The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin announced that it has raised more than $27 million towards My Wisconsin in the Campaign for a Sustainable Planet, a $30 million effort to help protect the state’s best lands and waters.
The campaign and its progress were detailed at an event on Thursday hosted by Johnson Controls at its corporate campus located in Glendale, Wis. Nearly 150 guests, including business leaders and philanthropists from southeast Wisconsin, attended the event, which was held to celebrate the Conservancy’s 50th anniversary in Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin is really at a crossroads right now. People giving to the My Wisconsin campaign are helping protect natural resources we depend on for clean air and water,” said Mary Jean Huston, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin.
The My Wisconsin campaign, launched in 2007, is protecting forests, grasslands, lakes and rivers throughout the state and key lands and key waters around the world. The funds will protect over 85,000 acres and advance cutting-edge conservation across Wisconsin.
Financial support for the campaign has been very strong, despite the challenging economic climate over the last few years.
“The My Wisconsin campaign is going to be successful because people are interested in preserving their heritage,” said Mike Borden, Chief Executive Officer of Hufcor, Inc., and Co-Chair of the My Wisconsin campaign. “Some of these beautiful wild lands are only going to be around just so long. We have to conserve them now.”
One leadership gift to the campaign was a bequest from the late Newell and Ann Meyer. Their $12.5 million gift of land and assets is the largest of its kind in Wisconsin and will help protect the Mukwonago River, the most biologically diverse small river system in the state.
Pledges for the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s North America Regional Initiative, announced in partnership with the Milwaukee Water Council in early October, also make up part of the campaign funds. While further establishing Milwaukee and Wisconsin as leaders in water issues, the initiative will work to establish voluntary sustainability standards for global water use and management.
Speakers at Thursday’s event celebrating the Conservancy’s 50 years in Wisconsin included: Governor Jim Doyle; John Morgridge, Chairman Emeritus of Cisco and past chairman of The Nature Conservancy’s Board of Directors; Matt Frank, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Chris Abele, Honorary Co-Chair of the My Wisconsin campaign and Chief Executive Officer of Argosy Foundation; and Debbie Cervenka, Co-Chair of the My Wisconsin campaign and Executive Vice President, Phillips Plastics.
At the event, Johnson Controls was also recognized for joining the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Green Tier program, which recognizes corporate leadership in environmental sustainability.
Dave Myers, President of Johnson Controls Building Efficiency business, said both announcements are great examples of how leaders and organizations can advance environmental sustainability and conservation for the benefit of people and nature alike.
“At Johnson Controls, we’re committed to environmental sustainability,” Myers said. “We know The Nature Conservancy is working to conserve key lands and waters in Wisconsin and around the world. Our joint commitment to sustainability will benefit our employees, customers and the communities we serve today and well into the future.”
Please visit nature.org/Wisconsin for more information about the My Wisconsin campaign and the Conservancy’s work in Wisconsin.
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.