BANGOR, WIS. — Sara Bentley and Joel Lazinger have signed an agreement with Mississippi Valley Conservancy to permanently protect their 40-acre property on Antony Road south of Bangor.
The property’s wooded bluffs are part of the scenery visible from nearby Hwy. 162, and this addition brings the total protected acres along Antony Road to 610 acres.
Abbie Church, MVC conservation director, said the property is adjacent to 572 acres of privately owned lands already protected by conservation easements with MVC. And it’s only 1.6 miles southeast of the 3,000-acre Coulee Experimental State Forest.
She added: “This easement preserves key forested habitat for migratory songbirds. Sara and Joel’s land has nesting populations of wood thrush and veery, two species that are state-listed as species of greatest conservation need, as their populations have been declining in the last half-century. This conservation easement, adding to additional contiguous protected woodland habitat, provides the birds with guarantees that their woodlands will still be here to nest in each year as they return from migration.”
Bentley and Lazinger have owned the land since 1977 and have invested time and energy in the health and well-being of the land, including planting between 2,500 and 3,000 trees, including American chestnut seedlings, which have all but vanished from Wisconsin’s woodlands. Their work has paid off in attracting migratory songbirds. One spring hike of the land revealed more than 50 different species of songbirds using the property.
Asked why they decided to protect the land, Bentley said, “It is clear there’s a lot of pressure in the area for residential development. And it’s only going to increase with a growing population. The land brings me a lot of joy. Once we both retired, we thought we’d travel more, but that’s become less important to me than witnessing the changes at home.”
“Our hope has been to see our land preserved in its pristine state forever. It was a beautiful site when I first saw it in the late ‘70s, and it’s a beautiful site today. A lot has changed over the years, and it’s been exciting to see it grow and change. Nature is not static.”
Carol Abrahamzon, MVC executive director, said, “This easement protects the land from adverse uses, such as quarrying, residential subdivision, or clear-cutting of the forest, while remaining in private ownership. Sara and Joel are doing a wonderful thing for the people and the wildlife that will benefit from their generosity and foresight.”