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S peci a l E di t i o n


From Bluffs to Great Lake Shores


Support the heart of our conservation mission

Dave Edwards

Connecting people to conservation in Wisconsin



BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kristine Krause, Board Chair Mark LaBarbera, Vice Chair Jim Matras, Secretary Tom Dott, Treasurer Dave Adam James Bennett Bruce Braun Kristine Euclide Rebecca Haefner Jim Hubing Diane Humphrey Lueck William Lunney Tom Olson Bill Smith Jane Wiley Michael Williamson FOUNDATION STAFF Ruth Oppedahl, Executive Director Will Dougherty, Field Trip Program Assistant Kelly Guilbeau, Communications Assistant and Interim Office Manager Lauren Koshere, Member Philanthropy Officer John Kraniak, Membership Director Kim Kreitinger, Outreach Coordinator Jieqi Mei, Administrative Assistant Diane Packett, Birdathon Coordinator Emily Sprengelmeyer, Office Manager Christine Tanzer, Field Trip Director 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.



makE an everlasting gift for an evergreen Wisconsin

Mile 100 was the first time I had an inkling that anyone beyond my family and colleagues at work was following my 18-day I ♥ Wisconsin kayak trip down the Wisconsin River in fall 2015. As I paddled into Tomahawk I saw a man getting his pontoon boat ready for winter and asked if he might please take a picture of me in my boat to mark this milestone. As I petted his friendly dog, he said, “Are you the one I read about in the paper?” He had seen an article about my trip which explained that the journey was my way of sharing my concern about the cuts in the state budget to our state parks, the science positions in the Department of Natural Resources, and to 13 conservation nonprofit organizations including our Foundation. That was the first time I recognized the power of this solo journey on our state’s longest river, our namesake river, to manifest support for one of the things Wisconsinites care most about, our beautiful wildlife, waters, and lands. With lots of help from our members who fed me and drove me around dams, I completed the river trip at Wyalusing State Park at the confluence with the Mississippi River. There were many wonderful stories published not only about the trip, but about the conservationists who paddled with me including retired DNR scientists and those working for local conservation organizations.

When that river trip ended in midOctober 2015, with the help of one of our most caring donors, the Foundation launched our Bluffs to Great Lake Shores Campaign to help build an everlasting fund for an evergreen Wisconsin. Since then, the Campaign has been quietly building an endowment fund to provide sustaining support to the Foundation into the future, so that our impact on the ground will not be diminished at a time when Wisconsin needs our help most. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our members, we have raised $950,000 toward our $1.1 million goal. Now I want you to consider bringing this grand adventure to a meaningful conclusion. I know you ♥ Wisconsin as much as I do. Please consider a stretch gift to this endowment fund. What do our lands, waters, and wildlife mean to you? We hope you can make a gift that reflects the depth of your love for Wisconsin. This is one of the most important things the Foundation has ever done. I am so thankful for you and everything we have accomplished together for the state we love. While you enjoy this special edition of Bridges thank you for considering a gift to this Campaign. ♥

Ruth Oppedahl, Executive Director

“The Foundation helps people conserve the natural resources we all love. This shared opportunity to support our Campaign will strengthen Wisconsin’s natural heritage for future generations.” Ron Semmann Founding Board Member and Honorary Campaign Chair

To support our Bluffs to Great Lake Shores Campaign: • Use the enclosed envelope to send in your gift today. • Donate online at www.wisconservation.org/give/

Make a gift of $100 or more and receive a Foundation hat! 1


Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

The Foundation extends its deepest gratitude to the following donors who made an initial gift of $250 or more to our Bluffs to Great Lake Shores Campaign. Thank you for investing in the heart of our mission.


Cornerstone Contributors

Anonymous (5) David & Kathryn Adam Patricia Anderson Mike & Karen Austad Jane Barnett James Bennett Linda Bochert & David Hanson Bruce & Nancy Braun Neal & Carla Butenhoff Douglas & Sherry Caves Virginia Coburn Jane Edson Kristine Euclide & Douglas Steege Johanna Fabke Lisa Gaumnitz Rebecca Haefner Cathy Halpin Kathleen Hawkins & Charles Marn

Rick Heinritz Martin & Ellen Henert James & Sharel Hubing Diane Humphrey Lueck Gerry & Barbara Hussin John Kaiser Bill & Lisa Keen John & Mary Koeppe Mary Krall Kristine Krause & Scott Patulski David Ladd Douglas & Martha Lee Richard Lorang Bill Lunney & Judie Pfeifer Charles Luthin & Nancy Piraino Tess Mallery Tuck Mallery Ryan & Denise Mallery Jim Matras Nancy McGill

Charles & Carolyn Mowbray Tom & Barbara Olson Mary Oster Peter Ostlind Ronda Richards & Robert Ley Robert & Nancy Rudd Michael & Erica SanDretto Ron & Ann Semmann Penelope & Gary Shackelford William & Jacqueline Smith Marcia & Dan Smith Patricia Stocking Mark & Christine Troudt Deborah & Patrick Turski Michael & Margaret Uihlein Roger & Lynn Van Vreede Joyce & David Weizenicker Michael Williamson Levi & Janet Wood Caryl Zaar

Honorary & memorial gifts

October 23, 2018 through February 11, 2019

The Foundation recognizes gifts made in honor or memory of the following people: In Honor of Becky Susan Brown In Honor of Committed NRF Members across Wisconsin Lauren Koshere

In Memory of William Feldman Alan & Diane Harvey Robert & Donna Hays In Memory of Leslie Hamilton Wayne Block

In Honor of Roger Amundson Robert Aleska

In Honor of Charles Harmon Susan & David McAlister

In Honor of Forward Apparel Co. Joe Leschisin

In Honor of Mary Holzrichter Robert Holzrichter

In Memory of Jack Bailey James Addis

In Honor of Rick Jones Carolyn Shaffer

In Memory of Deanne Bauer Jarell Kuney

In Memory of Marlen Kaiser Mr. & Mrs. Dave Beyer Katie Boos Rusty Chesmore Joyce Emmert Sheri Emmert Elizabeth Engle Robin Engle Vincent & Mary Fonti Mr. & Mrs. Richard Gilbertson Linda Gordon Margaret Gross Mr. & Mrs. Randy Gutsch Daniel Hall Jodi Hansen Kay Hawksford Rebecca Henning Gene and Elizabeth Henry Mr. & Mrs. Rob Hilbers Alan & Delores Hixson Timothy Horkan Mary Lou & Gary Hosler Sandra Hutchison Lynn Inhoff Chris & Patricia Jeffords Renay Jonjak Sandra Junkeris John Kaiser Martha Karl Steven Kelsey Mark Krueger Jill Kuscsik Ann Maastricht Mark Martin & Sue Foote-Martin Nancy & Allan McElroy Melanie McMurray Ronald Nicklaus William Ottum

In Memory of Don Beghin Association of Retired Conservationists In Memory of Paul Brandt Merle & Nancy Biggin In Memory of Harold Cram Jr. Beverly Cram In Memory of David Discher Russell Berndt In Honor of Cathy Drexler Helen Drexler In Honor of Donald Eckert Jill Monson In Memory of Margery Etter Karl Andersen Don Baker Karen Etter Hale Gail Frasier Lynette Smith Susan & Robert Volenec In Memory of Carl Evert James & Esther Huntoon In Memory of Carl Evert Jr. James Addis Association of Retired Conservationists In Honor of Marian Farrior Laurie Elwell In Honor of Nathan Fayram Richard & Elizabeth Fayram

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

In Honor of Thomas Mowbray Charles Mowbray

Mr. & Mrs. Dave Peterson Jack Reeder Donald & Susan Reinardy Sandra Robertson Nancy Ruhlow Nels Swenson Temperature Systems Inc. Treeland Resorts Kristina Treland-Neumann Kristin Verstegen Brendan Wall Jo Anne Wall Wall Family Enterprise, Inc. Jean Weihert Colleen Wherley James Wherley Mary Wherley Pat & Gina Wherley Avis Wolske Baker Mary Yeager

In Memory of Gordon Ruesch Cathy Mauer

In Memory of Christopher Klein Cory Masiak

In Memory of Roger Schuett Joanne & John Powles

In Memory of Jo Kotal Robert Mehrens

In Honor of Beverly Schwabe MaryJo & John Schwabe Michael & Edie Schwabe Susan Schwabe Thomas Schwabe

In Memory of Edwin Lasco Myra Felton Christine Ketterhagen Randal Knurr Stacey Lasco Cathy Miller Donald Miller Dorothy Nelson In Memory of Paul Levihn Lynn Carlson Elizabeth Chappell Janice Coons Robert Lange Ann Levihn Nancy Pettit Gloria Wilson Charles Yu In Memory of Peggie Post Mallery Thomas & Sharon Engels Arthur Sonneland John & Leigh Wilber In Memory of Barry Mitchell Colleen Marsden

In Memory of Ron Nicotera Association of Retired Conservationists In Memory of William Paar Mary Ullrich In Honor of Harriet Pfeiffer Martin & Virginia Pfeiffer In Memory of Kenneth Piotrowski Marie Barczak In Memory of Dave Redell Kris & Thomas Kesselhon

In Memory of Larry Sperling Association of Retired Conservationists In Honor of Vincent Sweeney Patricia McKnight In Honor of Where We Call Home Kevin Berger In Memory of Heinz Weiler Cory Masiak In Memory of Tom Werner Liz Spaeth-Werner In Memory of Darrell Wesenberg Carole Janisch Holly Jones In Memory of Tom White Carolyne White In Honor of Joan Wiegand Todd & Kris Wiegand



Here for Future Generations Foundation helps connect children to nature By Kelly Guilbeau



A student from Lussier Community Education Center discovering the wonder of nature.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Jennifer Mitchell


Experiences like this allow a six-years a small group of six-yearold to actually be a six-year-old. They can olds from Lussier Community let go of what they are carrying, at least Education Center’s after school for a little while. Squire sees children say program approach the visitor center to themselves, “We’re just having fun here of the UW-Madison Arboretum, wild turkeys appear in the distance. Instead of and I don’t have to hold on to anything but the present.” Such a novel experience interpreting this as a welcome greeting, can be freeing and empowering, and can the children become fearful that the turkeys will charge. They have never seen begin the process of building a life-long sense of resiliency and connection with wild turkeys in person before, and the nature. unknown can be scary. The ultimate goal of these visits to the Most of the children who participate Arboretum is not to be able to identify in the free programs offered at Lussier are from low-income families. Many have the leaves of an oak tree, for example. “That’s not why we do this,” says Squire. never visited the Arboretum before, “We do this to cultivate a generation even though it is only eight miles from of kids who will be role the community center. To models for the generation make experiences like this “Without sustained after them.” During a walk possible, Lussier received funding from partners in the woods, Arboretum grant funding from such as NRF we wouldn’t naturalists spend much the Natural Resources of their time addressing Foundation’s Go Outside be able to do the work Fund as well as the C.D. we are doing. You help to preconceptions and fears, making sure basic needs Besadny Conservation make the magic happen.” such as safety and belonging Fund. B  rian Squire are met. Squire and his The Foundation believes Elementary program manager team hope this generation strongly in connecting Lussier Community Education Center not only feels like they children to the outdoors belong outdoors but have a in order to foster the next desire to be protectors and advocates for generation of environmental stewards, the outdoors. and provides grants to organizations like The catch is that this “isn’t going to be the Lussier Community Education Center a quick fix,” reminds Squire. And this is to provide students outdoor educational precisely why this partnership with NRF opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise is so crucial. “We must see the long game have. Lussier Community Education Center’s by working hard now to provide these powerful barrier-breaking experiences, Elementary Program Manager, Brian Squire, facilitates these field trips because while having the patience to see longterm generational shifts. Without he understands the “joy that comes from sustained funding from partners such finding yourself out in nature, with time as NRF,” Squire adds, “we wouldn’t be and space to be free of all the things able to do the work we are doing. You you might be worried about.” In nature, help to make the magic happen.” barriers come down.

Foundation works with partners to recover one of Wisconsin’s rarest birds By Kelly Guilbeau


avin Lopez, a conservation will continue to be state endangered, biologist with the Department of since we are “nowhere near having Natural Resources, looks up as a a stable and large population in bolt of yellow flashes by. It is a Kirtland’s Wisconsin,” explains Lopez. Furthermore, warbler, one of Wisconsin’s rarest bird delisting means Wisconsin will no species. Davin has been working for 5 longer receive funding from the federal years on the recovery of this endangered government to protect the species. species, and sightings like this give him The challenge in Kirtland’s warbler reason for hope. Throughout its history, conservation is that these birds prefer a the Natural Resources very specific habitat Foundation has helped save “Without the support the type. They build nests species such as the Kirtland’s Foundation has provided for only in jack pine forests warbler — those that are under 20 years old. birds, half of the conservation Once those trees have most imperiled and in greatest need of help. we’ve been doing in the state matured past this “Quite simply, we wouldn’t have gotten done. age, the birds seek wouldn’t know half of what new suitable habitat. we do about our Wisconsin The Foundation has played Through monitoring, an instrumental role in population, especially however, Lopez and his how to keep them here team are learning that helping Wisconsin be one and help them expand, nests are also being of the leading states for if not for the help of the built in young red pines. bird conservation.” Foundation,” says Lopez. Much of this habitat is The largest population of Kim Grveles found in artificial pine Kirtland’s warblers is found Wisconsin Department of Natural plantations used for Resources in Michigan with small pulp and timber, and populations in Wisconsin since red pine is and Canada. It was only discovered in more profitable than jack pine, new Adams County, Wisconsin in 2007, and information on Kirtland’s warbler since then the Department of Natural habitat preferences might Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, significantly impact restoration and other partners have worked hard efforts. to recover the population, which has Lopez explains that now expanded to multiple counties in the national team has Wisconsin. transitioned from a As rare as it is, this tiny bird has made “recovery team a remarkable recovery and is currently being proposed for delisting from the federal Endangered Species Act. While federally delisting the Kirtland’s warbler will certainly be cause for celebration, the work is not nearly done. The species

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

A rare Kirtland’s warbler .

Trina Soyk, USFWS

Here for Wisconsin’s Wildlife

to a conservation team.” Their goals in Wisconsin are to continue to monitor the locations of nests and patterns of fledglings — young birds whose wings are large enough for flight — while helping to expand the population to a level where it can maintain itself in viable locations. Using common bird banding techniques, Lopez’s team can track fledglings that return to Wisconsin the next year, after they migrate to the Bahamas during winter. Lopez and his team require sustained funding from the Foundation to continue these monitoring efforts, learning about the Kirtland’s warbler’s life cycle and habitat preferences. The ultimate goal is to rest assured that the population is growing every year, and not have to monitor every nest. The team could then focus efforts on continuing to work with private land owners and county forests to provide continuous habitat. “This way, as the pines age out, we’d have new pine habitats that are aging in,” explains Lopez. This is time- and labor-intensive work, and as the Kirtland’s warbler populations grow in Wisconsin, the Foundation will continue to be here to support it and the critical work of biologists like Lopez. “We don’t know their exact role in the whole web of life and it’s an uphill battle,” says Lopez, “but we have a responsibility to preserve and protect all the species we can.”



Here for Wisconsin’s Lands and Waters Foundation helps restore the best of Wisconsin’s natural communities By Kelly Guilbeau


ucked away in the magnificent beloved lands, battle invasive species, Ferry Bluff State Natural Area in and restore natural habitat. Sauk County is a ridge named There are 687 State Natural Areas Hugo’s Bluff. From its peak, you can watch throughout Wisconsin protecting the Wisconsin River float by, marvel at over 75% of our threatened and the diverse flowers carpeting the forest endangered plants and over 90% floor, watch the insects who rely on those of our threatened and endangered flowers sip nectar, and hear the melodies animals. But limited funding has meant of birds who eat those that crews like Rathman’s insects. The diverse natural “Of all of the things that have had to focus their communities thriving at efforts on preserving only the Natural Resources places like Ferry Bluff exist the best of the best. Now, Foundation has helped however, with increased because of hard-working and dedicated crews us do, getting people and funding from the Natural who have restored these Resources Foundation, funding directly on the landscapes with support new crew members from the Natural Resources ground to do public land have been hired and the Foundation. team has begun more management Bridget Rathman, a active management at has been incredible.” Wisconsin Department historically ignored sites Thomas Meyer of Natural Resources such as Hugo’s Bluff. These Wisconsin Department of State Natural Areas crew areas tend to be “sensitive Natural Resources leader based in Southwest to invasive species and Wisconsin, oversees the efforts of one require prescribed fire, a highly trained of five crews across the state. Their team skill,” says Rathman. “Without fire, these of seven goes out every day — even in sites degrade rapidly. We can keep zero-degree weather — to manage our the invasives at bay, but we need the

resources to do that.” At Hugo’s Bluff, restoration is no simple task. Rathman explains, “By clearing the overcrowded cedar trees we will allow sunlight to hit the earth there for the first time in decades. We are excited to see what prairie plants will emerge after being liberated from the cedars.” Furthermore, Rathman says her team is “committed to a long-term effort to control any nondesirable species that may emerge and to supplement with seed collected from the intact remnant on the site. We will also keep it on a regular fire rotation to ensure that the prairie doesn’t get choked out again.” Having continued funding for multi-year work has played a key role in improving the quality of other sites as well. Crews have seen the recovery of some species that had been locally extirpated, like the North American racer. The Foundation is proud to offer sustained funding to restore and care for State Natural Areas around the state, and help conserve our natural heritage. Rathman and her crew do this ongoing work because they love Wisconsin, and want to protect the places they hold dear. “Our rivers are a national treasure, and our lands showcase a whole mosaic of different land types and animals which inhabit them. With continued help from the Foundation,” she continues, “we will do all we can to keep it that way.”

Zach Kron

Ferry Bluff Ridge after work is complete.



Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Here for You Cornerstone Contributor carries forth conservation legacy through Foundation By Kelly Guilbeau


for ducks and many of s a member of the Foundation us involved became since its formation in the late 80s, lifetime friends. I John Kaiser has a lifetime of love eventually expanded for the natural resources of Wisconsin. my role and in 1993“My family had a cottage in the late 40’s 94 I became the State on the north side of Lake Mendota where Chairman.” we lived from Memorial Day until Labor In 2010 John Day,” says John. “At a very young age I was and his late wife, exposed to water, fishing, and boating. Marlen, established In 1950, my family bought a year-round a permanent home near Warner Beach on the lake. conservation It was different back then and nothing endowment with the like today. The shoreline was natural and Foundation called Warner beach was a marshy area. My the John and Marlen dad was an avid sportsman and fished Kaiser Conservation Fund to provide and hunted year-round. My first hunts perpetual funding for Wisconsin’s most were in the North Shore Bay of Lake important conservation needs. When Mendota with my dad and the late Jack Marlen passed away earlier Burke. For several years in the this year, the Fund served as 50’s, Lake Mendota in the fall a recipient of memorial gifts accommodated over 90,000 Whatever part of in honor of her personal waterfowl, most of which were Wisconsin you love love of the outdoors. Canvasbacks. most, the Foundation When the Foundation “In the late 60’s, I joined the is there to protect it.” launched its Bluffs to Great Madison chapter of Ducks Lake Shores Campaign to Unlimited,” he continues. “It lit John Kaiser build an everlasting fund for my fire to help provide habitat

an evergreen Wisconsin, John became one of the first members to support it. “I want the special places my family and I have treasured in my lifetime to be available for future generations,” John says. “It is very important that those of us that have experienced the diversity and importance of Wisconsin’s natural resources step in and ensure the future is preserved for other generations. No other conservation organization in Wisconsin covers all the areas that NRF does. It is a very vibrant organization with a fabulous staff. They will direct funds from your contribution to the areas that you are interested in supporting. Whatever part of Wisconsin you love most, the Foundation is there to protect it.” John and Marlen’s spirit of giving to the natural resources of Wisconsin has spread throughout his family. “I am thankful that the Foundation has been there for me and my family, so that we could be there for Wisconsin when it needed our help the most.” M. Thompson

Camille Zanoni, director of philanthropy with the Natural Resources Foundation with Foundation member and Cornerstone Contributor, John Kaiser, on the Chippewa Flowage.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin



P.O. Box 2317 Madison, WI 53701

Many thanks to our supporters:

Associated Bank First Business Bank WisConservation.org


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DECEMBER 1-8, 2019



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Profile for Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Bridges Spring 2019: Special Edition  

This issue highlights the breadth of great work the Foundation is doing to support the wildlife, waters, and lands of Wisconsin. We tell the...

Bridges Spring 2019: Special Edition  

This issue highlights the breadth of great work the Foundation is doing to support the wildlife, waters, and lands of Wisconsin. We tell the...