Bridges Spring 2020

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Bruce Bartel

Connecting people to conservation in Wisconsin









of Wisconsin


Though spring is finally here, I’m guessing many of you, like me, are feeling a little unmoored and unsettled from this life-changing pandemic. As we begin to adjust to this new “normal,” the upcoming weeks and months will certainly be challenging for many of us. And yet, these times also provide an opportunity to reflect on what truly matters—on those things that enrich us, nourish us, and provide greater meaning to our lives. For me, this includes Wisconsin’s rich wildlife, unique natural communities, and peaceful lakes, rivers, and streams. As I write this note, we are isolated from many friends and family, and we cannot engage in many of the normal activities that filled our days. However, thankfully, we can still open the door, breath fresh air, and feel the sun on our face. Just in your own yard or outside your window, as the spring air warms, you can experience the greening of the gardens and trees, the movement

of local wildlife and thousands of birds migrating back to their nesting grounds. Renewal brings hope. We will get through this, separate but together, stronger and more committed to building a better world. Know that our team at the Foundation will continue to be here for you to support our shared passion for protecting and stewarding natural lands and connecting people to nature’s gifts. No one knows how these times will settle, but we know the strength of nature endures. We wish you that strength, and send our warmest wishes for the well-being of you and your loved ones. Please stay safe, and I look forward to connecting with you out in the field later this year.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kristine Krause, Board Chair Mark LaBarbera, Vice Chair Jim Matras, Secretary Tom Dott, Treasurer Dave Adam James Bennett Linda Bochert Bruce Braun Kristine Euclide Rebecca Haefner Martin Henert Jim Hubing Diane Humphrey Lueck William Lunney Tom Olson Bill Smith Michael Williamson FOUNDATION STAFF David Clutter, Executive Director Sarah Cameron, Great Wisconsin Birdathon Coordinator Shari Henning, Operations Manager Jaime Kenowski, Communications Coordinator Lauren Koshere, Member Philanthropy Officer John Kraniak, Membership Director Kim Kreitinger, Outreach 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.

David Clutter, Executive Director

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” Eric Preston

- Rachel Carson



Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin


Staying connected as we stay apart 2020 Field Trip registration & season postponed


Usually by this time, many of you have already registered for some of our annual Field Trips, joining us for up-close experiences with our natural world, from paddling hidden canyons in the Dells, to treading through fields of goldenrod on the lookout for monarch butterflies, or searching for mussels in the fresh waters of the Manitowish River. But our forests, streams, fields and bluffs will be a little quieter this spring, as we have had to postpone our Field Trip season for the first time in twenty-eight years. As hard as it was to make this call, we know it was the right decision for the health and safety of our members and our communities. We write this message to you in March, knowing that by the time it reaches you, things may look very different as the world continues to respond and adapt. We hope very much that we will be able to offer at least part of our Field Trip season this year, and until then our team is working hard to come up with new and creative ways we can stay connected and ensure this interruption does not impact the number or variety of Field Trips we can offer in 2021. In the meantime, here are some ways to stay in touch and continue our work together to care for Wisconsin’s natural resources: • Follow us on social media for more WisConservation photos, tips, stories, and updates: • Sign up for one of our four eNewsletters from our homepage: • Read our blog to learn about grants you’re supporting and other Foundation news: • Give us a call or send an email, we would love to hear from you!

Important Updates – COVID-19 Visit for the latest updates on our operations and the 2020 Field Trip season. We also have made some changes to our daily operations, and until further notice: • Our physical office in Madison, WI is closed. • Staff are working from home and are available during normal business hours.


• Online donations and membership renewals/requests are preferred. See or

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

• We will be unable to mail membership renewals reminders and thank you letters. • Please allow for processing delays for mailed gifts and membership renewals. BRIDGES/SPRING 2020


Bluffs to Great Lake Shores Campaign Goal Reached! Thank you for helping us build everlasting support for an evergreen Wisconsin


ow fortunate we are to live in an American showcase for environmental beauty, the grand state of Wisconsin. How fortunate also are the thousands of Wisconsinites like you who have joined the Natural Resource Foundation to perpetuate the dream of a healthy future conservation landscape. Yours is a story of generosity and caring. As many of you know, the Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin had its origins in 1986. Its creation resulted from a noticeable need for additional funds to meet the demands for public conservation projects throughout the state. During the years that followed, the Foundation grew steadily, bringing in funding for State Natural Areas, recovering endangered wildlife, and connecting thousands of citizens to Wisconsin’s outdoors through its incredible statewide Field Trip program. When over 10% of the Foundation’s budget was cut in 2015 by the loss of a state capacity grant, the staff and board were inspired by one of our longtime supporters and donors who urged us to boldly deal with the issue through the creation of a general operating endowment for the Foundation itself. Drawing on that wisdom, the Foundation launched the Bluffs to

Great Lake Shores Campaign. As recently announced, with a great deal of pleasure, because of your incredible generosity we reached and surpassed our $1.1 million goal at the end of 2019. Using the sustaining support from this new endowment, the Evergreen Fund, we can forge ahead with continued certainty. I am fortunate and privileged to be one of the founders of the Foundation and had the honor of serving on the board for many years. In doing so, I have seen the dedication of its board members and staff, a collection of Wisconsin’s finest conservationists. You too, as proud supporters and stewards of our natural resources, must take most of the credit for protecting the environment of Wisconsin for our children, and our children’s children. I thank you so much. With gratitude,

Ron Semmann Founding Board Member and Honorary Campaign Chair

If you have questions about the Evergreen Fund please visit or contact Camille Zanoni, Director of Philanthropy to learn more. (608) 409-3112 4


Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin


Bluffs to Great Lake Shores Campaign Contributors - $1,000+ also like to recognize the following Cornerstone Contributors who made gifts of $1,000 or more to the Campaign. Anonymous (3) David & Kathryn Adam Mike & Karen Austad Jane Barnett James Bennett Diane Bless Linda Bochert & David Hanson Bruce & Nancy Braun Becky Brown & Kim Bro Robin Buerki Neal & Carla Butenhoff Douglas & Sherry Caves Virginia Coburn Kristine Euclide & Douglas Steege Johanna Fabke Don Ferber Rebecca Haefner Cathy Halpin Richard Hansen Kathleen Hawkins & Charles Marn Rick Heinritz

Martin & Ellen Henert James & Sharel Hubing Diane Humphrey Lueck & Gary Lueck Gerry & Barbara Hussin John Kaiser** Bill & Lisa Keen Mary Krall Kristine Krause & Scott Patulski David Ladd Douglas & Martha Lee Richard & Debbie Loerke Richard Lorang Charles Luthin & Nancy Piraino Ryan & Denise Mallery Tess Mallery Thomas Mallery Jim Matras Nancy McGill Charles Mowbray Patty & Ed Neumueller Tom & Barbara Olson Mary Oster

Peter Ostlind Rachel Paull Ronda Richards & Robert Ley Mary Kay Ring Robert & Nancy Rudd Michael & Erica SanDretto Judith & James Schwarzmeier Ronald & Ann Semmann Penelope & Gary Shackelford Marcia & Dan Smith William Smith & Jacqueline Smith Kurt & Susan Sroka Patricia Stocking Mary Trewartha Mark & Christine Troudt Deborah & Patrick Turski Roger & Lynn Van Vreede Joyce & David Weizenicker Michael Williamson & Mary Ann Doll Levi & Janet Wood John Bryant Wyman Caryl Zaar


$1,150,000 Raised!

We extend our deepest gratitude to all our Bluffs to Great Lake Shores donors and would

**Denotes that the named donor is deceased Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin



As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, it’s incredible to look back and see how far we’ve come, both as a nation and as a state. By: Caitlin Williamson, Director of Conservation Programs


arth Day is an international day of celebration of our environment, but its birthplace was right here in Wisconsin. Founded by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day in 1970 engaged over 20 million Americans—10% of the total U.S. population at the time—who took part in a nation-wide teach-in to demonstrate for a healthy environment. This massive campaign raised the national public consciousness about the importance of environmental protection, and by the end of the year led to the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Acts, which are now the backbone for environmental protection across the country. Through these acts of legislation,


we’ve seen species recover from the brink of extinction, significantly improved water quality on our rivers and lakes, and decreased air pollutants, saving thousands of lives. Despite these successes, today we are facing some of the most unprecedented challenges in history to our environment and communities. There are numerous factors threatening the health of our natural resources here in Wisconsin, which will require individuals like you and organizations to work together and come up with creative solutions to make a difference. As we consider the next chapter for Wisconsin conservation, here are some of the key challenges we’re thinking about here at the Natural Resources Foundation:

Since the first Earth Day, we’ve seen species recover from the brink of extinction, significantly improved water quality on our rivers and lakes, and decreased air pollutants, saving thousands of lives.

BRIDGES/spring 2020


What’s Next for Wisconsin? 1. Wisconsin’s changing climate You’ve probably seen it in your own community—hotter summers and stronger storms with more frequent flooding; changing patterns like birds migrating later and blooming occurring earlier. These troubling changes are already impacting our natural and human communities. The good news? Through the generosity of two Foundation members, we recently formed the Wisconsin’s Climate Response Fund. This exciting new endowment will support statewide projects like building capacity for climate change work, supporting research and outreach, and ultimately helping create a more climate resilient Wisconsin. 2. Engaging the next generation of conservation stewards Children today spend less than 1% of their time outside. Not only does this negatively affect their mental and physical health, but it means that the next generation is not receiving the knowledge and appreciation to care for our natural world in the future. With your support, we will continue to invest in innovative strategies like the F.I.E.L.D. Corps program. This partnership with the Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Green Schools Network helps Wisconsin teachers build environmental education into every classroom, from reading and math to science and physical education.

4. Wildlife in Crisis Globally, we are facing a species extinction crisis, with the rapid loss of species estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. More than 400 Wisconsin species are at risk, but what’s even more concerning is the loss of

With many in-person or large events canceled due to COVID-19, here are some ways to safely get involved on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020:

DZ Johnson

3. Saving our most imperiled landscapes Wisconsin’s landscape has changed dramatically since settlement in the 1800s, and even more recently as our cities and towns continue to grow. The once twenty-mile wide Empire Prairie in south central Wisconsin has been reduced to just a handful of remnants, we’ve lost half of our original ten million acres of wetlands in the state, and our globally imperiled natural communities like oak savannas and pine barrens are at risk. However, with your help we are filling a critical funding gap for ongoing management for our precious lands and waters like our State Natural Areas, the last examples of Wisconsin’s native landscapes. As Wisconsin’s population continues to grow, your collaboration is more critical than ever to ensure these last refuges for biodiversity conservation are sustained.

Celebrate Earth Day

once common species, like the monarch butterfly, as well as birds like dark-eyed juncos, white-throated sparrows, and Baltimore orioles. Even our windshields are cleaner as insects are disappearing, signaling a silent crisis in our natural world. Every contribution from members like you adds up, whether you join us in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon, volunteer as a citizen scientist, or support Wisconsin Conservation endowments like the Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Fund. When you imagine the future of Wisconsin conservation, what do you want to see? You’ll have the opportunity to answer this question and more in a member survey later this year— stay tuned!

Honorary & memorial gifts

• Participate in Online Classes Many organizations and schools are moving their in-person events online in lieu of canceling! Tune in to Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the WI DNR, or Earth X to name a few. • Download the Earth Day 50 App Earth Day Network’s app features teaching materials, videos, games, and activities for families, individuals, and small groups. Earthchallenge2020. • Join the Birdathon Learn more about our alternative ways to participate in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon while still following CDC and WHO guidelines. •G et Outside Whether you hike, run, walk, bike, or bike—get outside! Social distancing isn’t exclusive to being indoors, and one of the best ways to celebrate the Earth is to be outside in the wonders of nature.

October 18, 2019 – February 11, 2020

The Foundation recognizes gifts made in honor or memory of the following people: In Memory of Thomas Babcock In Honor of Nathan Fayram Camala Kolseth Katherine Babcock Richard & Elizabeth Fayram Annette Olson In Memory of Deanne Bauer & In Honor of Petrina Giese Wayne Paulson Sally Manzara Eileen Zeiger Sandra Pelc Jarell Kuney In Memory of Homero Gomez Ron Schild Thomas Jerow & Steve Schreier In Honor of Ed Bernthal Ernie Thieding Tom Bernthal In Honor of Charles Harmon Bonita Thomas Susan & David McAlister In Honor of Norm “Buddy” Block Marshall Wake Lacey Jackson & Jason Block In Honor of the Hard-Working James Weiss In Memory of Paul Brandt Employees of the Wisconsin DNR In Honor of Mark & Sue Martin Rebecca Belmont Merle & Nancy Biggin Sandra Stark In Memory of Barb Hentzen In Honor of Parker Matzinger In Honor of Edna & Sam Brown Theresa Quaintance David Sadler Sandy Niewinski In Honor of Pam Holy In Honor of Clifford & In Memory of Barry Mitchell Oscar Brynildson Rebecca Belmont Colleen Marsden & Holly Anderson Sanee & Jay Bonnell In Honor of Margaret Igowsky In Honor of Jane Nicholson In Honor of Lisa Charron Amy Hagenow Anonymous Elizabeth & Joseph Charron In Honor of Terrence Knudsen In Honor of Harriet Pfeiffer In Memory of H. Ramon Cram Peter Knudsen Beverly Cram In Memory of Roger Kolseth Martin & Virginia Pfeiffer In Honor of Helen Polacheck In Memory of Inspector Ed Daley Anonymous Patrick Kirsop Retired Madison Police Officers Mike & Kelly Frankenfield In Memory of Dave Redell Association Pat & Chet Frankenfield June Goglio In Honor of Marjorie Dickinson Amy Genova Kris & Thomas Kesselhon Mary Smith Peter Hoekstra

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

In Honor of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Anonymous In Honor of My Dog Sammy Alan Nass In Honor of Beverly Schwabe MaryJo & John Schwabe Susan Schwabe Michael & Edie Schwabe In Honor of Carl & Barbara Schwartz Frank Aukofer Ric & Betty Zarwell In Memory of Maggie Stewart Stephanie Wester In Honor of Kyra Weidman Landen Alft In Honor of Jesse & Chelsea Weinzinger Chelsea Gunther In Memory of Darrell Marvin Wesenberg Keith Stamm In Memory of Joan Wiegand Todd & Kris Wiegand



Eric Preston

Bringing Birds Back: Supporting Birds Throughout Their Life Cycle By Jaime Kenowski


very year Wisconsinites eagerly await the return of the robin, our iconic state bird that heralds in spring with its familiar cheery tune and bold orange breast. Other migratory birds are close behind, from orioles to ospreys to whip-poor-wills, peppering forests, parks, and lakes with movement and life as a new season unfurls. It is easy to think of these birds as returning home, but when it comes to conservation efforts, it is critical to keep in mind our “Wisconsin” birds spend significant portions of their life outside of the state. At the Foundation we are investing in strategies that support the habitat and resources birds use throughout the different stages of their life. Safe havens on a perilous journey Can you imagine taking a road trip to Central America, only to find there were no gas stations, restaurants, or hotels along the way? Just as we need places to rest and refuel while making a long journey, migratory birds depend on “stopover sites” while traveling to and from their breeding and wintering grounds. Many species make this annual round trip of over 6,000 miles each year, and those that travel the farthest are often experiencing the greatest declines. Predators, disease, collisions with building and electrical wires, and changing climate patterns also make migration an extremely vulnerable time for birds.


BRIDGES/spring 2020

Habitat conservation along Lake Michigan Thousands of birds travel along the Great Lakes as part of their migration, sticking to the coastline rather than taking a risky venture across such a large body of water. Recently you helped fund the creation of A Planning Tool for Migratory Bird Conservation along Lake Michigan, a comprehensive resource that pinpoints 42 distinct stopover sites along the coast of this important flyway. This resource will help land trusts, city, county and regional planning departments, and other This tool is free to use and view online at conservation groups make informed decisions about migratory bird habitat conservation efforts, from Kenosha to Door County. A special thanks to our project partners, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

Welcome Sarah, our new Great Wisconsin Birdathon Coordinator

Sarah Cameron

“My interest in conservation began from a young age growing up in Driftless Wisconsin listening for the eastern whip-poor-will that made its nightly call from our woods. It is with great excitement that I look towards this next chapter as the Great Wisconsin Birdathon Coordinator to bridge my background in community engagement with my passion for our avian friends!” Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Mapping critical neotropical stopover sites Nearly one billion landbirds migrate between the Neotropics (Central America, the Caribbean, and South America) and North America each year. Despite this massive movement of birds, we still don’t know a lot about their routes and strategies, which is necessary to inform conservation efforts. The funnel-shaped geography of this region creates a bottleneck, concentrating millions of migratory birds into a relatively small area where the native tropical forests they depend on are under

threat from expanding agriculture and development. Recently you helped fund the Neotropical Flyways Project, a research project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and SELVA: Research for Conservation in the Neotropics, which is helping conservationists map and learn more about new stopover sites in six neotropical countries: Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize. This project is also developing conservation strategies and training for in-country biologist to protect and continue monitoring these important sites.

The Birds of Wisconsin Legacy Fund


ver the past 50 years, North America has lost approximately 3 billion birds, according to a study published by the journal Science in 2019. The same decline is echoed here in Wisconsin, impacting grassland birds like meadowlarks, backyard favorites like Baltimore orioles and evening grosbeaks, insect-eating birds like nighthawks and swallows, as well as some shorebirds. The good news is that we know bird conservation efforts make a difference, and we now have an incredible new fund that will provide lasting support for Wisconsin’s birds who need our help more than ever. The Birds of Wisconsin Legacy Fund was created by longtime bird enthusiast and Foundation member, Karen Etter Hale, who wanted to provide stable funding for priority bird conservation projects.

You can support the endowment by designating your gift to the Birds of Wisconsin Legacy Fund at

“Birds are our link, our direct connection, with nature. They are everywhere, so they can serve as indicators of how well we’re caring for the earth that we all depend upon.”

Deborah Johnson

– Karen Etter Hale

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Chair, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership, Director of Community Relations Wisconsin Audubon Council, Creator of the Birds of Wisconsin Legacy Fund

Ways to Help See for more tips Make your windows safer Explore options like window tape or decals to help prevent window collisions. Garden with native plants Native plants provide a better food source for birds and require less maintenance. Leave the leaves! Leaf litter is great for the soil and attracts food sources for foraging birds. Keep cats indoors Cats contribute to billions of bird deaths every year. Plus, indoor cats live longer! Avoid pesticides Birds eat bugs and can be harmed by harsh chemicals. Switch to non-toxic methods of pest control. Drink bird-friendly coffee Look for seals such as “Rainforest Alliance Certified” or “Bird Friendly.” Volunteer Lend a helping hand for habitat restoration or citizen science. Turn off your lights Keep your lights off from midnight to dawn during peak migration season. Join the Great Wisconsin Birdathon! Have fun birding with friends, co-workers, classrooms, or clubs while supporting Wisconsin’s Bird Protection Fund. BRIDGES/SPRING 2020


2019 Field Trip Photo Contest Winners



A common loon watches as paddlers drift by along the shores of Lake Namekagon on a pontoon boat ride to spy these remarkable birds in their natural habitat.




Loon Pontoon: Forest Lodge By Bruce Bartel

Biking for Birds at White River Marsh By Wendy Schultz Bikers take in a dreamy sunrise over White River Marsh on a Rustic Road that crosses lowland forest, sedge meadow, and cattail marsh. BRIDGES/SPRING 2020


Discover Wisconsin Turtles

rd By Eric Preston

Field Trip co-leader Aaron Menke holds up a magnificent snapping turtle for participants to get a closer look on their trip to Bong Recreation Area (don’t try this at home kids!) Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

People’s Choice Award

We asked, you voted! This year you helped us select the winner of our new photo contest category, the People’s Choice Award.

Printmaking & Photography on the Prairie By Lili Kelly Blooming native wildflowers sway under a striking blue sky at York Prairie State Natural Area where participants look for inspiration as they tried their hand at gelatin plate prints.

Honorary Mentions

Saw-whet & Longeared Owl Banding By Shawn Miller

Ice Age Trail May Day Hike By Cindy Schlosser

Train Ride & Bluff Prairie Hike: Tiffany Wildlife Area By Deb Petersen

Be sure to bring your camera on Field Trips each year.

Be sure to take photos on your next youof might justcontest! be the winner Your photograph mayField be theTrip, winner our next of the 2020 photo contest and have your photo on the cover of Bridges! Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin



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

Many thanks to our supporters:

First Business Bank J.P. Cullen & Sons

2020 GREAT WISCONSIN BIRDATHON APRIL 15-JUNE 15 Connect with friends and family (safely or virtually) through the Great Wisconsin Birdathon, all while raising funds for the birds you love. Participate in your own backyard or conduct a solo birding relay with your team any day between April 15-June 15. Organizations can keep half the funds they raise for bird conservation projects, and any skill level is welcome, from expert birders to beginners.

Register your team today or learn more at



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