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January News and Highlights

Climate at the Forefront

Support for the next generation of conservation leaders

Climate change is one of the most challenging environmental problems of our generation. However, its effects will be felt most severely by the generations to follow. Today’s young people are acutely aware of the many issues associated with human-exacerbated climate change.

Katelyn Esser, a Highland High School junior, is one such student. She decided to learn more, so for her Junior Project in Ms. Kari Smith’s class Katelyn chose climate change. One requirement of the project is to work with a mentor. Katelyn reached out to DALC, and our staff was glad to help.

Chuck Tennessen, who heads up the Iowa County Clean, Local Energy Alliance – Now (CLEA-N) project, has been involved in educating folks about climate change for years. Being a former teacher, he was pleased to assume the role of mentor. Now Katelyn is developing a deeper understanding of the issues facing those who work to mitigate climate change.

Like most relationships, there are benefits on both sides. Another requirement for Katelyn is to complete fifteen project hours. As a “climate-liaison,” Katelyn will help educate her fellow students and their families about climate change. She will also share information on how they can both support and benefit from CLEA-N initiatives in their own community.

“It’s gratifying to see young folks actively engaging with this very challenging issue. There’s every reason to be optimistic about meeting this challenge with students like Katelyn helping lead her generation,” remarked Tennessen.

Sowing for the Seasons

Winter seeding at Morrison

Just before the New Year, a small team of intrepid adventurers braved the cold temperatures to sow a two-acre field with prairie seed at Morrison Prairie & Forest Preserve. This style of winter seeding allows the seeds to slowly settle onto bare ground, secured in place by the snow that falls on top of them. The snow serves to protect the seed from marauding birds, and also allows the seeds to go through a natural winter’s cycle. 


We have deep gratitude for the generous donation of a local seed collector who provided 95% of the seed used in this seeding.  Because of his contribution our seed mix included 75 species of wildflowers and grasses, all locally & sustainably collected.

(Photos feature Fil Senna, Jen Filipiak & Cindy Becker)

Board Changes at DALC

Giving thanks to two outgoing members as we welcome four new faces

At the first Board meeting of the year we welcomed new Board members. This crew is returning to DALC or coming to serve for the first time with impressive backgrounds in conservation, hands-on experience in restoration work, and plenty of love for the Driftless region. Read up on our whole team. Clockwise from top left, Peter Vanderloo, Tim Connor, Harald (Jordy) Jordahl, and Yasi Rezai.

Notes from the Field

I’d like to give a shout out to women in leadership this month. In my first year at DALC I’ve had the privilege of getting to know, learning from, and being inspired by two long serving DALC board members: Peggie James and Alice Godfrey, who departed our Board in December.

Alice is a founding board member of DALC and brought unparalleled passion for protecting the beautiful Driftless landscape. She helped lead us through those scrappy years, and was always just a phone call away as I learned about DALC’s history and potential in my first few months.

Peggie farms with her family just outside of Dodgeville and came to us after a career at NRCS – I appreciated her grounded energy and leadership skills. She was at my side thinking through our fundraising strategy in a year of incredible transition and together we recruited DALC’s first full-time development professional.

Bittersweet – the perfect word which encompasses my sadness to see them go, but my gratefulness for their service. And I’m so excited to welcome our new cohort of board members!

Here’s to 2021 – no doubt another challenging year, but we have the best team we could have to take it on.

Take care,


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