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  • Writer's pictureKriss Marion

Winter Conservation Camp Begins!

Our 2023 event season is starting up with the launch of our Winter Conservation Camp webinar series on Thursday, February 2, from noon-1pm. We'll be exploring the topic "Sparking Your Conservation Dream: 5 Insider Tips on Developing a Land Plan." You can still RSVP for free HERE. If you can't make it live, we'll send you the recording to watch at your leisure. But we hope to see your face on the Zoom!

Generally in our WiWiC webinars, we like to feature the voices of both conservation professionals and landowners themselves. For this series, we've got a line-up of inspiring landowner-storytellers Alicia Gasaway, of Gasaway Gardens, is a homesteader, mom, and frequent farm sitter for her Green County neighbors. "Using good conservation practices is important to us because we want to be in a good relationship with the land, " she says. "We've seen the return of butterflies and birds in the time we've been here."

Alicia will be joined on the panel by Clare Hintz, of Elsewhere Farm on the Southwestern shore of Lake Superior, almost on the opposite side of the state. Clare is a CSA veggie grower with livestock, who's currently nurturing a hoop house of hanging greens through the winter. "Conservation is important to me on my farm because it's my responsibility to give back to the ecosystem that supports me."

Part Two of the series is on Thursday, March 2, from noon to 1pm, and will deal with a topic near and dear to our hearts - "Caring for the Land and Yourself: Balancing Conservation and Our Chaotic Lives." In this live webinar, we'll hear from homesteader Michelle Harrigan of Food Web Farms in Monroe, who is currently leading a virtual mental health support group for women farmers in her community.

"The longer I am a parent and farmer, the more important conservation has become to my heart," she says. "I want our kids to have a healthy planet to grow up in. I want our plants and animals to have the healthiest life they can because we are all part of the same food web and their health is connected to our health."

Michelle will be joined by Heather Lynch, of Green Haven Gardens, who has a large garden and vegetable transplant business in Brooklyn, WI, and mentors both adults and youth in person and through the colorful Instagram account @green.haven.gardens. Heather grows a range of produce for local food pantries.

"I believe that growing anything, a pot of flowers, a houseplant, a vegetable garden, has the potential to inspire someone to be more connected to nature, and empower them to take a more active role in caring for our environment. The privilege of owning land is becoming more and more out of reach for younger generations, but we still need to find a way to engage and welcome them, and people living in urban areas, into the world of conservation" says Heather. "We need to make it less intimidating to get involved, and show more people the impact they can have. I think introducing people to the magic of plants in any way possible is a great place to start, and I think it will often grow from there into the desire to care for the land in any way possible."

For both Winter Conservation Camp webinars, we'll follow the storytelling with questions from the audience - leaning for expertise on three frequent WiWiC Field Day collaborators from Pheasants Forever Wisconsin: wetlands specialist Gretchen Skudlarczyk, and Farm Bill biologists Britta Petersen and Julie Peterson.

Britta particularly enjoys Winter months for observing, learning and planning on your land: "Winter is the best! It gives us a chance to see the landscape in a totally different way and to observe how the critters that share the landscape change their pattern also. I enjoy exploring the snow covered world in the winter and also love that when everything slows down and is quiet, it gives me a chance to do the same."

Gretchen has a passion for helping landowners take conservation at their own pace, in a way that's not overwhelming. We think that's just the right tone for our Winter Conservation Camp!

And to make our Camp time together even more fun, we'll be kicking each webinar off with a live demo of a unique local-ingredient cocktail/mocktail recipe, starting off with a Hot Toddy. Hope to see you there - we've missed you!

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