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April News and Updates

Writing for the Land

Poetry Project Gives Voice to Nature

Erin Schneider, writer and farmer at Hilltop Community farm will be creating unique poetry May through September this year as an offering to DALC to build community and evoke a love of place. In her words, it is, "a celebration of land and our efforts to conserve the places we love through poems."

Erin hopes to use "poetry and play as a connective thread for learning about place and giving voice to the land and people who tend it." She will be visiting DALC protected properties and sharing her work with us in the months to come. As gathering safely permits, Erin hopes to lead a poetry hike with our community later this year. Stay tuned for more or read about Erin at Hilltop Community Farm.

Solar Survey Underway

CLEA-N Gathers Iowa County Data

Homegrown solar electrical generation is one of the best ways to retain energy dollars in local communities. CLEA-N aspires to make small-scale home and business solar arrays a common site in Iowa County. To measure our level of success in doing so, we are creating a baseline of the current level of solar use in the county.

To help, solar array owners in Iowa County can take 3-5 minutes to fill out our Solar Survey. Please complete the solar survey by May 31, 2021. Results will published in June

Building Sustainable Trails

Driftless Trail Hosts First Workshop

On April 24, Willie Bittner of Great Lakes Trailbuilders spent a full day sharing his vast expertise in designing and constructing sustainable trails with a group of ten Driftless Trail enthusiasts. We learned about the psychology of different trail user groups, “full bench” trail design, trail building tools, water management, building stone walls, and much more. Attendees were landowners with trails of their own, members of other trail associations, and, in some cases, future Driftless Trail volunteers.

Our ¾ mile-long outdoor classroom stretched from an alfalfa field, through a wooded valley, past rock outcrops topped by a rare pine relict, to a meandering spring-fed stream. This trail will be open to the public in June. Our thanks to landowner Nan Fey for hosting this first piece of the 50+ mile-long Driftless Trail.

This workshop was supported by a grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Norma and Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund.

Driftless Through Your Lens Monthly Photos from the Field

Take a peek at all we've been up to this month in our new photo gallery online. You will find compositions from our Youth Photography Workshop participants, pictures from volunteers in the field, and highlights from staff as we visit properties. Between spring burns, spring ephemerals, and spring migrations there's been plenty to see! We would love to feature your photos too! Please send your original images to Emily so we can include you in our collection.

Donor Highlight: Doug Booth

Early DALC Board Member Shares His Story and Perspective

"My participation on the board and in other Conservancy activities was the privilege of a lifetime." Doug Booth, a founding Board Member, caught up with our Development Associate Danni earlier this year. He and his wife Carol are joyful and generous supporters of DALC's work. Read more as we offer our thanks for Doug's earliest contributions and life-long commitment to the Driftless.


Notes from the Field

Happy belated Earth Day everyone! Earth Day felt a little subdued this year without the events, but is still incredibly meaningful. Many proud Wisconsinites already know that then U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea of a national environmental teach-in, but it was a team of young activists that pulled it off. (Photo at left is of the original organizers of Earth Day in 1970, from left: Denis Hayes, Andrew Garlin, Arturo Sandoval, Stephen Cotton, Barbara Reid, and Bryce Hamilton. Image from

Chicano activist Arturo Sandoval was the Western regional coordinator for the first Earth Day and organized a rally of Native and Mexican Americans. That rally catalyzed the successful closing of a polluting solid waste treatment plant and may be the first successful environmental justice initiative led by people of color in the U.S.

I highly recommend listening to the “Force of Nature” episode of the Throughline podcast to learn more about how that first Earth Day went down. You might learn something you didn’t know, I did!

I always feel hopeful with the celebration of Earth Day and the coming of spring, and this year that feeling is intensified. And I feel that hopeful energy from all of you in the many emails, calls, and site visits I’ve been doing this month. I hope everyone was able to take a moment to appreciate all that Nature gives us, every day.

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