The Conservancy has added 93 acres to its Hemlock Draw Preserve in the Baraboo Hills. © Paul D. Stone
The Nature Conservancy announced today that it has added 93 acres of mature oak hardwood forest and open fields to its Hemlock Draw Preserve in the Baraboo Hills, which is open to the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, wildlife-watching, and other recreation opportunities.
“We’re very pleased that we were able to work with landowners in the Hills to add these lands to our Hemlock Draw Preserve,” said Ann Calhoun, The Nature Conservancy’s project director in the Baraboo Hills. “Thanks to their good stewardship, these forests will continue to provide important habitat for songbirds and other wildlife that thrive here.”
The Baraboo Hills encompass one of the largest expanses of oak forest remaining in the upper Midwest. Because of the extensive forest cover, the Hills serve as important habitat for many bird species that need large expanses of continuous forest to successfully nest and raise their young.
The Conservancy is planting trees to close gaps that have been opened in the forest canopy to provide more of the deep forest cover that birds and other wildlife need.
Visitors to Hemlock Draw can see trees such as hemlock and yellow birch typically found in the northern areas of the state growing close to red and white oaks and other species typically found in southern Wisconsin. Another interesting feature is narrow pillars of rock, called "sea stacks," which are a remnant of ancient times when the Baraboo Hills were a chain of islands in a vast sea.
An active group of volunteers spends hundreds of hours each year working with Conservancy staff to control garlic mustard and other non-native invasive species, plant trees to reforest gaps in the tree canopy, maintain trails and help with other land management activities at Nature Conservancy preserves in the Hills.
The Conservancy has been working with landowners and communities in the Hills for more than 45 years to conserve almost 11,000 acres.
Acquisition of the land at Hemlock Draw was made possible by grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and private support from Nature Conservancy members and donors.
For more information about The Nature Conservancy’s work in the Baraboo Hills or to become a volunteer, visit www.nature.org/wisconsin or call the Baraboo office at (608) 356-5300.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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