Madison Audubon Society (www.madisonaudubon.org), a chapter of National Audubon, serves more than 3,000 members in south central Wisconsin, including Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Iowa, Jefferson, Richland, and Sauk counties. We engage in advocacy to protect birds, wildlife, and habitat; run more than 80 field trips each year, all free and open to the public; provide fun and educational programs for families and kids; and save and restore habitat at our Goose Pond Sanctuary in Columbia County and Faville Grove Sanctuary in Jefferson County. In the Town of Leeds, there are several prairies (Sue Ames, Hopkins Road, and Ankenbrandt) that are part of the larger Goose Pond Sanctuary. Erstad Prairie, next to Schoeneberg's Marsh, is also in the town. All are open to the public.
* Hopkins Road Prairie
A 40-acre tallgrass prairie restoration with 1.5 miles of mowed hiking trails. Off-road parking area is on Hopkins Rd. east of Goose Pond.
* Sue Ames Prairie
Hike west from Hopkins Road Prairie parking area down the quarter-mile access lane to the trailhead. Two miles of mowed trail inside and around the edge extend through tall grass prairie on rolling terrain that provide good views to the west. Access is by permission only. Contact Mark and Sue Martin, Goose Pond Sanctuary Resident Managers, at (608) 635-4160 or cell at (608) 333-9645; or Tony Abate, Land Steward, at (715) 213-7520.
* Ankenbrandt Prairie
Visitors can walk north on the mowed old farm lane from Kampen Road to Highways 51 and 60. This large, productive restoration features over 50 plant species on 80 acres. Park in mowed area at southwest corner of the prairie just west of Hopkins Rd.
* Erstad Prairie
A 60-acre sanctuary, with 18 acres of wetlands and 42 acres of uplands, has a hiking trail to an overview of a small wetland frequented by migrating waterfowl and marsh birds. Hike north to see the expansive 700 acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Waterfowl Production Area at Schoeneberg’s Marsh, a premier prairie wetland with nesting Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Black Terns. The entire parcel is open during the fall for hunting.