Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Snowy Owl

Submitted by Heather Landers

April 2015

Readers Write

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Snowy Owls

I wanted to share these snowy owl photos I took in the Freedom and Collins Marsh State Wildlife Area.

Submitted by Heather Landers

Heather Landers

Editor's note: For a second consecutive winter, snowy owls returned to Wisconsin in large numbers in 2014–15. These periodic influxes into the state are known as irruptions. The owls should have begun their northward migration back to arctic Canada by now.

Wisconsin's forests benefit from active management

I subscribed to the magazine a little over one year ago and I look forward to each new edition.

I read with interest the article titled "Wisconsin's forests benefit from active management" from October 2014. I can certainly agree with the statement from the article "Forest management is a dynamic process and many people find timber cutting to be disconcerting."

I have a vacation home on Plum Lake and have been regularly visiting the area for over 30 years. I couldn't help but notice significant cutting along town and county roads in the last two years. I can't say that this level of cutting hasn't been going on in the area, but it certainly hasn't been this obvious. Suddenly large areas of mature trees are gone. While the areas haven't been clear cut, a large majority of the mature trees have been cut, and it is disconcerting.

While there are many good points in the article on the need to manage the forests and the value of economic benefits, does the Department of Natural Resources balance the aesthetic values with the others? Especially when cutting along roads in state owned forests? Can fewer trees be harvested in these areas? And is there a means for the public to add their input to the process going forward?

I agree there has to be a balance between all the users of the state forests. But in my opinion the balance has gone too far toward harvesting mature trees adjacent to the roads around Plum Lake.

Jeff Zahn

Back in the day

I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy reading "Back in the day" each month in Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. As a child growing up in Wisconsin in the 1950s and 1960s, the stories and pictures you include in the articles bring back many memories and inform me of things I didn't know. After being away from Wisconsin for many years, I moved back here last year and am enjoying getting reacquainted with the state, its customs and especially its natural resources. Thanks for preparing this wonderful section of the magazine and for a great magazine overall.

William L. Fisher
Stevens Point

Blue Moon in 2015

As usual I enjoyed your very fine December issue of the magazine. The calendar in that issue was of particular interest. However if you look at the July page you will note that there are two full moons and I am surprised that you failed to point out that the full moon on July 31 is a blue moon.

John Lubbers

Great observation! Our readers may find it interesting that typically there are 12 full moons in a year, but due to the difference in the lengths of calendar months with the length of a lunar month, occasionally there will be an extra full moon. According to NASA Science, the lunar month (the time it takes the moon to travel around the earth) is 29.5 days, making a blue moon appear on average once every 2.7 years.

The full moon on July 31, 2015 is considered a calendar blue moon. This is the more common and modern definition of a blue moon, which is the second full moon in the same month. There are also seasonal blue moons which occur when one of the seasons (winter, spring, summer or autumn) have four full moons. The third full moon in a season with four is considered a blue moon.

But a blue moon doesn't mean the color will be blue. According to NASA Science, that only happens when there is a significant amount of dust or ash in the atmosphere, such as from a volcanic eruption or forest fire — where those extra small particulates will act like a blue filter, scattering red light, while allowing blue light to pass through. And because blue moons do not happen often, it is exactly where we get the expression "Once in a blue moon." After this July, the next seasonal blue moon will be May 21, 2016 and the next calendar blue moon will not be until Jan. 31, 2018 (or in about 2.7 years).


I'm sending you these photos of common goldeneye ducks. There are quite a few hanging around the harbor area in Sheboygan. They are very interesting to observe, exhibiting some unusual behavior, tilting their heads back whenever there is a female present.

Submitted by Jay Gollhardt

Submitted by Jay Gollhardt

Jay Gollhardt

Editor's note: The ducks with the bluish bills are greater scaup, both males (white) and females (brown).

Access DNR'S Historic Images

DNR's historic images are being digitized to make them more accessible and easier for the public to use. These images represent the changing face of Wisconsin's natural resource agencies, their employees and customers, and the resources they preserve and protect. The photos span more than a century and were taken by photographers and other staff of the Wisconsin Conservation Department (1930s to 1960s) and Department of Natural Resources (1960s to present).

Traditional conservation duties were the focus of the early Conservation Department and the prevalence of those kinds of images reflects that emphasis. The agency began in 1885 with three fish wardens, and gradually grew with the addition of four game wardens (1887), a forestry department (1903) and a state parks board (1907). Pollution control responsibilities were added in 1967 when Wisconsin's executive branch was reorganized and the Department of Natural Resources was created by combining the Conservation Department with the Department of Resource Development.

Among these images you will find photos of anglers, hunters, trappers, campers, hikers, boaters, picnickers and rock climbers. You'll find photos of wardens, fish managers, wildlife managers, foresters and more. This collection is but a small portion of the photos cherished and protected over the years. We are indebted to the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections for the opportunity to make them available to the public to whom they belong.

To find the images go to Wisconsinís Historic Natural Resources Photos.