To celebrate Valentine’s Day we’ve put together a list of 14 things we love about our valentine—Wisconsin. Read our top picks (in no particular order) below!
Kentuck Lake. Photo by Joshua Mayer via Flickr.

1. Our Lakes and Waters

Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes and 1017 estimated miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Seventeen percent of Wisconsin’s acreage overall is covered by water. All this water offers endless opportunities to kayak, swim, boat, fish, view wildlife, and ice fish.

2017 Field Trip. Photo by Carol Berglund via Flickr.

2. Our State Parks and State Natural Areas

Wisconsin has 66 state parks and 687 state natural areas, making up over 460,000 acres throughout the state. Grants like our CD Besadny Conservation Fund and the Norma and Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund work to fund conservation, maintenance, and improvement in these natural places that make our state special.

Volunteer Cheryl Brickman assists visitors at a native-plant sale put on by Bird City Wisconsin 2019.  Photo by Nancy Hintz via Flickr.

3. Our Cities

The presence of a city doesn’t mean there is an absence of conservation. Throughout our state there are populations of people who work to make their city healthy and beautiful. Groups like Bird City Wisconsin and citizen scientists throughout the state make a huge difference for our lands, waters, and wildlife.

Ice Age Trail through the Barrens. Photo by Joshua Mayer via Flickr.

4. Our Ice Age Trail

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights the unique landscape of areas sculpted by glacial ice, running through some of the state’s most beautiful natural areas. The trail is entirely within Wisconsin and is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails. More than one million people use the Ice Age Trail each year to hike, snowshoe, backpack, disconnect, and reconnect.

The English sundew, previously not been spotted in the state since the 1970s. Photo by Sarah Johnson via Flickr.

5. Our Plants

Grasses, trees, flowers, and everything in between are a huge part of why Wisconsin is so beautiful. On top of our plentiful crops and landscapes, Wisconsin is home to over 300 endangered, threatened, or rare plants. Our Rare Plant Preservation Fund helps ensure endangered species have the opportunity to return to Wisconsin’s ecosystems.

Natural Resources Foundation staff celebrate the Packers in the NFC Championship, 2020. 

6. Our Sports Teams

How could we not mention them? Our headquarters lies in the home of the Badgers! Even if you’re not a fan of sports, the community that Wisconsinites creates over a shared love for the Packers, the Brewers, and every small league in between has created lifelong friendships and bonds like no other state.

Outcrop in Crawford County. Photo by Joshua Mayer via Flickr.

7. Our Driftless Region

The Driftless Region lies in several states in the Midwest—Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. However, around 85 percent of the region lies in just Wisconsin, comprising much of our southwestern region. The Driftless Area is a region that was never flattened by glaciation during the last ice age. Common characteristics include karst geology, cold-water trout streams, steep ridges, deep river valleys, and spring-fed waterfalls.

Daughter and dad on a Field Trip. Photo by Michelle Milford via Flickr. 

7. Our Current (and future!) Naturalists

We are committed to connecting people to nature by investing in educational programs that provide meaningful experiences for children and adults in Wisconsin’s great outdoors. We’ve granted over one million dollars to education in Wisconsin, trained more than 600 Master Naturalists, and aided over 50,000 field trip experiences for youth across the state.

Pete Duerkop, crew leader for the DNR’s State Natural Area crew leading a NRF Field Trip. Photo by Caitlin Williamson via Flickr. 

9. Our Donors, Partners, and Members

Our donors, partners, and members make everything we do possible. Because of you we have invested nearly $8 million in conservation efforts across Wisconsin, from building trails at state parks, to wildlife recovery efforts, to environmental education. Thank you!

Whooping cranes. Photo by Hillary Thompson via Flickr.

10. Our Birds

Birds like the Kirtland’s warbler, piping plovers, and whooping cranes are amazing, but they are also in peril. We created the Bird Protection Fund in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership in 2009 to help birds across the state. The Bird Protection Fund provides critical support to projects that advance bird conservation across Wisconsin. Through direct contributions, fundraising field trips, and the Great Wisconsin Birdathon the Bird Protection Fund has raised more than $1 million for bird conservation and research.

Photo by WDNR via Flickr.

11. Our Wildlife

We provide funding for many different kinds of projects that benefit wildlife—from research and monitoring, to species recovery and habitat restoration.

Battle Creek Hemlocks State Natural Area. Photo by Joshua Mayer via Flickr.

12. The Northwoods 

We know some of the best parts of Wisconsin culture and lifestyle happen in the Northwoods. Home to old-growth pine and hemlock forests, the sweeping shores of Lake Superior, and stunning night skies, there is always something new and beautiful to admire.

Board member Rebecca Haefner delivering a 2019 C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund check to grant recipient Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

13. Our Friends in Conservation

We know that we aren’t the only organization in the state doing amazing environmental and conservation work. That’s why we support more than 181 different conservation and environmental education organizations across the state of Wisconsin through our grantmaking. As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work!

Graphic created by Katie Herrick, communications assistant. Photos from Flickr.

14. Our State

Most importantly, we love everything and everyone that makes Wisconsin a great place to live, work, and play.

We love you, Wisconsin.

Written by Katie Herrick, Former Communications Assistant

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