Tom's Blog

Thursday, June 7, 2018

10th anniversary of Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area

Although Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area was actually created when Governor Jim Doyle signed the official document in 2007, the dedication ceremony was not held until 2008. Today is the 10th anniversary of that ceremony.


June 7, 2008
1:00 PM-1:30 PM
Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area
Town of Vermont, Dane County, Wisconsin

Evanne Hunt, President, The Prairie Enthusiasts

Signe L. Holtz, Director, Bureau of Endangered Resources, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Mark Martin, Natural Areas Specialist, WDNR

Richard Henderson, Vice President, The Prairie Enthusiasts and President, Empire-Sauk Chapter, Prairie Enthusiasts

Darcy Kind, Landowner Incentive Program Conservation Biologist, WDNR

Kathie and Tom Brock, Landowners, The Savanna Oak Foundation, Inc.

Field Trips
1:30-3:30 PM

Prairies and Savannas at Pleasant Valley Conservancy: Rich Henderson

Wetlands and Reed Canary Grass Research at Pleasant Valley Conservancy: Craig Annen, Integrated Restorations, Inc.

Birds: Dave Sample, Research Scientist, WDNR

How the Restoration Work Was Carried Out, Willis Brown, Michler and Brown, LLC

How We Got Started: Kathie and Tom Brock

Refreshments After the Tours

Exhibits and Refreshments in the Barn

See Over for Public Trail Map

 We had sent out invitations to various mailing lists, and the event was announced in the local papers. We set up a registration table under a shade tree, and provided name tags. The count (I still have the sign-up sheets) was 118, and there were probably some who did not register.

Anticipating a good turnout, we set up several field trips, some short, some long. The trips are shown on the program.

Kathie and I chose Saturday June 7 as the dedication date because the Conservancy would be looking fresh and lush, and the weather was likely to be good. We had had a very successful spring burn season. Unfortunately, the weather made a wild change in mid-afternoon, ushering in a weekend of heavy rainfall. We missed the line of tornadoes that streamed across northern Illinois but not the “historic” flooding that inundated southern Wisconsin. This was the weekend that Lake Delton disappeared and Lake Mendota overflowed its banks.

Fortunately, most of the “events” occurred before the rains came, although most of the field trip participants got soaked, and moved eagerly into the barn where the refreshments were laid out. Those significant numbers who came on bicycles had a little trouble getting home.

Photos by Jim Hess

Registration table

Tom and Kathie

The "ceremony" took place near the cabin


Rich Henderson's field trip was well attended

After the deluge

National Weather Service
Historic Flooding of June 7- 8, 2008
2008 blog post on the flooding.

The next day
As it happened, on Sunday morning June 8 Kathie and I and Roma Lenehan were scheduled to lead a birds and wildflower trip for the Natural Resources Foundation. Despite the threatening weather, 20 people showed up for the trip to start at 9:00 AM. The heavens opened up at 8:55 AM and blinding rain occurred until 11 AM. The three leaders lectured in the barn, using the exhibits that were still standing from the day before, until the rain stopped. When we finally could hike we even saw some birds!


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