Thank you for accepting the Fischer Challenge!

You helped go above and beyond!

You helped make it happen!

In October 2022, the children of Anne Fischer put forth a challenge to those who value the future of Door County’s wild spaces. The Fischer Family’s goal was to inspire fellow members to give generously before December 15 to match their $350,000 grant.

Thanks to all those who gave generously during the challenge, $454,000 was raised to match the Fischer Challenge grant.

Funds from this challenge will be used to support 2023 land protection efforts, including the protection of a new natural area in Southern Door, additions to a key natural area near Sturgeon Bay, and several other land protection projects across the peninsula and islands.

Thank you!


Childhood memories of immersing themselves in the wilderness around what is now Shivering Sands Nature Preserve and their mother’s love for the outdoors prompted the Fischer siblings to make a gift in her honor. According to John Fischer, the challenge makes the family’s donation even more meaningful.


John and Xan Fischer

“If we don’t invest in conservation, no one is going to be paying attention,” John said. “We’ll have all sorts of environmental problems, like Shivering Sands’ former issue of poor water quality. Donating to the Land Trust allows land to be put aside, with people paying attention to its care—the land will stay wild, and it will be protected.”

In 1969, when John’s parents were living in Elmhurst, Illinois, they bought a vacation home on Glidden Drive near Shivering Sands. “I’d run off in the morning and be by the creek all day,” he said. “I’d find ways to occupy myself in the woods. It was a formative part of my childhood. The only thing that would get me out was my mother dragging me to summer YMCA camp. I was a feral child.”

In more recent years, John took note of the natural restoration of Shivering Sands. He also discovered through research how similar that property was to Kellner Fen Natural Area, which is close to his current home on Lake Forest Park Road. “The Land Trust, WI-DNR, and The Nature Conservancy have done wonderful work together with the Shivering Sands wetlands,” John said. “We wished to contribute to the Land Trust’s efforts to do for Kellner Fen what has been done for Shivering Sands.”

Shivering Sands offers a tug at John’s heart for not only his early memories of summers spent in nature, but also—as the youngest of the four children—the time he spent at the family cottage alone with his mother.

“It was important to her that we get plenty of time outdoors in Door County, with daily walks on the beach, hikes in the woods, to embrace it all and get out of the house,” he said. “Mom loved Door County and was planning to spend the remainder of her life here. We wanted to remember her with something we thought she’d enjoy.”

John and his wife, Xan, have taken his mother’s advice to heart with an active outdoor lifestyle that includes biking, paddling, and kayaking. They have a goal to hike all the Land Trust preserves before they head to their home in Colorado this winter.

The Fischer siblings still have special ties to Door County. John’s sister Jennifer settled here with her husband, Dennis Schermerhorn. His brother, Dean, now owns a home on Glidden Drive and his sister Nancy Hetem continues to visit.

“If you love Door County and everything that it has to offer, donating to the Land Trust’s efforts to save the wild places is an appropriate gift,” John said. “For us, protecting Door County’s wild places is how you keep Door County special.”

Xan adds, “It’s going to help nature and wildlife. The more we can get people to donate, the better.”

“If you love Door County and everything that it has to offer, donating to the Land Trust’s efforts to save the wild places is an appropriate gift."

- John Fischer

The Fischer Family challenges you to donate generously with your membership or year-end donation to Door County Land Trust. Donations given by December 15, 2022, count toward matching the Fischer’s $350,000 grant to help keep Door County’s special places wild and beautiful.

The Land Trust thanks the Fischer Family for their generous commitment to protecting the peninsula’s wilderness.

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Want to know more about the challenge or other ways to contribute?

Give us a call at (920) 746-1359 or Donate Today!