Hawthorn Hollow lies on a gently rolling moraine formed by the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet over 10,000 years ago. This glacial melting also formed the Pike River Watershed where Hawthorn Hollow is within. The South Branch of the Pike River divides the property in two—the west and the east side—and gives the property some steep topography with the river valley, uplands, and lowlands. This landscape provides many habitat types such as upland forest, floodplain forest, prairie, wetland, and river. More habitat types on a property can lead to greater biodiversity because it can support many types of plants, animals, and other organisms. We strive to improve the health of our ecosystems and biodiversity.

Much of the conservation work at Hawthorn Hollow involves managing invasive plant species. We manage both non-native and native invasive species. Almost all of our native invasive species are plants that are no longer set back by fire that was once a critical component of our historic landscape. It is our historic landscape that we are trying to maintain as part of our natural heritage. Historic records and soils indicate that the uplands were likely prairie/savanna prior to European settlement and the Pike River floodplain was likely wet meadow and marsh.

Hydrology on the property has changed significantly over the last 200 years and it is unlikely that we can restore most of it to its historic state. This is particularly true for the channel of the Pike River and its floodplain. To improve the watershed we work with Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (RP WIN) on implementing projects identified the Pike River Watershed-Based Plan.

We also work with private landowners, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand rare species’ genetic biodiversity.

Current Project


Prairie Restoration: RP WIN, private donors
Pollinator Project: SC Johnson Foundation,
Swale Project: Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM), WDNR
Ash Tree Removal: John C. Bock Foundation, Runzheimer Foundation, private donors
Wetland Restoration for Ravine Protection: FFLM, Great Lakes Commission, private donors
Invasive Species Management: Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium


And private donors.


Johnson Financial
Prairie School, Racine, WI
Walden III School, Racine, WI
Gateway Technical College
Many other beloved volunteers