Wingspan observation pavilion
A beautiful, restful place for visitors to enjoy the wildlife and scenery of Goose Pond Sanctuary.
Goose Pond Sanctuary is a beloved place for many. Owned and managed by Madison Audubon Society, and in the heart of the former Empire Prairie, just 17 miles north of the capitol, it is an oasis for wildlife and people alike. Perhaps you have spent time at Goose Pond, watching waterfowl taking advantage of the bountiful resources the prairie pothole provides. Or perhaps you've spent days collecting and scattering seeds, surveying birds, or helping burn the prairie. Goose Pond Sanctuary is a special place for many reasons, each one personal to you.
The Wingspan pavilion was constructed in 2017 and dedicated in October to honor land managers Mark Martin and Sue Foote-Martin who have worked for almost four decades to restore the land to native, flourishing prairie.
What is Wingspan?
Imagine a visit to Goose Pond on a sunny fall day during migration. You park your car on Prairie Lane and walk a short distance along a crushed stone path up into the Bicentennial Prairie to gain an elevated view of the pond and surrounding landscape. You find an artfully designed structure, wooden seating, metal sun shades, and bird-inspired art. That's Wingspan; it is a structure that creates a space for anyone – young, old, birders, naturalists, artists, biologists, school groups, families – to take in the scenery and some fresh air.
Wingspan was the brainchild of longtime Madison Audubon member and supporter John Kaiser who wanted to honor a place that has brought peace, contentment, and spectacular memories to five generations of the Kaiser family. We are proud that the Wingspan pavilion is dedicated to the work of Mark Martin and Sue Foote-Martin.
A Look at Goose Pond
Madison Audubon made its first purchase of 60 acres at Goose Pond Sanctuary in 1969. Since then, staff, members, and volunteers have worked together to restore prairie and wetland ecosystems, and acquired 600 additional acres to benefit birds, wildlife, and people for generations to come. Today, Goose Pond Sanctuary provides habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, raptors, grassland birds, and many other wildlife species.
But it wasn’t always this way. Through decades of work managing invasive species, harvesting seeds and planting native prairie, conducting prescribed prairie burns, mentoring over one hundred summer interns, and so much more, Mark and Sue have helped shape Goose Pond into what John Kaiser describes as the “polished jewel” he and his family enjoy today.
A sincere and heart-felt thank you to our WINGSPAN donors:
Laura Cominetti and Steve Richter
Kim (Kaiser) Engle
Kennedy Gilchrist and Heidi Wilde
Carl and Elizabeth Silverman
Up to $99
Dale Beske and Dorothy Gertsch
Paul and Jackie Hass
Frances R. Johnson
Douglas and Martha Maxwell
Edward and Sil Pembleton
Clifford and Suzanne Perkins
Mike and Nancy Sloan
Mary Ann Stewart
Dick and Debbie Trexel
Bob and Susan Wallen
In-kind donations from:
Alec Bromley, Tony Cole, Kristen Cole, Tyler Davies, Gregory Driscoll, Stephen Grant, Mostafa Kachchaf, Trevor Listol, Thomas Schroeder, Kendra Zimmermann, (Custom Metals, Inc.), drawings, supplies and facility
Jim Gempeler and Dan Wolter (GMK Architecture), architectural drawings
Louie Meister (LMS Construction, Inc.), earth works
Don Schmidt, metalworks
Kurt Straus (Structural Integrity, Inc.), engineering review
Wiedenbeck, Inc., supplies
Cash donations from:
$20,000 and above
John and Marlen Kaiser
Curt and Arlys Caslavka
Arlene and Jeff Koziol
Mark Martin and Sue Foote-Martin
Deb Rohde and Barb Constans
Timothy L. Taschwer Trust
Sally Wilmeth and Terry Geurkink
Tim and Linda Eisele
Jim and Chris Locher
Jim and Kathy Shurts
Steven W. Miller Legacy Fund
Jon and Peggy Traver
Topf and Sally Wells
Bob and Gerry Bennicoff
Laura Bowles and Neil McLaughlin
Chris and Kim (Kaiser) Engle
Janet Flynn and Greg Tiedt
Galen and Grace Hasler
Brad and Pam Hext
Brad, Terri, Michael & Sara Hext
Dan, Kristen, Hunter & Emma Hext
Les and Susan Hoffman
Arlyne Johnson and Mike Hedemark
David and Hayden Kaiser
Mark and Christel Lingenfelter
Bob and Ginny Reetz
David Rihn & Valerie Bailey-Rihn
Byron and Lois Simon
Sandy Stark and Susan Slapnick
Debra J. Werner Kelln
Pat, Gina (Kaiser), Emily & Brendan Wherley