Covering all or part of 24,103 miles in 57 counties in southwest Wisconsin, southwest Minnesota, northeast Iowa and a small part of Illinois, the Driftless Area is a sprawling, stunning natural phenomenon. Its distinctly hilly geological features are due to the terrain having been bypassed by the last continental glaciers (about 20,000 years ago), which generally flattened the rest of the upper midwestern United States.
Originally inhabited by Native Americans, including those of the Winnebago tribe, the land was first “settled” by Henry Dodge, his family and a few dozen miners. Dodge and company founded Dodgeville in 1827 and the town was eventually incorporated in the 1840s.
In the founder’s honor, Governor Dodge State Park was created and is located directly across the road from White Oak Savanna. It occupies the upper reaches of the Twin Parks watershed, a significant soil and water conservation project in the lower Wisconsin River watershed.
White Oak Savanna is situated on a farm that was founded in the early 1900s by Charles Lloyd Jones, a progressive, award-winning farmer who established the barn now called the Lloyd Jones Barn Pavilion.
White Oak Savanna’s owners, Paul and Audrey Gaynor, have worked diligently with a team of dedicated, innovative specialists to regenerate the soil (now certified organic), clear out invasive species, restore indigenous flowers, plants and grasses, renovate the historic buildings and add new construction buildings necessary to achieve White Oak Savanna’s goals.
White Oak Savanna’s naturally occurring inhabitants include deer, red and grey fox, coyote, beaver, woodchuck, muskrat, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and more than 150 additional species of birds. The plant life is typical of an oak savanna prairie with dozens of tree species, shrubs and grasses mixed in. Spring through fall, wildflowers including goldenrod, sunflower, aster, milkweed, boneset, iron weed, mountain mint, bluestem and many more delight our visitors with bursts of color. A portion of the farm is still tilled – organically – and livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats have been re-introduced.
For additional information, please click here to send us an email inquiry or feel free to telephone White Oak Savanna at 608-636-5776.