Town of Dunn gets award for land conservation leadership

Town of Dunn gets award for land conservation leadership

MADISON, Wis. — Leaders from the town of Dunn were honored Wednesday for their community’s land conservation efforts.

Conservation group Gathering Waters gave the town its 2022 Working Lands Preservation Award at an event Wednesday evening. The group honored the town for its Purchase of Development Rights program, which sees landowners voluntarily restrict land use to protect against development.

“Working lands are vital to Wisconsin’s economy, our way of life and our natural environment, and the town of Dunn’s commitment to land protection deserves to be celebrated,” Mike Carlson, Gathering Waters’ executive director, said.

While Wisconsin loses farmland and wildlife habitat at an “alarming rate,” Carlson said the town’s efforts show leadership that is unmatched in the state.

By this summer, the town will reach its goal of holding conservation easements on 4,000 acres of land within its boundaries, Town Chair Steve Greb said. The Purchase of Development Rights program, he said, is one of the cornerstones of the town’s efforts to protect farmland.

“We look at the land not just as a commodity but as part of our heritage — both our cultural heritage and our natural heritage — and it’s important that we protect these spaces,” Greb said.

The town and Groundswell Conservancy have been working together on the program for more than 25 years.

Five individuals or groups, including the town, received honors from Gathering Waters this year. Other winners include Meta Reigel Brandt, Todd Holschbach, the Benedictine Women of Madison and the Ice Age Trail Alliance Advocacy Committee. Read more about each winner here.