Wisconsin Academy Supports the Natural Areas Preservation Council
In 1938 a group of concerned Wisconsin citizens and scientists developed an ambitious plan to "conserve wild flowers as a natural resource" throughout the state. That group—composed of museum curators, attorneys, and scientists, and led by famed conservationist Aldo Leopold—appealed to local communities to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of their land. Their diligent efforts led to the formation of the Natural Areas Committee, which, under the guidance of the Wisconsin Conservation Commission (the predecessor of today's Department of Natural Resources), began to acquire botanical areas. By the late 1940s, the Committee had convinced the WCC to purchase three so-called "natural areas": Cedar Grove, Parfrey's Glen, and Cedarburg Bog.
As the conservation movement in Wisconsin gathered momentum, the Committee felt that a more formal, legislatively mandated body could better focus attention and resources on natural areas protection. In 1951 the Committee requested the state legislature provide them autonomy from the WCC, and thus was born the State Board for the Preservation of Scientific Areas.
This official body, now called the Natural Areas Preservation Council (NAPC), carries on the work of that original group of concerned citizens and scientists. The NAPC advises the Department of Natural Resource's State Natural Areas Program on issues relating to the establishment, protection, and management of the last and best remaining examples of Wisconsin's native landscapes: its unplowed prairies, intact wetlands, and pristine forests. These special areas contain 81% of our most-threatened bird species and 93% of our most-threatened plant species.
The NAPC is composed of 11 members with backgrounds in conservation biology, botany, zoology, ecology, and geology. Members are appointed by the DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, as well as by the organizations of the original founders: the Milwaukee Public Museum, the University of Wisconsin System, and the Wisconsin Academy.
Current NAPC Appointments by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters:
- Eric M. Anderson
Professor of Wildlife Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI
- Thomas L. Eddy
Adjunct Professor of Biology
Marian University and Ripon College
Green Lake, WI
- James W. Perry (Vice Chair)
Campus Executive Officer and Dean Emeritus
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley