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JD Smith, MacKenzie Center director photo c. WDNR ©2014

MacKenzie Center kicks off school year with new programs, partnerships

 

POYNETTE, Wis. — With 11 new course offerings that build on topics taught in K-12 classrooms, the MacKenzie Center is welcoming 29 new schools and groups eager to participate in its unique environmental and conservation education and outdoor skills programs this year.

From forestry and stream studies to watershed mapping and an exploration of predator-prey relationships, classes at the MacKenzie Center provided hands-on field opportunities to 3,738 students from 90 schools and organizations so far this year. These experiences extended the knowledge and skills developed through regular classroom work. The January through August student numbers are slightly ahead of last year and will continue to grow as more of the new schools begin their involvement with the center.

Year-to-date, students from 16 counties stretching from La Crosse to Milwaukee to Juneau as well as northern Illinois have traveled to take part in MacKenzie programs. Principals and educational leaders from Wisconsin’s sister state of Chiba Prefecture in Japan and students from Jianxi University in China also visited the center, which is just 25 miles north of Madison and easily accessible from Interstate Highway 39/90/94.

“With its historic conservation aura and educational opportunities designed for today’s students, the MacKenzie Center increasingly draws participants from around our state and around the world,” said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. “If you are an educator interested in cutting-edge environmental programs and outdoor skill building for your students, we like to say that all roads lead to MacKenzie.”

JD Smith, MacKenzie Center director, said the center’s curriculum draws on the comprehensive science, wildlife management and environmental protection expertise of DNR staff.

“The department’s capabilities help set our programs apart from other nature centers,” Smith said.”Students gain a unique opportunity to work with members of our education staff and other experts from wildlife, forestry, fisheries and more. Many of our participating schools bring students back for multiple visits, which enables us to work with the teachers and their classes on a more advanced level.”

Schools, community groups, home school families and others with an interest in learning more about MacKenzie Center programs are encouraged to contact the center’s education staff at 608-635-8105 or email. Additional program details may be found online by searching the DNR website, for MacKenzie.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

 

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WDNR is making itself available – multiple media and language service – FOR YOU!
photo c. WDNR ©2012

Attention Deer Hunters: DNR Customer Service is there for you

MADISON — Last minute questions from hunters at deer camp and from deer stands day or night is routine. It”s all in a day”s work for the Department of Natural Resources Call Center. The expanded hours call center – unique among state natural resources agencies – has handled more than 370,000 customer contacts in the last year, one quarter of them at night and on weekends. More than 21,000 customers have also taken advantage of their on-line chat feature so far this year.

The highly trained representatives respond to a wide variety of DNR issues, from clarifying regulations on hunting and fishing to restrictions on firewood transportation. The call center is on pace to receive more than 370,000 calls this year, with more than 20 percent of these coming during nights and weekends. The Call Center”s motto, “We”re here for you!” Give them a call 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week.

Read more here:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

  • Toll-Free 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463)
  • eMail
  • Online chat is available by searching keyword [CONTACT] on the DNR website

Hunters may harvest deer with tags and collars

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The data retrieved from tracking collars and ear tags, on harvested/dead deer, will provide useful information in managing Wisconsin’s deer herd.
Do your part!

Call the DNR (608) 221-637
photo c. WDNR ©2012

Wisconsin wildlife researchers ask for basic, valuable information in return

MADISON – With the upcoming nine-day gun season approaching fast, wildlife researchers are looking for assistance from Wisconsin hunters who may harvest any of the more than 240 white-tailed deer marked with radio-collars and approximately 200 deer marked with ear tags.

The researchers say hunters” help may play a role in how Wisconsin”s white-tailed deer herd is managed for generations to come. That”s a big impact for help that may take each hunter who harvests a marked deer only a few minutes to provide. With the start of the early archery season a few weeks ago, we have now entered an important phase of the project that involves collecting harvest data from marked deer.

“These deer were marked in 2011 and 2012 as part of a study to better understand how long deer live and how they die,” said Michael Watt, Natural Resource Research Scientist. ”Hunters are free to harvest these marked deer. And if they do, we would like some basic information that shouldn”t take more than a minute to provide.”

The requested information about marked deer include:

  • ear tag or radio collar number;
  • how, when and where the animal died or as harvested
  • the hunter”s phone number, complete with area code

Hunters are being asked to call Watt at (608) 221-6376 to report this information.

Watt and his colleagues marked the deer in the northern counties of Rusk, Sawyer and Price, and the east central counties of Shawano, Waupaca and Outagamie as part of the buck mortality study and fawn predation study sponsored by:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Wisconsin Conservation Congress
  • Safari Club International (SCI)
  • Wildlife Restoration Funding
  • Union Sportsmen”s Alliance
  • Whitetails Unlimited
  • Applied Population Laboratory
  • Menn Law Firm
  • and private donations from Wisconsin citizens

“I want to stress that hunters should treat these deer like any other deer you might see. These deer may be harvested, but the information that hunters provide is important to the research and the future of our deer herd,” said Watt.

While the DNR uses a deer population modeling system built upon sound science and data, Watt says challenges remain.

“The distribution and numbers of predators has changed in the last 20 years and we hope this study can shed some light on how these changes are affecting our deer herd,” Watt says. “Not only is this a wildlife issue, it is an economic issue – Wisconsin”s tourism relies upon its healthy and abundant natural resources. Deer hunting is part of that tourism industry. Our deer hunters have expressed concerns about the impact that predation may be having on deer population growth and recruitment rates across the state – the department is listening to their concerns and trying to better understand predation impacts with our ongoing collaborative research.”

And this is where the hunters come in, Watt says.

“The only way we will be successful in our deer herd management is through hunters” participation,” Watt says. “And the research partners who make it possible for us to increase our ability to gather this key information.”

Read more here:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

  • Michael Watt – (608) 221-6376
  • Joanne Haas – (608) 267-0798

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Breeding waterfowl numbers “about average” in an unusual spring

DSORe S727, courtesy Delta Waterfowl
Early spring creates staggered duck breeding and migration schedule

image courtesy Delta Waterfowl ©2012

MADISON – The spring 2012 waterfowl breeding picture was marked by an early spring, unusual weather, and dry conditions, which state wildlife officials say, created a challenge to survey breeding ducks in 2012. Despite that difficulty they say breeding waterfowl numbers appear to be “about average.”

“Overall, wetland numbers this spring were down but in Wisconsin our abundant permanent water contained in 15,000 lakes reduces the impact of dry conditions on the ducks,” said Kent Van Horn, Department of Natural Resources migratory waterfowl biologist. “Some areas have good wetland conditions while other areas are still very dry. But despite those dry conditions across important duck breeding areas in Wisconsin, this spring, the total breeding duck numbers in Wisconsin appear to be near the average of the last 10 years. 2012 should provide fair to good duck production across Wisconsin. Summer rains will be particularly important this year to maintain brood rearing habitat.”

Wisconsin’s warm weather in March triggered an early duck migration and breeding activity among mallards and Canada geese. However, in April a return of cold temperatures stalled the breeding activity of blue-winged teal and the migration of other duck species through Wisconsin. As a result, the spring waterfowl survey was initiated earlier than normal on April 23 in order to have the best count of breeding mallards; blue-winged teal that were still in migration through the state were counted.

Wisconsin had a dry, mild winter and entered a March where temperatures were 14 to 16 degrees above normal. Winter precipitation was 25 percent below normal which provided fewer temporary and seasonal wetlands when ducks arrived in Wisconsin this spring. However, rain did come in some northern and central state areas and the spring (March- May) rainfall was 15 percent above normal statewide, which filled seasonal wetlands in some regions.

Variation from year to year in wetland conditions and breeding ducks is part of the natural cycle in the world of wetland wildlife. Wetlands need dry periods to maintain long-term productivity and ducks are able to adapt to changing wetland conditions among years and across the continent. Conservation dollars and efforts of waterfowl hunters over the decades have protected and managed wetland and upland habitats important to breeding ducks. Protection of these areas even in dry years provides the setting for good duck responses when the rainfall increases during wet years.

Read more here:

For more information:

  • Kent Van Horn – (608) 266-8841

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