History: Kenosha/Racine Land Trust the WWOA Foundation & Seno Center

Since being established in 1993, the Kenosha/Racine Land Trust has focused on permanently preserving land and restoring wildlife habitat. Coincidentally, during that same time period, the nearby WWOA Foundation (a.k.a Seno Woodland Education Center) has directed efforts from its 213 acre facility in western Kenosha County toward  educating the public about sustainable forestry and related environmental issues. To leverage the strength of each, as of June 20, 2014 the two organizations officially merged. The name of this organization is now Seno K/RLT Conservancy.  The missions of each organization will remain prominent in all endeavors. Environmental education, sustainable forestry, natural resource conservation and land preservation in perpetuity remain the guiding principles and primary goals. Together the combined organization will be financially stronger and better able to achieve its land preservation mission through forestry and education.

The Seno Woodland Education Center was founded in 1994 as a non-profit foundation by the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association (WWOA) with 130 acres of land donated by Dr. Elvira Seno. Its Articles of Incorporation provided for acquiring land for conservation purposes and educating the public on prudent land management for sustainable forestry practices with related benefits to wildlife and natural beauty.

Dr. Seno established a tree farm on her late 1800’s wooded farmstead that she eventually wanted used as an education center focused on sustainable forestry. To prepare for that day, Dr. Seno and her brother Les Seno planted 50,000 trees. She also included a generous monetary gift in her estate plan to renovate the barn for related classroom work.

Coincidentally, Dr. Shirley Petersen had a vacation property about 3 miles from Seno, and she too wanted the woods and wetlands she called Drumlin Farm preserved and used for environmental education. To bring her dream to fruition, she donated her 83 acre farm to the WWOA Foundation, along with a generous funds that were turned into an endowment to support environmental programming.

The Kenosha/Racine Land Trust owns 53 acres in the Pleasant Prairie/Des Plaines River Basin and holds 19 conservation easements on approximately 1,000 acres in Kenosha and Racine counties. When combined with the 213 Seno/Drumlin acres, it raises the land protected in perpetuity to 1,266 acres. And, the merger affords the land trust the brick and mortar facility it requires to conduct in depth environmental education programs.

Both organizations share a passion for sustainable land management and land preservation. Both organizations want Wisconsin’s forests to remain healthy and robust, producing commercial wood for generations to come. Both organizations are committed to preserving wetlands, farm lands and sustainable resource use. Both organizations are committed to education. The Seno K/RLT Conservancy provides a stronger and more resilient platform for these invaluable objectives.