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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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Fishing in the Neighborhood program reels in new anglers
DSORe NewsPic, neighborhood program gets kids fishing
High schoolers, buying fishing licenses These high schoolers, shown buying fishing licenses, have been recruited as “fishing buddies” to help younger kids fish with the Club de Pesca offered by Centro Hispano of Dane County and partners.
photo courtesy WDNR ©2012

MADISON – Smiles shared, fish caught, and new licenses bought are testimony to the growing success of a partnership to introduce fishing to Wisconsin’s growing number of Latino and Hmong youngsters, state fisheries officials say.

“Our goals are to welcome new people into the community of anglers, to help them establish a relationship with the resource and adopt Wisconsin’s tradition of stewardship,” says Theresa Stabo, Department of Natural Resources aquatic resources education director. “We’re very excited that our Fishing in the Neighborhood program is growing and that partner groups are getting important recognition and funding to expand their local efforts.”

Centro Hispano of Dane County, one of the partnering groups, recently received a $30,000 grant from the national Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (exit DNR) for its bilingual fishing club, Club de Pesca.

Centro Hispano Executive Director Kent Craig says the organization is very excited about the national grant and the ongoing relationship with DNR and other program partners. “What we’re hoping is to see young people get more opportunity to spend time on water fishing and learning more science,” he says. “In addition to expanding the program, we’re hoping to develop a replicable, culturally competent curriculum for offering fishing clubs in Latino communities.”

DNR has long trained volunteer instructors in how to start their own fishing clubs for youngsters and others new to fishing. In recent years, DNR has focused more attention on working with partners to help start fishing clubs within minority communities, as was successfully done at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee and the Boys & Girls Club in Madison.

This year, DNR has provided angler education training to college interns and is paying them stipends to work with five different youth organizations that serve low-income people of color. Andrea “Tess” Arenas at the UW-Madison Office of Service Learning and Community Based Research recruited the interns and identified organizations willing to partner with the state and supervise the interns.

Interns have been placed at five community centers: Centro Hispano of Dane County, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Urban League of Greater Madison, Hmong Assistance Association in La Crosse, and the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe in Odanah.

DNR is providing fishing equipment for the interns to use with the youngsters. The interns recruit members for the clubs, instruct the youngsters in basic fishing techniques, set up fishing trips and bring in guest speakers to talk to the participants about aquatic resources topics. In addition to a stipend, they earn college credit for their work.

DNR pays for the costs of the clubs through the Sport Fish Restoration money it receives from the federal government from an excise tax on the sale of fishing equipment. Madison South Rotary Foundation provided additional funding for the Madison groups. It’s welcome seed money, says Centro Hispano’s Craig.

“We wouldn’t have a program without the DNR,” he says. “Getting the national RBFF grant shows it was a wise investment.”

Stabo says that DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood initiative recognizes that Latino and Hmong immigrants represent the fast-growing segments of Wisconsin’s population. “We want club members and their families to see fishing as a good choice for weekend or after-school activities, once summer ends and everyone is back at school.”

Club de Pesca shows how the program seeks to make fishing a good choice by tailoring it to a specific culture. “Having a program which is free, based at a known agency and run by bilingual staff makes fishing much more accessible to the Latino community,” says Jannet Arenas, the intern who is leading the Centro Hispano program.

Organizations interested in learning more about how to start a fishing club for new anglers, including Latino and Hmong organizations can contact Theresa Stabo at 608-266-2272.

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For more information:

  • Theresa Stabo – 608-266-2272
  • Tess Arenas, UW – 608-890-0876

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Learn to hunt deer at Buckhorn State Park: Opportunity is not just for kids

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Learn to hunt deer at Buckhorn State Park

Opportunity is not just for kids

image courtesy WDNR ©2012

NECEDAH, Wis. — Anyone 10 years old and older including novice adult hunters who have had an interest in hunting but weren’t sure how to give it a try are encouraged to consider a Learn-to-Hunt deer outing at Buckhorn State Park along the Castle Rock Flowage in Juneau County.

Heather Wolf, Buckhorn State Park manager, says this is the 15th year the park has hosted a Learn to Hunt Deer Hunt program.

“We have had 693 participants over the years. First time hunters and their chaperones have learned together at the workshop and have enjoyed their time spent in the woods,” Wolf said.

To participate in the November 2012 hunt, search the Department of Natural Resources website for “Buckhorn,” and then click on the learn to deer hunt link on right column. Download the application form [PDF], complete it, and mail it to the address shown by August 10.

There are two parts to the Learn to Hunt Deer at Buckhorn. First, a workshop is held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 8 or 9 at the LaValle Sportsman’s Club. Attendance by hunters and chaperones is mandatory. Second, the hunt occurs Nov. 3 and 4 at Buckhorn State Park and adjacent wildlife area.

Applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis and will be notified upon receipt of their applications.

A chaperone must accompany each applicant. Applicants may select a chaperone (i.e., family or friend) or authorize Buckhorn staff to assign a qualified chaperone. This person will not be allowed to hunt or carry a firearm and must be at least 18 years old. The chaperone must have at least five years of deer hunting experience. The chaperone is necessary to ensure novice hunters get the complete hunting experience in a safe environment. Chaperones help hunters with firearm safety, deer identification, scouting, and field dressing, among other things.

Successful applicants and their chaperones must attend a workshop in order to participate in the hunt.

A hunting license is not required and back tags will be furnished. This is a bonus deer and will not preclude the harvest of a deer during the regular season. The bag limit will be one deer of either sex. Only shotguns will be permitted; muzzleloaders and rifles are not permitted.

Chaperones also are needed, says Keith Warnke DNR Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator. “If you are a hunter and want to give back to the hunting heritage by getting a new hunter started, your skills are needed!” Warnke said.

To volunteer to be a chaperone, contact the park at 608-565-2789

“Learn to Hunt events are a great way to break into hunting. Novice hunters paired up with an experienced hunter will learn about conservation, safety, ethics, deer hunting tactics and firearm safety during a one-day workshop,” Warnke said. “Then, the novice hunters get a chance to experience a two-day November gun deer hunt.”

Read more here:

For more information:

  • Heather Wolf – 608-565-2789
  • Keith Warnke – 608-266-5243

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