Contact(s): Drew Feldkirchner, Director, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program, 608-235-3905
December 11, 2018
MADISON - Thousands of acres of monarch habitat maintained or restored on public lands. Tiny rare turtles and bats outfitted with transmitters to reveal secrets to help save their species. Rare wild orchids pollinated by hand to boost their survival.
These are just some of the stories shared in the "Natural Heritage Conservation Program Field Notes," a 16-page publication from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Program in partnership with Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Find the 2018 Field Notes and companion videos by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "NHC annual report."
"These Field Notes describe a few ways we worked together with partner agencies and organizations, citizen scientists and donors to care for Wisconsin's rare plants, wildlife and special places," says Drew Feldkirchner, who directs the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program, NHC for short.
"There is much to celebrate in these pages and in our companion videos. We are very thankful for the time, effort and donations of so many. Together we are making a difference."
Natural Heritage Conservation staff are responsible for protecting, managing and restoring rare and native wildlife and plants and hundreds of State Natural Areas. These public lands serve as refuges for rare species and for the best remaining examples of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands, forests and unique geological and archaeological sites. The vast majority of these lands are open to the public for wildlife watching, hiking, hunting and other nature-based activities.
Feldkirchner says the 2018 Field Notes also highlight many ways people can get involved in caring for these natural resources.
"We know that even with the gains made in 2018 there is still much work ahead. More than one-third of the United States' fish and wildlife species are at risk of becoming endangered. Our job is to prevent that from happening, and we can't do it without you."
Volunteers can choose from dozens of citizen science projects to help collect valuable information about the location, number and trends of native species. There are also many opportunities to lend a hand on State Natural Areas, including some of Wisconsin's most unique areas, by cutting brush, pulling invasive plants, and collecting seeds and other work. Look for opportunities in the coming weeks.
Thousands of donors provide critical financial support; their donations to the Endangered Resources Fund are matched dollar for dollar and account for up to 25 percent of the funding needed for NHC's work with rare species and State Natural Areas. People can make tax-deductible donations online or by mail directly, or through their state income tax form. They also can buy an Endangered Resources licenses plate that includes a $25 annual donation to the Endangered Resources Fund.