects of Prairie Restoration on Small Mammals at the Ho-Chunk Sacred Earth Tract (Sauk County)
  • Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers: Invasive Species Removal Along the Kinnickinnic River Trail (Milwaukee County)
  • St. Croix River Association: Terrestrial Invasive Species Curriculum and Education (Barron, Burnett, Polk, St. Croix, Washburn Counties)
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension: Upham Woods Shoreline Restoration (Juneau County)
  • Waukesha County Land Conservancy: Adopt-a-Preserve Program (Waukesha County)
  • Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation: Touchscreen Computer Exhibit for Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Gallery (Marathon County)
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Supporting the Rare Plant Monitoring Program (Statewide)
  • Woodland Dunes Nature Center: Creek Restoration Project Phase 1 Schultz Parcel (Manitowoc County)

2018 CD Besadny Conservation Grant Awardees

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded $28,043 to 30 organizations across Wisconsin through the C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund. The fund annually awards grants up to $1,000 that support grassroots conservation and education projects.

Jim Hlaban recognized as water hero

You can tell a lot about Jim Hlaban’s commitment to conservation from his email signature: “If we don’t do it, who will?” Jim and his wife, Mary, recently made a commitment to protect Wisconsin’s waters into perpetuity by creating the Wisconsin Water Protection Fund, which will make annual grants to numerous conservation organizations working to protect water resources across the state.

From climate-change denier to conservationist

Like many Wisconsinites, there was a time when Joey believed the environmental movement to be at odds with business and personal-property rights. Today, Joey integrates green practices into his business—Heinrichs Home Comfort, a residential HVAC company. Joey’s commitment to conservation might mean a lower profit margin, but he takes pride in knowing that he’s contributing to energy efficiency.

Students experience nature untouched by humans at Isle Royale

The Natural Resources Foundation helped fund trip for seventh graders from Phillips Middle School to Isle Royale. Students learn about renewable energy, environmental stewardship, earth science, and history as well as picking up the basics of camping and leave-no-trace ethics.

Conservation in a Can

The Giving Brewery is a partnership between Octopi Brewing and 105.5 Triple M. Together they create and market exceptional craft brews that support different nonprofit organizations like the Natural Resources Foundation.

Wisconsin Master Naturalist Volunteer Training: An inside look

The Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program was launched in 2013 and since then an incredible 663 volunteers have already been trained, contributing more than 55,000 hours of service in their communities. Our own Caitlin Williamson recently added her name to this list and shares her story.

Nature and Mental Health

Spending time in nature has a physiological effect on the body, reducing blood pressure and the hormone cortisol, which is associated with stress. Thus, our time in nature serves to lessen stress and refresh our brains, improving focus, creativity and problem-solving.

Prairie restoration at Faville Prairie SNA

Faville Prairie is a highly diverse prairie with over 200 native prairie plants, but in recent years, invasive shrubs and trees have invaded the remnant prairie resulting in a loss of native species diversity. With support from the Natural Resources Foundation, the Arboretum worked with Tallgrass Restoration, LLC, to remove about eight acres of invasive shrubs and trees as part of a prairie restoration at Faville Prairie SNA.

Kestrel Banding with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation’s kestrel banding Field Trip is a long-time favorite. These trips are so popular that it can be hard to get a spot. Fortunately, one incredible Field Trip participant put together an amazing slideshow to share his experience. 

Diversity in Conservation

The natural world is something that every person living in Wisconsin has a right to enjoy. Historically, however, the underprivileged and people of color have not had the same opportunities to access the outdoors when compared to more privileged communities. We are committed to removing barriers so that every Wisconsinite has a chance to connect with nature.