The November Chamber Member of the Month is Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary. Nikki Janisin has been Executive Director at Hunt Hill since October 2014. Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer board of directors called the Friends of Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary (FOHHAS).

Their Name: Hunt: the original donor’s mother’s maiden name; Hill: the donor’s cabins were located on a hill on the property; Audubon: the property was donated to National Audubon in 1954 where it was run as an adult environmental education camp but in 2017 National Audubon transferred ownership to FOHHAS; Sanctuary: the donor asked that the property be a place where all living things could live their full natural lives — “It is good to live with large and old trees”

Hunt Hill is supported financially through donations, memberships, endowments, foundations, and program fees. Although Hunt Hill is supported by people becoming members, the grounds, trails, and programs are open to all. They maintain seven miles of trails. Within a 5–10-minute walk from the parking area, visitors can experience prairie, bog, marsh, glacial lakes, old growth, and cutover forests. They also offer public programs for all different ages.

Their facilities allow us to house up to 70 people overnight in the summer, and year-round we have indoor and outdoor spaces for meetings, reunions, weddings, retreats, parties and more!

In the winter Hunt Hill has volunteers who hike our trails by snowshoe to pack them for visitors. Free snowshoes are available for people to use when visiting Hunt Hill. A nature playground is located behind the farmhouse. It features a pondless creek area, sandbox, mud kitchen, log balance beams, fort and more. The Discovery Trail is great for all ages! Each month they hide 8-15 items along the trail for people to find.

Thanks to three generous donors, they are currently building a building that will house showers for their residential program participants, a public bathroom and new welcome area with offices. As a result, the small parking area will be closed through the winter, but trails and other facilities remain open. They expect to have the building open by the end of May 2023.

Hunt Hill also finished trail improvements along the Vole trail this fall. The trail will reopen in 2023. Signage along the trail and at the welcome kiosks will inform people how to navigate around these closed sections. In 2023, people can arrange for golf cart rides along the improved trail if they are unable to walk the trail.

Since Hunt Hill is a sanctuary, hunting is not allowed on the property. People should use caution when hiking during hunting season. However, trails are open to hike year-round at Hunt Hill. Blaze orange is strongly encouraged to be worn from October – December. Fluorescent vests can be found on the screen porch of the farmhouse office for any visitors who need it.

What an amazing place to explore! Check out their website https://hunthill.org/.