Today, the Natural Heritage Land Trust and the Patrick Marsh Conservancy announced the purchase of a 22-acre parcel of land at the Patrick Marsh Natural Resource Site near Sun Prairie. The parcel is adjacent to the 35 acre parcel protected by the two groups last year. The groups will restore the nearly 60 acres to wildlife habitat and open the land to the public.
The Natural Heritage Land Trust is non-profit organization working to protect natural areas, farmlands, wildlife habitat, and recreational lands in the Dane County area. The Patrick Marsh Conservancy is a community group working to protect the Marsh.
“We’re grateful to everyone who helped make this purchase possible, especially the landowners who sold the land to us at a discount, and our funding partners, said Kathy Pielsticker, President of the Natural Heritage Land Trust. “The State Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, the Dane County Conservation Fund, and City of Sun Prairie provided the lion’s share of the funding. However, we couldn’t have purchased the land without financial support from the Evjue Foundation, the Veridian Foundation, Pan O’Gold, and dozens of businesses and individuals. The support of local officials was also critical to our conservation success.”
“The City of Sun Prairie sees Patrick Marsh as a wonderful educational and outdoor recreation area which will aid, by example, to foster environmental stewardship for future generations,” said City of Sun Prairie Mayor Joe Chase. “Patrick Marsh will offer visitors a unique perspective into a protected ecosystem that easily could have been destroyed without the efforts of many individuals, organizations and governmental agencies working together.”
“This acquisition demonstrates the wonderful results of many groups and individuals working together to accomplish a goal,” said State Representative Gary Hebl. “As a state legislator, it is very rewarding to see the preservation of this historic site for future generations to enjoy.”
“Dane County is proud to partner, from the beginning, with the City of Sun Prairie and the State, to protect high quality conservation and recreation lands at the Patrick Marsh Natural Resource Site,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
“I am so excited we are able to protect this educational, historic, recreational, and environmental gem that is Patrick Marsh. The grass root support in this community is tremendous. As I talk with educational and service groups, businesses and individuals I continually hear personal stories of peoples’ experiences and strong connection with the marsh,” said Jeanne Behrend, President of Patrick Marsh Conservancy. “I am deeply grateful for all of the partnerships, for all of the donations—both financial and business service—that have helped to make this acquisition a reality. We will be continuing our work to preserve additional parcels and to bring opportunities to the citizens to enjoy the marsh and participate in the preservation and restoration activities.”
Located just northeast of Sun Prairie, the Patrick Marsh Natural Resource Site encompasses 785 acres; only a portion of it has permanent protection. The Site includes a 225-acre Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Area which provides important habitat for more than 100 species of birds. The Site is used by the Patrick Marsh Middle School as an outdoor classroom, and by outdoor enthusiasts who bird, picnic, and hike in the area. The site also includes a former hunting ground of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Because of its outstanding conservation and recreation values, the Site has been identified for protection in Dane County’s Parks and Open Space Plan 2001 – 2005 and in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Land Legacy Report. The latter is a list of the 228 places that are critical to protect to meet Wisconsin’s “conservation and recreation needs in the next 50 years.”