Lands and Waters

Protecting Wisconsin’s most ecologically important landscapes

Wisconsin’s public lands protect many ecologically significant and rare landscapes. State Forests provide habitat for large wildlife such as elk, wolves, and bears, while State Natural Areas protect the last remaining examples of globally-imperiled ecological communities, such as savannas, wetlands, and barrens.

Wisconsin’s public lands and waters are also part of our state’s natural heritage, and provide unparalleled opportunities for people to connect with nature. Whether you love hiking, paddling, fishing, hunting, birding, camping, biking, or simply find comfort in the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors, Wisconsin’s public lands and waters are here for all of us to enjoy.

Our public lands are under threat

Invasive species, climate change, and significant cuts to state funding for natural resource management threaten to permanently alter our landscapes and diminish habitat for rare and threatened wildlife species. The Natural Resources Foundation works to address Wisconsin’s most important conservation needs, by bridging support from thousands of people across Wisconsin to our conservation partners and projects across our state.

Dollars granted to parks

Grants for public lands

Dollars for habitat restoration

Our strategy for conserving lands and waters

Partnerships

We support and partner with a wide range of conservation organizations who are already doing important research and on-the-ground work. Their knowledge and experience guides our strategy and by strengthening their efforts, we all reach our goals of conserving Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Big Picture

We emphasize a landscape-level approach, targeting multiple properties within an important landscape like the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. By focusing our efforts within specific landscapes we create efficiencies, leverage resources, and create an impact that is both broad and deep.

Public Trust

Every conservation project we fund benefits lands that are open to the public. From beloved places like Devil’s Lake State Park and the Lower Chippewa River Basin to little-known gems nestled in far flung corners of the state, we are dedicated to caring for our shared natural heritage.

Sustainability

Lasting and meaningful improvements don’t happen quickly, which is why we focus on finding ways to provide permanent, sustainable funding for land and water conservation efforts. Through smart financial investments like endowment funds we are ensuring Wisconsin’s future.

Help us make a meaningful impact on Wisconsin’s lands and waters.

Impact in Action

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.

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First Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund grant impacts three State Natural Areas

In the historic first disbursement from the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund, $50,000 will be invested in Walworth and Dunn counties. This announcement comes just ahead of Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 30, and funding will be split between these two high-use properties that are home to a wide variety of game, non-game, and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (endangered, threatened, or in decline).

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Southern Kettle Moraine Restoration

The Southern Kettle Moraine encompasses several high priority State Natural Areas that are home to multiple rare ecosystems as well as threatened or endangered species. The Natural Resources Foundation partnered with the Brookby Foundation in 2017 to support restoration work in the area. Additional work will be done in 2018 thanks to the first disbursement from the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund.

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