Category Archives: WisConservation

Wild Madeline

By: Bijit Khadka and Erik R. Olson, Northland College We saw the sun rise over Lake Superior as we passed Washburn, Wisconsin on our way to the Madeline Island Ferry. To our surprise, our van was the only vehicle on it. The lake was cold and calm. When we reached our destination, we drove off down the road to check on our camera trap network. Thanks to the funding provided by the C.D. Besadny Conservation...

Five Field Trip Facts

By: Lauren Koshere, Donor Relations Coordinator Getting active in nature is so important to NRF that it’s actually part of my job description. How cool is that? Field Trips are a seriously awesome program tool for a nonprofit organization. Each trip is an opportunity for members to meet each other, staff to get to know members, and everyone involved to connect over shared experiences…on common ground. Every other place I’ve ever worked would love to...

Bat Talk and Walk Program

Guest blog by: North Lakeland Discovery Center One of the goals of the North Lakeland Discovery Center, a nonprofit environmental education center in northern Wisconsin, is to connect our community to the natural world. We do this through programs, hikes, lectures, workshops and most importantly, citizen science. Our project this summer and early fall was our Bat Walk and Live Education Bat Programs....

Harold Ramon Cram, Jr. Bluebird Restoration Fund

When we lose someone we love, someone we’ve known our entire lives, it can feel like a gaping hole is left behind. While no person or tribute can ever really replace what has been lost, as humans we have a strong instinct to help our loved one live on in some way. “After Dad died, people wanted to make donations to something that would live on in his name—something he believed in and loved,” remembered...

First Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund grant impacts three State Natural Areas

In the historic first disbursement from the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund, $50,000 will be invested in Walworth and Dunn counties. This announcement comes just ahead of Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 30, and funding will be split between these two high-use properties that are home to a wide variety of game, non-game, and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (endangered, threatened, or in decline). The Natural Resources Foundation is grateful to the Natural Resources Board, the...

Southern Kettle Moraine Restoration

Conservation and restoration of our public lands is central to our mission at the Natural Resources Foundation. The Southern Kettle Moraine encompasses several high priority State Natural Areas that are home to multiple rare ecosystems as well as threatened or endangered species. The Natural Resources Foundation partnered with the Brookby Foundation this year to support restoration work in the area. Additional work will be done in 2018 thanks to the first disbursement from the Cherish...

Restoration at Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve

By: Jonathan D. Steffen, former intern with the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust. The Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve (also known as Stroebe Island Marsh) is owned and managed by the Northeast Wisconsin Land trust and encompasses an area of 48 acres located in the Village of Fox Crossing (formerly the Town of Menasha). In the last year, the preserve has undergone many restoration efforts. Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust staff and volunteers have had tremendous success removing invasive species...

Protecting rare plants at Kohler-Andrae

By Caitlin Williamson, director of conservation programs The shores of Lake Michigan preserve some of the last remaining Great Lakes dunes in Wisconsin, and harbor some of our state’s most incredible and rare flora and fauna. At Kohler Park Dunes State Natural Area in Sheboygan County, a series of beautiful dunes and swales face Lake Michigan. This State Natural Area was created to preserve this unique natural community and provide critical habitat for the rare and endemic...

The battle for prairie

By Rebecca Biggs, Communications Assistant The Battle Bluff State Natural Area has a lot to offer history buffs as well as nature lovers. Battle Bluff gets its name from the Black Hawk War of 1832, a tragic fight for land between members of the Sauk Nation and the United States. The Sauk warriors would use the high bluff to evade U.S. soldiers and to find a safe place to cross the Mississippi River. By the...

Building a home for insects

By Rebecca Biggs, communications assistant for Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Insect family seeks cozy home in quiet neighborhood… Insects aren’t so different from us; they too need a safe space to grow and raise their young. While many of us may have a tense relationship with insects, they are crucial to any healthy ecosystem—from our yards and gardens to forests and prairies. Even farms and orchards rely on beneficial bugs to keep crops healthy....

Traveling to Isle Royale with the Foundation

By: Bill Smith, NRF Board Member As our Natural Resources Foundation (NRF) tour left the sheltered dock at Houghton, MI, and headed to the open waters of Lake Superior, I was wondering: What did Lake Superior have waiting for us? The Michigan shore slowly disappeared below the stern of the Ranger III and the skies remained clear. Winds were favorable for our five-hour voyage across Lake Superior to Isle Royale National Wilderness Park. It was a...

Amid massive declines, NRF joins national effort to protect the monarch butterfly

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is proud to announce our recent partnership with the Monarch Joint Venture (MJV), a collaborative effort with more than 50 partners including government agencies, universities, and nonprofit organizations working to conserve, protect, and promote the monarch and its habitat throughout the country. The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is arguably America’s most recognizable insect. Despite its popularity, monarch populations have been reduced by a staggering amount—researchers estimate that 80 percent...

2016 Field Trip Photo Contest Winners

All of these photos were taken during Field Trips with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. The name of the Field Trip is included for reference. Join us for our 2017 Field Trip season. Registration opens for current or renewing members on March 22, 2017 at noon. Make sure your membership is current before February 15th, in order to receive your 2017 Field Trip Guidebook in the mail. Grand Prize: Jerry Newman for Muralt Bluff Prairie...

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...

Marty Henert steps up as Foundation’s next Board Chair

Martin (Marty) Henert has been with NRF since the very beginning and played a fundamental role in getting the Foundation connected to funding in its first years. He even took over as Executive Director of the Foundation when Ron Semmann, the first Executive Director, was called upon to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources....

Bob and Nan Rudd discuss new conservation endowment

During the holiday season, with all of its sales and shopping, it is easy to forget the true joy of the season—giving. In a recent interview for Bridges, Bob and Nancy (Nan) Rudd reminded us of the magic of giving, and that conservation is a gift that gives back for generations. This fall Bob and Nan established the Robert and Nancy Rudd Conservation Fund to support the perpetual management and restoration of their land, along...

Study will map vegetative impact of climate change over time

Climate experts are predicting a northward shift in forests and wetlands in the coming decades. For that reason it is critical to establish a record of past and current vegetative cover for historical comparison. To aid this important work the Natural Resources Foundation is contributing to a project that began over 50 years ago in the Brule River Watershed of Douglas County, Wisconsin....

Reflecting on 30 years

By Carl Schwartz, steering committee chair for Bird City Wisconsin and board chair for the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. Anniversaries always offer a time for reflection—a chance to look back on where we have been and how our various relationships have evolved. In the 18 years since my wife Barbara and I became members of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, I’ve had the chance to see the many ways NRF carries out...

A family retreat on the west shore

By Wisconsin Wetlands Association Across Wisconsin and the globe, wetlands have historically been misunderstood and underappreciated. Wetlands—found where land and water meet—provide countless benefits to wildlife, landscapes and communities. But despite their value, past and current land use has filled, drained or degraded many wetlands. In Wisconsin, we’ve already lost half of our wetlands. Eleven percent of Brown County is currently wetlands, with the greatest concentration on the bay shores, especially the west shore. Protected...

Creating a work of art: A wetland landowner story

by Wisconsin Wetlands Association and Ben Arnold Mequon resident, landowner and Foundation member Ben Arnold loves nature, and not just from a distance. Whether it’s keeping a careful eye on a clutch of hatching turtle eggs, planting rare native species or sharing photos of a pheasant that wandered across his yard, Arnold is always engaged. Forty years ago, Arnold’s love of nature took him on a surprising journey–the challenging, rewarding journey of native forest, prairie...

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...

Snapshot Wisconsin: Let’s discover Wisconsin’s wildlife together!

By Susan Frett, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Snapshot Wisconsin is a new program from Wisconsin DNR, University of Wisconsin and UW-Extension to more fully monitor wildlife populations with the help of volunteers and crowd-sourcing. Volunteers in Wisconsin with access to private land can sign up to host trail cameras to capture images of wildlife going about their normal routines. Anyone in the world with access to the internet can help out by going online...

Two silent auction items for the birds (and bird-lovers)

By Rachel Hollingworth, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Tim Eisele, one of our own board members, has chosen to donate two silent auction items this year, including a birdhouse and a framed photo that comes with an International Crane Foundation Membership. The photo, pictured below, features the first Wisconsin whooping crane hatched in the wild since the 1800s. To learn more about Tim, the birdhouse and his photograph, you can read his Q&A with us below....

Project highlight: Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area

By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin   At almost 6,500 acres, Quincy Bluff and Wetlands is one of the largest and most diverse state natural areas. Its location on the bed of the extinct Glacial Lake Wisconsin gives it an interesting topography–a huge wetland with low sandy ridges and seepage ponds surrounded by 100-200 foot sandstone mesas and buttes. Its namesake, Quincy Bluff, dominates at 200 feet high and two miles long. Numerous...

Painting and positivity for our next 30 years

By Rachel Hollingworth, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin   Bruce Braun is a longtime member of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and has been a part of our board for over ten years. A photographer at heart, he began to also paint in the early 2000s. Our 30th anniversary silent auction will feature one of Bruce’s paintings, pictured below. Read on to learn about Bruce, his time with the Natural Resources Foundation and how he...

Investing in nature, and enjoying the returns

By Dave Adam, NRF board member   To the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin family, The seeds of conservation and preservation were planted in me during my formative years while camping with my family in Columbia County just north of Madison. But it took a solo cross country bike ride for me to elevate my game and pursue land stewardship with a passion. It was the fall of 2014 and I was mentally and physically...

Painting for conservation

By Rachel Hollingworth, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin     Owen Gromme, hailed as the “Dean of U.S. Wildlife Artists,” had a longstanding presence in the State of Wisconsin as both an artist and an advocate for conservation. Born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1896, Gromme began his career as a taxidermist for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago at the age of 21. After serving in World War I, he worked...

Aldo Leopold Nature Center: A true Wisconsin landscape to host our 30th bash

By Rachel Hollingworth, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin When we began to spearhead our big 30th anniversary event, we knew that location was key. Finding a place that had an atmosphere encompassing the natural charm of Wisconsin and a central location for all of our members sent us on a search for the very best that Dane County has to offer. The Aldo Leopold Nature Center’s beautiful landscapes and trails instantly caught our eye. Located...

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...

Mercury no longer marring Wisconsin’s loon population

By Molly Sequin   There’s something haunting about the beautiful call of a common loon. This sound, however, nearly vanished from Northern Wisconsin as a result of mercury and lead poisoning and hunting, all of which devastated loon populations starting in the late 1800s. Since then the federal government has taken steps to bring these birds back from the brink and conservationists in Wisconsin are embarking on a new Foundation-funded project to make sure those...

The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey: A great amphibian adventure

By Lindsay Renick Mayer This story was re-printed from the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Spring 2016 issue of FrogLog It is a late night in June in Wisconsin’s beautiful Kickapoo Valley and I am straining to hear the calls of frogs around me. It’s not that they’re faint, it’s that there are too many of them, coming from the woods in all directions. I try to remember what a seasoned birder once told me—that picking one...

Translocation project gives Wisconsin’s salamanders a helping hand

  By Lindsay Renick Mayer This story has been re-printed from the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Spring 2016 issue of FrogLog Seven years after staff at the Mequon Nature Preserve (MNP) in southeastern Wisconsin began a project to re-establish the hardwood forests that once dominated the landscape, they noticed that while snakes, frogs and birds had returned in abundance, one important resident family of species was still missing: salamanders. Farmland development, parking lot construction and other...

White trumpeter swans make an impressive comeback

By Molly Sequin   Wisconsin has an astounding number of adult white trumpeter swans. These animals are the largest native waterfowl species in North America, and they’re quite the sight– beautiful white birds that stand five feet tall and weigh up to 35 pounds. As their name suggests, one sure way to know you are around a trumpeter swan is if you hear their loud trumpeter call. While the species may be thriving now, it...

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...

Discovering nature (and supporting conservation) through a camera lens

  Josh Mayer is a longtime Foundation member, and has allowed the Foundation to use his stunning photographs for pretty much every form of publication and outreach. For the Foundation’s 30th anniversary, he’s gone one step further and donated this image to be printed, framed and auctioned off at the Foundation’s 30th anniversary party on August 30th. Read the following Q & A with Mayer to learn about his connection to nature and photography, what...

Telling Wisconsin’s stories: A Q&A with Tim Eisele

The Foundation is thrilled to have Tim Eisele, freelance outdoor writer and photographer, join our board this month. His stories have appeared in the Wisconsin Outdoor News, Capital Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal. He edited Woodland Management magazine for 12 years. A third-generation Madisonian, Eisele previously worked in information and education for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We recently sat down with Eisele to talk to him about what he cherishes...

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...

In search of snowy owls

By Lindsay Renick Mayer, Natural Resources Foundation “You’ve got to be really observant looking for these owls,” Mark Martin says to me as he slows the car down to a stop. “You can’t be looking at me.” We’ve been driving around Madison Audubon Society’s Goose Pond Sanctuary for about 30 minutes now, trying to spot a female snowy owl, which Mark and his wife Sue Foote-Martin (who co-manage the sanctuary together) tell me are a...

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...