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Green Rock Audubon Marks 24th Year Serving, Protecting the Environment

BELOIT – Green Rock Audubon Society protects wildlife and native plants on 250 acres of area conservation easements, and it needs volunteers. Board President Neil Deupree issued the call for helpers at the annual meeting of the local chapter of National Audubon Society. Members from around the two counties gathered for the dinner and business meeting at Bushel and Peck’s local market Oct. 4. Green Rock members number about 450, including Brodhead, Juda, Albany and Orfordville membership. A core of committed individuals carries most of the responsibility for clearing brush, mowing hiking trails, torching invasive plants, all in order to restore and preserve native woodlands and prairies. For more than 15 years, the society has held its monthly meetings in Brodhead. The group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in Brodhead Public Library’s community room. Victor Illichmann, who coordinates and organizes volunteer activities, had much to share of the past year’s work during the recent annual meeting. Not least was the planting of 1,000 trees, mostly white oak, and projected planting of another 1,000 trees in 2016. Illichmann noted time and energy of many volunteers in 2015 to restore and preserve 40 acres of prairie at the Cleophas Reserve, 24 acres of prairie and oak savannah at Gabower-Reilly Reserve, 34 acres of prairie at Spring Creek and 16 acres of woodland grasses, black walnut and white oak at Androne Woods. Anyone who would like to help manage lands entrusted to Green Rock Audubon, can call Illichmann at 302-8113, or email Education, as well as conservancy, ranks high on the Green Rock Audubon agenda. Talks and presentations on a wide range of conservation activities take place in presentations scheduled with speakers and specialists, alternating between cities of the two counties. Green Rock Audubon’s newsletter “The Naturalist,” is available on line or in print. It keeps members abreast of protections needed nationally, as well as locally. Most recently, it alerted members of South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan’s attempt to amend a routine appropriation’s bill with a prohibition to keep the federal Department of Justice from enforcing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. “If Duncan’s amendment had been law during the British Petroleum disaster, those responsible for the largest marine spill in history would have faced no prosecution for causing deaths of an estimated million birds,” the newsletter quoted a National Audubon official. Activism has long been part of Green-Rock’s work. “Jan Reimer and five others from Green County Defending our Farmland met with us in September and sought a cooperative agreement with us,” Deupree told the annual meeting. The group, which organized this past summer, has been working with townships adjacent Brodhead and the Sugar River. Concerned local residents want to protect health and safety from concentrated application of liquid manure. Owners of three concentrated animal feeding operations in Nebraska and Rock County, Wisconsin, with a combined more than 15,000 dairy cows presently, want to build another 5,000-cow dairy in eastern Green County. Green Rock Audubon board members voted to act as the fiscal agent for the Defending our Farmland group. This is the same service the local Audubon performed for Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water for more than a decade in its legal attempts to protect water with Magnolia Township. The local chapter of National Audubon incorporated in 1991, and it reflects the strong, local focus, which began with state chapters in the 1890s, expanding rapidly into a national conservation society.

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