Category Archives: Education

Future of Environmental Education in Wisconsin

At the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin we are honored to share some important news about the future of environmental education in Wisconsin. Our partners at the Wisconsin Environmental Education Foundation have done so much to further environmental education for over a decade. We are excited and honored to be handed the baton and to bring our collective passion and resources together in this important effort. Please read on for an important message from Janet...

Eagle Days Along the Fox River

By Debra Nowak, naturalist with 1000 Islands Environmental Center In the winter of 1987-1988, 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukuana, Wisconsin, was the location of the first bald eagle sighting in decades. Slowly and steadily, thanks to many legal protections and regulations (including those offered by the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency), those wintering eagle populations have grown. Today, bald eagles are flourishing all over the country, but especially in the Fox...

Rattlesnake Appreciation Day?

January 28th is Rattlesnake Appreciation Day. It might seem crazy to devote an entire day to appreciating a creature like a rattlesnake, but hear us out. Rattlesnakes, like Wisconsin’s native eastern massasauga (Endangered in Wisconsin and recently added as a federally Threatened species) and timber rattlesnakes, usually get a bad rap in society, and are often portrayed as creepy, deadly pests. This humble holiday reminds us that even slithering snakes play a critical role in...

The first drones: The night-time world of owls

By Jillaine Burton, Open Door Bird Sanctuary Owls are the predator drones of the night. Seldom seen, these mysterious birds are designed to spot and swoop in on their prey silently and effectively. They flew with the dinosaurs—fossils date them back to more than 50 million years ago. And they are everywhere. Owls are found on all seven continents except Antarctica. There are more than 150 owl species, most of them found in Asia. There...

Long flight: Feathered dinosaurs turned into birds

By Jillaine Burton, Open Door Bird Sanctuary The next time you see a red-tailed hawk swoop in on its prey or a turkey vulture soaring in the sky, take time to appreciate the fact that you’re witnessing one of the last remnants of the dinosaurs. That’s right. Our feathered friends belong to the same family tree as the beasts that roamed the earth more than 100 million years ago. They are much more attractive than...

Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program: Valued volunteers

By Becky Sapper, University of Wisconsin Extension   Do you enjoy Wisconsin’s vast natural resources? Do you get energized by being outside? Are you a life-long learner, who wonders about nature? Do you like to make a difference? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have something in common with Wisconsin’s 400 certified Master Naturalist Volunteers! Or, perhaps, you are already one of them. Volunteers have passion, interest and dedication and...

Battling invasive species with herbicide and education

By Jill Hapner, Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.   Give the natives a hand At first glance, it looks like a peaceful grassland. But if you look closer, you will see a battle unfolding. Controlling invasive species is challenging, and replacing those invaders with native species can be a long process. In 2011 the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium (SEWISC) initiated plans to establish a small native prairie restoration demonstration site on the grounds...

Inspiring the next generations: A Q&A with Tom Dott

The Foundation is thrilled to have Tom Dott, vice president of commercial banking at First Business Bank, join our board this month. Dott has more than 20 years of commercial banking experience. He served on the Board of Directors of the Henry Vilas Park Zoological Society and serves in several leadership roles for the United Way of Dane County. We recently sat down with Dott to talk to him about what he cherishes most about...

Your Brain on Nature: A short book review

By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation On my birthday, my boyfriend and I went hiking at Governor Dodge State Park. We picked out a long, looping trail, headed into the woods and immediately got lost. We found ourselves on a narrow trail broken by roots and jutting rocks, climbing ever more steeply. I started to breathe harder. But I couldn’t help but notice the determined way the saplings clung to the rocky hillside and the...

Wisconsin Science Fest Features Conservation and Ecology Events

By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Each year, the Wisconsin Science Festival engages Wisconsin residents in the wonder and power of sciences, arts and more, bringing together organizations from around the state to put on events over four exciting and enriching days. This year, the festival runs Thursday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct.25. Events are happening right now, and many will celebrate wildlife, landscape and conservation. For those of us interested in such topics,...

The Conservation Legacy of Bud Jordahl

This week’s annual Jordahl Public Lands Lecture is hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and proudly supported by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. This year’s lecture, which is tonight, features Timothy Egan, a writer and columnist whose focus has been on American landscapes. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a popular columnist, and a National Book Award-winning author. His free public lecture is titled “Still the Geography of Hope: How Public Land Can Restore...

Tom Uttech: Mother Nature’s artist

By Christine Seeley, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin One may wonder what role a landscape painter can play when modern cameras can capture the beauty of our surroundings with a level of detail that many artists can’t or don’t. What is it, then, that these artists are hoping to achieve with their work? As an artist myself, I know all too well the struggle between trying to create artwork true to my own ideals and...

Portrait of the nature photography enthusiast

By Vince Aiello, Foundation volunteer photographer To view more of Vince’s photography, visit his website at http://vincentaiellophotographer.com. I have always had a strong interest in nature. I can’t pinpoint when it started. All I know is I’d rather spend as much time outdoor rather than inside. For me, I think it started by hearing the stories that my grandpa would tell at the dinner table. He had all of these amazing stories about things in nature....

Getting students outside: Peter Ostlind and the Teachers Outdoor Environmental Education Fund

By Brooke Hemze and Lindsay Renick Mayer, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin When Peter Ostlind was invited to take a 45-minute hike with a full class of kindergarteners up the ridge adjacent to their school, he wasn’t sure what to expect. What he did know was that getting kids outdoors would benefit them in ways big and small, even helping to foster the next generation of conservationists. In the end the kids came together hiking...

Happy Earth Day from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin!

  By Ruth Oppedahl, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin When I moved to Madison to take this job, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to continue in the city many of my family’s practices from rural Bayfield County to reduce our carbon footprint: heating with a renewable resource, hanging clothes on the line and commuting only a short distance to work. One conundrum we faced in the city was having to drive our dog to a dog...

Inspiration from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson during Earth Week

Foundation staff Caitlin Williamson and Camille Zanoni and members had an opportunity this week to meet astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson this week as part of UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute’s Earth Day celebrations. Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator and Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York. Tyson ended his talk with this of earth taken from a spacecraft orbiting Saturn: Then...

Building an environmental ethic: A Q&A with new board member Michael Williamson

By Lindsay Renick Mayer The Foundation is thrilled to have Michael Williamson, executive director of the Wisconsin Investment Board, join our board this month. Williamson has served as deputy secretary for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the director of the North Carolina Retirement System and deputy director of the District of Columbia Retirement Board. We recently sat down with the former University of Wisconsin-Madison administrator to talk to him about what he cherishes...