TRACCE no. 3 – by Jack Steinbring
The Mid-America Geographic Foundation was formed in 1993 as a non-profit, educational/cultural organization under both U.S. and Wisconsin State laws. Money received by the Foundation is tax-deductible.
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The Foundation arose as a result of the work of Herman Bender who had identified, and conducted research into, a number of boulder arrangements (petroforms) in East-Central Wisconsin. It has since been discovered that there is a tight correlation between these sites and prominent landforms along historic and prehistoric trails. In addition, these sites align with springs and appear correlated with Archaic cultural sites dating between 1,000 and 3,000 B.C.E. These sites form a primary research and conservation interest of the Foundation. The introduction of a high voltage power line through this environment has led to extensive recent research into regional conservation. A report on this research has been completed and will be published soon.
The Foundation has over 100 members. The President is Herman Bender, the founder of the organization. The Board of Directors consists of many professional people from the region, including representative of First Nations, and meets monthly at the University of Wisconsin Center at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, with which the organization is affiliated.
A newsletter is published 6 times per year. In addition to rock art, the Foundation focuses on other archaeological and environmental matters.
After only two years, the group has registered significant success in altering the location and nature of major public projects, the protection of heritage sites, and critical research into the relationship between rock art and aboriginal populations. The principle emphases are on conservation and education.
The organization has very close ties with Wisconsin’s aboriginal groups, and is in the process of appointing tribal leaders to a group that is advisory to the Board of Directors.
The Mid-America Geographic Foundation is a member group of The International Federation of Rock Art Organizations. Plans are underway to join in hosting the 1999 World Rock Art Congress in Wisconsin.
An outstanding venue has been selected, and numerous institutions and groups are participating in the planning of this major event, the first of its kind in the Eastern United States.