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Helping Nature by helping Heartland Land Creations
$100 raised
0% of $25k goal
1 contributor
3 Years running

My name is Joshua Skolnick and I am the sole proprietor of a native landscaping and ecological restoration business called  Heartland Land Creations. We restore rare native landscapes and use local indigenous materials to create unique sustainable landscape projects and create a sense of place in southeastern Wisconsin and in northern Illinois, Heartland Land Creations is one of less than a dozen companies that provide this service in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.  

This year we have taken on some large clients and thus hoped to expand, but due to unforeseen circumstances me, and the company have suffered large financial setbacks that have set back our plans for expansion. We needed repairs to our home base and I, the owner had been in three vehicular accidents, one of which involved the businesses’ work truck, which was out of commission for six months and cost over $6,000 to repair out of pocket, not to mention thousands of dollars in other related expenses and work we could not complete or take on due to lack of equipment. As my personal credit rating was damaged in the recession, which we have not completely recovered from, traditional lending sources such as banks are not a viable option for me at this time, so we are looking for help from friends and ecological advocates.

Heartland Land Creations is very important for two reasons. It is our family's main livelihood, and the services we provide are unique in that we carefully restore the natural areas and create and maintain native landscapes that few others have the knowledge to do properly. We have had glowing reviews and referrals by the majority of our customers. The photograph on our campaign page shows a ten year old prairie restoration done by us which was formerly a degraded and ugly thicket of invasive box elder and buckthorn that had displaced the prairie that belonged there.

 Heartland Land Creations business is expanding at this time due to the fact many people in my area care about the environment and government is doing less and less to protect it. However without meeting certain needs the business cannot grow as a one-man operation. Furthermore, my daughters, who once helped me with work at the business, are now full time college students and have outside jobs, and are now unavailable to help. I have tried using local high school students as well as supplementary help, but have found them unreliable. So the business needs to hire more dependable and knowledgeable people, which is impossible given our current financial situation.

 Heartland Land Creations work directly benefits our environment by absorbing and filtering the waters before they enter our water table, lakes and streams, and protecting rare habitats, over 95 percent of which have been destroyed in the upper Midwest. Our work helps protect and improve our water resources and helps reduce the need for fossil fuels, and the infrastructure such as the Dakota Access Pipeline that supplies these harmful products.

We are trying to increase our sustainability and put our money where our mouth is by moving away from gas powered tools where possible and replacing/supplementing with battery powered chain saws and brush cutters, investigating and utilizing organic ways of controlling non-native and invasive species affecting our projects, and creating a web site and company logo to increase our public outreach. We are also looking to bring on employees so Heartland Land Creations can take on more important projects and start giving back to the community through such initiatives as public education on the benefits of ecological and sustainable landscaping, and preserving rare native plants through kick starting a native plant nursery, growing plants with little or no commercial availability,

At a minimum we will be needing the following to expand our capabilities:

Building and maintaining a company web site and advertising in local media. We currently market ourselves strictly through our Facebook page and word of mouth. 

Procuring a tool trailer for storage and hauling of tools and equipment to work sites and an open trailer for hauling project materials.

Procuring several battery-operated power tools such as chainsaws, pole saws and weed whips, so we can do site maintenance without using gas and oil. This is important to our mission of reducing pollution and green house gases generated by our work.

Repairing and rust proofing the body and frame of the main work truck in order that it lasts longer, thus reducing our environmental impacts.

Upgraded computer and printer for home office for company records and outreach, Projector for public outreach and presentations on sustainable landscaping.

Seed money to pay expenses related to upgraded insurance, and record keeping/payroll  needed to make it possible to hire 1 to 3 employees in the short term to cover our increasing work load in our core areas of natural areas management work and construction of native landscapes and to add additional projects such as a native plant nursery, .  

Seed starting medium and containers for propagating native plants. Initially looking to produce at least 5,000 native flowers and grasses, and 250 native trees and shrubs for our projects in the first year in a purchased or rented green house facility minimum 500 square feet for propagating plants. We are hoping to reach out to local schools and community organizations to become involved with this project.

We are looking to friends to help fund these things. My wife and I have no living family members who can help us move ahead with our expansion. Though we are trying to be as frugal as possible, it costs real money to do the necessary expansions. The owner cannot do all the work himself, even working 80 hours a week, which is not unheard of during the busy season. We estimate it will cost around $25,000.00 in seed money to fund our short term expansion initiatives. Some of the major items: $4,000 buys a tool trailer. $500 buys hand tools for a crew of three. $5,000-$8,000 pays for a small greenhouse and growing media for plants, or for the rental of a small area for several years for growing native plants.  $4,000 buys the necessary battery powered power tools and hand tools needed for a crew of 3 people to do natural areas management, and it will cost at least 4,000 for upgraded office equipment, beefed up business insurance including workmans compensation, building  a website, and the groundwork to take on new employees. Help us get to the next level to build a flourishing, sustainable local business that brings people and nature together. Thanks so much for your help.

As we expand, we will keep you posted on what your generous contributions have made possible on our Facebook page and website as it develops.

 

My family and I thank you for your support

 

Joshua Skolnick.

Principal and Owner, Heartland Land Creations

 

 

 

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$100 USD
Bringing Nature Home - book
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From Amazon: As development and subsequent habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. But there is an important and simple step toward reversing this alarming trend: Everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity. There is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. In many parts of the world, habitat destruction has been so extensive that local wildlife is in crisis and may be headed toward extinction.

Bringing Nature Home has sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being, and the new paperback edition—with an expanded resource section and updated photos—will help broaden the movement. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical recommenda
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$500 USD
Free Residential Consultation
  • 0 claimed
If you are within 75 miles of Williams Bay, we will visit your property and prepare a basic native landscape plan for the site, or recommendations for preserving existing native plants and natural areas. For small residential properties. For larger areas or properties with complex needs, an $100.00 credit towards this design and analysis service will be given. For sites greater than 75 miles from Williams Bay, we will need detailed photographs, an aerial photograph and preferably a survey plat of your site to perform an off site analysis and plan.
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