Great news from land trust about Byrne Big Creek Preserve

NOTE: information below is from an article in the December 2017 newsletter of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT)

“Byrne Big Creek Preserve Making Great Progress”

The MMLT launched a campaign on Giving Tuesday, Nov 28th, to raise funds needed to acquire and manage a wonderful 100-acre parcel of land near McDonald’s Corners. The property was left to the MMLT by Joel Byrne, naturalist, poet and long-time supporter of the MMLT, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club.

The next night, MMLT hosted an evening at the Barley Mow to remember Joel Byrne and to celebrate his wonderful gift of what will become the Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve. The Campaign received a ’jump-start’ when Irene’s Pub in Ottawa pledged to match donations up to $5000.  The crowd was delighted when the campaign passed the $5,000 target. In fact, this achievement inspired another offer to match the next $5,000 in personal donations. Then the President of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, Brenda Boyd, took the floor to make a very substantial gift to the campaign.


Brenda Boyd (middle), President of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) presents a donation to Howard Clifford and Mary Vandenhoff of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust while a cut-out of the late Joel Byrne looks on approvingly. The contribution will help to make the Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve a reality


The Big Creek Campaign hopes to raise $48,500 to cover acquisition and future stewardship costs. The response to date has been truly remarkable. As of mid December, approximately 80% of the goal had been donated.

MMLT is so grateful to all who have come forward with financial support and is appealing to those who might still wish to contribute to this campaign to help us reach the campaign goal.  Plans are also underway for fundraising events in the New Year to close any final gap.  For those wishing to contribute to making this dream a reality, please visit our website at and click on Byrne Big Creek Preserve Campaign.

Congratulations to MMLT for this amazing accomplishment of coming so close to the fundraising goal for Joel’s property, in such a short period of time!


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