Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Freelance guidelines

We're glad you're interested in contributing to Wisconsin Natural Resources (WNR) magazine! Given our 86,000-plus subscribers, an extensive pass-along readership and thousands of visitors to our website, WNR is a great place to share your writing skills and display your photographs and illustrations.

A word about our readers

WNR readers are a diverse group with many interests. They’re active and care about protecting our natural resources. They’re also armchair philosophers and knowledgeable about environmental issues. They enjoy wildlife watching, nature study and outdoor recreation, and appreciate stories offering tips on how they can enhance their outdoor skills.

Our readers want to know about the state of Wisconsin's environment and the people who work on behalf of natural resources. They want to read about the cultural and historical roots of outdoor traditions and environmental problems. They appreciate art that reflects concern for the environment – and they have a sense of humor.

Subject matter and style

February 2013 cover of WNR magazine
February 2013 cover of WNR magazine.

Feature stories – the kinds of articles the magazine publishes – are meant to be read for enjoyment and information. Authors should focus on Wisconsin resources, environmental issues, observation and research, rather than merely sharing personal opinions. Weave a good, exciting story while maintaining a strong factual message. The editor can help you find a good angle for your story to capture the readers’ attention. Please remember that WNR is not a literary magazine and does not publish fiction stories or poetry.

WNR is also not a technical journal for researchers and should not read like one. Cite research results to make a point and give readers some insight. Our readers are not interested in methodology; they want to know what you learned and what your research implies for the environment.

If you are writing a "how-to" piece (making fishing lures, preparing wild game recipes, building a bird house, etc.), you don’t need to be a specialist, but you need to have experience and know what you’re talking about. Assume that readers have basic skills with tools and home equipment, but don't assume they know the jargon of a particular hobby or skill. Having good photos, diagrams or drawings to explain the process is important.

Copy preparation and submissions

It is best to contact the editor before starting a story. The editor will work with you on your story idea, whether or not it is appropriate for the magazine, the length and timing, and plan for any additional information, illustrations and photographs needed for your article. Feature stories can run as short as 500 or as long as 2,500 words.

We use Microsoft Word but can convert from other formats. We prefer to receive stories submitted via email, but we can also work with hard copy submissions if you do not have email available.

Photographs and graphics

We encourage authors to submit images with their stories, but we are always looking for new and high-quality photos/graphics. If you are a photographer or artist interested in submitting your work, we always need images showing:

People enjoying outdoor play or work

  • Hunters enjoying a hunt, people exploring a stream, researchers in the field, hikers or bicyclists on a trail, people fishing, skiers and snowmobilers – we need photos of all outdoor recreation activities and pursuits. We need both full-body shots and close-ups of faces of men, women and children. The outdoors is for everyone – and we need photos of all ages, abilities and ethnicities. Take advantage of these shots when the opportunities occur naturally. We prefer images of people in action as opposed to set-up or posed shots.

Karner blues are the size of your thumbnail and easily confused with other blue flits. © Steve Apps
Karner blues are the size of your thumbnail and easily confused with other blue flits.
© Steve Apps

Wisconsin landscapes and scenery

  • Strive for the rich colors of early morning and evening that help capture a region, a season or a mood. Sky, water, earth, branches, clouds, grasses and woods should be colorful and clear.

Critter and plant close-ups

  • Birds, furbearers, small mammals, reptiles, coyotes, weasels, bear, deer, hares, bobcats, otters, beavers, muskrat, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, frogs and fish – we need images of all creatures great and small! The magazine always needs properly identified clear close-ups of flowers and other plants as well.

Photos/graphics to compliment your article

  • Photos of people and places described in your article are essential. If the article has a seasonal flavor, include seasonal graphics if you have any. For "how-to" pieces, if part of your story can better be told with a drawing or diagram, provide it or sketch it well enough that we can give it to an artist to develop further, or photograph step-by-step the assembly or construction process.

Photo/graphic submissions

If you are forwarding digital images for our consideration, we need high-resolution images of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). When taking photographs, it is best to set your camera on its highest resolution. We prefer to receive large quantities of digital images on CD rather than receiving several files as email attachments. If you would like to send us some low-resolution thumbnails as an inquiry, that will work fine as long as a CD with high resolution files would be available subsequently. We prefer to receive digital images, but we can also work with prints, slide transparencies, watercolors, oils, pen-and-ink or other media.

Please include information we can use for crafting a caption, tell us who took the photos or created the images and how to reach that person via e-mail, mailing address and phone number in case we have follow-up questions.

Production schedule and deadlines

Our magazine issues are planned out months ahead of time, so remember to contact us early and plan to submit your materials accordingly. Because the magazine is published six times a year (February, April, June, August, October, December), advance planning is vital. If your article or idea is tied to a specific date or season, contact the editor as soon as possible (six months to a year in advance is not too soon).

WNR Cover Issue Submissions Due
February November 15
April January 15
June March 15
August May 15
October July 15
December September 15

Compensation

You should know that we do not pay authors, photographers or artists for their work. That's a reflection of our budget, not our respect for your work. We are grateful that you and so many others want to contribute to our magazine - we couldn’t produce this fine publication without your contributions.

August 2012 cover of WNR magazine
August 2012 cover of WNR magazine.

WNR magazine gives you an opportunity to display your talents to more than 86,000 subscribers, an extensive pass-along readership and to thousands of visitors to our website. We'll also send you complimentary magazine copies featuring your work. Published contributors are given the opportunity to claim their contributions as non-cash charitable donations for tax purposes.

Still interested?

We hope so, and we look forward to hearing from you or receiving a query letter. Get imaginative and get going!

Sincerely,
Natasha Kassulke
Editor

Natasha Kassulke
Wisconsin Natural Resources
PO BOX 7921
Madison WI 53707
608-261-8446