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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Toad photo © Don Blegen

April 1998

With a guide at your side

You'll never walk alone on a Natural Resources Foundation field trip.

Christine Tanzer

Want a rbbbbiting experience?
Take a field trip with us!
List of 41 field trips
Mail-in registration form

It's a misty fall afternoon, and there you are with basket and knife in an oak-and-hemlock woods, ready to harvest some tasty wild mushrooms for your venison stew. But wait – are those chanterelles or death angels? Fly agarics or oyster shelves? If only you could consult an expert on the spot!

On the 41 field trips offered this year by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, you'll have a knowledgeable guide at your side every step of the way, ready to answer all your life-and-death questions (plus queries of a less pressing nature). Learn to tell an edible mushroom from a fatal fungus with help from a biologist at Wildcat Mountain State Park. Let a wildlife manager explain all the moves during a pre-dawn prairie chicken mating dance at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station. Two naturalists with a passion for slime will get you down and dirty in the swamp for a closer look at the amphibians and reptiles of Bong State Recreational Area.

Whether it's stream ecology, landfill management or prairie preservation, there's sure to be a field trip to satisfy your curiosity and stimulate further exploration.

The foundation's guided field trips help you see the outdoors through the eyes of the people who work closely with Wisconsin's natural and historical resources.

Kayak in the company of an expert in the field. © Barb Barzen
Kayak in the company of an expert in the field.

© Barb Barzen

Fish and wildlife managers, biologists, foresters, ecologists, naturalists and citizens leading the trips enjoy sharing their expertise with people who are genuinely interested. And the small group size of each trip means participants can chat at length with the experts.

Take a look at the field trip list – you're sure to find one or more to interest you. If there's a fee listed for a trip, assume that it's a per-person cost.

To register, just print out the registration form and mail it in with a check for any trip fees, made out to the Natural Resources Foundation. (And if you'd care to make a donation to the foundation, you can send a check in as well.) Registration forms, fee checks and donations should be mailed to:

Field trips

Sign up for as many trips as you like, but be sure to do it soon – these field trips fill up fast on a first-come, first-served basis, and we wouldn't want you to miss any of the fun! You'll receive confirmation by mail, along with the other information you'll need to get the most from your day in the field.

Conserving Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation (NRF of Wisconsin, Inc.), formed in 1986, aims to educate and involve citizens in conserving Wisconsin's natural resources. This nonprofit organization develops, promotes and raises funds for education, restoration and resource management programs around the state.

To promote innovative ways for the public and the Department of Natural Resources to work together toward a healthier environment, the foundation focuses on four program areas:

C.D. Besadny Conservation Grants: This program provides grants of up to $1,000 for small-scale grassroots projects, such as establishing butterfly, hummingbird and prairie gardens at elementary schools; conducting research on oak savannas; and building educational nature trails and accessible piers. To date, the foundation has provided $67,705 to organizations, individuals and government agencies for 115 conservation projects.

Endangered species and natural communities: The Natural Resources Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and management of Wisconsin's endangered species and natural areas. One of the group's ongoing projects is Adopt-A-Swan, which benefits the state's Trumpeter Swan recovery program. The Timber Wolf monitoring program, native plant farms, and State Natural Areas along the Mississippi River also have received financial support from the foundation.

Environmental education programs and facilities: NRF has helped fund education projects statewide, including a minority internship program, a campground cabin for people with disabilities, and the Anderson Classroom at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center.

Field trips & public outreach: For the past five years the Natural Resources Foundation has hosted educational field trips led by DNR employees and people with specific expertise, such as tree farmers. Participants get an up-close look at the natural history and ecology of Wisconsin, enhanced by the perspective of people who work with the state's resources every day. The foundation also offers the DNR "Yellow Pages," a directory of agency staff, and publishes a listing of volunteer opportunities with the Department of Natural Resources.

In the future, the foundation plans to launch a major fund-raising effort for rare and endangered species found in State Natural Areas. The NRF also wants to introduce high school students to careers in natural resource fields through a mentor program with DNR professionals.

If preserving and protecting Wisconsin's natural heritage is important to you, become a member of the Natural Resources Foundation. Please write the NRF at P.O. 129, Madison, WI 53701, or call (608) 266-1430.