The Baird Creek Parkway Preservation Foundation was established in 1997 when a group of concerned citizens spearheaded the acquisition of a key link in the Baird Creek Parkway system: a 34.5 acre parcel of land containing areas of old growth forest and a high diversity of plants, shrubs, trees and animals. A community-wide fundraising campaign resulted in individuals, community organizations, school groups, foundations, and government successfully working together to purchase the parcel.
In 1998, the Foundation was honored to receive the Mayor’s Beautification Award, the DNR’s Clean Bay Backer Award, the Brown County Conservation Alliance’s Group of the Year Award and the N.E.W. Audubon Society’s Outstanding Environmental Group Award. In 1999 the Kress Trail was designed and will be built with the help of federal transportation funds. The Kress Trail will connect Johannes Park with McAuliffe Park through the Baird Creek Greenway. In 2001, the Foundation was the recipient of a WIDNR Urban Forestry grant for an ecological survey which will be the basis for a master plan. In 2002, the Foundation received the Mayor’s Beautification Award and the Green Ribbon Award from the Urban Open Space Foundation.
But of course there’s more to preservation than winning awards – the area’s ecology must be protected from natural invaders as well as from manmade disturbances. To that end, the Foundation organized a strong effort in 2002 and 2003 to suppress invasive species. Garlic mustard suppression occurred in June of 2002 and 2003 and honeysuckle suppression in May of both years. This initiates an effort to preserve and restore native plant communities to the Greenway. The Foundation plans to continue its mission to facilitate the preservation and restoration of the Baird Creek Watershed in order to enhance its value as an ecological, recreational, and educational resource for generations to come.