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Walmart’s Acres for America helps to conserve 1,400 acres of globally significant habitat at Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area

May 1 dedication ensures the continued success of ecologically significant habitat

MINONG, Wis. – May 1, 2014 – Today, through Walmart’s Acres for America program and a partnership with The Conservation Fund and the Wisconsin Department on Natural Resources, approximately 1,400 acres of globally significant habitat will be preserved in the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area. This easement will conserve the habitat of many game and non-game species including the sharp-tailed grouse, endangered Kirtland’s warbler, Swallowtail butterflies and other migratory birds. Additionally, the project will support the region’s tourism industry by providing permanent public access for hiking, hunting, trapping, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

“The Namekagon Barrens project marks a major milestone for us as it’s the first Wisconsin-based Acres for America project,” said Lisa B. Nelson, Walmart public affairs director. “By supporting Acres for America and helping to protect the vitality of our natural habitats and rural ecosystems, we keep true to our company philosophy of helping our customers live better.”

Walmart’s Acres for America program, a conservation partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), protects priority lands across the country to provide wildlife habitats and recreational opportunities for local residents. Since 2005, Walmart has worked with the NFWF to establish the program, with a 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land developed by the company. To date, Acres for America has invested in projects in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

“This investment in the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area again demonstrates why Acres for America is one of the most effective public-private partnerships in the history of U.S. conservation,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF.  “By enlarging the wildlife area with this initiative, we are ensuring that this rare habitat will be preserved for the wildlife that depends on it and for future generations of visitors to enjoy.“

The 1,400 acres of land will remain in undeveloped condition and will be managed to insure productive pine forests, habitat protection and recreation opportunities. Along with Walmart’s Acres for America, funding for the purchase was provided by the Knowles Nelson Stewardship, the McKnight Foundation, Four Cedars Foundation, Lux Foundation and the St. Croix River Fund via the St. Croix Valley Foundation. The Northwest Barrens are about 75 miles northeast of the Twin Cities and about 300 miles northwest from Madison.