The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. (WCHF) has announced the selection of the conservation leader for induction in 2021. The inductee will be Gary Eldred – citizen scientist extraordinaire.
“I had been a hunter, fisherman, and trapper since I was twelve. I deeply enjoyed these outdoor activities and spent as much time as I could pursuing them. In the process, I became a skilled amateur naturalist and developed a strong interest in conservation. While in my mid-twenties, I was fortunate enough to read Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac. That new perspective on nature and conservation, especially the chapters on land ethics, began a subtle transformation of my thinking.” – Gary Eldred
Entirely as a volunteer, and teaching himself along the way, Gary Eldred has dedicated most of his life to the effort of identifying and protecting prairies. He is unique in being self-educated about prairie habitats and rare prairie species. Eldred has been instrumental in preserving and re-establishing thousands of acres of prairies in Wisconsin.
Eldred’s grassroots work became a conservation organization. In 1987, the local group he founded incorporated as a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating about, protecting, and restoring prairies and savannas. Networking by Eldred brought in two other nearby prairie groups and led to a change of name to The Prairie Enthusiasts (TPE). As of 2020, TPE has nearly 1,400 members and eleven chapters in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. It owns and manages over 2,100 acres and has worked with landowners to protect over a thousand acres of prairie through conservation easements. And the number of prairie acres protected continues to grow.
Our Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Ceremony will “go virtual” on April 24, 2021, as we honor our newest Inductee, Gary Eldred. In addition, our three 2020 Inductees – Stephen Born, Jens Jensen, and Stanley Temple – will be honored since the 2020 Induction Ceremony was cancelled last April during the pandemic. This year’s ceremony marks the induction of our 100th conservation hero along with three others. Everyone is invited to participate and help us celebrate this milestone.
To sign up, go to Induction Ceremony.