The Nature Conservancy announced today that it has added another 30.5 acres of land to the Newell and Ann Meyer Nature Preserve, located southwest of Eagle on Hwy 67 in Walworth County. The parcel of land connects the east and west sides of the preserve, providing additional access for recreational activities including walking, wildlife-watching, hunting and cross-country skiing.
“Newell and Ann Meyer wanted to create a sanctuary for wildlife where people could come and enjoy the beauty of nature,” said Pat Morton, director of the Conservancy’s work in the Mukwonago River watershed. “This acquisition protects additional habitat for wildlife and allows us to expand our trail system and make this preserve an even more enjoyable place to visit.”
The new property is mainly forested with white and black oaks and shagbark hickory trees, but it has become overrun with non-native, invasive species including buckthorn, honeysuckle and Japanese barberry. Restoring the oak woodlands will help improve the habitat for warblers and other forest-dependent birds like red-headed woodpeckers.
Because a major portion of the headwaters of the Mukwonago River rises from springs on the Meyer Preserve, protecting land and restoring forests and grasslands at the preserve helps slow runoff so the water can percolate into the soil, replenishing the groundwater supply and keeping nutrients and other pollutants from entering the river.
The Conservancy’s loop trail from the east side of the preserve will be expanded into the new property in the coming year. When it is completed, visitors will be able to walk for more than 3.5 miles and view wetlands, prairies, woodlands and wildlife including fox, coyotes and, perhaps, badgers, which have been sighted at the Meyer Preserve. Many species of birds are also in the area, including turkey vultures, several species of hawks, cormorants, egrets and great blue herons.
Partial funding for the acquisition was provided by a generous private donation, and the Conservancy has applied for a grant from Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.
The Conservancy established the Newell and Ann Meyer Nature Preserve in 2009 with a generous gift of 374 acres of land and additional financial assets from the Meyer estate. Prior to the Meyers’ acquisition of the land, about two-thirds of it was in agricultural production. Since 2009, the Conservancy has restored 216 acres to native prairie and improved the health of forests and wetlands by removing invasive trees and other invasive plants.
A dedication is planned in the spring to unveil a memorial to Newell and Ann Meyer as well as interpretive signage that highlights the prairies, wetlands and other natural features at the preserve.
You can find more information about the Conservancy’s work and the Meyer Preserve in the Places We Protect section of our website.
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.