Conservation Hall of Fame Honors Jens Jensen

Jens Jensen, the founder of The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay and an inspirational force behind the creation of The Ridges Sanctuary, will receive a long-overdue honor when he’s inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame on April 24, 11 am, joining the likes of Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson.

The public is invited to celebrate the 2020 and 2021 Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame inductees through four free, virtual induction-ceremony events. Fellow inductees include UW-Madison professors Stephen Born and Stanley Temple and citizen conservationist Gary Eldred.

Jensen (1860-1951) was a Danish-born landscape architect who designed more than 600 parks throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, including some of the most prominent parks in Chicago. He fought to save the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and helped to create the Cook County Forest Preserves, which stunted the overwhelming surge of suburban sprawl to preserve natural environments for the masses.

Well ahead of his time, Jensen was one of the first landscape architects to incorporate native plants and the location’s existing ecological, topographical and geographic features into his designs. He was also a tireless advocate for the conservation of natural heritage. 

Upon his death, the New York Times called him the “Dean of American Landscape Architecture.” 

In 1920, Jensen focused his work around his private practice and started vacationing in Door County. He lived full time in Door County from 1935 – when he founded The Clearing – until his death in 1951. Here, he zealously continued his advocacy for protecting natural areas, serving as a principal proponent of The Ridges Sanctuary, Cave Point County Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park and Ellison Bluff County Park, among others. 

Registration is required for online access to the free, public induction ceremonies. To register, visit

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