On October 30th, 2011 Glacial Lakes Conservancy provided a Lunch & Guided Land Walk Celebration to showcase GLC’s land protection work. The event was held at historic Fischer Farm with hosts Mark & Noelle Jonas. GLC volunteer naturalists, Shirley Griffin and Sarah Majerus, led tours of the property for those of the fifty-five attendees that wanted to venture out after lunch and hot cider in the drizzle. Board members, Kenn Buelow and Chris Krieg led the event and thanked our wonderful donors, Preservation Partner members, the Sheboygan County Stewardship Grant, and our amazing campaign volunteers that made Glacial Lakes Conservancy’s Grasshopper Hill Preserve a reality. Link to our Grasshopper Hill Project page and view the Grasshopper Hill photo gallery slideshow.
Announcing our Grasshopper Hill Preserve
At the end of September, Glacial Lakes Conservancy successfully acquired and established the Grasshopper Hill Preserve! Since 2006, Glacial Lakes Conservancy (GLC) has been working to create a 25-acre nature preserve from a glacial remnant in the Town of Rhine, called “Grasshopper Hill Preserve.” In the Spring of 2011, family members of the Fischer Farmstead agreed to work with GLC because of their shared vision and the late LaVern Meeusen’s wish to protect the farm’s steep-sided, wooded hill from future development.
* Wildlife Habitat
* Mature forest
* Steep slopes
* Potentially significant water table (aquifer) recharge zone
* Scenic feature along the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
* Scenic feature along the Historic Race Circuit of Elkhart Lake, National Register of Historic Places
* Elkhart Lake landmark to area residents
Area residents for generations have told stories of their adventures on Grasshopper Hill. From on top of this scenic landmark one can see for miles, look north for an overview of Elkhart Lake, east to the golf course, south over green pastured horse farms, west to the Sheboygan marsh. The oak and meadow woods and maple forest are a sanctuary for migrating birds, wildlife, and diverse plant species. With its steep slopes which lead to the south shores of Elkhart Lake, preservation of the land will also protect lake water quality. Glacial Lakes Conservancy has established that the objective is to treat it akin to one of the state’s natural areas, specifically to “preserve and protect the natural ecological values by preventing the establishment of invasive species, allowing natural processes to continue, limiting use to that which is compatible with natural area designation, and restoring disturbed areas within the confines of needed paths and their maintenance.”
Fundraising has continued as the Grasshopper Hill campaign enters the final phase. In order to do this right, Glacial Lakes has been putting together a funding package that includes the purchase price, the acquisition costs, the initial stewardship of the property and also the long-term stewardship. Along with generous donations of individuals – and many new members – GLC was also successful in obtaining a $60,000 Sheboygan County Stewardship Program grant. Letters of support were received from the Village of Elkhart Lake, the Town of Rhine, and the Elkhart Lake Improvement Association.
Generations to come will thank these generous family members and our donors for helping our efforts in making the “Grasshopper Hill Preserve” a reality.
Grasshopper Hill reminds us that there is still time to preserve the environmental corridors that remain open. GLC has identified the Elkhart Lake Area and nearby northern Kettle Moraine as two of its Conservation Priority sites to preserve land for habitat and to protect water quality because of the fragile nature of steeply-sloping kettles and kames, gravel and till soils, and waters of the area.