The Note | Spring 2022

Page 1

Volume 31 | Issue 1


Upcoming Events: May 20 Lake Michigan Area Association meeting

June 7 Land and Water Conservation Board (LWCB) meeting

May 26 Southern Area Association meeting

June 10 Western Area Association meeting

May 27 Northwest Area Association meeting

June 16 Executive Committee meeting

June 1 Southeast Area Association meeting June 3 Technical Committee meeting North Central Area Association meeting

FOR OUR CONSERVATION COMMUNITY Stay in the loop with the latest updates in county conservation and with what’s happening at WI Land+Water.

Inside this issue

June 22 West Central Area Association Summer Conservation Tour July 14 Board of Directors meeting July 14-15 County Conservation meeting in Stevens Point

To learn more about supporting locally led conservation efforts , visit us online:

Over 300 people attended 69th Annual Conference Read our conference recap to learn more about award, contest, and election winners. Page 4

Climate Resilience Program working with partners Learn more about our current partnerships and work in Monroe County. Page 8

Wisconsin Envirothon took place on Earth Day The hybrid event took place Rosholt, WI at the Wisconsin Lions Camp in April Page 10


MESSAGE FROM MATT If you’ve spent much time outside in the chilly state of Wisconsin over the past month, you might need to be reminded—perhaps, more than once—that spring has, in fact, arrived.

The lingering presence of late April snowfalls, winter hats, and windshield scrapers don’t necessarily suggest the season has changed, but other signs abound, particularly in the natural world: ice is easing its grip on northern lakes, sandhill cranes are bugling across the countryside, and spring bird migration is in full swing. WI Land+Water’s “phenological” calendar similarly reveals unmistakable annual signs of spring—our (virtual) 2022 Annual conference and the (hybrid) Wisconsin Envirothon are both in the rearview mirror, as this newsletter demonstrates. The field work and training season is in full swing, cool temps or not. And biennial county board supervisor elections have also taken place, and with them, committee assignments and a new cohort of land conservation committee (LCC) members. We are excited to roll out a package of resources intended to help onboard new LCC members and orient them to the important and sometimes complicated world of county conservation. In lieu of one-time trainings offered at area association meetings, we are offering an (updated) Land Conservation Committee Member Handbook, a web page of curated trainings and webinars designed for LCC members, virtual welcome sessions at area association meetings, as well as virtual “LCC Coffee and Conservation” sessions. We hope this new approach to “LCC training” proves to be effective, and lasting. The influx of new LCC members in the springtime of even-numbered years is always exciting, but equally exciting is our members electing a new WI Land+Water Board of Directors, as well as new Executive Committee leadership. Our seven WI Land+Water committees also “reconfirm” their leadership and welcome new members at this time of potential transition. We aren’t quite sure what the new lineups of Board of Directors and committees will look like—they could look similar to what they currently do—but there will inevitably be a few fresh faces and new ideas, which are vital to our growth and evolution as an organization. We should welcome these new folks, and invite their participation in “doing the work” at the committee level that is so important to our organization. But we should also take a moment to recognize and appreciate the efforts of those who have dutifully made impactful contributions to our organization, who have stepped aside and offered others a chance to serve in leadership and committee positions. We are grateful for their contributions in writing another successful chapter in the rich history of this 69-year old organization.

Connect with us online:



Matt Krueger Executive Director @wilandwater

Who’s New(s)? Michael Hook recently joined the team at Wisconsin Land+Water after spending a decade working as a public high school teacher in Milwaukee, Janesville, and Sun Prairie. As the new Statewide Training Coordinator, his primary role is to continue to support and develop conservation professional training opportunities throughout the state. Additionally, he is charged with helping lead the State Interagency Training Committee (SITCOM), a team of partner agency and county staff conservation professionals focused on identifying training needs and trends throughout the state. Michael is excited to bring his experience with education, curriculum development and design, and instructional technology to the conservation landscape. What are you most excited about, stepping into the conservation world? Prior to this position, I had no real experience in the world of conservation. I have always had a passing interest in wildlife and ecology, but haven’t gotten involved in conservation until now.

What has excited me most about my job so far has been meeting the passionate people doing amazing things for their communities. Having spent the first two months of my work meeting agency and partner staff, county conservationists, committee members, educators, and engineers, I have been impressed by the passion and dedication of everyone I’ve met. Throughout my experience as a teacher, mentor, and coach, I’ve come to believe that the most important aspect to success in any role is first having love for what you do, and I consider myself truly blessed to join a landscape of professionals who truly love their work. How do you see yourself applying your experience in education to your new role? My first teaching job after subbing in Milwaukee was as an alternative educator at Janesville Craig High School. In this program, I was tasked with building my classes from the ground up, including Reading, Science, Physical Education, Work Experience, and Personal Development. Later on, as an English teacher at Sun Prairie High School, I joined the school

district’s Language Arts Steering Committee and also got to develop my online and hybrid instructional skills, teaching through the pandemic as students moved from home, to online, and back to school again. These experiences in teaching, curriculum design, and development are skills I hope to bring to the conservation landscape as we consider ways to develop a core competencies curriculum that can better serve the wide range of new staff as well as experienced and veteran conservationists. Additionally, as I complete my Master’s Degree in Education Instruction from UWSuperior, I hope to be involved in how training and workshops are designed, developed, and delivered to enhance the quality of long-term learning. I can’t wait for the Spring season to arrive so I can start visiting conservationists and their projects, and start getting my shoes muddy!

New LCC Member Resources We have worked to develop a suite a resources for our new and returning LCC members. Find these and more online: •

LCC Handbook - Download this detailed guide on our website to learn more about LCC responsibilities.

LCC Resources in Members Hub - Browse our curated web page of resources and on-demand trainings.

LCC Coffee & Conversation - Join Matt for an informal dropin Zoom session. For details, contact 3

69th Annual Conference A heartfelt thank you to our over 300 virtual conference attendees! Our 69th Annual Conference kicked off with our keynote, soil health expert Jay Fuhrer, joining us from North Dakota. Seventeen sessions on timely topics offered expertise in a variety of subjects that reflected the passion for conservation across the state. It was a challenging endeavor made successful by the amazing support and engagement of our attendees. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in person next March 1-3, 2023, at Chula Vista

HUB // Watch

Resort, Wisconsin Dells. Speaking of our next conference, if you would like to help plan the event the Professional Improvement Committee (PIC) welcomes engaged members from throughout the state. The PIC, along with the Technical Committee, begins planning for our 2023 conference this August! Contact PIC Chair Tony Reali with questions or for more information, or visit the PIC web page to learn more about the committee.

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Thanks to our Congratulations to our Conservation Award Winners! 2022 sponsors

Our Annual Conference wouldn’t be possible without the continued support from our sponsors and partners.

BECKY ARNESON Trempealeau County Outstanding Conservation Employee, Administrative

TRAVIS TULOWITZKY Bayfield County Outstanding Conservation Employee, Technician

ANNE BARTELS Marinette County Brad Matson Youth Education Award for Outstanding Youth Educator

LARRY SOMMER Forest County Outstanding Supervisor

FOX-WOLF WATERSHED ALLIANCE Special Recognition/Friend of Conservation

We want to thank USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wisconsin for their Gold Sponsorship of $2500.

The NRCS is a federal agency that provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground, not only helping the environment but agricultural operations, too. NRCS conservationists work in partnership with farmers and landowners to provide technical expertise and conservation planning to make conservation improvements on private lands. USDA Service Centers are located in almost every county in Wisconsin. We also want to recognize our Silver Sponsors, who donated $1000:

2022 State Land & Water Conservation Board Election Results In even numbered years, WI Land+Water elects three of our members to serve on the state LWCB. The elected delegates are: •

Rebecca Clarke, Sheboygan County, Lake Michigan Area

Monte Osterman, Racine County, Southeastern Area

Bob Thome, Jr., Oneida County, North Central Area*

Their term will begin January 2023. For more details visit *Serving in place of Russell Rindsig, who was elected to this post but ineligible to serve 5

65th Annual Poster & Speaking Contest Congratulations to all the students across Wisconsin who participated in this year’s Conservation Awareness Poster & Speaking Contests!

Senior 1st Place: Kayla Weller, Sawyer County

2022 Contest Results

Junior 1st Place: Madison Wojciuch, Walworth County

View the winning speeches and posters on our website.

Our Youth Education Committee worked hard to put together a virtual event where students submitted their speeches by video to be judged prior to the virtual annual conference. Speeches addressed a relevant, soil and water conservation issue, with emphasis on the impact of the issue in their locality or in Wisconsin. Students also submitted their conservation posters virtually, and posters were voted on by

Primary 1st Place: Paizley Helmers, Sauk County


Middle 1st Place: Adelaide Woodward, Vernon County

Elementary 1st Place: Alaina Belcher, Adams County

our conference members and attendees using our online conference website. The conservation poster awareness theme this year was “Healthy Soils, Healthy Life.” For the poster contest, the first-place winners in the primary, elementary, middle, junior, and senior division will move on to represent Wisconsin at the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Poster Contest held at the NACD annual meeting in 2023.

Lachlan Mouw, Oneida County, delivers his speech as “Snailock Holmes,” who is on the case of Chinese Mystery Snail.

Youth Ed Silent Auction

Dane County staff member Curt Diehl was “Kickin’ it for the Kids.” The items Curt donated raised $746!

For the second year in a row the Youth Education Silent Auction was held using an online platform in conjunction with our virtual Annual Conference. We would like to thank Megan Steckelberg, Adams County, who serves on our Youth Education Committee for organizing and managing our online silent auction. We would also like to thank all the counties for donating so many amazing items.

86 items donated to the silent auction

25 counties donated one or more items

$4,606 raised for Youth Education programs

Dane County had the highest total retail value donated

SOC launches new website Earlier this year, the Standards Oversight Council unveiled a new website after months of design collaboration. Browse the new website at

SOC was excited to share the newly redesigned website with our members and agency partners in February. The new SOC website was crafted by Hoan Marketing at We invite you to explore the new look of SOC and visit these highlighted pages: The Standards in Development section of the website has details for the standards that are currently in progress through the SOC Full Process or Modified Process, as well as the summary list of standards expected to be priorities for 2022-2023 under the Current Work Plan heading. The Standards in Development section of the website has details for the standards that are currently in progress through the SOC Full Process or Modified Process, as well as the summary list of standards expected to be priorities for 2022-2023 under the Current Work Plan heading.

Stay Informed! If you aren’t already receiving SOC-specific emails, you can sign up for the SOC urban or agricultural standard updates. Just visit the home page and scroll to the bottom to see the sign up form.


Climate Resilience Program Over the last year we have been building our internal capacity to better understand climate research and tools, impacts to communities and landowners, and strategies to mitigate impacts and adapt the land to a changing climate. We’ve worked with our members and partners from across the country to identify opportunities and challenges to local action. We will continue to cultivate resources and expertise to help our members integrate climate into local planning efforts.

Current Work





With the support of the Energy Foundation, we are working with agency and NGO partners around the Midwest to ensure federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill funds get to Wisconsin communities.

With support from the Brico Foundation, we are working with partners to develop a Climate Planning series later this year.

We are working with members, landowners, and NGO partners to demonstrate how COMET accounting tools can estimate conservation implementation on the landscape.

We are working with Monroe County as they charge ahead implementing climate priorities. Through our work, we are better able to identify needed resources, advocate for effective climate policy, and help replicate Monroe County efforts in other counties.

Learn more about available funding at

We continue to add to our Climate Resource Hub on our website to share tools to help build local climate action.

Learn more at the COMET-Farm website:

MONROE COUNTY CLIMATE READINESS & RURAL ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ASSESSMENT Lead by Wisconsin’s Green Fire, we joined more than 40 people from 10 different organizations to develop the Monroe County Report. This report is a first of its kind effort to conduct a rapid, comprehensive assessment that brings together climate readiness and conservation-based economic opportunities at a county level.



Adapting Monroe County Landscapes To limit impact from extreme weather events, Monroe County is working with innovative landowners to demonstrate practices that will help retain water and store carbon.

Caring for the Land

Storing Carbon

Finding Partners

Leaders in the community, Tucker and Becky Gretebeck are working to improve the land and legacy for the next generation. Hit by the extreme storms that have torn through Monroe County, the Gretebecks understand the need to continuously work to improve water infiltration and contribute to climate mitigation efforts. A grazing operation for Organic Valley’s grass milk product, the Gretebecks are gearing up to plant over 1100 trees on their 5-acre pasture and implement a silvopasture plan. The trees will provide cows with shade, store carbon to help mitigate climate, and provide legacy for future generations.

Organic Valley has rolled out a new program to meet global emission goals by supporting their farmers in reducing emissions and storing carbon on the land. Coop farmers investing in their land will maintain their carbon credits on their individual farms, a process called “insetting” verses “offsetting” credits by purchasing them from outside entity like forestation projects in the Amazon rainforest. Through our project with the Gretebecks, Organic Valley is exploring the various ways farms can account for credits and receive benefits for contributing to the co-op climate goals.

With financial support from The Nature Conservancy, we pulled together a team of experts to accelerate a plan that ensures lasting success for the Gretebecks. To implement the Gretebecks’ vision, we relied on technical assistance from Savanna Institute to develop a silvopasture plan. Monroe County provided essential leadership to secure trees through the county tree sale and local nurseries, ensure Gretebeck’s needs were being met, and confirm the plan was meeting county climate goals. Organic Valley provided member support for the Gretebecks as they work to meet farmer needs through this new program.

Estimating Carbon Impact on the Gretebeck Farm We used COMET-Farm to assess the carbon stock of over 1100 trees planted on the farm. This estimation includes the carbon estimate from the trees only, not the whole farm assessment.

YEAR 2022













Equivalent to removing 592 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles 9

Congrats Sun Prairie High School FFA!

Sun Prairie High School FFA took the title of Overall winner for the High School level, and will represent Wisconsin in at the NCF-Envirothon this July in Ohio.

2022 Wisconsin Envirothon Results

Students delivered a virtual team presentation the week prior to an in-person competition for this year’s hybrid event. Schools from across the state spent a rainy, blustery spring day testing their knowledge at various stations where they participated in multiple hands-on challenges. These exams are based on four categories: forestry, soils/land use, aquatic ecology, and wildlife. Students were given three weeks to prepare their team presentations, which were based around this year’s Current Issue: Waste to Resources. The Current Issue team presentation provides an opportunity to join fundamental knowledge and reasoning ability to understand and articulate today’s critical environmental concerns. “We love the Envirothon, it gives the students the best opportunity to work together to show off their academic skills they have learned in the classroom in real world scenarios,” said Kristen Kvalheim, Sun Prairie East High School Agricultural Education Global Food and Sustainability Academy FFA Advisor. “It is the true application of their learning.”

We would like to thank all of our Sponsors for making the WI Envirothon possible! 10


Registration open for WI Land+Water Youth Conservation Camps Registration closes on May 31 for our Youth Conservation Camps, which are back after two years of cancellations! Our camps provide positive educational outdoor experiences, foster an appreciation for nature, and introduce a variety of careers in natural resources and conservation. Professionals from various agencies present programs on topics like wildlife, habitat, water quality, fisheries, forestry, orienteering, and canoeing. Visit us online to register now or to view our 2022 Camp Brochures.

Middle School Conservation Camp at Upham Woods Wed. June 15 - Sat. June 18, 2022 High School Conservation Camp at Discovery Center Mon. June 20 - Thurs. June 23, 2022 For more information, contact: Find us on Facebook:

Connect on Facebook: 11

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES You will receive a confirmation email upon successfully registering. If you do not receive a confirmation or have any questions, please contact

MAKING RIPARIAN FOREST BUFFERS WORK FOR YOU Webinar | Thursday, May 26 (10:00-11:00 a.m.) Register by Tuesday, May 24, at Riparian forest buffers are a combination of trees and shrubs designed to mitigate the impacts of land use on a water feature. These areas are connections between aquatic and upland habitats for wildlife and can also serve as linear connects to other habitat areas along the water feature. Agroforestry can be part of this system. This webinar will go over NRCS criteria and guidance for applying this purchase. 1 CEU has been applied for to the Society of American Foresters.

KEY WATER DEFINITIONS OF NR 151 - CASE STUDIES AND DISCUSSIONS FROM THE FIELD Webinar | Thursday, June 2 (10:00 a.m.-Noon) Register by Tuesday, May 31 at Water on Wisconsin farms presents itself in many different forms. Even categories like surface water and groundwater have subcategories that often require guidance to define and interpret. . Now that we have addressed the history of and contents of NR 151, join county, DNR, and DATCP staff for the next installment of the NR 151 training webinar series. More information can be found at

MANAGING THE NON-COMPLIANT SITE Webinar | Thursday, June 9 (10:00-11:30 a.m.) Register by Tuesday, June 7, at The third webinar in the series will discuss ways to address noncompliance at a non-metallic mine including: Interviewing and Letter Writing; Ordinance References; Corrective Actions; Deadlines; Regaining Compliance. Roberta Walls from DNR will be the presenter.

THE ENFORCEMENT TOOLBOX Webinar | Thursday, August 4 (10:00-11:30 a.m.) Register by Tuesday, August 2, at The final webinar in the series will cover ways to approach a situation where the operator is made aware of non-compliance but ignores or challenges it. This webinar will discuss: Citations; Suspensions and Revocations; Orders and Civil Orders; Un-Permitted Sites. Roberta Walls from DNR will be the presenter.


12 121 S. Pinckney St. #420 Madison, WI 53703 (608) 441-2677

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