Press Release: Budding Leaders in Conservation Visit Southern Wisconsin

Press Release: Budding Leaders in Conservation Visit Southern Wisconsin

By Southern Wisconsin Land Conservancy 

Pictured: Southern Wisconsin Land Conservancy President, Steve Apfelbaum, speaking to visiting students at Three Waters Reserve. 

(Brodhead, WI) Every year, students from youth conservation programs across the US gather for the Confluence of Young Conservation Leaders (CYCL). This year, the event was held in late October in Southern Wisconsin and consisted of student groups from Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas and Louisiana. 

The goal of the confluence is to provide students with the opportunity to learn from working professionals and experts in the conservation field, engage in networking opportunities and work on leadership development. The field tours involved in the CYCL included prominent conservation sites across Southern Wisconsin: The Aldo Leopold Foundation, The International Crane Foundation, Devil’s Lake State Park, the UW-Madison Arboretum and our own Three Waters Reserve in Brodhead. 

This year’s confluence was led and organized by Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s former executive director, George Meyer, who commented:

“The field tours provided several outstanding examples of successful ecological restoration and species conservation programs and projects. Wisconsin is blessed to have such a rich history and world class examples undertaken in both the public and private sectors. This full spectrum of organizations and locations gave the young participants a rich scope of conservation and restoration career opportunities.”

At Three Waters Reserve, ecologists Steve Apfelbaum and Susan Lehnhardt with the Southern Wisconsin Land Conservancy shared their career and personal life experiences in ecosystem restoration and explained the value of being able to navigate across both the for-profit and non-profit sectors and in partnership with communities to restore health to the land, as exemplified by the restoration of a 57-acre former golf course. 

Environmental Science student, Jadzia McDaniel Cruz, from the University of Texas - San Antonio had this to say about the visit:

“My favorite part of the tour was viewing the Three Waters Reserve. It’s surreal to have seen the transformation of a golf course to such a beautiful healthy piece of land. Additionally, it was captivating to hear from professional experts and to see their raw passion for their jobs. It takes a unique person to be in conservation, and I loved witnessing the display of that.” 

We hope it was an enlightening experience for all involved, and we’re excited to see what these young leaders will do with the knowledge they gained here at Three Waters Reserve. 

About the Confluence of Young Conservation Leaders (CYCL)

Confluence of Young Conservation Leaders (CYCL) is a collaboration between natural resource agencies and youth conservation organizations in multiple states aiming to share ideas and support the growth of youth conservation organizations across the nation.

About Three Waters Reserve 

Three Waters Reserve is a privately-owned event center and 70-acre nature reserve located along the scenic Sugar River in Brodhead, Wisconsin. In addition to serving as an event venue, Three Waters Reserve provides support for non-profit organizations including the owner, Southern Wisconsin Land Conservancy, and ‘sister’ non-profit, the Lower Sugar River Watershed Association, which uses the lower level of the facility as a homebase for operations, education and watershed research. For more information about the event center’s amenities, mission and partnering organizations head to


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