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VSN introduces new collaborative resource center
Open house to highlight office for three regional organizations
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Valley Stewardship Network, Kickapoo Woods Cooperative and The Prairie Enthusiasts, are pleased to present Conservation Connections, a new collaborative resource and information center at 110 South Main St. in downtown Viroqua.

VSN initiated this collaborative concept to offer a visible and accessible main street “hub” for non-profit and cooperative conservation organizations to promote their services and share office costs.

“The new Conservation Connections center allows our collaborating groups to offer technical assistance and resources to respond to the water, woods and prairie stewardship needs of local residents, farmers, landowners and visitors,” said Shelly Brenneman, Executive Director of Valley Stewardship Network.

On Nov. 19 from 4-8 p.m., Conservation Connections will hold an open house. The event will feature an exhibit of nature-themed watercolors by VSN founder Kathy Fairchild on the new gallery wall; a Ben Logan remembrance; local wines, cider, cheese and fruit. Staff and board members from all three organizations will be present to offer tours of the space and available resources and answer questions.

Tom Lukens, Board Chair for VSN, provides leadership for  Conservation Connections. He said, “These tools and information for conservation practices enhance and protect our area’s unique cold water resources, productive agricultural lands and woodland and prairie ecosystems. We want to impart the message that the privilege of owning and enjoying the lands and waters of our unique and fragile area comes with attending responsibilities of stewardship.”

Conservation Connections includes educational displays, resource library, a public computer terminal and publications with information about water quality, sustainable forestry, native prairie restoration, fish and wildlife habitat, rotational grazing, nutrient management and much more.

The building that houses Conservation Connections is owned by Michael Corr, who restored the original wood floors and brick wall, maintaining historical integrity and creating a beautiful space. Office hours are Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m., or by appointment. Retail items available include books, seeds and tools for forest and prairie management and water quality monitoring. The meeting and resource area, along with a projector and screen, restroom and kitchenette area is available for a small fee for evening and weekend meetings and events for community groups.