Tom Eddy Honored with the 2021 Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award

An older man with a white beard and green baseball hat in front of a tree.

Tom Eddy of Green Lake was recognized for his efforts to protect lands surrounding Green Lake, especially the Tichora Conservancy project, with the 2021 Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award. Green Lake Conservancy hosted a luncheon in Green Lake on September 2, 2021 to honor Tom’s lifetime of work and present the award.

Tom is a teacher, a biologist, and a botanist who serves as an adjunct professor for Marian University and the University of Wisconsin. He is a founding member of Green Lake Conservancy (GLC), where he has served as a board member and Vice President of Conservation over the past 25 years. During that time, Tom made important contributions to the conservation of lands in Green Lake County.

In 1995, Tom and others from the area recognized that many important natural lands near Green Lake could be lost to development. To save these special places, Tom and his fellow founders created Green Lake Conservancy. Through his volunteer efforts with the conservancy, Tom has spearheaded the permanent preservation of many unique properties. Tom has also organized and written numerous reports that serve as baseline documents for conservation easements in the area.

Without Tom’s help and persistence, the creation of GLC’s Tichora Conservancy would not have been possible. In 2018, Green Lake Conservancy set out to protect one of the few remaining natural areas on Green Lake: a former Boy Scout camp. The only catch? The price tag was $4 million.

The Conservancy had just four months to raise $2 million locally and apply for a matching grant from Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Tom was instrumental in surveying the flora and fauna of the property to build support for this project. Thanks to his careful and detailed field work, this project received one of the largest Knowles-Nelson grants in recent Wisconsin history, enabling Green Lake Conservancy to cross the finish line.

Now known as Tichora Conservancy, this amazing 40-acre property with 800 feet of shoreline on Green Lake and 1,200 feet of frontage on Spring Lake will never be developed. Tichora Conservancy is open to the public for hiking, snowshoeing, or just enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding land and waters.

In addition to his work in land protection, Tom served for many years as a high school biology teacher in the Green Lake School System. While there, he imparted a love of conservation to his biology students who, over the years, number in the hundreds. Many of those students have grown up to be passionate about land conservation.

Today, Tom is an adjunct professor for Marian University and the University of Wisconsin, where he continues to use the natural world to inspire the next generation. He also shares his conservation knowledge with the community by writing and publishing numerous articles about local conservation and protected properties.

Tom is an appointed member of the Wisconsin Natural Areas Preservation Council, an active member of the Botanical Club of Wisconsin, and is involved with the Freeland Film Festival, a national organization that concentrates on nature-based educational films, videos, and other media. Tom is also an avid photographer, focusing on native Wisconsin plant species. Recently, Tom retired from the Green Lake Conservancy Board after 25 years of selfless service and leadership.

Gathering Waters is proud to recognize Tom for his energy, scholarship, and commitment to education that have made huge contributions to Wisconsin conservation.