Crawford Stewardship Project works to protect the environment of Crawford County and neighboring regions from threats of polluting and extractive industries, to promote sustainable land use, environmental justice, and local control of natural resources

Crawford Stewardship Project is a nonprofit organization.
Donations are tax deductible.

Support CSP
Send a check to:
Crawford Stewardship Project
P.O. Box 284
Gays Mills, WI 54631


Crawford Stewardship Project is grateful for the generous support of the Wisconsin Community Fund.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

"CAFOs are only profitable because so much of the cost and damage is externalized onto the environment, neighbors and wildlife. The monitoring, supervision, clean-up, restitution, fines are not happening, thus the true cost of CAFOs never find the way onto the balance books." Talking point from the CAFO Conference.



Wetlands of the Penokee Hills

Crawford Stewardship Project and the Lower Kickapoo Initiative brought Tracy Hames, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, to the Community Center in Gays Mills and gave a wonderful presentation on the breathtaking wetlands of the Penokee Range in Northern Wisconsin. The beauty of the incredible native functioning ecosystems there was juxtaposed with a conversation on Gogebic Taconite's proposed iron mine that would irreparably foul and bury thousands of acres of the pristine habitat. All hope is not lost, however, and between the collaboration of people on the ground at the site of the mine in Harvest Camp, supporting organizations, the tribes, the Army Corps of Engineers (who can no longer work with the WDNR as they have become so compromised), and even international attention on this site declared a RAMSAR site of international importance, we hope this economically marginal project will never come to bear.

Community Rights Organizer, Paul Cienfuegos gets folks fired up!

Paul's time in the area kicked off with a weekend workshop on community rights and rights-based ordinances in Decorah, Ia, where they have a very active group (Community Rights Alliance of Winneshiek County) who has proposed the first Rights-based ordinance to their county board in the Midwest.  After his time there, Co-coordinator Forest picked him up and brought him to Gays Mills where he sat down and talked for a couple hours with the CSP board and staff on specifics of the community rights strategy and how to implement one of these rights-based ordinances.  We are glad to have another powerful tool in our chest in this realm, as the threat of forces at the state level eliminating our existing ordinances becomes ever-more real. 
Next, Forest and Paul headed up to Viroqua where nearly 80 people packed the three-hour mini-workshop on community rights!  CSP is now proud to announce that a new group will be forming in Vernon County working in the community rights realm and on the issues we care so deeply about!  Their first official meeting will be on Monday, March 17th in the Ark.  This is exactly what we had hoped would come of our organizational efforts in bringing Paul Cienfuegos back to the area. 

Wisconsin Local Food Network Day at the Capitol

WLFN is a relatively new organization and this was their first lobby day.  There were a range of academics, state agricultural agency representatives (including Theresa Engel), and representatives from a range of smaller organizations.  Jennifer Shilling was one of the speakers at the meeting/prep time before the actual lobbying happened and has been a big champion for them in past years.  The two main lobbying points they focused on were Farm-to-School (maintaining/increasing funding) and Buy Local Buy Wisconsin (maintaining/increasing funding).  Both of these are fantastic programs and CSP Co-coordinator Forest was happy to be able to end his lobbying stint in Madison on a high note with both of our area representatives.  The lobbying was made easy by all the wonderful information backing up these programs as well as all the other less-tangible positive effects and there was a lot of joking about Forest living in the Capitol.  Jennifer Shilling and Lee Nerison were both very supportive and pledged to do what they could to get as much funding as possible to these positive and productive programs. 

Wisconsin Farmers Union Farm and Rural Lobby Day

The WFU lobby day was attended by perhaps 40 or so folks from all over the state.  Representing CSP was Co-coordinator Forest Jahnke.  We met first in the downtown MATC building where we had discussions and explanations of the four main issues:  
1) SB 632/AB 816 restricting local control over frac sand mining  
2) SB302/AB 679 eliminating the DNR's ability to look at cumulative impacts of high-capacity wells and imposing a 65 day deadline for approval  
3) Money in electoral politics, specifically AB 225 which would double campaign contribution limits for state races  
4) Investing in rural schools (special aid for transportation costs and debt-relief incentives to attract good new teachers to rural areas).  There were also little postcard-style hand-ins in favor of the cookie bill (baked goods equivalent of the pickle bill allowing small-scale sales sans a legal kitchen and all that jazz).

The event went off smoothly, Forest met and networked with several great new people as well as friends/allies from before, and even got to lobby alongside Daren Von Ruden (the President of WFU). 
Jennifer Shilling was, as usual very supportive of all our issues.
Lee Nerison was supportive of nearly all the issues including the newest frac sand bill, but was hedging seriously once again on the groundwater giveaway bill.  Care must taken to help him understand the dire situation our water will be in if current policies continue on their current course and extraction limits are allowed to loosen.  As much as we might want to, we cannot legislate as much water for everyone as everyone wants forever.  Our water must be held in public trust and treated carefully and respectfully. 


State of the Tribes Address and Anti-mining Rally on the Steps

The address took place at 1:00pm in the legislative chambers and was well attended by both legislators and the public, who packed the gallery.  It was delivered by Laurie Boivin, the newly elected (youngest ever) Charwoman of the Menominee Nation.  She covered a huge range of topics from culture, society, and economics to health, economy, and the environment.  One key point that she mentioned relating to the environment was how many native peoples choose to live far from grocery stores and other places deemed necessary for life and that what was truly necessary for their lives was the ability to go into the woods and find food, medicine, and water there by which they could sustain themselves.  For native people, a walk in the woods is not simply to take in scenic beauty or to get exercise, but it is a way of life and a cultural practice deeply rooted in tradition and practicality.  She praised preservation and stewardship and sustainable ways of making a business, but avoided directly mentioning frac sand mining, or Gtac's proposed mine in the Penokees. 
            The rally on the steps was, attended by roughly 35 wonderful people who braved the cold to reinforce the message to the representatives in the capitol that their policies are wrongheaded and are leading us down the wrong path toward devastated landscapes and depleted and polluted waters.  CSP Co-coordinator Forest was humbled to speak between President Jon Greendeer and Chairman Mike Wiggins, two leaders of sovereign first nations.  The speeches were impassioned and articulate and pulled no punches, accusing those in power of abandoning their mission to represent the people of the state in favor of their corporate cronies and calling for a grassroots up-welling to resist the flawed policies coming out of Madison.  Other speakers included Andi Cloud (the main organizer of the event and founder of Migizi Advocates for Turtle Island), Joe Kruse (member of the Rye House – a Catholic Worker House in Minneapolis), Thistle Petersen (Madison Action for Mining Alternatives), John Peck (Family Farm Defenders), Dena Eakles (Echo Valley Hope/Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice) and others.

February 11, 2014
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Lobby Day

Edie Ehlert and Forest Jahnke represented Crawford Stewardship Project at WLCV Lobby Day this past Tuesday, meeting with many more activists from around the state and a strong group from our district to advocate for conservation values. Specifically, the League had picked out local control (SB 349/AB 476), water (SB 302/AB 679), and frac sand mining to address to the legislators. There were many informational sessions and productive conversations were had with both Lee Nerison and Jennifer Shilling in the capitol..

February 8, 2014
2014 Annual Love the Land Celebration:
a Success!

The snow this past Saturday didn't seem to hurt the turnout for Crawford Stewardship Project's Second Annual Love the Land music and dance benefit, as throngs of upward of 200 joyous driftless folk filled and overflowed the community room of the Community Commerce Center of Gays Mills.

While the people milled around tables stacked with donated art, goodies, and services, snacking on baked goods and chocolates, drinking Tea for the People, Kickapoo Coffee, and Driftless Brewer's beer, the tall tales and Irish-influenced yet deeply locally rooted tunes of Anreas Transø carried old wisdom and humor to all. Soon after came Bathtub Spring with some more local folksy acoustic music for a few more songs until, before everyone's eyes, they morphed into the Freaks of Nature who kept the dance-floor hoppin' until after 11:30pm!

Love The Land Party

November 17, 2013
Edie's Retirement Party

Thanks to all the wonderful folks who helped make Edie's retirement open house the magical experience it was. It was a lovely community gathering with delicious food, speeches from those wishing to honor Edie (including Senator Shilling), and even a ballad to Edie's wonderful spirit composed and sung by our local Bard, Carl Schlecht. The full moon was shining down brightly by the time the open house was over, welcoming Edie to her new life of relaxation.

Edie and Jennifer Schilling at retirement party 11-17-13

Listen to Carl sing his song to Edie

Carl's song for Edie - retirement party 11-17-13

Sand miners from across the globe gathered to plan the exploitation of our beautiful hills and bluffs in the Radisson hotel ($1400 to attend and $700/night minimum – sorry, no moles!). There they were met by over 60 fractivists from across the Midwest drumming, chanting, singing, and making the silenced voices of the Earth and the People heard! It was an inspiring action with rousing speeches, a farcicle fracking skit, banner drops, and a rowdy surprise mass drop-in to the conference itself!

For pictures visit:

CSP outing on the Wisconsin River Sept 1 2013. In the background are the lands just to the east of the proposed sand mine.

CSP River Outing East of Sand Mine

Aug. 17, 7:00 pm
Crawford Stewardship Project Benefit Concert with Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Andy Juhl from NW Iowa,
New Community Center Village Hall, 16381 State Hwy 131, Gays Mills. Local, homemade refreshments available, $5 donation requested. Check out Andy at More info to come your way!
Download the poster

June 27th, 7pm:
Screening of "Frac Sand Land, The Incredible Story of the Vanishing Hills" by Robert Nehmann of Allamakee County Protectors. Event will be held in Richland Center at UW Richland Campus Melvill Hall--Pippin Conference Room, 1200 Hwy 14W. There will be a panel discussion following the film with Robert Nehmann and Bridgeport Concerned Citizens (BCC). Event is co-sponsored by: Crawford Stewardship Project, Richland County Stewardship Project and Gays Mills Public Library

June 28th, 7pm
Screening of "Frac Sand Land, The Incredible Story of the Vanishing Hills"
 by Robert Nehmann of Allamakee County Protectors. Event will be held in the Board Room at the Gays Mills Commerce Center. There will be a panel discussion following the film with Robert Nehmann and Bridgeport Concerned Citizens (BCC). Event is co-sponsored by: Crawford Stewardship Project, Richland County Stewardship Project and Gays Mills Public Library.

Thanks to everyone who came to our screening of, "The Price of Sand." We filled the board room...and the hall! We also had some great discussion after, including updates from a few leaders on what their towns are doing to prevent frac sand mining in their communities.

May 17th,
7pm: Screening of "The Price of Sand" at Gays Mills Community Center. Hosted by CSP. Event is free, but donations are appreciated. See trailer of documentary here: Download a copy of the poster as a PDF or JPG.

February 2013 Fundraiser a great success

The "Love the Land" fundraiser on Feb. 9 was a success, with spectacular music, silent auction, beer, and snacks. Thanks to all who volunteered and came to share the celebration with us.

Bad Axe Blue Band

Sat, Feb. 9, 7:00pm
Crawford Stewardship Project Music and Dance Benefit, "Love the Land" with Bad Axe Blues Band, Gays Mills Community Commerce Center. Join us for an evening of celebration of the beauty of the land and people working so diligently to regulate and/or oppose frac sand mining in our communities. We're planning a silent art auction of local art. Local micro-brewery beer will be sold from the new Driftless Brewing Company. Proceeds will go to help pay for the many staff hours and legal expenses incurred working on this issue. Please save the date!

Saturday, June 23
Public Sand Mining Presentations and Discussion

Event will be held from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Prairie du Chien City Hall, 214 E. Blackhawk Ave. This CSP sponsored event will include local government's role, citizen experience locally and from the NW part of the state, health concerns, geology, etc. plus participant discussion. Read more...

April 22, 10 am Deer Browse Impact on Forests Workshop, sponsored by Kickapoo Initiative. Event is in Scott Township, Crawford County. Fee is $10, bring a bag lunch, and contact or call 608-872-2297 to register  Read more...

Tuesday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m
Video Night

Join us in the Board Room of the new Gays Mills Commerce Center, 16381 State Hwy 131, Gays Mills and enjoy viewing “Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story”. This film is sure to spark our discussion, which will follow the viewing. Popcorn and drinks will be provided.

This Emmy Award-winning production is from the team that created “Minnesota: A History of the Land”. “Troubled Waters” traces the development of America's bountiful heartland and its effect on the legendary river. Through beautiful photography and inspiring narrative, the film offers solutions to the river's pollution problems through fresh ideas and concrete solutions.
Sponsored by Crawford Stewardship Project and the Gays Mills Library

July 30, 2011
Kickapoo Country Fair at Organic Valley Coop at La Farge. CSP will have a booth. Please contact us at to sign up to staff. Event offers an opportunity to share information with folks from all over the state. Materials and staffing information will be at the booth.

July 21-24, 2011 Thursday-Sunday
Crawford County Fair in Gays Mills. CSP will have a booth. Please contact us at to sign up to staff. This is an opportunity for conversation on CAFOs, farming, and resources with a wide variety of folks. Materials and guidelines for staffing will be at the booth.

June 11, 2011
Karst Identification Workshop with Dr. Kelvin Rudolfo. Field trip to nearby karst features.
Report on geology and drinking water

May 21, 2011
Migratory Birds and Plants Of the Lower Kickapoo Valley

May 14, 2011
Karst Identification Workshop        poster to download

May 5th, 2011
Supporters Gathering

March 19th, 2011

February 19, 2011
Birds and Music - DNR Forest Ecologist Mike Mossman in a presentation of bird and habitat surveys in the lower Wisconsin River and lower Kickapoo River

November 9, 2010
Farmers Panel - Presentation and discussion of farming in the Driftless region

October 19, 2010
Movie - "Food Inc."

October 16, 2010
What is Karst? - Karst Identification Workshop and Field Trip

October 6, 2010
What is Karst? - Karst Identification Workshop

August 7, 2010
Karst Identification Workshop and Field Trip

June 26, 2010
Karst Identification Workshop

April 17, 2010
Popcorn and Movie Event - King Corn and Big River

March 20, 2010
Learn about Red Shouldered Hawks

November 12, 2009
Farmer Panel Discussion

October 24, 2009
Popcorn and Movie Event - "Fresh"

October 10, 2009
Karst Identification and Reporting Workshop and Field Trip

August 1st and 22nd, 2009
Karst Identification and Reporting Workshops and Field Trips

April 24, 2009
Popcorn and Movie Event - "The Organic Opportunity: Small Farms and Ecomonic Development" and "King Corn"

April 2, 2009
Methane Digesters - Fact and Fiction

March 19, 2009
Birds, Plants and Animals....

March 13-15th 2009
CAFO Conference - Family Farm Defenders
Food Sovereignty: Food, Agriculture and Democracy

April 5, 2008
Notes From CAFO Conference - Environmental Impacts of large Livestock Operations Conference.