2021 Fall Bridges

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MELISSA ANDERSON

Connecting people to conservation in Wisconsin

York Prairie State Natural Area

2020 Photo Contest Winners

Wisconsin Lichen Conservation Fund

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FOUNDATION of Wisconsin

FROM THE DIRECTOR David Clutter

Every day I continue to be inspired by efforts across our state to protect our natural places and wildlife. Fortunately, protecting our natural world is a value shared by nearly all Wisconsinites, no matter one’s political affiliation, and that gives me hope. The plant and animal communities that we aim to protect have been a part of the human experience since our humble beginnings. In my mind, these are sacred places. To lose them is to lose a part of ourselves. What I wouldn’t give to share the experience with my children of a flock of Carolina parakeets or passenger pigeons filling the sky. But someone else, in a different

time, determined the outcome for these species and the natural communities upon which they relied. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because of your help and partnership, together we’re making sure that we maintain the beauty and diversity of our natural systems for generations to come. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with each one of you to protect and steward our rare and irreplaceable landscapes and wildlife. Thank you.

David Clutter, Executive Director

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mark LaBarbera, Board Chair Tom Dott, Vice Chair Rebecca Haefner, Secretary Dave Adam, Treasurer James Bennett Linda Bochert Bruce Braun Kristine Euclide Martin Henert Jim Hubing Kristine Krause Diane Humphrey Lueck William Lunney Jim Matras Tom Olson Halie Tenor Michael Williamson FOUNDATION STAFF David Clutter, Executive Director Shari Henning, HR & Operations Manager Alex Kaspar, Administrative Assistant Jaime Kenowski, Communications Director Lauren Koshere, Member Philanthropy Officer John Kraniak, Membership Director and Data Analyst Kim Kreitinger, Field Trip Coordinator Caitlyn Schuchhardt, Outreach Coordinator Christine Tanzer, Field Trip Director Lindsey Taylor, Conservation Programs Coordinator Caitlin Williamson, Director of Conservation Programs Camille Zanoni, Director of Philanthropy OUR MISSION Connecting generations to the wonders of Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through conservation, education, engagement, and giving.

WisConservation.org

As the year comes to a close, we wanted to share a few “acorns” that can add up to have a big impact for NRF and Wisconsin. Set up a recurring annual gift schedule to reduce paper waste and avoid lapses in renewal gifts like the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine or State Park sticker! Choose NRF as your charity of choice on AmazonSmile to donate a percentage of each purchase. Visit smile.amazon.com. Ask your employer if they will match your gift to NRF. Billions of dollars go unclaimed every year in matching employer donations! Claim your 5 complimentary NRF gift memberships for your nature-loving friends and family (look for details in your membership renewal letter). Make an IRA Gift – make a contribution directly from your IRA in fulfillment of your annual required minimum distribution. Visit WisConservation.org/give/ira-rollover.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Joshua Mayer

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EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS

Urban Ecology Center

Milwaukee County – As schools navigated the global pandemic, the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) saw an opportunity to help educators connect classrooms to the natural world in new ways! With support from our Go Outside Fund, the UEC designed 14 virtual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) lessons that aligned with what students were learning in the classroom, covering topics like birds, weather, and the five senses. Lessons like “Wisconsin Geology,”“Ecosystem Exploration,” and “Soil Science,” finished with hands-on activities students could complete in their own backyard or nearby green spaces, like a pollinator themed scavenger hunt for flowers and seeds. In total, during the 2020-2021 school year, these virtual lessons engaged 23 Milwaukee County schools and hosted 14,650 student experiences through virtual and in-person lessons. Thank you for helping Wisconsin students continue their lessons beyond the classroom!

Urban Ecology Center

Bringing STEM to a Backyard Near You

“The social and physical environment in which children learn can make a difference in their academic success. Letting kids spend time in settings with natural elements or giving them structured nature experiences can make for a calmer, socially safe, and fun learning environment.” - UEC Partner Teacher

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

“This experience allowed the students’ studies about Wisconsin frogs to come to life!” Tera Fieri

Marathon County – With fishing nets, magnifying glasses, and terrariums in hand, third graders from Marathon Area Elementary School were ready to take a closer look at the world of Wisconsin frogs! Thanks to your support, our Go Outside Fund provided this equipment and allowed students to play detective at Mead Wildlife Area in the spring where they participated in a frog scavenger hunt, collected tadpoles, and recorded data about the pond. Students looked closely at how the life cycle, traits, and habitats of different frog species allow the species to survive. At the end of the lesson, students were able to successfully identify spring peepers, northern leopard frogs, wood frogs, and the American toad. The class also created and posted frog ID kiosk cards down by the local Rib River, creating a ripple effect of learning that carried out into the community!

Tera Fieri

Fascinating Frogs

- Barbara Krautkramer 3rd Grade Teacher BRIDGES/FALL 2021

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“If we don’t protect these special places, we will lose them. Together we can make sure our children will see them, that they will know the call of the bobolink, they will dodge butterflies in fields of blazing star and see a kaleidoscope of blooms in the spring.” -Bridget Rathman, Wisconsin DNR SNA Crew Leader

Reynold Zeller Fund preserves rare prairie habitat in southern Wisconsin By Jaime Kenowski, Communications Director

GREEN COUNTY - Grassland species are declining across the nation, but in pockets of habitat like York Prairie State Natural Area in southern Wisconsin, they have found safe refuge.

“Visiting York Prairie is like stepping back in time,” says Bridget Rathman, Wisconsin DNR crew lead who has been working on the prairie for 11 years. “Meadowlarks, bobolinks, butterflies,

Andy Kraushaar

York Prairie provides critical habitat to grassland birds, like the Bobolink pictured here.

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moths, and other grassland species that are declining rapidly elsewhere have found bastions of prairie habitat here where they can thrive.” Located near New Glarus State Park, York Prairie is made up of three separate grasslands located within a few miles of each other and is one of the most biodiverse prairie habitats remaining in Wisconsin. Over one hundred native plants like marble seed, gentians, little blue stem, June grass and butterfly weed can be found on the site, which was left largely unplowed and ungrazed during the agricultural boom of the early 20th century. York Prairie is just one of the 60 sites across eight counties that Rathman’s small but mighty team manages every year. Using methods like prescribed burns, brush removal, and seed collecting, her team helps preserve Wisconsin’s rarest ecosystems that are Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Joshua Mayer

Healing the Land


under constant threat from invasive species as well as the impacts of our changing climate. And the work never ends. “If we don’t manage these lands, they will disappear. If you were to leave these prairies unmanaged, within just a few years you would see less biodiversity, and fewer pollinators, birds, and other insects,” says Rathman. She points to data that spans decades, thanks to an early survey of four York Prairie sites found in The Vegetation of Wisconsin, a world-famous book by botanist John Curtis that shaped how we study natural areas and assess their health over time. Since then, the York Prairie sites have been resurveyed twice by UW-Madison graduate students who found that areas that had been protected were healthier and more biodiverse compared to unmanaged areas. Thankfully the SNA crew is not alone in their never-ending mission. The Foundation’s Reynold Zeller Fund has supported her team’s boots-on-theground work for the past ten years, and

also selected York Prairie as one of the 12 sites for a *restoration project to create and enhance 2,000 acres of pollinator habitat in southwest Wisconsin. York Prairie also has a committed core of volunteers who help with seed collecting, pollinator surveys, brush removal and more. “Our volunteers say this place is soul-healing, and it is,” says

Rathman, “and it’s our duty to preserve, protect, and heal the land in return.” *Made possible through a $100,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund with funding support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Shell Oil Company and Bayer and matching money from the Foundation’s Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Fund.

Create Your Conservation Legacy

John Ochsner

with a planned gift to the Foundation

First burn crew on Muralt Bluff Prairie in Green Co., WI. L-R: Dan Hazlett, Gary Eldred, Jon Wilde, Reynold Zeller, Chuck Phillipson. 1975.

A painted lady butterfly rests on goldenrod.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

DZ Johnson

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uch of the restoration work accomplished at York Prairie and other Green County natural areas by the Wisconsin DNR crew over the past decade was funded in part through the Foundation’s Reynold Zeller Fund. Established in 2005 through an estate gift as well as memorial gifts from friends and family, Zeller created the fund with a vision of preserving the rare and beautiful public lands in Green County that he had spent his career protecting and preserving. Reynold Zeller was born on the family farm in Mt. Pleasant Township, Green County in 1931. He spent much of his 33-year Wisconsin DNR career managing many sites in southern Wisconsin. According to Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame recipient Gary Eldred, Zeller contributed to “the spark for the beginning of a grassroots prairie conservation movement, first in Green County, and eventually throughout Wisconsin.” Thanks to his generous gift, Zeller created a legacy that will continue to care for the special places he loved for generations to come. If you’re interested in learning more about planned giving or creating a permanent conservation endowment, visit WisConservation.org/plannedgiving or contact Camille Zanoni at Camille.Zanoni@WisConservation.org or (608) 409-3112. BRIDGES/FALL 2021

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2020 NRF Photo Contest Winners

Last year we all found more ways to connect to Wisconsin’s natural world. In that spirit we chose Connections as the theme of our 2020 Photo Contest and accepted any nature photo taken in Wisconsin. Thank you for letting us see our beautiful state through your lens! “I have always loved this image, because each time I look at it, I am reminded of the excitement and joy of observing and photographing these wonderful birds.” - Melissa Anderson

First Place

The Dance By Melissa Anderson Two Sharp-tailed Grouse locked in dance in Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area.

Third Place

Second Place

Canoeing at Dawn By Barb Wardius Canoeing through the orange colors of dawn in Vilas County.

Honorable Mention

People‘s Choice Award Waterfall at the Dells of the Eau Claire River By Travis Haines Fall colors starting to turn along the Dells of the Eau Claire River in Marthon County.

Our 2021 Photo Contest is OPEN! Short-eared Owl By Janice Selfridge A short-eared owl gliding through the air in Sauk County.

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Indigo Bunting By Lorri Howski An Indigo Bunting photographed near Bender Park in Oak Creek, WI.

Show us the wonders of Wisconsin that have brought you joy. Submit your Wisconsin nature photos and Field Trip photos today! WisConservation.org/Photo-Contest Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin


Lindsey Taylor

Monarch Magic Foundation members roam the prairie, nets in hand as they search for monarchs.

Tracking a 3,000mile migratory journey

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Lindsey Taylor

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A small, round tag with a unique number for tracking is carefully applied to a section of the wing.

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Plant milkweed and create habitat wherever you can. There are 12 native milkweed species in Wisconsin and a number of native plants that you can add to your landscaping, garden, or balcony — no space is too small! Learn more at wimonarchs.org Limit the use of pesticides and cut back on mowing, especially from June to September when monarchs are breeding and larva are present. Volunteer with community science programs like those offered through Journey North, Monarch Joint Venture and Monarch Watch.

Lindsey Taylor

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very fall, our Foundation members roam the golden prairies of Madison Audubon’s Goose Pond Sanctuary. They move patiently, methodically, with eyes on alert for the slow spreading of bright orange wings that reveals a monarch perching amid a sea of showy goldenrod. And then, nets in hand, they go for the swoop. They are out to tag monarchs — specifically fourth-generation monarchs, a generation born stronger and sturdier, equipped to make a 3,000-mile journey to Central Mexico to roost for the winter. Mark Martin and Sue FooteMartin, Goose Pond Sanctuary resident managers, have led this Foundation Field Trip in Columbia County since 2017, introducing our Foundation members to this incredible (and incredibly fun!) community science opportunity. Monarch populations have declined by 90% over the past 20 years, but together we can make a difference by getting involved, as Wisconsin is at the heart of monarch breeding grounds.

Take Action for Monarchs

Field Trip participants were all smiles as they released monarchs after tagging.

Donate to our Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Fund to support native pollinator conservation efforts at WisConservation.org/Give/ Endowment-Funds. BRIDGES/FALL 2021

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“You’re in Good Com By Lauren Koshere, Member Philanthropy Officer

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elcome to NRF, you’re in good company.” A Foundation member wrote me this in an email my first week on staff at the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Four years later, I think it’s still the best way to sum up what it means to be a part of our Foundation. You might be one of our more than 5,000 members across Wisconsin and beyond (looking at you, Foundation

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friends of Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa!), or one of our hundreds of partners in our statewide network of field trip leaders, grantees, and conservation experts. Maybe you’ve joined us on a Field Trip or participated on a Great Wisconsin Birdathon team. Whatever your connection, we all share a common commitment to conservation that we each express in our own way. So, in this season of thanks and reflection, I’d like to pay tribute to all the

ways Foundation members and partners are putting the “good” in “good company.” As a Foundation member . . . You’re among the volunteer community scientists who trek fields, survey swamps, or stay up all night gathering data on rare plants or wildlife like birds, frogs, and bats. You’re among the land stewards (private and public) making Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin


thoughtful land care decisions, restoring habitat, and improving the resilience of Wisconsin ecosystems from Driftless ridges to Great Lakes shorelines. You’re among the environmental educators who contribute their skills and time at nature centers, schools, and communities across the state, sharing their contagious passion with the next generation of conservationists. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

You’re among the local artists, writers, and photographers using their craft to inspire others toward an ever-deeper connection to nature. We live in diverse corners of the state and region. Our passions range. We’re all a part of the Foundation for different reasons. Yet, at the same time, we’re all here for the same reason: we love Wisconsin. Thank you, Foundation members, for all you share, all you do, and all you give — for your love of Wisconsin.

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Kari McKinney

Colleen Robinso

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Karla Lockman

ompany”

“Whatever part of Wisconsin you love most, the Foundation is there to protect it.” - John Kaiser Late Foundation Member

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Sunburst Lichen

Featured Fund

: Jim Bennett

Wisconsin Lichen Conservation Fund By Jaime Kenowski

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of these fascinating organisms. But what are lichens, and what role do they play in our natural world? They’re not a plant, and not quite fungi. Instead, lichens are a unique symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus. And, like so many things in nature, there is so much Matthew Studebaker

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ichens, you’ve probably spent your life overlooking them, but they’re all around us — growing on rocks, trees, and even cars, clotheslines, telephone poles, or tombstones. With over 17,000 species worldwide, and 800 species here in Wisconsin, they are as biologically diverse as birds or flowers, coming in all shapes, sizes and colors, inspiring descriptive names like Yellow Specklebelly, Frosty Medallion, Common Chocolate Chip, Warty Beard, and Moonglow Lichen. Dr. James Bennett is an emeritus professor of botany (as well as a Foundation board member) who began taking an interest in lichens back in the 1970’s. Since then, he has spent his life dedicated to a deeper understanding of rare Wisconsin plants, a passion that was instilled in him by his father who was an avid gardener and archaeologist. In 2019, Bennett established the Wisconsin Lichen Conservation Fund with the Foundation to provide permanent support for the care

A ruby-throated hummingbird uses spiderwebs and lichens to build her nest. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin


about them that we still don’t know. But we do know they are an indicator of fresh, unpolluted air, and they struggle to thrive in highly urbanized environments. They play a role in creating soil by breaking down rocks. Small songbirds use them for nests, and some animals eat lichens, including snails, deer, and even flying squirrels. And we know that lichens, like everything else in Wisconsin’s interconnected natural world, are being impacted by habitat loss and our changing climate. “Our northern species are moving up and out of the state, seeking the colder temperatures they need. There are species that we can no longer find up north anymore that we know used to be there,”

Honorary and Memorial Gifts June 7, 2021September 30, 2021

The Foundation recognizes gifts made in honor or memory of the following: Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

says Bennett. “Lichens are very sensitive, so the health and presence of lichens, or lack thereof, reflects the bigger picture health and biodiversity of an ecosystem.” Bennett’s fund recently reached the minimum amount needed to disburse grants, and will soon begin supporting lichen conservation projects like surveying rare species or training community science volunteers in collecting data. The next time you take a hike or explore your favorite State Park, Bennett makes one request. “Stop and take a closer look. Bring a hand lens and take note of how aesthetically beautiful and varied lichens really are. The more you look for them, the more you’ll notice them, and we need people to pay attention.”

In Memory of Ruth Ann Anderson Association of Retired Conservationists In Honor of Emmy Begotka Ariela Coles In Memory of Noel Cutright Ric & Betty Zarwell In Memory of Justin Demand David & Amy Chesser James & Janet Demand Jennifer & Thomas Hall Henry & Therese Moss Dakota Schneider Cynthia & Frank Schwab Christy Taglieri In Honor of Nathan Fayram Richard & Elizabeth Fayram In Honor of Katie Fisher Nina Santi In Memory of James Frank Linda Woldt In Memory of Roger Gausmann Matthew Gausmann

Jim Bennett

Gold-eye Lichen

Moonglow Lichen

Support Wisconsin’s Lichens View Jim’s free booklet “Common Lichens of Wisconsin,” online at tinyurl.com/wisconsin-lichens or request a free booklet by emailing mawetter@wisc.edu. You can support the Wisconsin Lichen Conservation Fund by making a gift online or by mail. Visit WisConservation.org/ donate and designate your gift to the fund.

In Honor of the glorious natural world of Wisconsin Chris Burger In Honor of John Hackbart Katie Kieffer In Memory of Barbara Hentzen Theresa Quaintance In Memory of Rick Jones Charles Luthin & Nancy Piraino In Memory of Roy Liddicoat Jeffrey & Barbara Skiles In Honor of Foundation members across Wisconsin Lauren Koshere In Memory of Ann Molinaro Jeanne & Robert Bell Timothy & Jennifer Donohoe Mark & Debra Hammes Terese Kartholl Sherry Michael John Molinaro Susan Molinaro In Honor of the Friends of Ridgeway Pine Relict State Natural Area Mary Kay Baum

In Honor of our dad for loving our mom for 50 years of his life. We miss you, Mom. We love you, Dad. Amanda Anderson In Memory of Robert Polar Carol Polar Bryan & Julane Ross In Memory of Dave Redell Cynthia & Thomas Eagon Shana Lavin & Howard Sonn In Memory of Shirley Ann Schara Jay Huemmer In Memory of Stanley Robert Solheim Association of Retired Conservationists In Memory of Janice Simonsen Joanne & John Powles In Memory of Susan Spaeth Christine & Thomas Sinsky In Memory of Kathy Trudell Lorne Hillier In Memory of Dean Tvedt Lois Tvedt Bill & Sue Laufenberg

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lindsey erin/Unsplash

British Soldiers

Samuel Brinker, WDNR

Jim Bennett

Lichens come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and can survive in almost any environment, including outer space.

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FOUNDATION of Wisconsin 211 S Paterson St Suite 100 Madison, WI 53703 (608) 409-3122 • WisConservatron.org

Many thanks to our supporters:

First Business Bank E

50% post-consumer fiber

In Memory of Rick Jones

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ehind every great organization, there are even greater supporters. So much of what we are able to accomplish is thanks to behind-the-scenes volunteers like Rick Jones, who was a steadfast presence in our office for the past 18 years. Many of the letters you received from the Foundation were carefully hand addressed and stuffed by Rick himself, who volunteered weekly to help us send timely communications to our members. Sadly, our Foundation community had to say farewell to our friend, volunteer, and member, who passed away on August 11, 2021. A nature enthusiast and avid birder, Rick donated thousands of hours volunteering at the Foundation, as well as at the AA 511 Club, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Madison Blues Society, and the Goodman Community Center. We are so thankful for his time, his energy, and his big heart. His light will be deeply missed. Thank you, Rick — we couldn’t have done it without you. With Love, The NRF Team Rick Jones holds a saw-whet owl on a Foundation Field Trip.