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April 24, 2012

MADISON -- Olympic gold medalist Casey FitzRandolph has planted his legacy on the ice - and now he is planting a legacy on the Wisconsin landscape.

"When I was speedskating, we were all over the world and living in other places," FitzRandolph said. "But I always knew I wanted to move back to Wisconsin. Family is here, which is important, of course, but also the great outdoors. I always looked forward to the day when I would become a Wisconsin landowner."

DNR's YouTube channel video clip of Casey FitzRandolph sharing more about what his forest land means to him and his family.

In Wisconsin, nearly 60 percent of the forest land is owned by some 362,000 private individuals and families, and FitzRandolph is one of the 2,347 Wisconsin landowners who purchased tree and shrub seedlings from the state forest nursery program for planting on their property this spring.

Tree planting, caring for the land and enjoying the natural resources means family time for the FitzRandolphs.

"I've created so many of my favorite memories on the family farm with my dad, my grandpa, and now - in the last couple of years - with my little guy, who's now 5 years old, out helping plant trees," said FitzRandolph.

Like many other forest landowners, FitzRandolph's land management focus is on recreation and wildlife habitat. The 14,000 seedlings the family is planting now includes spruce, pine, various hardwoods and shrubs, selected in consultation with a professional forester to maximize wildlife habitat.

"My goals for the land are to make it a place that our wild creatures here in Wisconsin like to live. And of course we will enjoy them along the way, harvest some and videotape others. But I want to see everything from bucks to bluebirds, and turkeys to pheasants. We want to come out and make memories with family and friends for decades to come," he said.

Although the 2012 tree planting season will be drawing to a close soon, FitzRandolph encourages other landowners to plan now for planting in 2013.

He says, "Think about why you own your property. What are your priorities and why do you want to plant trees? Once you have those things clear in your head, talk to a forester. Have them come out and walk the property with you, and share your ideas with them because, from my experience, they're very willing to work with you. They'll probably tell you things that'll save you time, energy and money down the road."

Sales for DNR tree and shrub seedlings to be planted in spring 2013 will begin in October 2012. Landowners can visit the DNR online at and search "tree planting" to learn how to plant a legacy for future generations. Resources on the DNR Website include contact information for foresters, a guide to developing a personalized tree planting plan and tips for preparing the site for planting.

Wisconsin's state nursery program has also grown a legacy, having provided more than 1.5 billion seedlings over the past 100 years that were planted throughout the state, in addition to those produced by private nurseries.

"I really hope that if I were to be so bold as to say what one individual leaves behind on one or two farms is called a legacy, then I would want my legacy to be that I left the farms in better condition than when I purchased them -- ten-fold! 'Cause I'm pretty ambitious," FitzRandolph said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kirsten Held - 608-264-6036 or Bob Manwell - 608-264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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