The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded $28,043 to 30 organizations across Wisconsin through the C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund. The fund annually awards grants up to $1,000 that support grassroots conservation and education projects that benefit Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife, and that connect people to Wisconsin’s natural resources. This year’s grant awardees are listed below.

The projects funded in 2018 range from providing outdoor learning for urban youth to rare plant monitoring throughout the state. NRF is proud to support this wide range of conservation and education projects across Wisconsin. We are especially excited to invest in the work of our partners who are engaging youth of color and other traditionally underserved communities in environmental education. For example, Lussier Community Education Center, one of this year’s grant recipients, will use the funds to bring K-5 youth from their afterschool program to UW-Madison Arboretum throughout the year, for a series of on-site open exploration, interactive activities and games (pictured above).

“Nearly all young people in LCEC’s free afterschool and summer programs are children of color and live in households with limited means, and their access to and use of the diverse, beautiful natural places that surround Madison is often limited,” said Susan Ramspacher, assistant director of the Lussier Community Education Center. “This project aims to shift that dynamic and expand children’s sense of self in nature by introducing young people from LCEC to the wild and natural areas of our community. We see this as a critical first step in building life-long stewards of nature among our kids, by fostering comfort in the outdoors and an awareness of the wonders found in nature.”

C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund Grant Awardees for 2018:

  • Bayfield High School: Building an Anishinaabe Sugarbush Longhouse (Bayfield County)
  • Bird City Wisconsin: Growing Bird City Participation in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon (Statewide)
  • Boston School Forest: Emily’s Arboretum Path Tree ID Trail (Portage County)
  • City of New Richmond: Willow River Water Trail (St. Croix County)
  • City of Reedsburg: Granite Avenue Park and Smith Conservancy Education Program (Sauk County)
  • Clean Lakes Alliance: Lake Explorer Camp (Dane County)
  • Discovery World: SHARP Literacy and Discovery World Life of Salmon Conservation Program (Milwaukee County)
  • Friends of Lapham Peak State Forest: Invasive Species Removal and Habitat Restoration (Waukesha County)
  • Friends of Perrot State Park: Plant Identification Signs for Pollinator Prairie (Trempealeau County)
  • Friends of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center: Ephemeral Wetland Monitoring Project (Milwaukee County)
  • Friends of The Bird Sanctuary: “You Are Here,” An Invitation to Explore the Barrens of the Douglas County State Wildlife Area (Douglas County)
  • Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands: Entrance Sign for Beaver Hollow Education Area (Bayfield County)
  • Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center: Raptor Environmental Education Programs (Statewide)
  • Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter of Trout Unlimited: Trout in the Classroom at Hammond Elementary School (St. Croix County)
  • Lussier Community Education Center: Outdoor Club at UW-Madison Arboretum (Dane County)
  • Malcolm Shabazz City High School: The Land Ethic Initiative (Dane County)
  • McDill Elementary School: McDill School Forest Storywalk (Portage County)
  • Navarino Nature Center: Wolf River Water Trail Signage and Maps (Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca Counties)
  • Neighborhood House of Milwaukee: Nature Center Stewardship Activities (Milwaukee County)
  • North Lakeland Discovery Center: Nature Playscape Pollinator Garden (Vilas County)
  • Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department: Bird and Pollinator Habitat Enhancements at Virmond County Park (Ozaukee County)
  • River Bend Nature Center: Bat Conservation Education and Outreach (Racine County)
  • Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance: Effects of Prairie Restoration on Small Mammals at the Ho-Chunk Sacred Earth Tract (Sauk County)
  • Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers: Invasive Species Removal Along the Kinnickinnic River Trail (Milwaukee County)
  • St. Croix River Association: Terrestrial Invasive Species Curriculum and Education (Barron, Burnett, Polk, St. Croix, Washburn Counties)
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension: Upham Woods Shoreline Restoration (Juneau County)
  • Waukesha County Land Conservancy: Adopt-a-Preserve Program (Waukesha County)
  • Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation: Touchscreen Computer Exhibit for Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Gallery (Marathon County)
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Supporting the Rare Plant Monitoring Program (Statewide)
  • Woodland Dunes Nature Center: Creek Restoration Project Phase 1 Schultz Parcel (Manitowoc County)

Exploring the Canyonlands of the Southwest

The southwest is home to some of America’s most iconic landscapes, as well as several stunning national parks. In March 2020, we will be travelling to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Monument Valley Navajo Park with professional naturalist Paul Regnier and professional geologist Dr. Roger Kuhns.

NRF board member Bill Smith named to Natural Resources Board

NRF board member Bill Smith has recently been appointed to the Natural Resources Board (NRB), the governing body of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Hundreds of ‘Birdathonners’ Raise Funds for Bird Conservation Efforts in Wisconsin

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is one of the most popular “bird-a-thon” style fundraisers in the nation, bringing in over $400,000 since it was created in 2012 to raise funds for bird protection efforts for Wisconsin birds.

Supporting Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation is a proud supporter of Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin, a program that empowers, supports and recognizes schools for nurturing healthy kids and sustainable communities.

A Walk Through Time and Hemlocks

All of this beautiful snow here in Madison reminds me of a winter trip I took to northern Wisconsin, when I had the opportunity to explore a new place: Germain Hemlocks State Natural Area in Oneida County.

Foundation Grants Support Project Wild Child

Every Monday during the school year, nearly 75 students and volunteers with Project Wild Child pile into buses and travel to the nearby school forest for the day. Transportation to the school forest has been made possible for two years in a row thanks to the Foundation’s Go Outside Fund and Teachers Outdoor Environmental Education Fund.

Grant from REI makes a deep impact at Wisconsin’s beloved Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park is one of the most highly visited and cherished public properties in Wisconsin. Funding from REI was used to complete critical restoration activities.

NRF co-founder retires from board after more than 30 years

Ron Semmann helped create the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin while working at the Department of Natural Resources in 1986 and has served on the Board ever since. Ron is now ready to enjoy a much-deserved retirement and offers this message to all NRF members, partners, staff, and board.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in conservation

It is vitally and increasingly important to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our changing world. According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of children in Wisconsin are people of color. That means the future of conservation depends upon making conservation relevant and meaningful to all Wisconsinites.

Wisconsin’s threatened reptiles

We have 36 species of reptiles in Wisconsin and more than half of them are listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of special concern. These animals are vulnerable and critically important to the health and balance of our ecosystems.