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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 657 days

Donations to Endangered Resources Fund double the difference for rare prairies

Published by Central Office March 1, 2016

Contact(s): Owen Boyle, species management section chief, (608) 266-5244; Jim Woodford, (715) 365-8856

Income tax check-off an easy way to care for wildlife and wild places

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- For nearly a quarter century, Bob Swartz and other directors of the Paul E. Stry Foundation have helped save bluff prairies in Wisconsin and other nature areas by donating money directly to the Endangered Resources Fund.

"To buy a prairie and just own it doesn't preserve it. DNR has the staff, the equipment and the mission to do it," says Swartz.

So foundation directors have donated to the fund every year since the 1990s to benefit state natural areas in western Wisconsin.

Their investment has allowed the Department of Natural Resources to establish a crew of conservation biologists who conduct prescribed burns, control invasive species, and take other measures to maintain DNR-owned natural areas that represent the best remaining examples of more than 100 different kinds of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands and forests in Wisconsin and are a haven for rare plants and animals.

Such direct donations are just one way that people and organizations can help care for Wisconsin's wild places and native plants and animals. Perhaps the easiest way to donate is through the checkoff on Wisconsin state income tax form.

Every year, about 10,000 people fill in a donation amount on the form next to the Endangered Resources Fund line, and their donation is matched dollar for dollar.

Private donations that helped fund restoration at Hogback Prairie State Natural Area in Crawford County have resulted in the state endangered regal fritillary butterfly using this habitat for the first time in likely 20 years.
Private donations that helped fund restoration at Hogback Prairie State Natural Area in Crawford County have resulted in the state endangered regal fritillary butterfly using this habitat for the first time in likely 20 years.
Photo Credit: Armund Bartz

"Your donation, big or small, makes a huge difference for Wisconsin wildlife and natural areas and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed over the years," says Erin Crain-Sullivan, deputy director of the DNR Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division. "Together, we can do more."

Private donations and the state match they secure are critical for funding work to manage nongame species and state natural areas; they can provide more than a quarter of the annual funding available annually for work by DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation staff.

To learn more about NHC funding, the work those donations paid for in 2015, and the impact of those efforts, please read "Conserving Wisconsin's Natural Heritage Together," the Natural Heritage Conservation Program's 2015 annual report.

Other ways to donate to the Endangered Resources Fund

There are other ways to donate to work to manage nongame species and maintain state natural areas. Online donations and checks payable to the Endangered Resources Fund allow people to direct where they want their funding to go: state natural areas; bats, birds, reptiles and amphibians; insects and aquatic species; plants and natural communities, or the general fund.

Both of these options also allow for the matching money, allowing the donor to double their impact on behalf of native species and natural areas.

Donate online by going to dnr.wi.gov, searching "NHC" and clicking on the donate button.

If you prefer to write a check, make your check payable to the "Endangered Resources Fund" and send to: Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921

Finally, buying an Endangered Resources license plate provides an annual $25 donation to the Endangered Resources Fund. A new eagle design joins the wolf design and both plates can be purchased at any time -- no need to wait for registration renewal.

To learn more and print off the application form to get the plate, go to dnr.wi.gov and search "eagle plate."

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Contact information

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