A new footbridge installed at The Nature Conservancy’s Lulu Lake Preserve in Walworth and Waukesha counties doesn’t just help visitors cross the Mukwonago River, it also illustrates how the Conservancy recycles old building materials for new uses.
Beams from a former structure at the Conservancy’s Newell and Ann Meyer Preserve were used to build the new footbridge at Lulu Lake Preserve. The new footbridge was needed because vegetation and wood started to clog up around the old bridge that had sagged to within an inch of the water. The old bridge was built more than two decades ago.
Other materials from the Meyer Preserve were recycled by a contractor or donated to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Portions of a footbridge that had deteriorated at the Meyer Preserve are also expected to be used in two spots at the Conservancy’s nearby Crooked Creek Preserve.
Another instance of the Conservancy recycling materials occurred at Lulu Lake Preserve after the Conservancy removed a deteriorating dormitory left over from when the property was a summer camp. Those recycled materials have been put to good use in Washington County. Two park shelters and a garage were created with the materials.
“Finding new uses for materials we no longer need reflects our desire to have the smallest possible footprint on the landscape whenever possible and it helps advance our restoration work,” said Pat Morton, Director of the Conservancy’s Mukwonago River Watershed Project Office.
Jerry Ziegler, land steward for the Conservancy in the Mukwonago River watershed, said the Conservancy makes it a habit to recycle materials from one preserve to another. “It’s simply a matter of how to put resources to better use rather than disposing them,” Ziegler said.
According to Ziegler, the “ultimate example” of the Conservancy recycling materials in the Mukwonago River area is a historic cabin that was located on its Crooked Creek Preserve. The Conservancy discovered that the cabin may date back as far as the 1830s.
Now the cabin stands completely restored at the Madison Children’s Museum. “It’s an asset for the state and the local community,” Ziegler said.
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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