During the holiday season, with all of its sales and shopping, it is easy to forget the true joy of the season—giving. In a recent interview for Bridges, Bob and Nancy (Nan) Rudd reminded us of the magic of giving, and that conservation is a gift that gives back for generations.
This fall Bob and Nan established the Robert and Nancy Rudd Conservation Fund to support the perpetual management and restoration of their land, along with other priority conservation projects in Green County.
Read the interview that follows to learn more about Bob and Nan’s commitment to conservation and why they chose the Foundation to continue their legacy.
You clearly have a deep commitment to native landscapes, plants, and wildlife. Where does this commitment come from?
My first memories of connecting with nature come from time spent at our family cabin on Big Roche-A-Cri Lake in Adams County—fishing with my Dad, feeding and watching birds with my Mom, taking long walks by myself along sandy trails in the woods. I’ve always loved being outdoors. I’ve always loved animals.
My commitment has evolved over time, having observed the destruction of various natural habitats in places where I grew up, lived, and worked. We both attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where we were introduced to the spectacular beauty of northeast Iowa and the Driftless region of Wisconsin. Since that time we’ve traveled extensively and experienced unique landscapes and wildlife around the world. We’ve participated in NRF’s field trip program for over 20 years, which has given us the opportunity to see and learn more about Wisconsin’s diverse natural heritage.
Our dream had always been to live and work in a rural area, surrounded by animals, nature, and wildlife. When we had the opportunity to buy our farm in 1994, we decided to make it happen. Our 250-acre farm has diverse habitats, and contains wetland, hardwood forest, native goat prairie, a trout stream, oak savanna, sedge meadow, and upland prairie. We’ve spent over 20 years restoring habitat and converting tilled, highly-erodible acreage to prairies and wetlands.
What do you hope to preserve for the future? What do you think future generations have to gain from your investment?
Bob and Nan
By placing a conservation easement on our property with the Natural Heritage Land Trust, we have kept this undeveloped land in perpetuity. Preserving this land means preserving water quality, biological diversity, pre-settlement plant communities, wildlife habitat, and open vistas. Future generations will see that land can be protected from what society often determines is “of highest and best use” and appreciate that land which is preserved for reasons other than economic development and human recreation has value.
We understand that land stewardship requires constant financial support. By establishing our endowment fund, we are providing funds for the care, management, and restoration of this property in perpetuity. Additionally, funds will be available to support conservation within Green County on public lands or private lands permanently protected by a conservation easement. We hope that this fund will encourage and facilitate preservation of open space, as well as protect and restore native plant communities and native wildlife throughout Green County.
Why did you select the Natural Resources Foundation for this purpose?
Bob and Nan
As members of NRF for over twenty years, we have come to know staff, the Board, and other foundation members well. We have aligned values. We trust NRF and are in concert with the goals and mission of the organization. The NRF endowment program provides the tool we need to assure our conservation goals will have financial support forever.