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March 27, 2012

MADISON - Across Wisconsin, hundreds of citizens in more than 100 organizations, agencies and companies devote thousands of hours each year to improve the quality of life for wildlife and Wisconsin's citizens. Many of those contributions have been captured in a first of its kind report that seeks to highlight key partnerships that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has developed to promote, protect and enhance Wisconsin's environment.

"Wisconsin citizens love nature and the wildlife that is part of it," says Bill Vander Zouwen, DNR wildlife ecologist section chief. "It is part of our cherished quality of life and an essential driver of our economy."

While DNR has been given a trust responsibility for wildlife conservation by the people of Wisconsin, Vander Zouwen notes, "the job is too big for any one agency to do well. It takes a broad conservation coalition."

Thanks to fees and excise taxes that recreationists have been willing to contribute to fund these responsibilities, Vander Zouwen said, Wisconsin is rich in wildlife and the habitats that support them.

The purpose of the Wildlife Management Partner Recognition Report (pdf), which is being presented this week to the State Natural Resources Board, is not only to express the agency's appreciation to partners, but to show how the DNR works in partnerships to accomplish its mission.

"We hope this will encourage others to partner with us to improve the quality of life for wildlife and Wisconsin's citizens and to help people understand how we approach nature resources management in Wisconsin," Vander Zouwen says.

The report recognizes the critical partnerships that produce surveys and research, and manage wildlife habitat and populations.

The land ethic that Wisconsin's own Aldo Leopold called for, Vander Zouwen said, is seen in the many partnerships between DNR and organizations, landowners, and recreationists.

"Wildlife and the appreciation that Wisconsinites have for it is one of the great things about Wisconsin that many people around the country notice and envy," he said .

The report can be found on the DNR's web site by using the keyword "wildlife."

"We encourage people to review this report and see how fellow citizens are engaged in wildlife conservation partnerships," said Vander Zouwen. "If you aren't already, we are hoping that you will see an opportunity for volunteering your time and resources in the Wisconsin wildlife conservation coalition through one of these partners or by working directly with department staff."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Vander Zouwen - 608-266-8840 or Bill Cosh - 608-267-2773

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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