Introducing the Wingspan Project:
Creating 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.
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, Madison Audubon is thrilled to launch The Wingspan Project.
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 project that will create a space for anyone – young, old, birders, naturalists, artists, biologists, school groups, families – to take in the scenery and some fresh air.
Wingspan is 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 will be 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 1967. 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.
Spreading our wings
Wingspan is happening! Drawings are drawn and plans are planned. This summer we will undertake site preparation, construction, and installation, with completion and a dedication ceremony in the fall of 2017. But we have some work to do.
You can be part of this effort! We need to raise a substantial amount of funds to make this possible. To make sure that Wingspan is both beautiful and long-lasting, we need to raise $50,000. The good news is that we're on our way.
Beginning with a generous matching donation from the Kaiser family, a donation from Curt and Arlys Caslavka, an in-kind gift of architectural designs by Jim Gempler (GMK Architecture), and an in-kind gift of metalwork design and planning by Don Schmidt, we are off to an excellent start.
Will you help make this vision a reality? Your donation will be leveraged by the Kaiser Family's pledge to match all donations received up to $25,000. As example, your donation of $100 will be matched by the Kaisers and become a $200 donation toward making Wingspan a reality! Any gift will get us one step closer to making Wingspan happen by fall 2017. Furthermore, any donor giving $250 and above will be named on a permanent plaque on the site.
If you’d like to help, you can give online, over the phone (608-255-2473), or by mail. Please make sure to let us know that your gift is for the Wingspan project. Thank you so much for helping Wingspan take flight!
Stay tuned here and on our Facebook page to receive updates and progress reports as we work toward implementing this effort.
A sincere and heart-felt thank you to our donors:
In-kind donations from:
Jim Gempler (GMK Architecture), architectural drawings
Don Schmidt, metalworks
Kurt Straus (Structural Integrity, Inc.), engineering review
Cash donations from:
$20,000 and above
John and Marlen Kaiser
Curt and Arlys Caslavka
Up to $99