By Nathan Vine
Bill Horvath says that for all his decades of conservation work, one of his most meaningful connections to nature remains his family’s property in the town of Navarino.
It was on that land, in Shawano County, where Horvath says he became a conservationist in 1944 at the age of 6. That’s when he witnessed a dragline excavator dig up his favorite fishing stream, as part of an effort to boost agricultural production in support of U.S. efforts during World War II.
Thirty-six years later, Horvath bought the property and restored the 26 acres of wetland to its original condition. Today, he continues to manage the wetland and forest on the property to be as undisturbed as possible, save for his hunting of deer or turkey.
Horvath, 76, of Whiting is scheduled to be elected Saturday to the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. A 1961 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Horvath is the first member of the school’s College of Natural Resources to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which he helped found in 1985.