Gathering Waters honors Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

MADISON, Wis - The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are among honorees for Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts 2020 Land Conservation Leadership Awards.
Each award recognizes an individual or individuals, land trust, partnership, or other conservation group that demonstrates outstanding commitment, accomplishment, and leadership in protecting Wisconsin’s special places.“We’re thrilled to recognize the achievements of these remarkable conservation leaders,” said Mike Carlson, Executive Directorat Gathering Waters. “Each of the award winners has made a positive impact in their communities through their dedication to protecting Wisconsin’s land, water, wildlife, and way of life. Their work has provided tangible benefits to the people living and working in Wisconsin.”
The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) were selected to receive the 2020 Land Legacy Award for their dedication to ecological advocacy and their generous support of Mississippi Valley Conservancy. The Franciscan Sisters support of the Conservancy’s efforts to protect land and water resources in La Crosse and the Driftless Area shows their dedication and mission to care for creation through advocacy and social change, while modeling sustainability and healthy lifestyles. The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration also open their property to Conservancy supporters each year.
The Sisters model the Franciscan tradition of care for creation, based on the teachings of Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Ecology. They also care for creation through an educational ministry with Viterbo University students. Globally, they support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato si’, Pope Francis’s encyclical on environment and human ecology.
Meanwhile, the Geneva Lake Conservancy is 2020's Land Trust of the Year. The Walworth County land trust has protected more than 2,500 acres and has successfully engaged the local community in conservation. Geneva Lake Conservancy completed the Helen Rohner Children’s Park in Williams Bay - the only wildlife area in Wisconsin dedicated to teaching children how to fish and appreciate the wonders of nature. They also brought Conservation@Home, a homeowner-focused conservation program, to Wisconsin.
Charles and Dianna Colman of Williams Bay received the title of Wisconsin’s 2020 Conservationists of the Year. The Colmans’ commitment to protecting special places in and around the Geneva Lake area and their impressive leadership earned them the award. The Colmans have been an integral part of the conservation community in Walworth County and southeastern Wisconsin for decades. Charles Colman has held leadership roles with Geneva Lake Conservancy, Friends of Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Dianna Colman has been instrumental in leading projects with Lake Geneva Garden Club, Lake Geneva Fresh Air Association, and most recently, the Yerkes Future Foundation, which protected the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay. The Colmans have also placed a conservation easement on their 28-acre oak forest to protect it forever.
The recipient of the Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation this year is not a person, but a partnership: Making Allies for Healthier Communities. The partnership, based in southeast Wisconsin, was created to protect farmland and provide a livelihood and the opportunity for land ownership for immigrant or beginning farmers.
By protecting farmland near the urban center of Milwaukee, farmers will be able to continue to grow fruits and vegetables and sell them at farmers’ markets in Milwaukee’s underserved communities. Using sustainable farming practices, the farmers build healthy soils and help improve the water quality in the Milwaukee River watershed and Lake Michigan.
The Making Allies for Healthier Communities partners include Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Fondy Food Center, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, The Conservation Fund, and the Land Trust Alliance, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
This year’s Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Peter McKeever of Monona. His passion for land protection and his skills as an attorney have made an extraordinary and lasting contribution to land conservation across Wisconsin. For the last 30 years, McKeever, an attorney, has helped people understand and apply the laws and regulations guiding land use, real estate, and environmental protection. He has worked with over 20 Wisconsin land trusts and countless other conservation organizations, offering sound legal advice to permanently protect thousands of acres of precious land and water resources in our state.
In lieu of an Awards Celebration this year, Gathering Waters’ staff or board members will present the awards to the recipients at various local events around the state as the public health situation allows.

SOURCE: Gathering Waters