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Restoring the Sauk Prairie: A Story of Hope and Healing

Meeting Room
Monday, Sep 23, 6:30pm to 8:00pm

In 1997, when the U.S. Army announced the decommissioning of the 7,400-acre Badger Army Ammunition Plant located between Sauk City and Baraboo, a group of conservation-minded citizens joined forces to actively promote a "green vision" for the property. That group of citizens and local organizations evolved into what is now the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance.

In 2001, a formal document, the “Badger Reuse Plan,” adopted by the 21 stakeholders in the Badger Reuse Committee, outlined a conservation-oriented future for the Badger Lands. The newest “state park,” the 3,400-acre Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is being developed and will provide recreational opportunities for all. The new Great Sauk State Trail is now open to bikers and hikers through the Badger Lands. This is all possible due to the dedicated efforts of those visionary citizens two decades ago.

Charlie Luthin will share a video documentary that tells the story of this amazing transformation of a military complex into a public green space through the voices of diverse stakeholders in the process. The 26-minute video, “Restoring the Sauk Prairie, A Story of Hope and Healing” was produced in 2018 to celebrate the Alliance’s 20th anniversary. A short video about the “historic apples” of the Badger Lands will also be shown. The Alliance has embarked on a project to document, map, and preserve the apple trees that “survived WWII.”

Charlie Luthin has spent his entire career of 40 years working for national and international non-profit conservation organizations. He has served as director of four Wisconsin-based groups, including Aldo Leopold Foundation, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and for the past three years, Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance, a group he helped to found in 1997. Charlie holds a BS degree from UW-Stevens Point (Biology/Botany) and a MS degree from UW-Madison (Zoology/Ornithology).