Driftless Area Land Conservancy

The Prairie Doc of Savanna Springs

David and Kristin Wisnefske’s land reads like a historical novel, with real scenes from a French trading post, a Native American village, and a stage coach trail to mention a few.

One chapter in this lands history begins in 1990 after David and Kristin purchased “Savanna Springs” a beautiful 217-acre property near Monroe Wisconsin to enjoy with their kids.

“I came across a copy of Sand County Almanac in a used book store,” remembers David. “I thought I should read it being the new Pheasants Forever chapter president and PF’s youth program was based on this book.”

“I remember that evening, I had my daughter curled up with her bottle in my left hand and the almanac in my right. After reading Sand County Almanac I read everything I could find about Leopold or written by him. I became deeply involved with the Leopold Education Project and became interested in healing the land and sharing this ethic with youth.”

Twenty-seven years later, Savanna Springs serves as an outdoor education center and land restoration laboratory for school students, Cub Scouts, the 4-H Club, children with disabilities, and many others, with a trout pond, wetlands, oak savanna woodlands, remnant prairie and a nursery for his prairie restoration business.

Savanna Springs features twenty pieces of original, pre-settlement prairie that are home to rare species as well as 100 acres of restored prairie that serve as important habitat for pollinators and declining grassland-nesting birds. The property also includes a one-mile stretch of Braezel’s Branch Creek and 55-acres of oak savanna. David shared that “Our savanna looks much like it might have in the 1700s.”

 

“Over the years I developed a love and respect for our land and its history,” shared David. “That love and respect led us to our decision to permanently protect it with a conservation easement.”

Driftless gratefully recognizes the important step the Wisnefskes have taken to ensure that their land is protected as its story continues to unfold.

Daniel Libby