Ariens Company Named Business Friend of the Environment by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce

BRILLION, Wis. – For the 31st year, WMC is recognizing nine companies with the Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment Award for their innovative approaches to environmental protection and efforts beyond that which is required by regulatory compliance. Each has made significant improvements in the areas of sustainability, environmental stewardship, and environmental innovation.  

“It is an honor to recognize Wisconsin businesses that go above and beyond in their efforts to grow their business while protecting the environment,” said WMC Director of Environmental & Energy Policy Craig Summerfield. “All of these businesses are great examples of the business community’s efforts to grow the economy and preserve the environment for the future of Wisconsin.”

AriensCo is being recognized as a 2021 honoree for its efforts to restore native species and enhance biodiversity on its corporate campus. The company was nominated by Ayres Associates.

Two years ago, this site was nothing but brush and invasive species,” said Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of AriensCo, while accepting the award at a special presentation at the Stone Prairie event venue in Brillion which is on the edge of the 200-acres of conservation land. “It’s grown into something that benefits the community and preserves the environment while helping increase biodiversity and restore the rare prairie oak savannah habitat. Our team is grateful for this recognition.”

One of the judges shared his perspective on AriensCo’s efforts.

“This project exemplifies the spirit of the Business Friend of the Environment Award. Ariens Company went above and beyond to restore native species and enhance biodiversity on its corporate campus,” noted Mark Thimke, retired environmental attorney and Partner at Foley & Lardner, LLP. “Our panel of judges is proud to recognize Ariens Company for its impressive work on the Prairie Oak Savanna project.”

The Prairie Oak Savanna project informally began years ago as employees planted trees and native grasses along the hiking trails that wind through land on the Brillion campus. Since then, the effort has gained momentum, structure, and recognition.

In 2020, the company committed to converting a 50-acre farm field on its property to conservation, bringing the total to 200 acres of land currently in various stages of restoration.

This habitat, characterized by open-grown oaks, prairie grasses, and native flowering plants, is a specific type of terrain that once flourished on 5.5 million acres across Wisconsin. By today’s estimates, a mere 0.01 percent of that environment still exists, making this one of the rarest habitats in the world.

AriensCo’s staff continue to plant and manage native flora which now includes more than 140 native plant species. Employees also keep honeybees, bottling 700 jars of honey in 2020. Three miles of walking trails through the conservation area provide recreational access to employees and the Brillion community.

To improve access and promote participation, in 2020 the company created the Stone Prairie event venue for outreach, education, and to celebrate special occasions.

“Employees and the community have become vested in the project as they see more native wildlife returning,” said Ann Stilp, Executive Program Manager for AriensCo’s conservation efforts. “Our thriving restoration area sits between two manufacturing plants, demonstrating that conservation and manufacturing can exist side by side. We hope to inspire other companies to give consideration to biodiversity projects on their corporate properties.” 

The 2021 Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment award winners were selected from 27 nominees by an independent panel of judges representing industry, the Department of Natural Resources, an environmental non-profit, an environmental attorney, and an environmental consultant.

About AriensCo  

Based in Brillion, Wisconsin, AriensCo is a privately-owned manufacturer of outdoor power equipment for both consumer and commercial markets. Established in 1933, the company manufactures equipment under the Ariens®, Gravely®, RapidCare, Countax®, Westwood® and AS-Motor® brand names. It also established AriensCo Hospitality in 2020 with two luxury event venues, Stone Prairie and Round Lake Farms. It is adding the Ariens Nordic Center December 2022. These venues are part of the mission to create reasons to visit the Brillion community. Find us on the web: Join the team at Follow us on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn. Like us on Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

About WMC

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) is the largest and most influential business association in the state, working to make Wisconsin the best place in the nation to do business. We are the state chamber of commerce, state manufacturers’ association and state safety council. WMC is also affiliated with WMC Foundation, which runs programs including the Future Wisconsin Project and Wisconsin Business World. WMC is proud to have been serving as Wisconsin’s business voice since 1911, representing over 3,800 member companies, spanning all sectors of the economy.