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Explore
the MacKenzie Center property.
Learn
new outdoor skills and participate in environmental education.
Plan
a day program or overnight field trip to the MacKenzie Center. (Educator materials)
Contact information
For more information about the MacKenzie Center, contact:
MacKenzie Center
W7303 County Highway CS
Poynette WI 53955
608-635-8105

MacKenzie Center History

School field trip

MacKenzie Center at Poynette, Wisconsin.

The MacKenzie Center history begins in the 1930s when Harley MacKenzie purchased land outside Poynette under his authority as Director of the Wisconsin Conservation Department - known today as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The 500-acre property included the State Fur and Game Farm, which raised fur-bearing animals for their pelts and game birds, including ring-necked pheasants for hunting.

In the 1960s as the Conservation movement grew, the property was split so that half remained the State Game Farm focusing on raising ring-necked pheasants and the other half focusing on outdoor education. The center was named in honor of Harley MacKenzie in 1971. The resident center dormitories and the main lodge building were built in 1975. The animals, once housed along the road between the Customer Service Center and the Conservation Museum, were moved to their current location in the wildlife exhibit in the late 1980s.

From 2006 to 2013 the MacKenzie Center was jointly managed as a partnership between the DNR, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Friends of MacKenzie. The DNR is grateful to have worked with the Wildlife Federation and Friends to maintain and operate the center over that time span.

In 2014, the Department of Natural Resources assumed full operation of the MacKenzie Center. The department continues to offer environmental education programs and is working with the Friends of MacKenzie as well as other partners to develop an innovative outdoor skills center.

Last revised: Tuesday April 11 2017