Category Archives: Uncategorized

2017 Conservation Grants Announced

Congratulations to our 2017 C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant recipients! The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded $27,945 to 29 applicants through the 2017 C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program. The program annually awards grants up to $1,000 that support the conservation of Wisconsin’s natural resources and support education and outreach. The 2017 grant projects range from pollinator conservation to community trail building. “We believe that nature has inherent value and that people want to make...

Crane watching: One of nature’s many gifts

By Ronald L. Semmann, founding Foundation board member   “What are we doing out here?” I asked my ecologically inquisitive wife as we stumbled along the rain-soaked dike, feeling the occasional impact of small chunks of hail. “Did we make a mistake signing up for this thing.” “It’s going to be great,” she responded. “This is one of those rare chances to really enjoy nature.” We were talking about the great Sandhill Wildlife Area crane...

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...

Flambeau River Forest fund: Protect what you love, and help others love it, too

By Lisa Charron   Imagine 90,000 acres of protected forest. Seventy-five miles of hardwood-lined river winds its way through the property. Paddlers and people fishing drift on the open water, while thrill-seekers maneuver through the rapids. Deer, wolves, raccoon, black bear, otter, bald eagles and ospreys make their homes along the lush banks while musky, sturgeon, trout, walleye, bass and pan fish thrive in the waters. Families spend evenings around the fire in the rustic...

An outdoor lab in the city of ravines

By Kelly Koller, Fox River Academy (guest blogger) Hidden amid the pulse and flurry of modern life, every city, village and countryside offers monuments, both natural and human-made, that weave together the rich fabric of history from thousands of years ago until today. For the students of Fox River Academy, that natural landmark is the Ravine. A refuge from the bustling downtown City of Appleton and an important sanctuary for wildlife in the sprawling development of the Fox Cities, the Ravine is home to what our students estimate...

Ray Zillmer: A Vision Come True in the Kettle Moraine

By Kathlin Sickel, freelance writer Check out Kathlin’s blog, The Badger and the Whooping Crane.   The natural resources of our state contain not just the gifts and wonders of nature, but also the seeds of many a story. Consider, for example, the story of the Ice Age Trail, the Kettle Moraine State Forest and a life-long Wisconsinite named Raymond T. Zillmer.   Ray Zillmer’s story highlights the fact that a very different landscape might...

Keeping leaves (and nutrients!) out of our streets and lakes

By Theresa Vander Woude, Clean Lakes Alliance   By the time leaves have started to fall in Dane County, most of us have tucked away swimsuits and beach towels for the year. The lakes are too cold to swim in and too liquid for winter sports. This fall, Clean Lakes Alliance and the Village of DeForest partnered to tackle one of our lakes’ biggest headaches: nutrient pollution from fall leaves. In particular, we wanted to answer...

Give the gift of nature

The holidays are upon us and we’re here to help you give the perfect gift to the Wisconsin nature lovers in your life: Give a gift membership to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Members have the advantage of registering early for our popular field trip program, which includes more than 150 field trips across the state. Members also receive our quarterly Bridges newsletter and our monthly e-newsletter. You can give a gift membership online...

Protecting What’s Precious on the Lake Michigan Shoreline

By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin   The United States has only thirteen designated National Marine Sanctuaries. But that’s about to change. After fifteen years without a new National Marine Sanctuary, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has finally decided on a new designation—the Lake Michigan shoreline from Port Washington to Two Rivers in our great state of Wisconsin. The National Marine Sanctuaries program was established on October 23, 1972 by the...

Halloween Fun at State Parks and Forests

By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin   Did you know that Wisconsin state parks, forests, wildlife areas and nature education centers offer a whole lot of Halloween fun? Neither did I, until I checked out the WI Department of Natural Resources events page for the coming week. These events offer it all–night time hikes lit by jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin painting and other crafts, bonfires with all the associated treats, education about Halloween-themed critters and even some...

Restoring wild rice for waterfowl in the Mead Wildlife Area

By Patrice Eyers, guest blogger from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources As far back as one can imagine, the area that sits between Wausau and Stevens Point along the Little Eau Pleine River, has been cherished for its abundance of natural resources. In pre-settlement times, the Chippewa inhabited Smokey Hill, a forested island in the former Rice Lake. The river and the lowland marshes provided a bounty of white-tail deer, bear, fish, beaver, muskrat,...

A Ponderosa of her own

By Lisa Gaumnitz, NRF volunteer and local freelancer Erin Crain’s parents planted the seed for her career in natural resources and her passion for restoring her own property on a city lot in Milwaukee in the 1970s. There, her father, an engineer at Delco and her mother, a stay-at-home mom, put into practice the principals of organic and native gardening, long-before such concepts became mainstream.  With sometimes grudging, sometimes  enthusiastic, help from their five kids,...

Congratulations to heron haiku contest winners and entrants

Thanks to everyone who entered or voted in our heron haiku contest! We had a great time reading through your terrific entries, making the task of picking just four finalists very challenging. The haiku by Max Witynski of Madison received the most Facebook “likes,” making him the winner. Max will receive a birding prize pack from the Foundation and our partner Eagle Optics. We’ve posted Max’s haiku, the finalists and all of the other great entrants...

The birds, the bees and the Badger state

By Brooke Hemze It’s February, the month of love. With springtime around the corner, love will soon be in the air for many species. In honor of Valentine’s Day, staff here at the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin consulted with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other references to take a look at the quirky courting rituals of some of our favorite Wisconsin critters. American Woodcock   Hold me closer sky dancer. The American woodcock’s...

Paul Brandt’s Lower Wisconsin Riverway Fund continues to shape and restore the riverway

By Brooke Hemze This year marks 10 years since former Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Paul Brandt established the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Fund with the Foundation, generating more than $30,000 annually in recent years. Since its creation, the fund has been used to manage and restore the beautiful Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, an area that Brandt was instrumental in creating. Brandt died in 2006. “Paul Brandt was one the most dedicated state employees...