January 28, 2021
Kriss Marion, WiWiC Comms Specialist
Wisconsin Farmers Union
Wisconsin Women in Conservation: New Initiative Champions Collaborative Learning
Blanchardville, WI - Building on Wisconsin’s deep-rooted history of land stewardship, a new program connects women dedicated to amplifying their conservation practices, from building soil health to increasing habitat diversity. Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC) brings together women landowners throughout the state to network and connect with each other and with resources.
With support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a coalition of organizations dedicated to sustainable agriculture and conservation, led by the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in partnership with the Wisconsin Farmers Union, Renewing the Countryside and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), are kicking off this unique three-year initiative that will collaboratively bring together women throughout the state through a variety of workshops, field days and mentorship and learning opportunities, kicking off with March and April virtual workshops throughout the state.
“The 2017 Census also counted 38,509 female producers in Wisconsin, making up 35 percent of all producers in the state. That’s a 16 percent increase in the number of female producers from the 2012 census,” shares Esther Shekinah of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and project director. “Though many of these women would like to support sustainable agricultural practices that would help them leave their land for future generations in a state of oneness with nature and better soil health, their lack of exposure to or knowledge about such agricultural practices impedes their acting on these impulses. This new Wisconsin Women in Conservation initiative aims to address that.”
A team of “boots in the field” women coordinators for Wisconsin Women in Conservation will focus on eighteen counties across the state to bring women landowners together to network and share resources as well as connect with NRCS agency staff and programs. Women will also have the opportunity to connect with and learn from “Conservation Coaches,” experienced women landowners who will serve as mentors. Other aspects of Wisconsin Women in Conservation include creating a task force to bring together for the first time Wisconsin organizations working with women landowners to share best practices and support each other’s work and showcasing the stories of women landowners in the media.
“Through this new partnership venture, we are very excited to extend our resources and further connect and support women landowners throughout Wisconsin,” explains Angela Biggs, NRCS Wisconsin State Conservationist. “Our peer-based learning circle models are successfully bringing women together in a space that promotes collaborative learning, relationship building and support. Through this effort, we aim to help women in their unique conservation goals, while strengthening the long-term environmental health of Wisconsin.”
“I’m looking forward to bringing together women in my region on an on-going basis for the next three years and be able to grow relationships based on a shared commitment to stewarding the land,” adds Kirsten Slaughter with the Wisconsin Farmers Union and a regional coordinator for the project. “Having a collaborative network to turn to with questions and for support celebrates that ability women have to learn through connecting.”
For more information on upcoming March events and to register for the statewide newsletter visit www.wiwic.org
MORE PHOTOS UPON REQUEST