Sustainability

Sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty
ˌstānəˈbilədē/
noun

  • avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain ecological balance

The primary inspiration for Paul and Audrey Gaynor to launch White Oak Savanna was and is the land itself. We were not only drawn to this land, but compelled to sustain and protect it.

Inspired by Aldo Leopold, the “father of wildlife ecology,” and founder of his renowned, “land ethic,” we are and always will be committed to our little corner of the Driftless Area of Southern Wisconsin.    

To that end, our team of dedicated specialists engage in sustainable farming and business practices such as organic prairie management and restoration, solar energy, rain water collection and using reclaimed items.

We have regenerated the soil (which is now certified organic), cleared out invasive species, restored indigenous flowers, plants and grasses and renovated the property’s historic buildings

In service of prairie restoration and management, White Oak Savanna has employed controlled burns, responsible grazing and strategic cutting and mowing.  We also consult the Old Farmer’s Almanac in search of the best specific days of the year to cut down invasive trees to avoid regrowth (it has worked!).

We invested in a large 30-kilowatt solar power system to provide sustainable energy to the business. The rainwater from the Lloyd Jones Barn Pavilion roof is collected in a cistern and used to water the plants. We’ve even contracted with a prominent Driftless area beekeeper to provide locally made honey in our store – because we want to do all we can to encourage key pollinators. 

Unfortunately, we have had no choice but to demolish some old buildings on the property. But, whenever possible we saved and repurposed harvested materials elsewhere, including all of the windows in the Lloyd Jones Barn Pavilion and much of the other renovation work in the barn. All of the beautiful oak encasing the support columns in the barn is from the exterior siding of a demolished building.

The hand-cut limestone featured in our landscaping was once the foundation of a nearby barn that had been razed. 

To avoid the environmental impact of trucking in fill to improve the topography of White Oak Savanna, 90% of the fill that has been used came from the pond and its surrounding area.

If we have to take down a tree, we mill it and use its wood. All of the cherry used to make the distinctive “live edge” countertops surrounding the interior of the Lloyd Jones Barn Pavilion and the oak used in the barn were harvested, milled and solar-dried on property. The tables were built right here.

The Amphitheater Pond was initially excavated as a requirement to collect run-off and avoid erosion. Sensing an opportunity, we sited the retention pond in a spot that had previously been a wetland and was suspected to be the original headwaters of Norwegian Hollow Creek. When we started digging the Pond, an astonishing thing happened; water began bubbling up and we soon had a spring fed pond! In short, much to the delight of our guests and the creatures that live here and pass through, the Pond is restoring the original wetland and improving the overall hydrology of the land.

When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

~ Aldo Leopold

For additional information regarding our sustainability efforts, please click here to send us an email inquiry or feel free to telephone White Oak Savanna at 608-636-5776.