Through Jan Zimmermann’s career, she has been described as an “unsung hero” by her peers, but she has an impressive legacy of accomplishments, from leading complex conservation efforts to developing creative new approaches to projects, securing project revenue, and assisting in the acquisition and protection of properties around the state.
For decades, Jan has been a devoted conservationist in both the public and private sectors. She served on the board of Groundswell Conservancy (previously known as the Natural Heritage Land Trust) for 6 years. Jan was also a founding member of the Lake Waubesa Conservation Association. Her role in the Town of Dunn’s land preservation program helped preserve hundreds of acres of prime agricultural land.
A notable conservation achievement for Jan was the passage of the Conservation Fund referendum in Dane County. She worked with elected officials, members of the business community, and a coalition of conservationists to develop and distribute all the publicity and explanatory material, which helped the referendum pass with over 75 percent of the vote. The Conservation Fund allowed Dane County to spend $30 million over the next 10 years to protect thousands of acres of significant land and water, paving the way for ongoing County spending on conservation efforts, which continues today.
Jan’s peers describe her as honest, capable, thorough, forward-thinking, tireless, generous, and humble. These qualities are evident in her many achievements.
“She helped the Ice Age Trail Alliance acquire 20 properties, which protect 1,172 acres and nearly 10 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail,” said Kevin Thusius, one of Jan’s many friends and supporters. “No doubt we would have lost some of these without Jan’s determination and attention to detail.”