A hidden gem off the beaten path in Franklin is getting some attention as a safe retreat to bond with nature, and in the process soothe the heart, soul and mind. On CBS 58 Sunday Morning, Michael Schlesinger discovered the Franklin Conservancy for Healing and Heritage is also a place where Wisconsin's most interesting wildlife gathers in the spring and fall.
Special feature on April 28, 2020
Featured on the June 17, 2019 Morning Blend episode on Today
Conservancy Offers a Place for Healing
An anonymous donor has awarded a $125,000 challenge grant to the Conservancy. They hope it inspires others to match their $125,000 and finish the final $1 million we need to complete the Nature Trails and Healing Garden.
Welcome to the Conservancy
Located in Franklin, WI, the Conservancy for Healing and Heritage is a 36-acre parcel of land in southeastern Wisconsin that features a rare combination of ecosystems. This unique piece of land is Milwaukee County’s only kettle and glacier lake. This sacred land, with a history to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, for the first time will be open to the public.
We are protecting this natural habitat while creating shared spaces for comfort, spiritual inspiration, healing and education. The Nature Trails, Healing Garden, Healing Chapel in the Woods, and Kopmeier Lake (also known as Priest's Lake) are surrounded by forestland with a history going back to the settlement of greater Milwaukee in the 19th century. The lake is flanked by a steep glacial moraine covered in mesic hardwoods. The forest floor is alive with wildflowers in the spring and mushrooms in the fall.
We honor the heritage and mission of the owners before us.
The land was born of the Ice Age. Carved by glaciers that created a steep gravel ridge which then retreated, leaving behind an enormous block of ice buried in the outwash. That mammoth cube melted to become a 35 ft deep spring fed lake.
1889 - Kopmeier Family purchases the land
1955 - They donate land to Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Archdiocese utilizes land and lake for retreats, rest and rejuvenation. We continue that tradition today and forever.
2003 - Conservancy becomes an independent 501(c)3
2005 - Conservancy purchases 36 acres including Kopmeier Lake and the surrounding woodland and wetland
2016 - Reiman Healing Chapel in the Woods is opened to the public
2017 - Initial clearing of the Healing Garden and upper Trail
2018 - Phase II initial work on the Healing Garden and Healing Chapel upgrades begins
2020 - the majority of the We Energies Foundation Healing Garden is completed. The two observation decks and stairs are completed on the Healing Trails
2021 - completion of the We Energies Foundation Healing Garden and start of the Lake & Nature Trails construction
The lake and the land around it is protected from future development forever.
Partnerships mean the Conservancy is serving our community in spiritual, health and well being and education. (Imagine all that will be happening when it's complete!)
Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Franklin High School
The Nature Conservancy
Archdiocese of Milwaukee - Office of Worship
Reiman Cancer Center
St. Alphonsus Parish - Greendale
St. Mary's Parish - Hales Corners
Aurora Women's Pavilion
Faith Community Church
Milwaukee County Parks
Franklin Business Park Consortium
WI Department of Natural Resources
Shinrin Yoku Madison
Sponsor the Conservancy or the Lake & Nature Trails.
BE A HERO! Help us finish by Summer 2021.
Funds raised is $5.0 million with $500,000 needed to complete.
A memorial or honorarium is a way to recognize a family member or friend.
No gift is too small. To find out ways you can help click the button below.
“Viewing forest landscapes, for even short periods of time, has relaxing effects such as lower blood pressure and heart rate.”
-- Nature Sacred
Hear first about our latest news and events!
Your support will enable us to meet our goals of completing the Educational pier and observation deck as part of the Healing Lake & Nature Trails. Funds given will also support wellness and environmental education programs.
The Conservancy can be accessed from the parking lot of the Ascension Medical building on
S. 74th and W. Rawson Avenue in Franklin, WI. Drive to the far end of the parking lot -- the Reiman Healing Chapel is on the right. The Reiman Cancer Center is on the left.
The entire Conservancy is situated between W. Rawson Avenue on the south, W. Loomis Road on the north, and between S. 74th and S. 68th.