The Kickapoo Woods Cooperative mission is to provide sustainable forestry education and management services to landowners of the Kickapoo Valley and neighboring watersheds.
Sustainable Forestry in Action
“I’ve always been a “hands-on” learner and have learned a lot through the experiences of others as well as through my own mistakes. The educational resources and events I’ve found through KWC offers the perfect mix of “hands-on”, co-operative education and forward thinking.”
– KWC Member
“We had a mandatory cut and needed assistance to meet the requirements of the MFL contract and wanted to hear another voice other than a DNR Forester. Kickapoo Woods Cooperative was that voice.
– KWC Member
“The Woods Walk with the KWC forester revealed my ignorance of my woodlands, still so much to learn. I look forward to working with KWC to become a better educated woodland owner.”
– KWC Member
The Kickapoo Woods Cooperative (KWC) began in 2000 when a group of neighbors in Vernon County met in a local farmer’s barn and decided to join together to better manage their forests. They saw a need for the timber resources in this area to be managed in a way that is beneficial to the environment while at the same time producing goods that would support the local economy.
Sustainable Forest Management Services
The KWC is dedicated to sustainable forestry– a practice that incorporates air, water and soil resources, as well as forest vegetation for comprehensive ecosystem management. Sustainable forestry recognizes the recreational and economic benefits as well as the intrinsic value of land and nature, and seeks to retain that value for long-term benefit.
The Kickapoo Woods Cooperative (KWC) began in 2000 when a group of neighbors in Vernon County met in a local farmer’s barn and decided to join together to better manage their forests. They saw a need for the timber resources in this area to be managed in a way that is beneficial to the environment while at the same time producing needed goods that would support the local economy. KWC focused their efforts and ambitions on forest management and education. Grants from the Kickapoo Valley Reforestation (“Nuzum’s”) Fund allowed the Co-op to contract with management and education coordinators. Using word of mouth, direct contact, educational field days and seminars, the Co-op began to grow. In 2008, it had just over 265 members owning over 27,000 acres in nine counties all in Kickapoo Valley and neighboring watersheds. Membership recently surpassed 500 landowners, with more than 70,000 acres!
KWC works together with conservation organizations, Wisconsin DNR, county agencies, sawmills, loggers, secondary wood manufacturers, other natural resource professionals, and especially the KWC member landowners to create a positive long-term impact on the local forest resource and community. The Co-op is devoted to principles of sustainable forestry management that provide us with regeneration of trees; perpetual wood products; maintenance of soil, water, and air resources; continual wildlife habitat; and enjoyment of the natural world. Sustainable forestry dictates that as a resource is used it should be replaced by an equal amount of the resource grown – in a manner that will never come to an end. It uses scientific principles to manage land to allow for continuous deviations while keeping all ecosystem functions in place. Sustainable forestry recognizes human values along with the intrinsic value of land and nature.
In 2011, KWC rented office space on Main Street in Viroqua, Wisconsin to make the Cooperative more visible to the public and in early 2012 hired a credentialed forester so that we could expand the management services offered. As demand for services increased, we hired a second forester in 2016. Today KWC offers an expanded list of management services as well as continuing the very popular educational events.
Build a profitable, member owned and controlled organization of woodland owners dedicated to Sustainable Principles.
Conserve capital while maintaining progress toward the Mission.
Provide the membership with the tools they need to accomplish their land management goals.
Investment in Land
Encourage members to invest in their land to enhance its aesthetic and economic value and its ecological health.
Enhance Regional Economy
Enhance the regional economy by making use of all the existing and emerging forestry services and market resources.
Provide services that enhance the ecological balance and sustainability of the regional forest resource.
The Kickapoo Woods Cooperative formed in 2000 and incorporated in 2001, beginning with 39 members who owned about 5000 acres. As of January of 2013, 395 members in 9 counties (all in the Kickapoo Valley and neighboring watersheds) were being served by co-op personnel and contracted agents. By 2016 numbers rose to over 500 members owning over 65,000 acres of land. If you are doing the math, that is over 100 square miles of forest practicing sustainable management. This increase speaks volumes to the regional interest in forest sustainability. Together, we are making a difference!
KWC Membership Map
- 2000 – Started, printed first newsletter, had first board meeting.
- 2001 – Contracted with Paul Bader to become Management Coordinator, developed business plan to provide services.
- 2003 – Marked and sold 1st timber sale.
- 2005 – Partnered with Southwest Badger RC&D on hiring a forester.
- 2007 – Developed website.
- 2009 – Marked and sold 50th timber sale.
- 2011 – Rented office space in Viroqua.
- 2012 – Hired full time forester Thomas Wyse.
- 2016 – Hired 2nd full time forester Allissa Reynolds
- 2016 – 500th member joined the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative