Goose Pond

How do you Goose Pond?

Share your Goose Pond memories

Goose Pond Sanctuary is a cornerstone of Madison Audubon, an exceptional bird-watching site in south-central Wisconsin, and a symbol of Wisconsin's strong conservation legacy. It has grown from 60 acres that included much of the west pond-with-potential into a flourishing 660-acre sanctuary for native habitats, birds, mammals, insects, and amphibians, and the people who love them.

For some of us, Goose Pond has been a frequent destination for decades; for others, Goose Pond is a new-found gem. Regardless, if you have a favorite memory of Goose Pond Sanctuary, help us celebrate it's 50th year of conservation, research, and education by sharing it below. We will showcase these stories at the various celebrations throughout the year.

Robert Lerch (left) lived at Goose Pond for 20 years before selling to Madison Audubon in 1968. He reminisces with Mark Martin, Sanctuary resident co-manager. Image from MAS December 1994 newsletter

Robert Lerch (left) lived at Goose Pond for 20 years before selling to Madison Audubon in 1968. He reminisces with Mark Martin, Sanctuary resident co-manager. Image from MAS December 1994 newsletter

Thank you for your love for Goose Pond Sanctuary and the many hands that have helped shape it.

We'd love to see your photos too!

Please your Goose Pond Sanctuary photographs to Brenna Marsicek (bmarsicek@madisonaudubon.org) with a short explanation. By submitting photos, you give Madison Audubon permission to use them in education and outreach materials. Thank you!

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Strange Butterflies Reported at Goose Pond Sanctuary

Monarch tagging is underway at Goose Pond Sanctuary, with sessions happening on September 9 and 16. Nearly 100 monarchs were tagged on the 9th, but in the morning session, the strangest species of butterflies appeared...

She might look innocent, but she has her eye on something....  (Maddie Dumas, Goose Pond Sanctuary land manager, and Jim Otto, MAS volunteer). Photo by Arlene Koziol

She might look innocent, but she has her eye on something.... (Maddie Dumas, Goose Pond Sanctuary land manager, and Jim Otto, MAS volunteer). Photo by Arlene Koziol

A rare Danaus plexippus gigantus maddius was captured at Madison Audubon Goose Pond Sanctuary. Fortunately master butterfly scooper Jim Otto spotted the maddius. He approached it slowly, gave a war cry, then swept the net forward quickly and captured the maddius before it landed on the terrified Everett Reetz.

Danaus plexippus gigantus maddius captured.jpg

The maddius is a species of special concern in Wisconsin and has never been sited in Columbia County. [Story by Arlene Koziol]

Then, imagine our surprise when in the afternoon session, these incredible specimens fluttered out to the prairie!

Giant monarch twins feasting on showy goldenrod.  Photo by Mark Martin

Giant monarch twins feasting on showy goldenrod. Photo by Mark Martin

Monarchs seem to be getting larger to cope with climate change. Twin female monarchs (Danaus plexippus gigantus) visited Goose Pond Sanctuary Saturday afternoon September 9th on their migration to Mexico.

Mark was lucky to photograph a monarch releasing a monarch (probably should be submitted to the Guinness book of World Records). 

Photo by Mark Martin

Photo by Mark Martin

He also found the monarchs nectaring on showy goldenrod just before Sharon Brancel tried to net them. When we attempted to tag them, we learned they had already been tagged at birth, and were named Lisa Vetter Boyd and Heidi Vetter. [Story by Mark Martin and Susan Foote-Martin]

Photo by Mark Martin

Photo by Mark Martin

Volunteer and help restore Wisconsin's beautiful prairies

As the seasons change at our sanctuaries, so do our volunteer opportunities!

Canada wild rye.  Photo by Carolyn Byers

Canada wild rye. Photo by Carolyn Byers

Fall is one of the busiest times at Faville Grove and Goose Pond, as it's an ideal time to collect native prairie plant seeds from the hundreds of acres of restored habitat at each site. 

We're seeking volunteers all through the autumn season to help with prairie seed collection at both sites. See below for details.


Madison Audubon's FAVILLE GROVE SANCTUARY (near Lake Mills) will host seed collecting parties on the following days, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 7:

  • Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
  • Saturdays, two shifts: 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon, and 1:30-4 p.m.

Madison Audubon's GOOSE POND SANCTUARY (near Arlington) will be collecting seed through the end of October, beginning Sept. 16:

  • Fridays, 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
  • Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon

The seed our volunteers help to collect is used in future prairie restorations both in our own Sanctuaries and across our service area. The local-genotype seed we collect on site helps preserve genetic characteristics that thrive in our specific climate. Plus, it's incredible to see the full-circle restoration process: plant a prairie, collect seeds, and plant a new prairie! 

You don't need any experience to help us collect prairie seed! It is a great learning experience, a fantastic time of year to be outside, and its a fun way to connect with others in our community. 

If you have any questions about helping us collect prairie seed, email our Sanctuary land stewards!

Faville Grove land steward Drew Harry: faville@madisonaudubon.org
Goose Pond land steward Maddie Van Cleve: mvancleve@madisonaudubon.org

See you in the prairie!

Visit our Sunflower Field at Goose Pond Sanctuary

This spring, Madison Audubon Society planted four acres of sunflowers and two acres of sorghum for wildlife food at Goose Pond Sanctuary.

You are welcome to visit Goose Pond Sanctuary (one mile south of Arlington) to view an impressive display of sunflowers. The sunflowers began blooming on July 21st and should be at peak the last week of July into the first few days of August.  

The field contains over 60,000 sunflowers and will provide wildlife with over 6,000 pounds of seed. Goldfinches and mourning doves will find a feast beginning in September. There are mowed trails along the edge of the sunflowers and you are welcome to hike the trail and take photos.  With the recent rains the prairie should be ablaze in color and you are also welcome to hike our prairie trails.  One of the best prairie trails to hike is at Browne Prairie. The Browne prairie parking lot is about .5 miles west of the sunflower field on Kampen Road.

Goose Pond Sanctuary is one mile south of Arlington.  To find the sunflowers - from the intersection of Goose Pond Road and Kampen Road go west on Kampen Road for 200 yards.  

NOTE: There is also a Kampen Road intersection with Goose Pond Road where Kampen Road goes east about 200 yards north of the south Kampen Road intersection. Visitors can park along the south side of Kampen Road on the east side of the sunflowers where the trail begins. Dogs are not permitted.

Call Mark or Sue Martin, resident co-managers, at 608-333-9645 with questions.
Photos taken by Mark Martin in 2007 at Goose Pond Sanctuary.