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Weekly News Published - December 3, 2013
- Wisconsin wraps up 162nd nine day deer season with another batch of warm memories amongst cold temperatures
- Ice fishing season comes early
- No Asian Carp DNA found in Sturgeon Bay water samples
- 2014 spring turkey, black bear permit applications deadline is Dec. 10
- Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine takes a look at state parks.
- 2014 Wisconsin State Park stickers now on sale
- Yes, Virginia, you can reduce waste and save money this holiday season
- Travel Green Wisconsin partners with DNR to offer business workshop
Wisconsin wraps up 162nd nine day deer season with another batch of warm memories amongst cold temperatures
MADISON – Though temperatures plummeted and winds blew for the first half of the season, hunters rose to the occasion and headed out to enjoy the traditions of the nine-day deer hunt.
Of the 633, 602 gun deer license buyers, Wisconsin welcomed nearly 27,000 new resident hunters to the field based on the number of people who took advantage of discounted licenses for first-time-hunters.
“This year, the traditions of the nine-day were shared with a large cohort of new hunters. I want to thank all the seasoned hunters who encouraged someone new to join in the traditions of their hunt this year, and for those new hunters who took advantage of the opportunity to try hunting,” DNR Sec. Cathy Stepp. “I am especially excited to see such a representation of new female hunters.
This year females represented 33 percent of resident adult First Time Gun Deer license buyers and 33 percent of resident First Time Junior Gun Deer license buyers. The number of female hunters aged 10 to 30 increased by 10 percent this year and overall, females made up 10 percent of all deer license sales, going into opening weekend.
Preliminary harvest summary
Cold temperatures opening weekend didn’t curb interest in going out hunting, only the ability to stay out hunting. By the second half of the week, hunters found much more favorable conditions and put it to good use.
“It was downright brutal out there early in the week and the opening weekend totals reflected that,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist who spent most of the week hunting and working in Vilas County. “Feedback from our deer hunter wildlife survey shows that, not surprisingly, hunters themselves felt the weather during the first half of the season ranked the poorest they’ve seen in the five years that we’ve done this survey.”
This year’s preliminary harvest totals indicate a total of 226,582 deer were killed, down 7 percent from 2012’s call-in numbers. The preliminary tally showed hunters harvested 97,765 bucks and 128,817 antlerless deer. This compared to 2012 call-in registration figures of 114,822 bucks and 128,917 antlerless, for a 15 percent decrease in the buck kill, while the antlerless kill was almost exactly the same as 2012.
Preliminary harvest numbers were down opening weekend throughout the state showing a total decrease of about 18 percent, due in part to the cold and windy conditions.
A breakdown of the harvest by DNR region and county is available in portable document format (pdf) on the DNR website.
The preliminary nine-day harvest numbers are collected through a call-around survey of over 600 deer registration stations all across Wisconsin and likely will increase when all registration tags are officially counted, Wallenfang said.
According to Wallenfang, DNR anticipated lower numbers in the north and hunter feedback confirmed it. He added that antlerless permit numbers across the north are at the lowest levels seen since the 1990s and a reduced antlerless harvest was expected this year. The neighboring states of Michigan and Minnesota saw similar conditions both during their hunts and last winter, and both have reported a comparatively lower deer harvest this fall.
Regardless of outcome, a steady flow of stories poured into registration stations, bars, and social media around the state.
While counting down to next year…
Continue the memories and excitement of the season by visiting DNR’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/WIDNR .
Also, commemorate a first deer harvest by getting a free DNR First Harvest Certificate, new this year! This is a great way for those who harvest a deer for the first time to preserve this special hunting memory. Information about when and where the deer was harvested, who you were hunting with, and even a picture can be displayed on the certificate. Visit dnr.wi.gov, search keyword “deer,” fill out the form, and we’ll email a customized certificate back to you for free.
Opportunities to create hunting memories continue through December
There are additional opportunities to hunt deer in Wisconsin after the close of the nine-day season. The muzzleloader season is currently open through Dec. 11. The late archery season is also underway and continues until Jan. 5, 2014. There is also a statewide antlerless hunt Dec. 12 to Dec. 15, and a holiday hunt in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) zones of south central Wisconsin, which starts Dec. 24 and runs until Jan. 5, 2014.
Shooting Incidents stay on average, with no fatalities in 2013
This year a total of eight shooting related incidents were reported.
Four of the hunting related incidents can be directly attributed to unsafe muzzle control. “Always Point Your Muzzle in a Safe Direction is one of the four firearm safety rules taught in our hunter safety education courses,” said Conservation Warden Jon King, Hunter Education Administrator.
The remaining four incidents involved violating firearm safety rule number three; be certain of your target and what is beyond.
Of the gun deer hunting incidents, 38 percent involved deer drives and shooting at running deer. “It is difficult enough to successfully shoot a running deer, let alone pay attention to everything in front of and behind that deer while it is running as you are shooting,” said King. “As a group, plan these deer drives very carefully and remind everyone that no deer is worth hurting someone or taking someone’s life,” said King.
Total reported incidents for 2013 is below the 10 year average, which is nine.
More than 30,000 students complete the hunter’s safety program every year, thanks to the work of more than 4,200 volunteer hunter education instructors. Before the hunter education course started, hunter fatalities during the season commonly ran into double digits.
“As always, we want to remind hunters participating in the remaining seasons to remember and follow the four rules of firearm safety or TAB-K,” said King. “Treat any firearm as if it is loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, be certain of your target and what’s beyond, and keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.”
Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey
The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is still active until the end of all deer seasons and wildlife managers are asking hunters to send in a report of what they saw during the just completed nine-day gun hunt and during any hunting trips they make through the end of all deer hunting seasons. This information provides valuable data biologists use to improve population estimates for Wisconsin’s deer herds and other species.
Additional information on the 2013 deer season, and continuing deer hunting opportunities, can be found by visiting dnr.wi.gov, search keyword “deer.”
Message of thanks from Gov. Walker and DNR Sec. Stepp
With the end of the 162nd Wisconsin nine-day gun deer season, Gov. Scott Walker and DNR Sec. Cathy Stepp share a video message with hunters and their families, thanking them for being part of the deer season, and for continuing to be our partners in conservation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR Big Game Ecologist, 608-261-7589; Jon King, DNR Conservation Warden, 608-575-2294; or Jennifer Pelej, DNR dep. communications director, 608-264-9248
Ice fishing season comes early
Increasing numbers of people getting hooked on the hard-water season
MADISON – Ice fishing opportunities are going to come early and often this season, good news for the growing number of ice anglers drilling down into this favorite winter sport, state fisheries officials say.
“The colder weather in recent weeks has frozen smaller lakes much earlier than last year, so we’re looking forward to a nice, long season,” says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin’s fisheries director. “There are an abundance of great places to fish across the state and even more time for anglers to hit their favorite hot spots and try some new locations.”
Staggs reported people fishing on a back bay of Delavan Lake in Walworth County on Thanksgiving, and conservation wardens and fish biologists are reporting seeing anglers ice fishing on smaller lakes, bays and backwaters in many parts of Wisconsin.
“The ice season is already underway up here, as I’ve seen anglers on the ice for almost a week now,” says Skip Sommerfeldt, a DNR fisheries biologist based in Park Falls in Price County and an avid ice angler. “I haven’t made it out yet – as I stayed busy with deer season and then a short vacation with the family. But that will change this afternoon (Dec. 2) – as my tip-ups and minnows are ready for the late afternoon bite.”
An estimated 590,700 Wisconsinites 16 and over report they ice fish, up from 479,900 in 2000, according to the most recent National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, a federally funded survey.
Staggs thinks the growth reflects in part that ice fishing is a low-cost way to try fishing or for veteran open water anglers to extend the fishing season. “It's as easy as drilling a hole -- or finding a hole someone else left behind -- and using some basic equipment to catch some fish for dinner," he says.
Add to that simple appeal the fact that better technology -- lighter, warmer ice houses and better, safer heaters and outerwear – is making it more comfortable to be out on the ice longer.
Early ice fishing and ice safety tips
Early ice offers some of the season's best fishing, but also a need for extreme caution due to ice conditions (or lack thereof.) Wisconsin recreation safety wardens sent out their list of top safety tips for the ice fishing season on Dec. 2.
Steve Avelallemant, fisheries supervisor for northern Wisconsin, says that early ice fishing can be some of the best fishing for walleye and northern pike. “Especially on shallow lakes, where the fish seem to be accessible and biting more earlier in the hard water season," he says.
Fishing pressure nearly triples in December in Wisconsin after lakes freeze over, based on results from a 2006-7 statewide mail survey of anglers. Anglers reported spending about 1,589,000 hours in December alone in that year, up from 624,000 hours in November, the survey showed.
Panfish, northern pike and walleye are most frequently caught in the winter, with 11.7 million, 866,000, and 750,000, respectively, based on the mail survey results.
Find helpful tips for fishing for panfish, walleye and northern pike from fisheries biologists Kurt Welke, Skip Sommerfeldt and Terry Margenau on the ice fishing pages of the DNR website. Find also links to ice safety information, to tips for getting started ice fishing, and how to have a fun and successful ice fishing outing with the kids.
Ice fishing live online chat set for Dec. 5
Get a preview of the 2013-14 ice fishing season and ask questions about ice fishing, Wisconsin fish populations and fishing opportunities when DNR fisheries biologists host a live, online chat on Dec. 5. The live chat starts at noon and runs until 1 p.m.
Participate on that day by visiting dnr.wi.gov and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts." Or join the conversation via DNR’s Facebook page and by clicking the “Cover it Live Chat” box at the top.
Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Jan. 18-19, 2014
Wisconsin’s second annual winter Free Fishing Weekend is set for Jan. 18-19, 2014. No fishing license or Great Lakes salmon stamp is needed to fish any Wisconsin water. This includes all inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and other boundary waters. Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish anglers can keep and any seasons when anglers must release certain fish species.
“Ice fishing is a great way to get outside during the winter and to fish anywhere without a boat,” says Theresa Stabo, Wisconsin’s angler education director. “Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to discover what it’s all about – fun with friends and family and, of course, the fish.”
Stabo encourages fishing groups, local chambers of commerce, youth group leaders and others to consider hosting their own Free Fishing Weekend events and to fill out an electronic form with their event details so DNR can help publicize those events that are open to the public. DNR tackle loaner sites have ice fishing gear for loan that groups and individuals can use, and the agency can supply limited quantities of age appropriate materials about ice fishing, fish populations, and fishing in general.
Posters are also available to download, print off and post to help promote Free Fishing Weekend.
All materials are available on DNR’s Free Fishing Weekend web page. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search “Free Fishing Weekend.”
Advice to maximize health benefits, limit contaminants from eating fish
Ice anglers eat a greater proportion of their catch than open water anglers, so it’s important to be aware of and follow fish consumption advice, says Candy Schrank, an environmental toxicologist who coordinates the fish consumption advice DNR issues with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
An online search tool allows anglers to use a drop down menu to select the county and lake or river reach they are fishing to bring up consumption advice for fish species on that water. The advice booklet, videos, and other materials are also available on the “Eat Your Catch pages of the DNR website.
Follow rules to prevent spreading invasive species like Asian carp and fish diseases
Ice anglers eager to start the hard water season are reminded to take steps to prevent accidentally spreading fish diseases and aquatic invasive species like Asian carp, the young of which look similar to common baitfish such as gizzard shad, emerald shiner, spottail shiner or golden shiner. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, is a virus that can infect several dozen fish species and cause them to bleed to death.
Here is what anglers need to know to help prevent fish diseases and other invasive species from spreading:
Follow bait rules. Buy bait from Wisconsin bait dealers. If you take minnows home after a day of fishing and you’ve added lake water or fish to the container, you can return with them only to that same water body the next day.
Familiarize yourself with what the different Asian carp species look like as juveniles and as adults, and learn how to tell the difference between them and common baitfish. Inspect bait you buy to assure you do not have any Asian carp in the bucket. Put on ice any fish suspected of being Asian carp and contact your local DNR.
Preserve bait correctly if you catch your own. If you use smelt or other dead bait, preserve it in a way that does not require freezing or refrigeration.
Don’t move live fish away from the water. Keep the fish you catch and want to take home on the ice until you leave at the end of the day, or carry them away in a dry bucket.
Drain all water from your equipment. That includes all buckets and containers of fish. When you’re leaving the ice, you may carry up to 2 gallons of water in which to keep your minnows.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ICE FISHING IN GENERAL CONTACT: Mike Staggs, 608-267-0796; Steve Hewett 608-267-7501; or your local fish biologist; Theresa Stabo, 608- 266-2272, for information on Free Fishing Weekend; Candy Schrank, 608-267-7614, for information on fish consumption advice.
No Asian Carp DNA found in Sturgeon Bay water samples
STURGEON BAY – Water samples collected from Sturgeon Bay last month and analyzed for evidence of Asian carp DNA have come back negative, state officials announced today.
“We’re obviously happy that the results came back negative. It’s a good indication that there are not Asian carp in the bay and underscores the importance of continuing our efforts to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes,” says Mike Staggs, fisheries director for the Department of Natural Resources.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR had collected 150 water samples from Sturgeon Bay on Nov. 12 and 13 as a follow up to a single positive detection of Asian carp DNA in samples collected from the bay earlier in the year.
“Sampling was completed as part of a Great Lakes wide early detection program intended to monitor for many different invasive species, including Asian carp,” says Todd Turner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Assistant Regional Director for Midwest Fisheries. “We continue to work closely with our state partners to use eDNA as a tool to investigate invasive species across the Midwest Region.”
Repeated detections over time of environmental DNA, or eDNA for short, increase the likelihood of a persistent source of genetic material in the area where the sample was collected, possibly indicating the presence of live fish or other repeated source, says Bob Wakeman, DNR’s aquatic invasive species coordinator.
Environmental DNA is released into water with the urine, feces and scales of live fish but other possible sources could include a bait bucket that accidentally contained young Asian carp, water transported in the live well of a recreational boat that had recently been used in Asian carp infested waters, or feces from a migrating bird that had eaten an Asian carp, Wakeman says.
Asian carp species are invasive fish species that were introduced to southern fish farms in the 1970s, escaped, and have been making their way toward the Great Lakes. They are a serious concern because they can aggressively compete with native commercial and sport fish for food, says Bob Wakeman, DNR’s aquatic invasive species coordinator. Also, silver carp can injure boaters when the fish leap out of the water.
Asian carp environmental DNA has been found upstream of the electric dispersal barriers in Lake Calumet, seven miles from Lake Michigan on the Indiana-Illinois border, and in Lake Erie.
Sampling in Wisconsin waters for Asian carp eDNA had been negative until the single positive sample from Sturgeon Bay. Wakeman says Wisconsin will continue to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners to monitor Wisconsin waters of the Great Lakes for unwanted invasive species.
For more information, search the DNR website for "Asian carp control efforts."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Wakeman, 262-574-2149; Mike Staggs,608-267-0796; Kaitlin Steiger-Meister, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region, 612-713-5317 or Katie_Steiger-Meister@fws.gov
2014 spring turkey, black bear permit applications deadline is Dec. 10
MADISON – Wild turkey hunters and black bear hunters have until close of business on Dec. 10 to apply for available permits for the 2014 hunting seasons.
Spring 2014 turkey season
Preliminary permit levels for the 2014 spring turkey season are set at the same level as in 2013. Final permit levels are not set until after the close of the fall turkey season, but will likely not differ significantly from preliminary permit levels.
The 2014 spring turkey season officially begins with the April 12 -13 Spring Turkey Youth Hunt. The regular turkey season begins on the following Wednesday, April 16 and consists of six 7-day time periods, ending on May 27. The drawing for permits will take place in late December or early January. Successful permit applicants can expect to receive a postcard by late January. All applicants may also check their drawing status online through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website starting in late January.
With the start of the 2014 license year on March 5, 2014, permit winners may then purchase their required 2014 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents; go to dnr.wi.gov and search for “first-time buyer” to see if you qualify for reduced license costs) and 2014 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25). The permit (also known as a carcass tag) will be printed at the time of purchase. Conservation Patrons and Senior Citizen Recreation Card holders do not need to purchase a turkey license or stamp when they go to pick up their permit.
Permits remaining after the initial drawing for the 2014 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March, at a date to be specified later.
Applications for Special Turkey Hunts for Hunters with Disabilities also due Dec. 10
As a reminder to those hunters with disabilities who wish to hunt turkey next spring on private lands, there is an alternate opportunity available using a separate application and authorization form.
Applications to conduct a Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities on private land must be submitted using DNR Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A. Forms need to be submitted by December 10th to the local DNR Wildlife Biologist or Department office for the county within which the hunt will take place. Please note that any hunter applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may NOT also apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing.
More information is available on the DNR’s Wild Turkey webpage.
Bear hunters are reminded that harvest permits are strictly limited, and hunters must apply for several years before receiving a permit.
Harvest numbers from the 2013 black bear season are not finalized, but hunters harvested more than 3,800 bears in during the season. DNR staff and the bear advisory committee are in the process of determining 2014 quotas.
Bear hunters can apply for a permit or purchase a preference point for future years. In order for bear permit applicants to retain their accumulated preference points, they must apply at least once during any three consecutive year period or they will lose all previously accumulated preference points.
If a zone is selected at the time of purchase and the hunter is selected in the February drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. Winners in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing and may purchase their 2014 Class A bear license beginning in early March.
The 2014 bear season begins Sept. 3 and runs through Oct. 7 with bait hunters starting first in all zones.
Apply online, at license agents, DNR service centers or by phone
Applications for the permit drawing cost $3 and may be can be purchased: through the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, using the key words “ Online Licensing Center,” at any DNR Service Center; at all authorized license agents; or by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). .
Hunters interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR’s GovDelivery service. Just go to the DNR’s website and click on the “Subscribe to DNR Updates” link at the bottom of the page – look for the red envelope! There, you can select your subscription preferences.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on turkey season contact: Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist, 608-267-7861 or Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist, 608-261-8458: on the bear season contact David MacFarland at 715-365-8917 or Dan Kaminski at 608-261-7588
Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine takes a look at state parks.
MADISON -- The latest issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources is all about parks, and for the very first time, the magazine is offering a calendar as part of the December/January issue.
Partnering with the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks to produce this 2014 calendar, it features the winning photographs from the Friends’ photo contest. To coincide with the calendar, all articles tie into the theme of “A portrait of our parks.”
A book review for “Easy Campfire Cooking” takes a look at a great read for your next camping trip.
In “64 Parks in 365 Days” author Jonathan Ringdahl describes his one-year experience visiting all the parks, forests and recreation areas in the Wisconsin State Park System.
“Available to all” focuses on the accessible recreation opportunities in the state parks and other DNR lands, including accessible cabins, fishing piers, sit skis, kayaks, hunting blinds and more.
Popular equestrian trails and horse campgrounds from the Kettle Moraine to Wildcat Mountain are featured in “Horseplay allowed.”
“A devil of a hike” highlights the beautiful and challenging segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail for hikers to tackle at Devil’s Lake State Park.
Learn all about identifying animal tracks, making a plaster cast, and a new track QR code to look for on the trails in “Creature Comforts.”
The newest edition of “Wisconsin Traveler” describes all the fun, winter activities you can do when the sun goes down and the lights come on.
Remember to consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift that gives all year – and if you order now, your gift will include a 2014 calendar! Share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers and professional colleagues. Six colorful issues are delivered to reader’s doors all year for less than $1.50 a copy. Year-round the magazine shares ways and place to enjoy the Wisconsin outdoors for only $8.97. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at www.wnrmag.com or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke at (608) 261-8446.
2014 Wisconsin State Park stickers now on sale
MADISON – People looking for the a holiday gift that keeps giving throughout the year can give outdoor enthusiasts access to thousands of miles of trails, hundreds of nature hike opportunities, dozens of beaches, and some of the most scenic areas found in Wisconsin with a 2014 Wisconsin state park admission stickers or state trail pass.
2014 Wisconsin State Park sticker
2014 annual vehicle admission stickers and state trails passes went on sale Dec. 1 at state park facilities and Department of Natural Resources service centers statewide. State park properties will honor 2014 stickers and passes for admission to parks, forests, recreation areas and trails beginning Dec. 1, 2013.
The admission stickers are designed by high school students and the winning design is chosen in a statewide contest.
The winning design for the 2014 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features a turtle and was designed by Ursula Reid, a junior at Cedarburg High School. The winning design was selected from 220 entries into the design contest. It will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and displayed on more than 150,000 vehicles.
The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.
A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, or off-highway motorcycling on certain state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.
Admission stickers cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents – the same as last year. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.
In addition to park, forest and trail offices and DNR service centers, stickers and trail passes are available over the phone from the DNR call center. Phone customers can call the DNR at 888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Customers need to order stickers and passes by Monday, Dec. 16 to receive them for the holidays.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks also offers online sales of admission stickers and trail passes with a donation to the statewide friends group through the organization’s website www.fwsp.org (exit DNR).
2015 state park sticker design contest open
Entries for the 2015 Wisconsin state park sticker design contest are being accepted now through April 17, 2014. The contest is open to all high school age students (ninth through twelfth grades) attending public, private, or parochial schools in Wisconsin.
The design must be the artist’s original creation and cannot be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, clip art or electronic graphic images. Photographs or photo manipulations are not accepted.
Contest rules, a design template and entry form are available by searching for “sticker design contest” on the DNR website.
For more information, search the DNR website for "parks."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: DNR Customer Service, 1-888-936-7463 or Paul Holtan, Office of Communications, 608-267-7517
Yes, Virginia, you can reduce waste and save money this holiday season
MADISON – During this year’s holiday season, people can help the environment and their pocketbooks by taking a few simple recycling and waste reduction steps.
“From recycling holiday lights to creatively reusing materials in decorations and gift-wrapping, the holiday season offers plenty of opportunities to reduce waste, help the environment and save money,” says Elisabeth Olson, waste reduction educator for the Department of Natural Resources.
Giving and sharing during the holiday season can add up to additional waste with extra gift wrap, extra packaging, disposable dishes, leftover food and more. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the volume of household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s about one million extra tons of waste sent to landfills across the country each year.
For a variety of ideas for things people can do to reduce waste during the holiday season, search the DNR website for “Recycling For All Seasons.”
Holiday decorations and parties
- Have lights that no longer work? Many companies accept used light strings for recycling and may even offer a discount on new lights. Check with your local retailer or search online for details. Check with your local recycling program, too – they may take string lights for recycling during the holiday season.
- Replace old string lights with energy-efficient LED lights.
- Using timers to automatically turn off holiday lights helps conserve energy.
- Using washable plates, cups, silverware, tablecloths and napkins versus disposables helps cut down on waste.
Gift-giving and wrapping
- Look for gifts with little or no packaging, or packaging that can be easily recycled or reused.
- Bring your own reusable bags when you go out to shop.
- Wrap gifts in Sunday comics or colorful old maps. Reuse brown paper bags from the grocery store as gift wrap dressed up with colorful ribbons or bows.
- Not sure what to do with discarded wrapping paper? Many people don’t realize that most wrapping paper is recyclable (except for the foil or plastic types).
- Recycle boxes that are torn or no longer useable or save gift boxes, bags and bows for future holidays.
- Recycle or save holiday greeting cards to use as post cards or gift tags next year.
- Put cut trees in a corner of the yard to provide winter cover for rabbits and birds. In the spring, chip the tree and use it for mulch.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Elisabeth Olson, 608-264-9258
Travel Green Wisconsin partners with DNR to offer business workshop
MADISON – Not certified by Travel Green Wisconsin yet? Don’t know where to start on your sustainable business initiatives? A new workshop co-hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Travel Green and Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful is perfect for your introduction to different ways to reduce costs and help keep your business sustainable.
The workshops will be held at State Fair Park from 1-4 p.m. on Dec. 12. Registration is $15 per business for 1-2 attendees and $25 per business for 3-4 attendees.
Go to the Travel Green website to register (exit DNR). Parking is free and light refreshments will be provided. Enter at Gate 5 on the northwest corner of State Fair Park at 640 S. 84th Street in West Allis. The workshop will be held in Meeting Room 5 of the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center.
Designed for certified Travel Green Wisconsin businesses to grow their green score, the workshops will focus on the main categories of the Travel Green application, including Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling and Energy Efficiency and Conservation and Management.
Strategies to reduce costs and overcome barriers, as well as techniques to boost public relations with green initiatives, will be presented by staff with Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful and Focus on Energy. Participants will learn how the Travel Green program can add value to their businesses by increasing marketability while reducing environmental impacts.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Waneta Kratz, 608-266-6965
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