New link added to WCHF website – Hugh Iltis

“…Iltis planted and tended obscure species” such as the smoky pink queen of the prairie world which he had salvaged “….before their home was scraped clean by a bulldozer.” (UW-News)

See the newest link added to WCHF Inductee Hugh Iltis’ webpage. From UW-Madison News Hugh Iltis, UW’s ‘battling botanist,’ dies at 91.

“All these issues converged in the mountains of Western Mexico 30 years ago in a story that was initiated in large part because Iltis had annoyed a botanist at the University of Guadalajara. It’s a story Iltis never tired of telling, and it reflects his infectious enthusiasm for the natural world, the key roles of chance and perseverance, and a deep knowledge of plant biology and relationships.”

Milly Zantow in the Sauk County News

Mildred “Milly” Louise Zantow 1923-2014

We were pleased to have the Sauk County Conservation Chronicle September 2017 newsletter reprint the WCHF monograph on Milly Zantow. Milly’s married life brought her to North Freedom and Sauk County where she was inspired to launch the recycling revolution in Wisconsin and the nation.

“Milly lived a life of service and giving back. She was a pioneer in plastics recycling, and a fervent disciple of municipal waste recycling.” (Sauk County Conservation Chronicle)

Milly was inducted into the Wisconsin Hall of Fame spring 2017.

Olive Thomson WCHF Nominee Passes

Olive Thomson died on January 6, 2017 at the age of 100.  She was a long-time advisor for Citizens for Natural Resources Association (CNRA) from which she received the Silver Acorn Award in 2001. She was also honored as a Shooting Star by Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd.

Olive studied at UW-Madison with famed botanist Norman C Fassett, where she also worked in the Herbarium. In 1976 she revised and updated Fassett’s Spring flora of Wisconsin by adding keys, descriptions and more sketches.

Olive was a dedicated botanist and conservationist who was among the first in the State to work on prairie restoration.  Olive conceived the idea for a Prairie Heritage Trail along county Highway JG south of Mt Horab. The trail was dedicated by Dane county for permanent protection and received a National Bicentennial Award.

She and her husband, Professor John Thomson who has also been nominated to the WCHF,  partnered with The Nature Conservancy to create the Thomson Memorial Prairie in honor of their son Douglas. The land encompasses 323 acres of remnant dry prairie near Mt Horeb. In 1985 they were joint recipients of the Gulf Oil Conservation Award.

This notice submitted by Zaiga Freivalds, CNRA Secretary

Earl Spangenberg Passes

Earl Spangenberg passed away September 18, 2017. He was the ultimate member of WCHF. Having been a founding member, he served on the Board and Executive Committee, as well as having been President and now Executive Secretary.

We are saddened to report that WCHF Executive Secretary Earl Spangenberg died Tuesday, September 18, 2017.  The funeral will be at 3:00 pm on Friday, September 23, 2017 at 900 Brilowski Road at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession and the Redeemer Lutheran Church. The church is located behind Fleet Farm in Stevens Point.  The visitation will start at 1:00 pm.

In announcing Earls’ passing, WCHF President Joe Passineau wrote:

“The Hall of Fame was one of his great passions. He contributed so much over the past 35 years as a Member of the Board and the Executive Committee, and through his leadership as President and recently as Executive Secretary. We will miss him. I enjoyed working with him over these many years.

I last saw Earl just a month ago, at the August 15th WCHF Board of Governors meeting at the Schmeeckle Reserve. As always, he was excited to learn about new nominations to the WCHF and looked forward to next Spring’s Induction Ceremony.”

2017 WCHF Inductee Christine Thomas and Dean of Resource Management, Department of Natural Resources, UW-SP wrote:

“I have known Earl since 1978.  I was one of his hydrology students.  He served on my graduate committee.  Earl was one of the most caring teachers I ever knew.  His primary discipline was water.  He was also a forester and participated in that discipline as well.  The groundwater model was developed by AWRA student chapter while Earl was the advisor.  He was a rock in the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.  He loved music.”

Note:  AWRA stands for American Water Resource Association. Earl started the first student chapter of AWRA at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and guided the chapter to create, market and sell groundwater models that are used all over the country today.

As noted in the Obituary, the funeral will be on Friday afternoon at 3:00, with visitation beginning at 1:00 at the Episcopal – Lutheran Community Church in Stevens Point (at 900 Brilowski Road, behind Fleet Farm).

The family has asked that donations, in memory of Earl, be sent to:

Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame
Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center
2419 North Point Drive
Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481

For more information, call 715.346.4992

Or e-mail Donna VanBuecken at