A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Nature, Property, and Community in the Kickapoo Valley

EPA Grant Number: U915403
Title: A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Nature, Property, and Community in the Kickapoo Valley
Investigators: Heasley, Lynne
Institution: University of Wisconsin - Madison
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $51,298
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Forestry , Tribal Environmental Health Research


The objective of this research project is to trace the environmental history of one valley in the rural Midwest. I focus on spatial and historical relationships among land tenure, land use, and the landscape of the Kickapoo Valley. Simultaneously, I contrast these visible relationships to society's less visible relationships, while shifting ideas about property and nature. The research involves history, ecology, and geography, all of which are crucial for answering the following central questions:

1. How have ideas about property and nature been articulated in real-life relationships among people in the Kickapoo Valley?

2. How have they taken shape on the landscape?

3. Can we measure the environmental consequences of our land tenure arrangements?

4. Has society placed property against nature, when both are intrinsic to our everyday lives?


I integrate the approaches of environmental history and landscape ecology. To gain the spatially explicit, quantitative insights typical of landscape ecology, I developed a geographic information system (GIS), which documents land tenure and the landscape of three townships at six times, dating back to the 1930s. This research project is part of a larger body of work emerging from archival research and interviews with Kickapoo Valley residents, as well as maps from the GIS.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, agriculture, ecology, environmental history, forests, geography, geographic information system, GIS, land tenure, landscape, Midwest, nature, property, rural., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Midwest, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem Protection, State, Forestry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Ecology and Ecosystems, Urban and Regional Planning, Social Science, Ecological Indicators, Environmental History, culture and ecology, landscape ecology, Wisconsin (WI), landscape patterns, forest tenure, Kickapoo Valley (WI), land use, cultural landscapes, land tenure

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final