With a generous grant from the Paddock Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Mr. Richard Paddock set in motion an effort that has saved almost a square mile of land in the heart of the Milwaukee metropolitan area for future generations. As Dick looked out from his Alexian Village apartment in 2000, he saw woods and fields stretching north and said with a twinkle in his eye, “It would be good to save a little land.” The City of Mequon with the assistance of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust took up his challenge. Since that time, Mequon Nature Preserve has grown to 444 acres in size and has over five miles of trails, an observation tower, and an education center. The PieperPower Education Center, located at 8200 West County Line Road, Mequon, Wisconsin, is MNP’s hub for indoor activities and community programs.
The City of Mequon leases the property for $1 a year to a non-profit, tax-exempt friends group, Mequon Nature Preserve, Inc. MNP Inc. provides hands-on science classes to thousands of Milwaukee area school children and has set out to restore the beech maple forest and wooded wetlands that existed on the property in the early 1800’s. All programs and activities are funded by charitable contributions.
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A 2007 photo shows Mequon Nature Preserve’s newly established ponds and wetlands that resulted from removing drain tiles the previous year. Tiles were installed years ago to drain the fields so that they could be farmed.
Pictured in a 2001 photo from left to right are representatives of the founding partners of Mequon Nature Preserve: Marybeth Budisch, Greater Milwaukee Foundation; Richard Paddock, the founding donor who had a fund at the Foundation; Christine Nuernberg, City of Mequon; and Shawn Graff, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.
Thousands of students from throughout the Milwaukee metro area participate in science programs at Mequon Nature Preserve. The classes are designed in collaboration with classroom teachers and meet the State’s Science Performance Standards. A complete description of the program is posted on this website under “Education.”
The PieperPower Education Center is located at 8200 W. County Line Road, Mequon, Wisconsin. It originally served as a church, but since it become part of MNP, it was renovated to demonstrate eco-friendly products and practices. Note the green roof of sedum plants in the process of being installed.