Wisconsin Environmental Groups

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Wisconsin Environmental Groups look to protect and conserve nature and wildlife in the state of Wisconsin. These groups are located in various locations throughout the state and they look to conserve the local environments from being harmed. The areas they hope to conserve can range from bodies of water, to parks and trails, to land that is believed to be important to the local community throughout history. Land trusts and audubon societies make up a large chunk of the environmental groups in Wisconsin. There are other significant groups that have a larger impact on Wisconsin, as well. These include the John Muir chapter of the Sierra Club, the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the River Alliance of Wisconsin.

Land Trusts

See also: Land Trusts

Wisconsin has several land trusts, which are also known as conservancies, spread around the state which aim to conserve certain pieces of land. These organizations are the most prevalent in the state. Land trusts are private nonprofit organizations that protect land directly, by owning it. [1] This guarantees that the land will be treated with their best interest, as they are the rightful owners of said land. Typically, land trusts are created by a small group of environmentally conscious people who want to save land from modern development. Then, those who want to donate to the land trust can freely do so and will become members of the organization. Some examples of land that are currently a land trust in the state of Wisconsin include the Kinnickinnic River, Geneva Lake, and the Eagle River. A list that includes other land trusts throughout the state can be found at this website: http://www.eco-usa.net/orgs/wi.shtml

Audubon Societies

Audubon societies look to save ecosystems that exist in nature, with avian ecosystems being of prominent importance. The first ever audubon society was formed in 1896 as a response to the killing of millions of waterbirds. Local chapters began to come about in several states as soon as 1989, including Wisconsin. Then in 1905 the National Association of Audubon Societies is created.[2] Their mission was to get all of the local chapters to do their best to protect birds so that, together, they could make a huge impact nationwide. There are now 14 chapters throughout the state of Wisconsin. A list of these audubon socities can be found here: http://www.audubon.org/audubon-near-you?state=WI

Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter

The Sierra Club is a nationwide environmental group that has been fighting to conserve nature throughout the entire country. This group has been around for over a century. The John Muir chapter is important to this state as it is named after Wisconsin native and first president of the Sierra Club; John Muir. Muir's family moved to Wisconsin, where they lived and worked on their farm; Fountain Lake Farm. When he grew up, he attended the University of Wisconsin. Eventually, Muir made his way over to California where he formed the Sierra Club in 1892, whose mission was to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out those objectives. [3] This particular chapter of the Sierra Club was formed in 1963 by Norm O'Neill and aims to uphold the original mission within the state of Wisconsin. Members in Wisconsin are at around 15,000 as of 2015.

Aldo Leopold Foundation

This foundation was created in 1982 by the five children of the titular Aldo Leopold, and its mission is to foster the land ethic through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. [4] The Aldo Leopold Foundation is located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The foundation works hard to inform the visitors of its Leopold Center, which opened in 2007, that the ethical use of land is an important value to incorporate into our lives. One of their learning opportunities involves visitors going to the Leopold Family Shack and Farm, which Leopold famously bought back in 1935.[5] He wanted to turn a rundown farm into a workable one by restoring the deserted land back to a state where it could function. Leopold also fixed up a deserted chicken coop which he and his family referred to as "the Shack." These actions were not only an inspiration for his children to form this foundation, but also the topic of Aldo Leopold's famous book A Sand County Almanac.

River Alliance of Wisconsin

The River Alliance of Wisconsin is a statewide group whose goal is to protect the waterways that run through the state. They work together with local groups to preserve and improve the rivers and watersheds in Wisconsin. This group is relatively new to the state, as their first meeting occurred in 1993.[6] They make sure to promote the importance and power that individual citizens can have within their communities. The group then wants those citizens to stand up for their rivers and lakes by joining the River Alliance of Wisconsin, and they want those citizens to get their opinions out in the open.


  1. Richard Brewer. Conservancy: The Land Trust Movement in America. Lebanon: University Press of New England, 2003.
  2. Audubon. "History of Audubon and Science-based Bird Conservation." Accessed December 6, 2015, http://audubon.org/content/history-audubon-and-waterbird-conservation.
  3. Sierra Club. "About Us: Sierra Club: John Muir Chapter." Accessed December 3, 2015, http://www.sierraclub.org/wisconsin/about-us.
  4. Aldo Leopold Foundation. "About the Foundation." Accessed December 8,2015, http://www.aldoleopold.org/About/foundation.shtml.
  5. Aldo Leopold Foundation. "Leopold Family Shack and Farm." Accessed December 8, 2015, http://www.aldoleopold.org/Programs/shack.shtml.
  6. River Alliance of Wisconsin. "About Us/Our History." Accessed December 3, 2015, http://www.wisconsinrivers.org/about-us/history.

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