Kemp’s 50th anniversary connects the station’s beneficiaries and benefactors

One of the highlights of the Kemp Natural Resources Station’s 50th anniversary on August 19 was hearing from two women whose generosity made the station possible. In 1960, Sally Greenleaf and Susan Small (photo at left) donated the land and buildings to the UW-Madison. Their gift created Kemp Station to serve “as a research and educational center” dedicated to the conservation of our natural resources.

At the anniversary event, the pair told stories of what it was like to spend their childhood there. The two were granddaughters of Edward Kemp, an area businessman and avid outdoorsman who purchased the property for $250 in 1900. After Kemp died in 1916, his widow and daughter built a house on the property, eventually adding a dining hall, boathouse, caretakers residence and other facilities.

Some 145 visitors came to Kemp for the anniversary party. Many were “alums” — former undergrads who had taken field courses and former grad students and others who had conducted research at the station over the years. “We had former students who had taken the field course more than 40 years ago and hadn’t been back until now, as well as a student who had taken the field course this spring,” says Tom Steele, the station’s superintendent. Also in attendance were many of the station’s long-time neighbors along Lake Tomahawk.

The event’s program included interpretative nature walks led by David Drake and interpretative boat tours led by Scott Craven, both faculty members in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, as well as tours of the station’s building and facilities and sit-down presentations about loons and woodcock. There was also a great feast prepared by Al Krug, who earned his Ph.D. in forestry at UW-Madison and now serves as a senior consultant at DoIT.

“It was a great opportunity for people with a tie to the station to reconnect. It had a real festive feel,” Steele says.