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Mounds View Preserve Grows With Purchase of Hanley Farm

With the help of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, The Prairie Enthusiasts expanded the Mounds View Grasslands Preserve by 260 acres, bringing the preserve up to 830 acres total.

Made possible in part by funding through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, The Prairie Enthusiasts expanded the Mounds View Grassland Preserve by 260 acres with the purchase of the Hanley Farm in 2022. With this addition, the preserve now spans 830 acres.

Local land trust, The Prairie Enthusiasts, purchased the Hanley Farm from the Underwood family, who had owned and cared for the farm since 1882. They wished to protect and preserve the farm in its natural state. 

The Mounds View Preserve is populated by remnant prairie, rare wildlife habitat, extensive fields, active crop and pastureland, and coldwater streams with associated spring-fed wetlands. The preserve is also the home of some rare species, such as the Regal fritillary butterfly, and many declining grassland bird species, including the Bobolink, Dickcissel, Upland sandpiper, and Bell’s vireo. 

The preserve is part of a larger prairie ecosystem in Wisconsin called the Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area (MRPHA). Spanning 95,000+ acres of grassland landscape in southwest Wisconsin, the MRPHA provides habitat for 14 rare and declining grassland bird species and contains more than 60 prairie remnants, which is one of the highest concentrations of native grasslands in the Midwest. The preserve also has one of the highest concentrations of prairie sod and grassland bird habitat within the MRPHA. It has been identified as the highest priority for landscape-scale grassland protection and management by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Volunteers with the Prairie Enthusiasts have been tirelessly working on restoring the Mounds View Preserve. In addition to planting prairie vegetation, weed control, use of prescribed fire, and planting prairie seeds, the land has also been cleared of dense trees and brush that had invaded the site over the previous 60 years. Some restoration of the coldwater streams and wetlands has also been started. 

“Volunteering at Mounds View gives me a sense of purpose. I know that our efforts are worthwhile. Hearing the call of the Upland sandpipers and watching the Regal fritillaries brings joy to my heart, knowing they require this habitat to survive,” commented Jan Ketelle, a volunteer for The Prairie Enthusiasts.

The preserve is open to the public, and is frequented by bird watchers and butterfly enthusiasts. Like most Knowles-Nelson properties, the Mounds View Preserve is also open to the public for hunting. On the property, hunters can find wild pheasant, deer, and turkey.

Fortunately, thanks in part to funds from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, and efforts by the Prairie Enthusiasts, along with partners like The Nature Conservancy, the Mounds View Grassland Preserve is permanently safeguarded. 

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