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Bruce, Wisconsin

100 Acres | March 17, 2008
Jill Forster
Conservation Easement

Jill Forster, an impassioned dance teacher in northwestern Wisconsin, has permanently protected her property for wildlife by donating a conservation easement to the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. The resulting wildlife sanctuary comprises 100 acres in an area that is rapidly losing farmland and forest to development. Miss Forster acquired the now-protected property near Bruce in 1985. She first celebrated the land as an idyllic place for her horses, but soon became attached to the wild animals who called it home as well. Ultimately, she made up her mind that it must never be developed. “This piece of land supports so much life, I don’t ever want to see it subdivided,” says Forster.

After exploring various land trusts, Forster eventually decided that the HSWLT provided the best fit. “They were the only one that I found that would protect wildlife,” Forster remarks. In addition to her concerns about increasing development, Forster laments the extensive hunting of wildlife around her. “I think there’s room enough for everybody, but these are 100 acres where I want the animals to just be. In this area especially, wildlife needs a voice.”

“Finding an organization to serve general conservation purposes and to provide wildlife with a permanent sanctuary is not an easy task for landowners,” says Robert Koons, executive director of HSWLT. “Our niche, as the only national organization that prohibits recreational and commercial hunting and trapping on its sanctuaries, offered Miss Forster the opportunity to meet her key goals.”

Forster hopes that her efforts might serve to inspire other landowners in her region. “I know that there are people out here who feel the same way I do. They love nature, they do not want to do harm. I just don’t think they’re aware that there is this type of option.”

Although this sanctuary remains privately owned, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has an obligation to perform periodic inspections to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition and that the terms of the conservation easements are being met.  These inspections, and the handling of any destruction or violations, cost heavily in professional staff time, consultants, and travel expenses. In addition HSWLT needs a reserve of funds for the substantial legal fees needed if enforcement of violations involves court action.

HSWLT has promised to protect this property as sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept.  If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.

Cougar Close-up

The cougar once roamed all of North America, human persecution has now almost completely eradicated this predator.


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