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Weekly News Published - April 11, 2017 by the Central Office

 

Work*Play*Earth Day events to be held around the state in 2017

MADISON - People will again have additional opportunities to celebrate Earth Day while helping out and enjoying a Wisconsin state park, forest, trail, recreation area or wildlife property during the ninth annual Work*Play*Earth Day events that will be held around the state.

This year there are 31 properties holding events, up from 28 in 2016. Volunteer events are sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and Department of Natural Resources properties. This year events will be held April 21, 22, 29 and May 6.

Planting trees is one of the many activities offered during Work*Play*Earth*Day events at state properties.
Planting trees is one of the many activities offered during Work*Play*Earth*Day events at state properties.
Photo Credit: DNR

Volunteers can join DNR staff, local friends group members, and people from nearby communities to help repair and enhance park properties.

"We've seen continued growth in both number of events and the numbers of participants at our Work*Play*Earth*Day events," said Patty Loosen, friends coordinator for the state parks program. "Last year we had 825 volunteers participate donating more than 2,640 hours."

In addition to tree planting, other activities taking place around the state include installing benches, removing invasive plants, painting picnic tables and other structures, raking and cleaning up leaves and picking up litter. Refreshments are often provided by the property's friends group.

Volunteers clean up the boat launch picnic area at Mirror Lake State Park.
Volunteers clean up the boat launch picnic area at Mirror Lake State Park.
Photo Credit: DNR

Hours vary by event, but most begin either at 9 or 10 a.m. and run through noon or early afternoon. For details search the Department of Natural Resources website for "Work Play Earth Day."

"When the work is done, volunteers join staff in hiking or biking park trails, visiting nature centers or interpretive displays, or enjoying any of the recreational opportunities available at the different properties," Loosen said.

Friday - April 21

Mirror Lake State Park - Baraboo, 608-254-2333

Saturday - April 22

Big Foot Beach State Park - Lake Geneva, 262-248-2528

Buckhorn State Park - Necedah, 608-565-2789

Governor Nelson State Park - Waunakee, 608-831-3005

Hank Aaron State Traill - Milwaukee, 414-263-8559

Heritage Hill State Historical Park - Green Bay, 920-448-5150

High Cliff State Park - Sherwood, 920-989-1106

Kohler-Andrae State Park - Sheboygan, 920-451-4080

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Lapham Peak Unit - Delafield, 262-646-3025

Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit- Campbellsport, 262-626-2116

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Pike Lake Unit - Hartford, 262-670-3400

Kettle Moraine State Forest- Southern Unit- Eagle, 262-594-6200

Lakeshore State Park - Milwaukee, 414-274-4280

MacKenzie Center - Poynette, 608-635-8105

Newport State Park - Ellison Bay, 920-854-2500

Perrot State Park - Trempealeau, 608-534-6409

Point Beach State Forest, Two Rivers, 920-794-7480 -

Potawatomi State Park - Sturgeon Bay, 920-746-2890

Saturday - April 29

Harrington Beach State Park - Belgium, 262-285-3015

Mead/McMillan State Wildlife Area - Milladore, 715-457-6771

Merrick State Park - Fountain City, 608-687-4936

Peninsula State Park - Fish Creek, 920-868-3258

Richard Bong State Recreation Area - Kansasville, 262-878-5600

Stower Seven Lakes State Trail - Amery, 715-485-9294

Whitefish Dunes State Park -Sturgeon Bay, 920-823-2400

Saturday - May 6

Devil's Lake State Park - Baraboo, 608-356-8301

Hartman Creek State Park - Waupaca, 715-258-2372

Havenwoods State Forest - Milwaukee, 414-527-0232

Rib Mountain State Park - Wausau, 715-842-2522

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Friendship, 608-339-6881

Rock Island State Park, - Washington Island, 920-847-2235

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DNR wildlife biologists team up with volunteers to complete spring and summer wildlife surveys

MADISON -- Spring weather has finally arrived, and Department of Natural Resources biologists and cooperating volunteers are hard at work in the field to monitor Wisconsin's wildlife.

DNR staff and voluteers complete spring and summer surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, and frogs, and many other species.
DNR staff and voluteers complete spring and summer surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, and frogs, and many other species.
Photo Credit: DNR

DNR staff and voluteers complete spring and summer surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, and frogs, and many other species.

Each spring, DNR staff complete surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed Grouse, as well as frogs and many other species. Spring and summer surveys take place during all hours on designated roadside routes, and these procedures may require biologists to make frequent stops for short, pre-determined periods of time. Motorists are reminded to be aware these ongoing efforts.

"Biologists and volunteers have worked together to complete annual roadside surveys, where they listen or look for wildlife and record their findings, since the 1960s," said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife population and harvest assessment specialist. "These survey techniques are a tried and true way to measure wildlife abundance throughout Wisconsin."

Survey results can be found online, and those interested in learning more about Wisconsin's wildlife species are encouraged to view these valuable data. Department staff would like to thank survey volunteers for their continued dedication to working closely in partnership with DNR and other key stakeholders.

For more information regarding Wisconsin wildlife surveys, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "reports."

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New native plant list helps landowners boost wildlife habitat

MADISON - Wisconsin landowners who want to boost wildlife habitat on their property -- whether a city lot or hundreds of acres -- have a new resource to help them choose native plants that can thrive where they live, benefit a wide variety of wildlife and promote water quality.

Adding even just a few native plants to your property, like this cardinal flower, can help boost habitat for wildlife.
Adding even just a few native plants to your property, like this cardinal flower, can help boost habitat for wildlife.
Photo Credit: USFWS

"Wisconsin's Native Plants: Recommendations for landscaping and natural community restoration," [PDF] was developed by Amy Staffen and Lucas Olson, conservation biologists with the Department of Natural Resources, to help people boost habitat on their property by adding native plants that have historically thrived and evolved in the area where they live.

"By choosing diverse, hardy and locally-adapted native species, you can create essential habitat for native wildlife like birds and pollinators," Olson says. "Even selectively adding a few native plant species to your ornamental landscaping can make a difference."

Native plants that evolved in Wisconsin have by far a greater ability to fuel life up the food chain than nonnative plants, Olson says. Research shows that 96 percent of North America's land birds rely on insects and other arthropods to raise their young, and 90 percent of plant-eating insects have evolved to require specific plants for food, according to Douglas Tallamy, author of "Bringing Nature Home," and chair of the University of Delaware Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.

Staffen says DNR's new publication groups plants by region and by specific soils, topography and climate. They list species that are widespread throughout Wisconsin.

"The focus of our recommendations is on trying to mimic or borrow elements from Wisconsin native plant communities, in particular grasslands, savannas and forests," she says. These are the predominant natural communities in Wisconsin, which sits at the crossroads of North America's western tallgrass prairie, eastern deciduous forests and northern coniferous forests.

Staffen says the new publication also provides lists and hyperlinks to other helpful references for specialty plantings such as for pollinators and rain gardens, as well as for native plant nurseries in Wisconsin where people can buy native plants. Many native plants have deep and extensive root systems that allow slow infiltration of rainfall to the aquifer, thus rain gardens can promote cleaner water, enhance groundwater recharge, and reduce flood risk.

More information about the Wisconsin Native Plants publication, how to use the lists, how DNR developed them and why native plants are beneficial can be found in the winter 2017 issue of Natural Heritage Quarterly. To view past issues or sign up for this newsletter for landowners interested in protecting, restoring and managing land for rare species go to dnr.wi.gov and search "Natural Heritage Quarterly."

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Recycling old electronics during spring cleaning gives gadgets new life

State residents have recycled nearly 250 million pounds of electronics since 2010

MADISON - Now that spring is finally arriving across Wisconsin, many people are emptying basements, cleaning out closets and finding new homes for clutter that accumulated over the winter. For many state residents, that includes unused electronics like computers, cell phones or TVs.


While it may be tempting to toss old cell phones in the trash or haul an outdated TV to the curb, state law bans most electronics from Wisconsin's landfills and incinerators. Instead, residents can use E-Cycle Wisconsin to recycle electronics at nearly 400 locations around the state.

 "We've seen a great response to the program, with many state residents taking advantage of convenient drop-off sites to properly recycle old electronics," said Sarah Murray, E-Cycle Wisconsin coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "But our surveys have shown that many people still aren't sure where to recycle their electronics. In fact, many people tell us they are storing old electronics instead of passing them on or recycling them."

A 2016 DNR survey estimated that Wisconsin households had 4.2 million unused cell phones, 2.1 million unused computers and 1.7 million unused TVs. The most common reason people cited for not recycling their old electronics was not knowing where or how to do so.

 Many items are accepted at collection sites for no charge, though current market conditions have caused collectors to charge for some items that are more difficult to recycle, especially TVs and monitors that contain lead or mercury. Responsible recycling is still the best option to recover valuable metals, conserve landfill space, and prevent harm to the environment.

Since E-Cycle Wisconsin began in 2010, registered collectors have received nearly 250 million pounds of electronics for recycling. Nearly all electronics collected under the program are processed in Wisconsin and other Midwest states, creating jobs and keeping harmful components like lead and mercury out of the environment.

"The steel, aluminum, plastic and precious metals inside electronics are commodities that have real economic value if properly recycled," Murray said. "They do nothing for us in landfills."

The DNR maintains an up-to-date list of collection sites registered with E-Cycle Wisconsin. Residents can find permanent drop-off sites and upcoming special collection events in their county by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "E-cycle."

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Adopt a Wildlife Area helps Wisconsin Waterfowl Association volunteers receive valuable training

MADISON -- Wisconsin Waterfowl Association volunteers received valuable training to assist Department of Natural Resources staff with management efforts at Rome Pond Wildlife Area through the Adopt a Wildlife Area program.

WWA volunteers, including TJ Schnulle, Todd Berger, Brent Berger, Greg Tubbs, Tom Seibert, Don Guenther, Ron Churchill, Anne Churchill, and Kevin Banaszak received chainsaw training from a certified instructor to help with management efforts at Rome Pond Wildlife Area.
WWA volunteers, including TJ Schnulle, Todd Berger, Brent Berger, Greg Tubbs, Tom Seibert, Don Guenther, Ron Churchill, Anne Churchill, and Kevin Banaszak received chainsaw training from a certified instructor to help with management efforts at Rome Pond Wildlife Area.
Photo Credit: DNR

As part of the training, volunteers from Jefferson, Waukesha and West Bend received instruction in proper chainsaw use and techniques. Following training, brush and willow removal took place near the north launch of Rome Pond.

"Every volunteer walked away with invaluable instruction and a feeling of great accomplishment helping this state-owned wildlife area." said Mike Alaimo, a WWA member. "The six hours of instruction and continued field training led to the completion of an important project."

Adopt a Wildlife Area provides a positive impact to the environment while giving people of all ages and interests an opportunity to participate in hands-on conservation work. Future improvements at Rome Pond Wildlife Area and other DNR properties are planned as this great partnership continues to grow.

Adopt a Wildlife Area

Wisconsin State Fisheries Areas, Wildlife Areas, Flowages, Wild Rivers and Riverways provide critical fish and wildlife habitat along with outstanding nature based recreation. Adopt a Wildlife Area participants receive a first-hand look at how the department uses management goals to maintain thousands of acres of property throughout Wisconsin and play a key role in enhancing wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for others to enjoy.

Key adoption activities include habitat enhancements, invasive species control, nest box construction, trail and facility maintenance, and more. All safety and maintenance equipment, training, and certification is provided by the department.

Those interested in adopting a State Fish or Wildlife Area can participate individually, or as part of a group - please submit an application [PDF] at the nearest DNR office location.

To learn more about adopting a Wisconsin Wildlife Area, visit the department website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "volunteer."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773