2013 Leopold Restoration Award Winners


The Friends of the Arboretum honored Don and Donna Justin, Matt Millen, and John Shillinglaw at its twelfth annual Leopold Restoration Awards banquet on October 17.

Named after the late Aldo Leopold, noted University of Wisconsin ecologist and the father of modern wildlife management, the Leopold Restoration Awards recognize excellence in ecological restoration.

By recognizing efforts of organizations and individuals, the Friends of the Arboretum and the Aldo Leopold Foundation hope to encourage others to restore native habitat and support the Arboretum’s goals.

This year’s awards are:
Don and Donna Justin of Justin Trails Resort near Sparta (Monroe County) will receive the Virginia M. Kline Award for community-based ecological restoration.

The Justins transformed their century-old farmstead into a bed and breakfast that includes, among other things, a disc golf course, organic gardens and regular opportunities for guests to participate in naturalist-led hikes and ecological restoration work weekends.

The Justins have restored a 5-acre savanna, 20 acres of woodland, and a prairie remnant. They are also planting prairie into previously disturbed areas.

Read more about Don and Donna Justin.

Matt Millen of Sauk County will receive the John Nolen Award for Excellence in Ecological Restoration Practices.

Millen is bringing 680 acres along the Wisconsin River back to a vibrant prairie, savanna, woodland and bluffland ecosystem.

He conducts prescribed burns regularly on 100 acres of restored prairie, providing habitat for nesting grassland birds, while he is also restoring a swamp white oak savanna community.

Read more about Matt Millen.

John Shillinglaw of Madison will receive the Henry C. Greene Award for innovative approaches in restoration.

Shillinglaw has conducted Karner blue butterfly population surveys and studied the movement of these federally endangered butterflies between suitable and unsuitable habitat.

His research showed that populations can be increased by restoring small areas of habitat within a greater area without the need to establish connecting corridors.

Biologists have been able to use this information to establish larger Karner populations with less cost and effort.

Read more about John Shillinglaw.

The awards presentation took place at the UW-Madison Arboretum Visitor Center at 1207 Seminole Highway, Madison.

The Awards Program is sponsored by ACS, American Family Insurance, Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP and the Friends of the Arboretum.

The Friends of the Arboretum (FOA) is a 501( c )(3) non-profit organization that supports the work of the UW-Madison Arboretum. Since 1962 the Friends of the Arboretum has provided volunteer and financial support and has assisted the Arboretum’s efforts in community outreach and education, training of young scientists, ecological research and coordination of volunteers.

Located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway at 1207 Seminole Highway, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum features the restored prairies, forests and wetlands of pre-settlement Wisconsin. This 1,260-acre arboretum also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection. Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for groups, families and individuals are available.