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Audubon Center of the North Woods

Fall/Winter 2018 Volume 44, Issue 2

News from the North Woods Experience Your Environment

Looking Back, Looking Ahead by Bryan Wood, Executive Director

May 28th, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of when the Schwyzer family farm was bequeathed, in donor Marguerite Schwyzer’s words, “to be used as a bird sanctuary, a game refuge, nature camp or other similar use.â€? A little over a year later on June 10, 1969, Northwoods Audubon Center was incorporated under and in accordance with the provisions of the Minnesota 1RQSURĂ€W &RUSRUDWLRQ $FW DQG ZLWK the purpose of the corporation to be “environmental education, conservation and biological researchâ€?.

Naturalist intern training then

To think that Ms. Schwyzer’s gift would go on to connect over 300,000 individuals to the environment from all over Minnesota, the U.S. and the world through life-changing educational programs is remarkable, and something we hope would make her proud. It is through her amazing initial gift, along with the dedicated, passionate efforts and support of countless individuals over the years, that we are what we are today – RQHRIWKHÀQHVWHQYLURQPHQWDOOHDUQLQJ centers in the nation.

Development (DEED), this will also Throughout 2019, we will be celebrating provide broadband internet to all 50 years as an organization, and what a 50 Grindstone Lake area residents. This years it has been! Over the next 14 months, watch for Facebook posts, e-blasts and autumn will also mark the installation special events that of a new high KLJKOLJKW RXU ÀUVW ropes course, as we retire 50 years. Mark your calendars for our our 20 year old 50th Anniversary course that has Celebration Weekend seen tens of thousands of June 14-16, 2019! excited and at 2019 will be a year times nervous for us to look back children and on where we have adults traverse come and what we’ve it and come accomplished over Naturalist intern training now the past 50 years, as off exhilarated well as look ahead to exciting opportunities and empowered. And this fall will also on the horizon. It also will be a year where PDUN WKH ÀUVW $PHUL&RUSV 1&&& ZHUHà HFWZLWKJUDWLWXGHRQWKHVXSSRUWZH work crew we’ve ever had, who over six have received and continue to receive from weeks will provide us with much needed individuals like you that allows us to make support on a number of buildings and our positive impact. grounds tasks. 7KDWSRVLWLYHLPSDFWZDVH[HPSOLÀHGWKLV summer through our continued growth in summer camps, which have increased from 28 campers total in 2015 to 118 this summer! Looking ahead, there are several reasons to be excited with one being that we will soon be receiving high-speed broadband internet to our entire campus! This addition will greatly improve our VWDII¡V ZRUN HIÀFLHQF\ DQG DELOLWLHV DV well as provide better experiences for our participants and visitors. Working with local provider SCI Broadband to obtain the Border-toBorder Broadband Development grant through Minnesota’s Department of Economic Employment and

With much to look back on and much to look forward to, we hope you share our excitement in the incredible impact ACNW has made and will continue to make on the environment for generations. Thank you for being part of our success, we couldn’t do it without you.

In This Issue Looking Back, Looking Ahead ..1

New Faces at ACNW ..................5

Annual Fund Contributions ......2

Upcoming Events ......................6

Donor Spotlight ........................3

CS Authorizer Update ...............7

Lending a Helping Hand ...........4

Wish List ...................................7

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News from the North Woods

Fall/Winter 2018

Annual Fund Contributions Cover a Variety of Needs by Jim De Young, Development Director

T his year’s Annual Fund gives donors the opportunity to support longstanding programs, help launch a new one, invest in our 780-acre campus, and provide much-needed scholarships for deserving students.

Program Support More than half of the funds contributed in 2018-19 (July 1 – June 30) will be dedicated to program support, beginning with the K-12 residential environmental learning programs that we expect to serve more than 5,000 students from more than 100 schools and home school groups this year. Gifts will help cover everything from staff salaries to facility operations, helping to keep our costs within reach of participating schools, some of which might otherwise have to forego a program like ours. The program support contribution goal includes $10,000 “seed moneyâ€? to provide the expertise to begin transitioning the UHFHQWO\ GRQDWHG 7UDSS IDUP Ă€HOGV WR natural and organic production. While a new venture in many ways, the farm’s development grows out of the Center’s historic mission. As a working lab and classroom, our sustainable farming operation will expand and enrich the educational opportunities and environmental insights we can offer.

Annual Fund Goals Program Support Buildings and Grounds Scholarships

$135,000 $90,000 $25,000 $250,000

Buildings and Grounds Giving students a safe, enjoyable experience requires a well-kept, highfunctioning facility, so gifts to fund the maintenance of our buildings, equipment, and grounds is a perennial need. This year we face a larger challenge than usual, as our high ropes course is due for replacement. The course is our most popular offering, and thousands of students look forward to their time on it. We hope to raise donor support for roughly half of the replacement cost of $80,000, covering the rest with a bank loan. Other maintenance projects on the docket include restoring the historic character of Schwyzer Lodge’s living and GLQLQJURRPà RRUVUHSODFLQJZLQGRZV DQGVLGLQJRQVHYHUDOEXLOGLQJVUHURRÀQJ Crosby Lodge, and more.

Scholarships While we strive to keep the cost for our residential learning program affordable— especially through donor support— schools that serve large numbers of

VWXGHQWVZLWKĂ€QDQFLDOQHHGPD\Ă€QGWKH standard fee prohibitive. Contributions to our scholarship fund are targeted where they are most needed, providing residential environmental learning to a larger and more diverse student population. We look forward to raising the bulk of the $25,000 needed for scholarships at the Bids for Kids dinner and auction on Saturday, October 13. “We have made amazing progress on many fronts in the last few years, and it is only possible through the generous support of our donors. Adding needed staff positions, replacing aging infrastructure, growing our campus and educating more K12 students through more scholarships are all the results of our donors. It is humbling and inspiring to be the recipient of such support, knowing it all helps us better achieve our mission and impact,â€? said Bryan Wood, Executive Director. We look forward to continuing to share our successes along the way, and appreciate your consideration in supporting the exciting endeavors happening at the Audubon Center of the North Woods. Increase your gift—and your tax EHQHĂ€WV—by donating stock. Learn more about this and other giving options at or call 320-245-7791

Support ACNW Through Your IRA Charitable Rollover! If you are 70½ or older, the IRA Charitable Rollover is a great way for you to make a tax-free IRA rollover gift to support ACNW. IRA Charitable Rollover gifts can make a huge difference for our organization. An IRA rollover gift can be used to meet all or part of an IRA required minimum distribution. You choose the dollar amount or percentage that works for you. For more information, please consult your tax advisor or contact Jim DeYoung, Development Director, at 320-245-7791 or

y The IRA rollover allows donors 70½ or older to directly transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to charities like ACNW each year. y An IRA rollover gift is a tax-exempt distribution. Qualifying individuals can make charitable gifts using pre-tax IRA assets rather than taking a distribution, paying income taxes and using after-tax assets to make a charitable gift. y A permanent IRA rollover will give qualifying individuals certainty, allowing them to better manage their income, taxes and charitable giving. 888-404-7743

Fall/Winter 2018

News from the North Woods

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Dennis and Nancy Liebelt Thrive on Volunteerism by Jim De Young, Development Director

Chink a log cabin, stuff envelopes, collect sap for maple syrup, install a dock, split wood, KDQJFDELQHWVEXUQEUXVKZHHGĂ RZHUEHGV install landscaping, pull buck thorn, help with event registrations, serve on committees, do high ropes course repairs, grade roads, and help identify grant opportunities. No, that’s not the list of the volunteer opportunities available at the Audubon Center (though it covers many of them). It is a (partial!) catalog of the volunteer efforts of Dennis and Nancy Liebelt over the last two decades. Most recently Dennis has been busy building and installing new wooden counter tops in the Crosby dorm bathrooms as a member of the Buildings & Grounds Committee. Nancy serves on the Development Committee and is on the planning subcommittee for the Bids For Kids K12 Scholarship Fundraiser. %RWK 'HQQLV DQG 1DQF\ Ă€UVW EHFDPH acquainted with ACNW through their work – Dennis as an electrician with the local power company, Nancy as a CPR instructor for the ACNW’s naturalist interns. “Once when I was at the Center [to conduct training in the early ’90s], I noticed DĂ LHUDERXW0DSOH6\UXS'D\ÂľVDLG1DQF\ “We came with our two children, and we were hooked. We volunteered sporadically for years until we retired in 2010 and had more time.â€? 'HQQLV DQG 1DQF\ Ă€QG VDWLVIDFWLRQ in knowing that their skills and time help the Center and its staff directly, as well as contribute to achieving ACNW’s mission. “The most rewarding thing for me is NQRZLQJWKDWRXUWHDPZRUNKDVEHQHĂ€WHG

children,â€? said Nancy. “As a daycare SURYLGHU,VDZĂ€UVWKDQGWKHEHQHĂ€WVRI  environmental education. As a childcare trainer, I asked more than a thousand caregivers to state their most memorable learning experience as a child. Over 90% of those memories took place outside.â€? They also enjoy the interactions that come with their involvement. “We love the outdoors, children, and meeting people,â€? they said. “We have met many interesting local folks as well as people from around the state. And we stay connected with the Center by visiting with Bryan and other staff and board members.â€? The Liebelt’s involvement goes well beyond volunteering. They are regulars at Dinners at the Lake and have participated in Women’s Wellness Weekend, 5K races, open houses and luncheons. They have snowshoed and skied on ACNW trails, traversed the high

ropes course, and even tried the climbing wall. And they try never to miss their favorite event – Maple Syrup Day. 7KHLULQYROYHPHQWDOVRLQFOXGHVĂ€QDQFLDO support, from donated materials related to their volunteering to charitable cash gifts. They are big proponents of taking advantage of Thrivent Financial’s Choice Dollars giving program which lets eligible members recommend where Thrivent distributes some of its charitable outreach funds each year. The Action Team program supports volunteers involved in fundraisers, service projects, or educational event, providing materials and $250 “seed money.â€? “Nancy and Dennis have been incredible for us,â€? stated Executive Director Bryan Wood. “Nancy singlehandedly spearheaded our Thrivent connection, and has helped write dozens of Action Team grants for fellow community members. She has done an amazing job collecting items for our Bids for Kids event and is constantly introducing new folks to ACNW. Dennis is a jack-of-all-trades. He has helped with so many facilities projects, it is hard to keep track of them all! More than anything, you feel their positivity when you’re around them. We are so very grateful for Dennis and Nancy’s involvement.â€? The Liebelts are especially excited about the increased involvement in the life of the Center by members of the local community. “We hope that more local people and schools use the Center,â€? said Dennis. And they’d love to get to know you...while working alongside you. “People can volunteer on a regular basis or as they have time. There is always something to do,â€? said Nancy. “I do not like WRZHHGĂ RZHUEHGVVRWKDW¡VDOZD\VDQHHGÂľ



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News from the North Woods


When I was growing up my grandparents lived in a lake house. That is where I really started to appreciate nature. I have YLYLGPHPRULHVRIJRLQJÀVKLQJRQP\ grandparents’ pontoon with the whole family. On one of those outings, we anchored close to shore near a fallen tree – a spot where we had caught northern pike and bass. I was excited to get my line in the water.

Snapping turtles are ambush predators. They will slowly approach their prey and lunge at it with their long necks. Adult snapping turtles have few natural predators. They have been preyed upon by coyotes and black bears. Humans can affect snapping turtle populations in a number of ways: collection for the pet trade, habitat degradation, and disrupting laying season. Snapping turtles mate from as early as April to as late as November. Peak laying season is June and July. This is when females will travel long distances IURP ZDWHU WR ÀQG higher ground and sandy soil conditions to lay eggs, and when you might encounter a snapping turtle on the road.

I cast my line out really close to the dead tree. After a few minutes, my bobber went under and my pole really started to bend. ,WKRXJKW,KDGÀQDOO\KRRNHGDELJÀVK but after a short struggle I got to see what I caught. To my surprise, it was a turtle. This LVRQHRIP\ÀUVWPHPRULHVRILQWHUDFWLQJ with a turtle. Since then I have encountered many other turtles, but there is one we come across frequently in Minnesota - the common snapping turtle. The common snapping turtle can be found in southeastern Canada and throughout the eastern two-thirds of the US. In Minnesota, snapping turtles can be found in ponds, rivers, lakes, and swamps. They prefer slow moving and shallow waters. Snapping turtles are important predators that are omnivorous scavengers. Plants make up about one-third of a snapping turtle’s diet. As babies, snapping turtles will eat insects, worms, snails, and small ÀVK$GXOWVQDSSLQJWXUWOHVZLOOHDWÀVK other reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, small mammals, and young water birds.

Every year, many female snappers get hit by cars. If you ever spot a snapper on the road and want to help it cross, the safest way for both you and the turtle is to encourage it onto a blanket, then grab the corners to carry the turtle in the direction its head is facing. If you do not have access to something like blanket, the next best way is to grasp the carapace (top shell) right above the back legs. Snapping turtles have a long neck and powerful beak that they can move at quick speeds, so don’t get your hands close to the head.

Fall/Winter 2018

In helping a snapper cross the road you are helping their population size. Females will lay 25 to 80 eggs each year and incubation time is temperature-dependent, ranging from 9 to 18 weeks. There are many animals such as raccoons, crows, snakes, foxes, skunks, and minks that will eat turtle eggs and hatchlings, which means most will not reach adulthood.

You can also help snapping turtles by marking where the female laid eggs and covering the area to prevent predators from getting to the eggs. When the turtles hatch, helping them get to the water will increase the likelihood that more will survive. Depending on the temperature, turtles may hatch into October so keep an eye out for young turtles!

Sponsor a Wild Critter Help support the care of any of our resident education birds and animals through our “Sponsor a Wild Critter� program. Your donation goes towards housing, medical care, food and enrichment items, to help encourage natural behavior in our nonreleasable birds and mammals. There are a number of different levels of sponsorship you may choose - $25, $50, $100 or $200 - each with different fulfillment items, ranging from a photo and personal and natural history of the animal you sponsor all the way up to a watercolor print, jess bracelet, and personal barn tour ($200 level). For more information, please visit our website at, call us at 888-404-7743 or email


Fall/Winter 2018

News from the North Woods

Page 5

New Faces at ACNW Development Director

Naturalist Intern Staff

Jim DeYoung joined us in March in the halftime

position of Development Director. Working largely from his home in Minneapolis, he will manage the fund development program, focusing especially on strengthening ACNW’s connections with its donors. He comes to ACNW after 17 years leading the development, communication, and admissions programs of Calvin Christian School in the Twin Cities. Prior to that Jim was director of public relations for Dordt College in Iowa for 14 years. He is a Dordt graduate, going on to earn an M.A. in communication from Western Michigan University. Jim lives with his wife, Susan, in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. He enjoys spending time with his family (especially his three grandchildren). Other interests including walking the Cities’ river and lakeside trails, reading, gardening, movies and theater. He is enjoying getting to know the Center, its staff and supporters, and is looking forward to helping ACNW increase its ability to instill a connection and commitment to the environment, especially among children and young people.

ACNW welcomes these new Naturalist Interns: Elyse Bowling is from OH and graduated from

Ohio University with a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. She worked with bats in PA and in tutoring and environmental education close to home. In her free time, Elyse enjoys gaming and reading as well as kayaking and hiking.

Megan Bruce studied marine biology at Nova

Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She grew up in Omaha, NE, and somehow managed to develop a passion for the ocean. In FL, she missed the change of seasons and has now found herself far from the ocean enjoying the MN weather.

Abby Counihan grew up in Minneapolis and

Wildlife Coordinator Savannah Maiers is from Hoffman Estates

Illinois. She obtained her BS with a major in Biology and minor in Sustainability from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2015. After completing two years as a wildlife intern here at ACNW, Savannah has accepted the position of Wildlife Coordinator. She is excited to continue bringing her enthusiasm for animal training, mentoring interns, and teaching in K-12 programing. When she’s QRWZRUNLQJVKHORYHVWRKDPPRFNÀVKDQGJRKLNLQJ

Academic Performance and Accountability Manager - CSD Nalani McCutcheon comes to us from Cannon

River STEM School, a charter school where she has been the founding executive director since 2009. In her new role in ACNW’s Charter School Division, Nalani will take the lead on all school academic evaluations and goal setting as well as engaging in school site visits and other aspects of school oversight. (See more about Nalani on page 7.) .

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.� Jane Goodall

We are happy to welcome back Corrina Carter (CA) and Katy Dahl (MN) as second year interns, who are serving in advanced leadership roles. Corrina is ACNW’s Advanced Wildlife Intern, and Katy has taken on a Wildlife Apprentice title.

graduated from Hamilton College in NY with a major in Biology and minor in Environmental Studies. She spent time doing research and rehabilitation with song birds as well as leading Adirondack adventure trips. Abby enjoys camping, trail running, and skiing.

Haley Doty from AR, received her BS from North

Carolina State University in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. She is excited to work with the Audubon Center’s animals and learn more about animal care overall. When not in the barn, you can PRVWOLNHO\ÀQG+DOH\PRVH\LQJDORQJLQWKHZRRGV

6RĂ€D'XHxDV grew up in TX and graduated from

the University of TX in Austin with a degree in Biology and a minor in Spanish. She enjoys camping, hiking and reading in her hammock. MN is the IDUWKHVWQRUWK6RĂ€DKDVHYHUWUDYHOHGDQGVKHLVH[FLWHG to experience a white Christmas.

Antonio Martinez-Montavon hails from

Milwaukee, WI, and is happy to join the ACNW intern crew. He earned his degree in Wildlife Ecology from the UW Stevens Point. He hopes to encourage new outdoor explorers to “experience their environment�.

Taylor Strelow from Mora, MN, graduated from

Concordia College, Moorhead with degrees in Global Studies and Spanish. She has spent the last few years working with elementary students and is excited to bring her experience to the outdoors. Taylor loves reading, hiking, and kayaking.






Upcoming Events Fall/Winter/Spring October 5-7, 2018 .............................................................Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekend October 13, 2018 ..............................................................Bids for Kids K12 Scholarship Fundraiser November 5-7, 2018 ..............................................................................................Homeschool Camp, Fall December 29, 2018.........................................Dinner at the Lake with Photographer Craig Blacklock January 14-16, 2019 .........................................................................................Homeschool Camp, Winter February 9, 2019 .............................Dinner at the Lake with Mike Schrage, MN Elk Reintroduction February 15-18, 2019.............................................................................................Winter Family Weekend March 23, 2019....................................................................................................................Maple Syrup Day April 13, 2019 .......................................................................................................... Dinner at the Lake, tbd May 2-8, 2019 ...................................................... Road ScholarŽ Spring in the Mississippi River Valley May 3-5, 2019 .........................................................................Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekend May 13-19, 2019................................................... Road ScholarŽ Spring in the Mississippi River Valley June 15, 2019.................................................................................................50th Anniversary Celebration Visit the CALENDAR OF EVENTS on our website or email for more information


Fall/Winter 2018

News from the North Woods

Page 7

We are in need of the items below. Remember, your ‘in-kind’ donations are tax-deductible.

General Wish List.


The Audubon Center of the North Woods continues to grow in its role as the largest authorizer of charter schools in Minnesota, with a portfolio of 36 schools. Last Spring, the ACNW board of directors approved a new elementary school in the Bemidji area, Aurora Waasakone Community of Learners. The school will open in fall 2019 and plans to serve approximately 80 students grades K-6 with a placebased learning program that increases students’ environmental literacy, connection to community, and academic skills. We are also pleased to share that the Minnesota :LOGà RZHU0RQWHVVRUL6FKRROV ZZZZLOGà RZHUVFKRROVRUJPQ ZLOORSHQWKLV Fall at two sites in Minneapolis – Lirio Montessori, a dual-language Spanish-English program, and Acorn Montessori, a tri-lingual Spanish-Chinese-English program. Each site will serve approximately 30 students in preschool through kindergarten. As the number of schools we authorize grows, so does our charter division staff. We are extremely excited to welcome Nalani McCutcheon to our Charter School Division team in the role of Academic Performance and Accountability Manager. Nalani came on board this August. She comes to us from Cannon River STEM School (, a charter school authorized by ACNW and committed to environmental education, where she had been the founding executive director since 2009. Prior to starting Cannon River STEM School, Nalani served for eight years as the Executive Director for River Bend Nature Center. She has a Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of WisconsinStevens Point, and prior to leading River Bend Nature Center she worked for the School Nature Area Project, which helped 211 Minnesota schools set up and use nature areas within walking distance of the classroom. Nalani is a great addition to our team, greatly expanding our ability to provide quality and effective academic oversight while adding to our team’s environmental education skills, knowledge and experience. For more information on ACNW’s roles as a charter school authorizer, please check out our Charter School Division’s website at

„ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „ „


Industrial-size washer & dryer Firewood Topsoil for lawn rehab Small kid x-country skis & snowshoes %DFNSDFNLQJVWRYHV 065

4-person tents Large mixing bowls and platters Gas pole/limb trimmer Snowmobile, wide-track Bobcat/skidster $79 Rubbermaid bins with lids Gas trimmer &KLSSHU 0RQWUHDO9R\DJHXU&DQRH

Wildlife & Education Program Wish List Our wish list for both wildlife and education programs is now found at -XVWVHDUFKIRU´$XGXERQ&HQWHU of the North Woodsâ€? under ‘Wish Lists’ on 7RĂ€QGRXUZLVKOLVWVRQDPD]RQFRP D  +RYHU\RXUPRXVHRYHU Âś$FFRXQWVDQG/LVWV¡ E &KRRVHÂś)LQGD/LVWRU5HJLVWU\¡ F  6HDUFKIRU$XGXERQ&HQWHU of the North Woods.

If you shop on amazon, you can VXSSRUW$&1:VLPSO\E\XVLQJ LQVWHDGRIDPD]RQFRP




Audubon Center of the North Woods Experience Your Environment

P.O. Box 530, Sandstone, MN 55072 Phone: 888-404-7743 or 320-245-2648 Fax: 320-245-5272

If you would like to view this newsletter online instead, please send an email to and we will add you to our enewsletter list


Visit our website! News from the North Woods Volume 44, Issue 2—Fall/Winter 2018 Bryan Wood, Executive Director Laurie Fenner, editing/layout Published twice yearly by Audubon Center of the North Woods Mail, call or email us your inquiries and ideas. Printed with soy-based inks on paper containing 100% post-consumer waste, 100% carbon neutral and made with 100% renewable green energy.

Thank you for your support of ACNW – we could not do it without you! This gift is given:

YES! I want to support ACNW with a gift of: Surprise us! $_______ † $1000 † $750

† $500 † $250 † $100

† $50

† One Time - OR - † Sustaining Contribution (monthly; $10/mo minimum)* † Enclosed is my check † Use the following credit card info: † Visa

Card #: Expiration date: Signature:

† In Honor of

† In Memory of

Name: Address:

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The Audubon Center of the North Woods is a 501(c)3 organization. Your gift is tax-deductible.

† Please make my donation anonymous.

† I/we have included ACNW in our estate plan.




• You are in control - you can change or stop your payments at any time.

Address Phone


City/State/Zip Email ACNW does not sell or share your information

† Please contact me with information about making an IRA or stock gift † Send me information on how to include ACNW in my will

• We will not solicit you for annual giving during your sustaining period. However, to keep you informed about what’s happening at ACNW, we will send you our Newsletter - via email or US mail. • You get an annual summary of your gifts at tax time. Simple and easy with convenient and secure withdrawals from your credit card or checking account.

Ask your employer if they have a matching gift program to leverage your donation

• Budget-friendly and saves you time and money – no checks to write or postage to buy.

Please go to for more information or to contribute online or call 320-245-7791.

• Your sustaining gifts provide a dependable, ongoing source of funding while reducing administrative costs.

Profile for Audubon Center of the North Woods

News from the North Woods - Fall/Winter 2018  

The twice-yearly print newsletter of the Audubon Center of the North Woods

News from the North Woods - Fall/Winter 2018  

The twice-yearly print newsletter of the Audubon Center of the North Woods


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