For over 40 years, the Geneva Lakes Conservancy has sought to inspire and educate the Walworth County community with its clean waterways, well preserved trails, and carefully protected natural areas. With its captivating beauty, the area encourages visitors to practice a healthy lifestyle while creating atmosphere of positive wellbeing.
The Geneva Lake Conservancy has been preserving these sensitive lands and advocating for Walworth County waterways since 1977. It currently holds conservation easements on 28 properties, and maintains four public nature preserves for visitors across the county to enjoy.
From lakes and streams to parks, wetlands, and conservation areas, the organization has the community covered. The beauty and natural wildlife found in these areas has charmed both residents and tourists alike, particularly during the summer months.
Williams Bay residents Paul and Therese Turnbaugh frequently take advantage of the walking paths. “Kishwauketoe [Nature Conservancy] has great wildflowers and great streams,” says Paul, who is a freelance artist at WildHeartland.
Therese, co-owner of Angelus Home & Garden in Walworth, enjoys the wetlands at the conservancy as well as the lookout tower. “[The Town of] Linn [Park] has beautiful prairie plants, rolling hills, a two-mile look, babbling brooks, natural ponds and oak savannas surrounded by farmland.”
The two have made a hobby of regularly photographing the flora and fauna during their regular hikes through the preserves, including the local waterfowl, wild turkeys, deer and pheasants.
As Janet Happ, the conservancy’s Director of Development can attest, there appear to be infinite ways to enjoy nature in this beautiful place. “Fishing is a perfect example of an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages, [and] The Helen Rohner Children’s Fishing Park is a great place for families. We have a scavenger hunt for children and it is also where we hold fishing camps for elementary school children.”
Indeed, fishing camp is just one of many programs offered. Education is a large part of what the Geneva Lake Conservancy supports. But there’s one program in particular gaining momentum at the moment: The Conservation@Home program, which is part of The Conservation Foundation. Its purpose is to educate homeowners on how to support water conservation and help them implement protection efforts. As an incentive, Conservation@Home then recognizes those homeowners who succeed in attaining certain standards.
“We are promoting best practices,” Happ explains. “When we care for our water supply, everyone benefits. In this area, we are focused on how to eliminate Phosphorus run-off and reduce chloride along with other things. But, phosphorus and chloride are important issues because we want to protect our waterways.”
Through programs like Conservation@Home, community members can learn more about protecting the environment so that creeks, rivers, ponds, natural land and wildlife can be available to everyone.
With all the good work that they do, it’s not surprising that Geneva Lakes Conservancy earned national recognition in 2018 through The Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The recognition served to guarantee that the organization’s lands, over 2,000 acres on 28 properties of land in Walworth County, would be protected forever.
But maintaining such a variety of gorgeous national spaces isn’t an easy task. They require management and maintenance, which is why Geneva Lakes Conservancy always welcomes new members and volunteers who wish to help. Volunteer opportunities include work days in various nature preserves and conservation easements, and according to Happ, all ranges of experience are welcome.
“We want to help educate and give hands-on opportunities,” Happ says. “There is a role for everyone. When people help in these areas, they often carry them into their own lives, and that helps to preserve our land and water everywhere.”
Those interested in volunteering, becoming a member, or making a donation should visit: genevalakeconservancy.org.
For more information about Keefe Kares, visit keefekares.com or contact Katrina Lasch at 262-348-3215.
By: Tricia Carzoli