Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation
Preserving Land — Now & Forever
Sophie and Howard Fiedler of Green Valley Farm
Sophie and Howard Fiedler with Norwegian fjord horse
The Fiedlers' hill prairie
A grandchild's rendition of Sophie and Howard
Originally published Fall 2011, JDCF Newsletter
"Howard and Sophie Fiedler's love for the outdoors evolved over time and grew into a passion that fueled their commitment to their beautiful farm in Jo Daviess County.
Howard and Sophie met in Lake Geneva, WI. They married and had two children. At the time, Howard was a workaholic, prompting one of his coworkers to suggest he take a vacation and head to Galena.
"As we came out of Stockton and overlooked the valley and again at Horseshoe Mound in Galena, I said this can't be Illinois. We were convinced we had entered a foreign country," Howard said.
They enjoyed the county so much that they decided to buy 250 acres just 30 short years ago. Their interest in their property, specifically the wildlife and Native American history, brought the Fiedlers to JDCF.
Several years ago Howard read a local paper's article about a JDCF staff member and became interested in learning about the foundation's services. "We thought our farm was special, and we wanted to know what was out here," Howard said.
Both active Guardian members at the time, Sophie and Howard knew a bit about the natural world. But they wanted to learn more. After working with JDCF to conduct an inventory of their property, the Fiedler's realized that their farm and woods containes fascinating habitats — habitats worth saving and restoring.
The Fiedlers worked with JDCF staff to form a plan for restoration. The Fiedlers, JDCF, and a local ecological contractor, Prairie Works Inc., worked together to begin to restore a sensitive hill prairie, as well as many other degrading habitats.
Today, these conservation club members are still working hard to restore their beautiful prairie habitats. Their farm is being transformed, and they find much joy in the progress. Sophie and Howard both continue to grow in their love for conservation with every new discovery they make.
"We are part of a generation that grew up outdoors. We were never in the house when I was younger. We were always outside doing something: going to the local forest preserves and city parks," said Howard.
"We are fortunate enough to own the most beautiful land in Jo Daviess County, and we need to preserve it... for us and for our grandchildren. This is why we decided to become Conservation Club members and support JDCF," said Sophie.
The Fiedlers are among many who have discovered a new world right in their own backyard. "We think anyone would want to know more about their property and would want to get involved with JDCF," Sophie and Howard agreed.