Members of the Illinois Division-IWLA:
The Executive Committee of the IWLA Illinois Division is pleased to announce The Division assumed ownership of the 519 acre “Montgomery Family Farm” outside of Atkinson, IL. This new property is roughly a mile south of the existing Giant Goose Conservation Education Workshop.
“The Preserve” is the working name for the new property until The Division determines a permanent name. The Preserve contains approximately 205 acres of tillable land and over 300 acres of pasture, timber, wetlands, a lake, and ponds with potential for conservation and educational purpose.
Over the next two years, The Illinois Division will be working to develop and implement a long-term usage vision for The Preserve. A road and other infrastructure will be constructed. The Division is contracting with a farm management firm to oversee the lease of the tillable acres to a local farmer. The income received from the farm contract will be used for the development of the property and mission.
The Division understands the excitement to see and explore the resources available at The Preserve, but absolutely no fishing, hunting, foraging, hiking, camping or access of any kind will be allowed during the development phase without prior written authorization by The Illinois Division executive committee. This will be policy until further formal written notice from the Executive Committee of The Division has been distributed to the membership of The Division.
2022-23 Membership at Giant Goose Conservation Education Workshop does not include any access or usage of the new Illinois Division property, The Preserve. They are two separate and distinct projects of The Division and will be managed separately and have unique access requirements.
The Land Transfer and “The Goose Workshop”
To acquire The Preserve, The Illinois Division entered into an agreement with Ecology Solutions, LLC. to transfer ownership of the 252-acre, Giant Goose Conservation Education Workshop (GGCEW), in exchange for ownership of the 519 acres of The Preserve. The Division signed a 100-year lease agreement with two 50-year renewal options with Ecology Solutions, LLC. for The Goose Workshop. The entire 252-acre property will be available for use by The Goose Workshop/GGCEW members until The Division receives formal notice from Ecology Solutions, LLC. This notice will coincide with the construction of a 100 ft wide, 20 ft tall berm around a major portion of the current Goose Workshop campground and buildings. At that time, which is currently predicted to be 10 years from now, The Goose Workshop members will still have access to 72 acres of the original property. The 72 acres will include the majority of exiting trails, the existing main campground, Pete’s Park, many of the original lakes, and the 37-acre East Side area across E. 2350th Street.
GGCEW Membership benefits will remain virtually unchanged for the year 2023.
Camping, fishing, hiking, and educational opportunities are available to you at The Goose Workshop property as they have been in the past. Youth Day is scheduled for June 2023. Field Trips are still welcome and encouraged. Membership, camping, and fishing fees will remain the same as in 2022. Usage rules for camping, fishing etc. will remain the same as they were for 2022.
What is changing is oversight of The Goose Workshop/GGCEW. Previously, the GGCEW was managed by a board of directors elected by the GGCEW members at the annual meeting. The Goose Workshop will now be managed by The Illinois Division and a steering committee consisting of Illinois Division members.
Developing and implementing a vision for the future of The Preserve and The Goose Workshop will require input from all Division members to be successful. The Division will be leaving a legacy for future generations. Together we will build upon what was started by those visionary Illinois Division members in the mid-1960s, when they took on the initial lease of what was to become the Giant Goose Conservation Education Workshop. Over the upcoming months, we will be putting together a steering committee to outline and develop our plans for The Preserve. Every member is encouraged to share thoughts, ideas, and suggestions with The Division executive committee. If you are interested in serving on the Steering Committee, or if you have any questions or concerns, we ask that you reach out to any member of The IWLA Illinois Division Executive Committee listed below.
Garrit Struck, President
Audrey Scheider, Vice President
Luann Noll, Treasurer
John Zon, Secretary