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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.

Read more here:




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JANUARY 08, 2011 |  SHOW #602
thisweek• Eating wild things as a way of life
• Chequamegon Bay mixed-bag fishing going strong now!
• Archery in the Schools Program now in 270 Wisconsin schools


upclose• Hardwater Jeff Kelm gears up for next weekend’s NAIFC tournament in Ludington, Michigan
• Dan strikes out on turkeys. Larry Polenske scores a double!


Should Wisconsin allow all hunters to use crossbows
during the archery deer season?

YES 73% | NO 27% | MAYBE 0% |

Gov. Scott Walker has said that he will look at ways to eliminate unnecessary spending in state government. Do you think the Nelson-Knowles Stewardship Fund should be off the table in this discussion?

BACKGROUND: The Wisconsin Legislature created the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program (Stewardship) in 1989 to preserve valuable natural areas and wildlife habitat, protect water quality and fisheries, and expand opportunities for outdoor recreation.

pollpicNamed for two of Wisconsin’s most revered conservation leaders, Warren Knowles (Governor 1965-1971) and Gaylord Nelson (Governor 1959-1963, U.S. Senator 1964-1981), the program has been an outstanding success. Perhaps we can provide no greater gift to the citizens of the 21st century for the places we save today will be a permanent and lasting investment in their future. We invite you to join in this endeavor.

The conservation and recreation goals of the Stewardship Program are achieved through the acquisition of land and easements, development of recreational facilities, and restoration of wildlife habitat.

The Stewardship Program is currently funded at the level of $86 million annually, with $50 million each year to be used to purchase land to meet recreation and conservation needs.

Read more here.


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talks about his wild food gathering adventures and his new TV show, The Wild Within, which debuts on The Travel Channel Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. CST.



proprietor of River Rock Inn in Ashland, Wisconsin, reports on the excellent mixed-bag ice fishing action now on Chequamegon Bay.



coordinator of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) for Wisconsin, tells how schools and teachers can get involved in this great program.


FISHING CONTESTS  Find them ALL online @ American Fishing Contests


  • Feb. 4: Waukesha County Conservation Alliance 50th Annual Dinner, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royal Mile Rd., Oconomowoc. Doors open at 5:30, dinner at 7:00. Tickets $40 must be ordered by Jan. 19. CONTACT: Ken 262-547-2802; Sid 262-542-3684
  • Deer hunters: if you don’t have plans for your deer hides, why not donate them to a worthy cause? The folks at Milwaukee Elks Lodge No. 46 are accepting deer hides to be tanned and made into gloves and other products for the disabled. The Elks Lodge is located at 5555 W Good Hope Road in Milwaukee. You can drop off hides in the basket in the front hallway. Ring the buzzer for 24-hour access. CONTACT: 414-353-2900, ext. 4
  • Sundays through Mar. 6: Buck Trail Archers Weekly 3D Diehard Challenge, 32622 Yahnke Rd., Burlington. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments available. Online Info: Contact: 262-763-9656
  • Jan. 10: Wisconsin Fishing Club, 7 p.m., Yesteryears Pub & Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI. Andy Stuth will speak on fishing Sturgeon Bay. Guest fee $5. Contact: lucyfreiherr@yahoo.com, 414-464-9316
  • Jan. 11: Milwaukee Lake & Stream Flyfishers, 7 p.m., Yesteryears Pub & Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI. Eric Helm will speak on spring steelhead fishing on Lake Michigan tributaries. Guest fee $3. Come early and have dinner with members. Contact: Dick 847-498-3260
  • Jan. 11: Milwaukee Chapter Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, 7 p.m., Ray & Dot’s, 6351 W. Grange Ave., Greenfield, WI. WDNR fisheries manager Brad Eggold will discuss the status of Lake Michigan trout & salmon. Online Info: Contact: Steve 262-370-7486
  • Jan. 14: Plymouth Alliance Church Outdoor Family Ministry Banquet, 6 p.m., Amore Banquet Hall, 18 W. Mill St., Plymouth, WI. Door prizes. $15.00 per person. Online Info: Contact: 920-526-3484
  • Jan. 21-30: Milwaukee Boat Show, State Fair Park. Sixteen dealers will display hundreds of boats from canoes, runabouts and fishing boats to pontoons and motor yachts. Other features include “Swampmaster” alligator wrestler Jeff Quatrocci, antique and classic boats, fishing seminars, boater safety certification class, live music of Michael Drake, fishing seminars and more. Admission $9. Kids under 12 free with paid adult. Online Info:
  • Jan. 30: Annual Coon Feed, 4 p.m., Delafield American Legion, 333 N. Lapham Peak Road, Delafield. $10 adults, $5 children 12 and younger. Contact: 262-646-3930
  • Feb. 4: Waukesha County Conservation Alliance 50th Annual Dinner, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royal Mile Rd., Oconomowoc. Doors open at 5:30, dinner at 7:00. Tickets $40 must be ordered by Jan. 19. Contacts: Ken 262-547-2802; Sid 262-542-3684
  • Feb. 19: Havenwoods Annual Winter Naturefest, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Havenwoods State Forest, 6141 N. Hopkins St., Milwaukee. Activities for families and youth groups: mammal tracking and winter survival, snowshoeing, horse-drawn wagon rides, winter camping tips, K9 search and rescue demo. Online Info:, Contact: Havenwoods 414-527-0232.


  • Jan. 9: Late bow deer season ends in most units
  • Jan. 31: Late bow deer season ends in Metro units
  • Jan. 31: Squirrel season closes. Ruffed grouse season closes in Zone A
  • Jan. 31: Late archery deer season closes in metro units
  • Feb. 12: Lake Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season opens
  • Feb. 28: Rabbit season closes

Eagle watching kicks off Jan. 14-15 in Prairie du Sac

MADISON – Sauk City and Prairie du Sac on the Wisconsin River will hold the 24th annual Bald Eagle Watching Days on Jan. 14-15, 2011, in partnership with event sponsor, the Alliant Energy Foundation. Cassville will hold its 17th annual Bald Eagle Days on Jan. 30-31 and Prairie du Chien will hold Bald Eagle Appreciation Day on Feb. 26.

news1eagleEach winter, hundreds of bald eagles congregate along areas of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers where they feed on fish in the open water below dams. Wildlife officials say this is the largest concentration of wintering bald eagles in the lower 48 states, offering some of the best eagle viewing in the nation.

Volunteer spotters from the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council counted 115 eagles on Dec. 5, 2010.

Wisconsin currently has approximately 1,145 territorial pairs of eagles, according to surveys conducted by DNR wildlife biologists.

In 1971 Wisconsin banned the use of DDT after scientists determined eagle numbers were dropping as the birds, impacted by DDT, failed to reproduce because their eggshells were weak. The bald eagle was listed as both a state and federally endangered species.

A major milestone was reached in August 2007 when the bald eagles were removed from the Federal Endangered Species Act’s endangered and threatened species list. Wisconsin’s large and successful population played a significant role in that federal delisting.

The Endangered Resources tax check-off option found on Wisconsin state tax returns gives taxpayers the option of donating a portion of any tax refund toward the protection and management of endangered resources in Wisconsin.

Many of the best eagle viewing destinations are featured in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail guides available from the Department of Natural Resources.

Bald Eagle Watching Days at Sauk City-Prairie du Sac

The 24th Bald Eagle Watching Days will be held Friday evening and Saturday, Jan. 14 and 15. Events begin at 7 p.m. Friday with a live birds of prey show featuring hawks, eagles, owls and falcons put on by The Raptor Center from the University of Minnesota. Information is also available by calling 1-800-683-2453.

The raptor show will be repeated at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Wollersheim Winery, the event’s Conservation Partner, will offer Eagle White Wine tasting throughout the day. And, at 12:30 p.m., Wildlife humorist David Stokes will do a show titled “Fun Animal Adaptations.” DNR staff will run kids activities and give talks on eagles in Wisconsin and eagle conservation efforts. There will be eagle tours throughout the day led by Ferry Bluff Eagle Council members and DNR staff. For More Ferry Bluff Eagle Council Information Online:

Open water below the dam on the Wisconsin River at Sauk City and Prairie du Sac is a customary winter gathering place for bald eagles. The Ferry Bluff Eagle Council maintains an overlook for viewing eagles, preserves habitat for eagles, conducts eagle programs, educates people on how to watch eagles yet maintain the bird’s safety, creates educational material for schools and works with landowners to manage habitat. Council members also monitor nighttime eagle roosts during the winter.

Cassville Bald Eagle Days

The 17th Annual Bald Eagle Days Celebration will be held Jan. 30 and 31 in Cassville on the Mississippi River in Grant County. Every year hundreds of eagles spend the winter in the Cassville area where the birds can be seen along the village’s waterfront. Each day, from 8 a.m. to noon, knowledgeable volunteers from the Cassville area will assist birders in locating eagles at the Wildlife Observation Deck at Cassville’s Riverside Park. Education programs will be held Saturday, January 31 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Cassville High School, 715 E Amelia St. For More Cassville’s Bald Eagle Days Information Online:

Prairie du Chien Bald Eagle Appreciation Day Saturday, Feb 26

The City of Prairie du Chien will hold its annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The event includes live bald eagle programs, various birding and nature exhibits and displays, birding experts on hand, outdoor viewing of bald eagles through spotting scopes, life-size bald eagle nest, activities for children.

The main event location is the Prairie du Chien Regional Tourism Center/AmericInn Lodge & Suites, 211 South Main. For More Prairie du Chien Information Online:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on bald eagles in Wisconsin contact Rich Staffen, 608-266-4340; on Sauk-Prairie Eagle Watching Days – 800-683-2453; on Cassville Bald Eagle Days – 608-725-5855; on Prairie du Chien Bald Eagle Appreciation Day – Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce 800-732-1673


Information sought on fatal shooting of peregrine falcon

Indiana DNR Law Enforcement seeks information on the fatal shooting of a peregrine falcon that was found injured in Floyd County near the I-64 bridge in New Albany on Dec. 22 of last year.

news2-peregrinThe bird, a captive-bred injured female, was brought to the Hardy Lake Raptor Rehabilitation Center that night by Indiana Conservation Officer Gary Pennington. The center’s personnel took the falcon to a local veterinarian, whose X-ray determined the bird had been shot. The falcon died Dec. 31.

According to John Castrale, the IDNR’s nongame bird biologist, the falcon, which he banded and released in Evansville in 1994, had not been reported since 1995. The bird was named Phoenix, and may have been nesting in the New Albany/Louisville area where pairs breed on tall buildings and under bridges. Most peregrine falcons are banded as nestlings and later identification can be made if individuals can be approached. The biologist said the bird was relatively old for the species. The oldest he’s aware of in the Midwest lived to age 19.

Peregrine falcons were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999 but remain a state endangered species in Indiana.

Anyone with information about this shooting should call 1-800-TIP-IDNR (847-4367) or go online to TIP.IN.gov.

Lt. Mark Farmer, public information officer for DNR Law Enforcement, said combined federal and state penalties for a conviction could result in a fine of $15,000, six months incarceration and loss of equipment.

For More Midwest peregrines (including a searchable database) Information Online:

For more information: Marty Benson, DNR assistant director of communications, 317-233-3853.


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