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Michael Crowley

Connecting people to conservation in Wisconsin

Race against time at Chiwaukee Prairie SNA

Restoring the land and the soul







FOUNDATION STAFF Ruth Oppedahl, Executive Director Will Dougherty, Field Trip Program Assistant Kelly Guilbeau, Communications Assistant Lauren Koshere, Donor Relations Coordinator John Kraniak, Membership Director Kim Kreitinger, Outreach Coordinator Jieqi Mei, Administrative Assistant Diane Packett, Birdathon Coordinator Nora Simmons, Communications Director Emily Sprengelmeyer, Office Manager Christine Tanzer, Field Trip Coordinator Caitlin Williamson, Director of Conservation Programs Camille Zanoni, Development Director OUR MISSION Connecting generations to the wonders of Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through conservation, education, engagement, and giving.


I can’t imagine a world without public lands and protected wild places. Luckily, I’m not alone in that. Wisconsin has a long and storied history of incredible individuals working together to preserve and restore our lands and waters. Ron Semmann is one of those individuals. In 1986, Ron helped to establish the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and he’s been a crucial piece of the Foundation ever since. He served as the Foundation’s first executive director and after that as a board member. His contributions to the Foundation are many and it’s not overstating at all to say that we wouldn’t be here today without his effort, influence, and leadership. Over the last 32-plus years, Ron has introduced hundreds of people to the Foundation. With his leadership, we have directed more than $6.5 million of support to natural resources in our state. This year, Ron has decided to retire from our board of directors. While he will be missed at our quarterly meetings, he has been honored with Board Emeritus status. We know

Mark LaBarbera

Ruth Oppedahl BOARD OF DIRECTORS Martin Henert, Board Chair Kristine Krause, Vice Chair Linda Bochert, Secretary Mark LaBarbera, Treasurer Dave Adam James P. Bennett Bruce Braun Tom Dott Tim Eisele Kristine Euclide Rebecca Haefner Jim Hubing Diane Humphrey Lueck William Lunney Jim Matras Tom Olson Ron Semmann Bill Smith Jane Wiley Michael Williamson

Ron Semmann and his wife, Ann, walk through Horicon Marsh on a Foundation Field Trip.

Ron will continue to be involved with the Foundation, our mission, our Field Trips, and keeping Wisconsin’s conservation legacy strong. Thank you, Ron!

Ruth Oppedahl, Executive Director

Give the Gift of Membership Do you have someone on your holiday shopping list who already seems to have everything?

Give them something new this year with a Gift Membership to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. They will receive: • A letter notifying them of your gift and their new membership to NRF • 3 issues of Bridges (the NRF member magazine) • A year subscription to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine from DNR • 2019 Field Trip Guidebook and eligibility for early member registration for 2019 Field Trips • Opportunity to travel the world with NRF • Event invitations and more! To purchase a Gift Membership for someone you care about go to WisConservation.org/gift-membership. Purchase your Gift Membership by December 15 to ensure the recipient is notified by Christmas.



Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Honorary & memorial gifts July 1, 2018 through October 22, 2018

The Foundation recognizes gifts made in honor or memory of the following people: In Memory of Robert W. Brown Rebecca Brown-Nienow In Memory of Sam Cardella Karen Kamholz In Memory of Milo Cunningham  Association of Retired Conservationists In Memory of William Feldman Terry Anderson K. Bogle Connie Burmeister Michelle Compe Susan Curtis M.J. Feeney Gebhardt Mary Goers Kay Griffing Lisa Ann Hiebing Pamela Hoekstra Jan Hornback Mary Jordan Mary L. Kuenzli-Mueller Erika Lee James and Kathryn Manion

Jodi Morrical Michael and Cheryl Moskoff Wayne L. Neitzel Susan Norby Susan Paulson Joan Phillips Darlene Raether Patricia Reis Sandra Robertson Sandra Rodriguez Tom Schultz Patrick Scott Leanne Shimek Robert Simon Gary Switzky Michael Switzky Mary Taylor Donna Teasdale Lois Tesch Daniel Williams In Honor of Rebecca Gilman Susan and David McAlister

In Memory of Edwin Lasco Daniel Banas David Banas Carl and Pat Lasco Edmund Lasco Jill Peterson Christine Schyvinck Bernie and Donna Schyvinck Scott Schyvinck and Family In Memory of Jackie Macaulay Stewart Macaulay

In Memory of Dave Redell June E. Goglio Shana Lavin Walt Disney Company Foundation In Memory of Richard J. Ring Mollie Ring In Memory of Gordon Ruesch Robert and Vicky Bailey Doreen K. Eldred

In Memory of Peg Mallery Michael Gabler In Memory of Ronald Nicotera James and Esther Huntoon In Honor of Sue and Jeff Nikolai Paul Zilles In Memory of Thaddeus J. Pyrek  Association of Retired Conservationists

In Memory of Leslie Hamilton Wayne Block

In Honor of Dr. Robert and Marsha Rea Susan and David McAlister

In Memory of Geno Trzinski Christine F. Schmelling In Memory of Dr. Darrell M. Wesenberg Mark and Evelyn Cain Lea De Haven Carolyn E. Doerfer Barbara and Conrad Feller

How will the new tax law impact your charitable giving? By Camille Zanoni

Like most donors, you give because you care. Tax benefits may influence the amount and timing of your gift, but what likely motivates you most is your belief in the Foundation’s mission, and your desire to make a positive difference for Wisconsin. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 provides an opportunity for donors to examine different charitable giving strategies in order to take full advantage of the law’s tax benefits. Itemizers can now only deduct up to $10,000 in state and local property, sales, and income taxes. The standard deduction has increased to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. As a result, some donors may find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction than to itemize their charitable contributions. If you previously itemized your deductions, giving small to moderate amounts to charity, the increased standard deduction might lower your tax bill more than itemizing your charitable deductions would. If you traditionally have larger itemized deductions, including large charitable gifts, you may find your total deductions are still greater than the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

increased standard deduction, and that it remains advantageous to continue itemizing in order to receive the full tax benefit of your charitable gifts. In light of these tax law changes, one option for donors seeking to receive the most tax benefits is to bundle charitable giving into alternative years, whereby you increase your giving in one year to include gifts you would have made the following year in order to bring your total itemized deductions above the standard deduction. In addition to bundling your charitable gifts in alternating years, the Foundation offers other opportunities to help you take maximum advantage of the new tax law. This includes establishing an endowed Donor Advised Fund, or a Spend Down Fund. You can take a larger deduction in the year you make a contribution to establish your fund, and then direct distributions from your fund in subsequent years to the conservation charities or causes of your choosing, thereby ensuring your continued support for the causes you care about while maximizing your tax benefits. You can also make additional gifts to your Donor Advised or Spend Down Fund in future years when you would like to take a

larger charitable deduction. Gifts to a Donor Advised Fund or a Spend Down Fund can be made through a gift of cash or appreciated assets. If you are 70 ½ or older and required to take minimum distributions from your retirement account, you can direct a distribution from your retirement account to the Foundation and the income will not count toward your taxable income (note that IRA distributions cannot be made to a Donor Advised Fund). The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. Camille Zanoni Development Director (608) 264-8922  amille.Zanoni@ C WisConservation.org



A Race Against Time

Experts, agencies, and funders come together to preserve and restore the Kenosha Dunes Unit at Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area

W By Kelly Guilbeau

hen you visit Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area (SNA) at the most southeastern corner of Wisconsin, you will find a 485-acre property filled with gently rolling ridges and swales, low prairies, and sedge meadows. Glaciers receding during the Ice Age created fluctuating topography in this area, which resulted in the development of many microhabitats. This variation lends itself to a greater diversity in plant species and corresponding wildlife, including more than 400 species of plants and more than 70 species of birds. Notably, 26 rare, threatened, or endangered species have been identified on the property, making this truly a priceless piece of land. Sharon Fandel, DNR District Ecologist for southeast Wisconsin, and property manager for Chiwaukee Prairie SNA, particularly loves the overall diversity of the site. “It’s exceptional considering how integrated the property is within a residential area,” she says. According to Fandel, the lesser fringed gentian (Gentianopsis procera), whose core range in the state is southeastern Wisconsin, is particularly prevalent at Chiwaukee. She says, “we tend to observe lesser fringed gentian at higher quality wetmesic prairie sites. It blooms in late fall, dotting the landscape with its showy purple flowers. Chiwaukee Prairie is also home to the Kenosha Dunes, a rare Great Lakes dune ecosystem found at the north end of the State Natural Area. “The sand dunes were formed during the Ice Age when the glaciers retreated, and sand was available and transported by wind and wave action,” explains Fandel. Lake Michigan water levels rise and fall based on factors like runoff, precipitation, and evaporation. As a result, shorelines and dunes will erode when lake levels are high and build up when lake levels recede. “Kenosha Dunes largely



The Kenosha Dunes can be found at the northern tip of the Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area, along Lake Michigan in southeastern Wisconsin.

Kenosha Dunes has been losing as much as 25 feet of shoreline each year since 2014. functioned under these natural sand deposition and erosion processes well into the 20th Century,” explains Fandel. “However, as development along the lakeshore continued, extensive stretches of shoreline were stabilized with long stretches of revetments, large jetties, and engineered harbors. Kenosha Dunes itself was ‘armored’ with a single stretch of revetment in the early 1970s.” Today, more than 40 years later, water levels are rising again and the revetment at Kenosha Dunes is beginning to fail. Fandel says, “Weakened over time, during previous high lake levels and intermittent storm events, the revetment experienced its initial significant breach during the Halloween storm of 2014. Lake levels had risen as much as two feet since the prior fall, exacerbating the storm’s impact. Since then Kenosha Dunes has been

losing as much as 25 feet of shoreline every year.” Donalea Dinsmore, Great Lakes Beach Coordinator at the Wisconsin DNR Office of Great Waters, explains that “when you put in revetment, the forces that affect the coastline adjacent to the revetment are magnified by about ten times.” That magnification, in combination with lake level rise and increase in intensity of storms make this “the perfect storm for eroding the coastline,” says Dinsmore. The challenge at Kenosha Dunes is that Chiwaukee Prairie SNA has rare habitat found only at these remnant dune locations. There is a beautiful partnership between these dune habitats and the lake waters. “Colonizing vegetation allows dunes to develop, as deep grass roots help to facilitate sand accumulation and stabilization of the dunes in concert with Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

NOAA Fisheries

changing water levels,” says Fandel. As the dunes stabilize, additional plant species take root, creating the incredible diversity that makes this area so special. “Unfortunately,” says Fandel, “this dunelake relationship has been short circuited by extensive shoreline development. The recent breach in the revetment at Kenosha Dunes presents an opportunity to take a more holistic look at the issue of shoreline management.” With support from the Fund for Lake Michigan the Foundation was able to help

fund a vital coastal assessment from 2015 to 2018 of a 5-mile stretch of southeastern Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline including Kenosha Dunes. The work was conducted in partnership with the DNR’s Office of Great Waters and Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau, UW-Madison’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Coastal Sustainability Lab, and UW-Sea Grant Institute to further identify the forces contributing to shoreline erosion and water quality. The coastal assessment efforts culminated in 2018 with recommendations for addressing

Shoreline protection can take many forms, including the crumbling breakwater and revetment strategies found at Kenosha Dunes.

Significance of Chiwaukee Prairie SNA • Noted for its exceptional diversity of plants and animals – more than 400 plant species alone! • State Natural Area by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (1967) • Conservation Opportunity Area of global significance by the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan • National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service (1973)

Former revetment lines the eroding shoreline of Kenosha Dunes.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Dr. Chin Wu

•W  etland Gem by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association (2009) •W  etland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention, as part of the Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain (2015)



Property manager Fandel agrees, stating “if we can restore [the property] in a way that does some justice to the natural history of the site and allows for a more natural relationship between the land and the lake, that would be great. That’s my hope in all this.” Both Fandel and Dinsmore agree that this work is expensive. “Without these partnerships, it’s difficult to see how any of us could do it alone,” said Dinsmore. The Foundation is working with partners to secure funding for these strategies to be implemented, supporting the longstanding history of the Foundation’s financial support for the Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area. Since 1997, the Foundation has awarded ten grants to the Wisconsin DNR and to the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund for use in managing the property. One such grant allowed for the expansion of a nature trail and educational materials, while others supported habitat management needs such as invasive brush cutting. Further, the Foundation manages the Chiwaukee Prairie Endowment Fund, established by The Nature Conservancy, to support the long-term care and management of the site. The Foundation and partners involved with restoring Chiwaukee Prairie are hoping to implement a long-term, sustainable solution at Kenosha Dunes. The Foundation was recently awarded a $250,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife The normal sand transport cycle can be exacerbated when intrusive shoreline protection structures fail. Foundation to advance coastal resiliency and restoration efforts. This project is pushing partners The DNR Office of Great Waters has worked with the to think outside of their traditional management box, as the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of typical management framework no longer applies and time is of Engineers, as well as Dr. Chin Wu, professor of civil and the essence as the shoreline continues to erode. environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin“[The ultimate design for the site is] not something I’d want Madison, to better understand how to improve the area’s to decide in a bubble,” says Fandel. The situation at the Kenosha coastal resilience. According to Fandel, after initial stabilization Dunes of Chiwaukee Prairie requires rethinking the traditional efforts to prevent further loss of sand at the site, the team shoreline restoration strategies and bringing the expertise of will assess different approaches to determine the best fit for various project partners to the table. Dinsmore elaborates that the site. Options could include using off-shore submerged “this effort could not happen unless we had strong partnerships breakwaters (or sills), which employs a less intrusive natural and people willing to think creatively and work together to find a barrier to take energy out of the incoming waves, even in the solution and help to secure funding. This is why the partnership face of rising and falling lake levels. with the NRF has been invaluable as we try to deal with the Successfully implementing these recommendations would technical issues, do the project planning, and find grant funds.” mean reducing the threats to the natural dunes and coastal wetlands found at this site. Dinsmore says the partners are Kelly Guilbeau is the communications assistant at the Foundation looking at potential solutions that will “provide some resilience and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Environmental Conservation at the Nelson Institute at UW-Madison. and form a natural coastal setting that provides habitat.”

Without these partnerships, it’s difficult to see how any of us could do it alone.

Molly B Thomson

the area’s water quality and severe shoreline erosion. The assessment addresses potential restoration of natural shoreline processes, improving future designs of coastal structures and beaches, and preventing future destabilization of adjacent shorelines. The Foundation is now working with the same project partners to advance and implement these recommendations, particularly at the Kenosha Dunes shoreline of Chiwaukee Prairie. The team of experts exploring restoration options is also keeping in mind the urgency of the situation. Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund President Pam Holy emphasizes, “To say time is of the essence is an incredible understatement.” As if to underscore this statement, huge sections of what has been used for years as a volunteer walking path along the shore have washed away. The revetment system is failing, but it might not necessarily be wise to simply put another in its place. “Do we want to repeat something that might be a mistake?” Dinsmore asks. “We want to make sure that we create the right size buffer and put in conditions that we aren’t going to have to come back and repeat over time.”

Find a list of volunteer work days and outings at www.chiwaukee.org/volunteer. 5


Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Your Support

Increasing accessibility

Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail is one of the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit’s most popular hikes. The trail is located within the Scuppernong River Habitat Area, the largest wet prairie east of the Mississippi River, which provides habitat for many rare species. Thanks to funding from the David and Joyce Weizenicker Fund for State Parks (read more about this fund on page 10), the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail is becoming more accessible for seniors and visitors with disabilities. Funding is being used to create an overlook deck, upgrade the trail to be wheelchair-friendly, and add bench seating at the overlooks. Thanks to this support, this beautiful and interesting trail will be more accessible, and can be enjoyed by visitors of all abilities in the future.

Cliffs at Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA. Restoration work funded by NRF in 2017-2018.

Jared Urban

 Restoring old-growth forest

Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA in Iowa County, features eight distinct pine relicts. These remnants of the pine forests of southern Wisconsin date back thousands of years. As the climate warmed over the last 12,000 years, oak woodlands and prairies took over the landscape. But the steep slopes, sandstone cliffs, and rocky outcrops found at Ridgeway Pine Relict provided a microclimate that protected the pines from both the encroachment of warmer-climate plant communities and fires, allowing them to reach old-growth status. NRF is currently supporting restoration work there, thanks to funding from the John C. Bock Foundation and the Caerus Foundation. Read a first-hand account of restoration work at Ridgeway Pine Relict on page 7.

Conservationist Spotlight: Darcy Kind

Conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Meet Darcy Kind, a conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (and one of our NRF Field Trip Leaders!). Darcy works with private landowners through the Landowner Incentive Program, helping private landowners create and manage habitat for rare or threatened wildlife species in the Driftless Area. “My favorite part of my work is meeting and establishing relationships with landowners who are dedicated to restoring and enhancing Wisconsin’s Darcy Kind important natural communities,” Darcy said. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Kohler Park Dunes State Natural Area— embedded within Kohler-Andrae State Park— is a stunning landscape, featuring rare and beautiful coastal dune natural communities including lake dunes, interdunal wetlands, and dry-mesic white pine forest. As one of the Great Lakes’ highest quality dune systems, Kohler Park Dunes is critical for conserving these unique natural communities. Unfortunately, visitors wanting to access Lake Michigan are damaging rare plants and dune communities as they unintentionally trample the dunes. The Foundation, with funding from the Fund for Lake Michigan and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund, is supporting a project to install rope fencing and build new cordwalk segments, which will designate trails for park visitors to use to directly access the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Carolyn Morgen, WDNR

Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.

Jennifer Tomaloff

at Work

 Protecting Great Lakes coastal dunes

Cordwalk and fence rope at Kohler-Andrae State Park.

You can help Help us preserve Wisconsin’s incredible public lands. Donate. Whether you give a general gift or choose a special purpose for your donation, every dollar makes a difference for Wisconsin. Visit WisConservation.org/give to learn more. Leave a legacy. Create an endowment fund dedicated to a place you love. Visit WisConservation. org/endowment to learn more. Get involved! You can make a difference by giving your time as a volunteer. Visit WisConservation.org/ volunteer to learn more. BRIDGES/WINTER 2018


when he first met Mary Kay Baum, the local resident spearheading volunteer efforts to care for the natural area. He loves this kind of work: being outside, leading work parties to get people involved, and using chainsaws and other equipment to tackle invasive species like buckthorn and honeysuckle. Mary Kay Baum, a wellknown Madison community

Restoring More Than Land Volunteer Norm Venden collected prairie seeds in the fall and returned in the winter to help sow the seeds.

Michael Skwarok

How conservation work invigorates, connects, and inspires

Steve Strutt lights a burn pile of invasive buckthorn as part of prairie restoration efforts.



Mary Kay Baum

organizer, lawyer, school board and county board member, ordained minister and onetime mayoral candidate, moved to the area in 2015 to be near land she could help care for and enjoy. By Lisa Gaumnitz She believes that has been important in The sign off the highway announced, reducing cognitive changes related to an “Ridgeway Pine Relict State Natural underlying epileptic syndrome diagnosed in Area” but there were no other clues we recent years. written directions. had arrived at one of Wisconsin’s unique “I do believe it’s not only the medical We pulled off the highway behind a truck landscapes to help sow prairie seeds and and a four-wheeled utility vehicle. This, treatment I’ve received but my time in burn brush that crisp January day. nature,” she says. “When I slow down and indeed, was the right place. The place we No cars, no people, no sublime nature— were to write about for the Wisconsin Natural am quiet in nature, I experience a deep just a sign next to a nondescript house with Resources magazine, the place now being connection with all that surrounds me. We a field behind it and a windbreak of pine restored by state crews and an unlikely pair know meditation is good for us, and this is trees along the highway. an easy, natural form of meditation. I am of caretakers who delight in restoring and Surely a more fitting and aesthetic revealing to others what they call southern fully ‘in the moment.’ All my to-do lists are entrance lies ahead, I told Mick Skwarok, gone. I feel fully embraced and accepted.” Wisconsin’s “best kept secret.” my friend and photographer for the day, She loves to tell the story, as she does One half of that pair, Steve Strutt, leads so I turned my attention back to the road us past the sign down a path into a field of today, of the rock cliffs protecting northern and placed my faith in my GPS. brome grass, now covered with snow and pine relicts and their associated flora from We barreled up and down and through several big piles of buckthorn branches. fire, while the prairies and oaks took over the remote wooded hollows, scattering a flock rest of southern Wisconsin. And she loves to A UW-Madison wildlife ecology of turkeys before deciding Siri had steered graduate, Steve grew up on a farm across document, with her camera, the resulting us wrong and returning to the sign off biological mashup. the highway but had never set foot onto the highway — the one described in our The cooler climate while the glaciers the property until a few months earlier Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Mary Kay Baum

Michael Skwarok

growing from a rock. “It’s important that places like this are available to the public. You just learn a lot—even sense it—when you spend time outdoors,” Mary Kay says. “I sense the wonder of the land around me. I am drawn to renewed hope… hope that together we can imagine and work toward that deeply inter-connected world that is meant to be.”

Michael Skwarok

prairie on the field of brome grass. While Steve recruits some volunteers to help throw brush onto the pile he’s lit, Mary Kay scoops seed from big brown bags into plastic ice cream buckets. Canadian rye, Indian grass and an assortment of wildflowers, all of it collected by Mary Kay and other volunteers last spring in another part of the natural area. Volunteers will continue the work started yesterday by several seniors from the local CrestRidge Assisted Living Home, whom Mary Kay recruited to help with the task. She shows us photographs she took yesterday of one of the retired farmers who helped. We scatter seeds from the buckets on top of the snow so it sinks down as the snow melts and gets pushed into the soil by ensuing snow and rains. Our task goes quickly, and afterward Mary Kay encourages us to take a break and enjoy the hot chocolate and tea she has brought along. She grabs her camera and hands out walking sticks—repurposed cross country ski poles. It’s not a work party requirement, but she wants to take volunteers to see the rock cliff. “Part of our work party is promoting and getting the word out,” Mary Kay says. She starts down a path tamped down between the trees. It’s steep, and she moves carefully sideways down the hill. “Isn’t this something,” she says, poking the stick at the Pine relicts like these are desiccated oak leaves still pine forests that have hanging onto a young, kneepersisted since the last glacier receded from high sapling. “To have young southern Wisconsin oak and young pine together.” thousands of years ago. She takes a few steps and halts. We look out and there’s a sandstone cliff across a steep gorge. Huge icicles hang off the rock and in the horseshoe of the gorge there’s a wall of milky ice that looks like a glacier. “It’s even more magnificent than the last time I was here,” Mary Kay says. The group lingers, looking at the site for a while, and then follows Mary Kay back up the path. She stops frequently to point out rocks, a hardy pine seedling, a fern

receded favored the growth of vast pine forests. As climatic conditions gradually warmed and became drier and fire became frequent, prairie, savanna and oak forests replaced the pine over most of the landscape. The steep slopes and rocky outcrops at Ridgeway Pine Relict protected the pines against fire, and they have regenerated and persisted while the southern species have grown up around them. Now, oak and pine (primarily red and white) are interspersed with smaller amounts of Jack pine, mountain maple, yellow birch, mountain ash and yew. Ground-layer plants are a mix of southern and northern species including bunch berry, star flower, wintergreen, blueberry, huckleberry, Canada mayflower and many others. “It’s amazing we have oak savanna plants like wood sorrel and then plants you’d normally only find in northern climates,” Mary Kay says. “The combination makes this so special.” Other significant features at this state natural area include sandstone cliffs with shaded and open plant communities, diverse spring runs, sedge meadows and dry-mesic prairie. Today, volunteers work toward restoring

Mary Kay Baum, right, helps volunteers discover the geology and flora of the state natural area. Lisa Gaumnitz is a Foundation member and volunteer. She works at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a natural resource educator. This article originally ran in Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA is one of the Natural Resources Foundation’s priority state natural areas. In 2017 and 2018, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin awarded grants to WDNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program for the management of Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $2 million to support hundreds of State Natural Area projects throughout Wisconsin.

If you’d like to volunteer with the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program or in other ways, visit WisConservation.org/volunteer to learn more. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin



Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund:

Seeing results for Wisconsin Since it was established in 2012, the Cherish Wisconsin hovering just under $100,000— Outdoors Fund has slowly and steadily grown into the role nothing to scoff at, but considering for which it was created—to provide a permanent source the number of licenses sold in Wisconsin annually, this still of funding to maintain ecological biodiversity in Wisconsin indicates that a tiny fraction of Wisconsinites were choosing and to provide outdoor recreation opportunities such as to donate to Cherish. hunting, fishing, birding, and hiking. But in 2017 and again in 2018 we are seeing these numbers In 2017 the fund made its first historic grants supporting grow suddenly and substantially. With greater visibility at DNR Natural Heritage Conservation crews in improving trout the point of purchase on GoWild, stream habitat, prairie, fen and the realization of on-the-ground sedge meadow on natural areas Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund impact with 2017’s historic first grant in the Southern Kettle Moraine Total donations by year awards, and ongoing efforts from State Forest. A second Cherish the Natural Resources Foundation $300,000 award funded removal of woody as well as DNR to get the word brush and other invasive plants at $250,000 out about Cherish, we feel more the Lower Chippewa River State optimistic than ever that this $200,000 Natural Area in Dunn County, fund will continue to grow and greatly improving wildlife habitat $150,000 fulfill its goals. and recreation. Bruce Braun, NRF board member $100,000 “Cherish funds are already and former deputy secretary of DNR, $50,000 making a difference this fall on notes that the Cherish Fund has the ground for wildlife, and for $0 grown dramatically over the past 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018(Q-3) Wisconsin hunters and other few years since its creation as people outdoor enthusiasts, and we invite have realized that they can have a Annual contributions to Cherish Wisconsin hunters again this fall to make significant impact on maintaining Outdoors Fund through third quarter 2018. a small donation to help fund the wide variety of wonderful critical habitat work,” says Sanjay habitats owned and managed by the Olson, who leads DNR’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Division. DNR for public use. “The future looks good for substantially The vast majority of donations to the Cherish increasing the Fund since it is apparent our sportspersons Wisconsin Outdoors Fund are raised as hunters and really care about taking care of our precious resources.” anglers contribute a few extra dollars when buying licenses through the GoWild system. Additional donations are raised when booking a campsite through Reserve America. These small donations of $2, $5, and so on, make a small impact to a donor’s wallet, but pooled together they can make a huge impact for Wisconsin. Today, the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund holds $542,000! Perhaps even more exciting than this milestone is the momentum we can see building behind this incredible program. For the first few years, total annual donations for Cherish were Next time you are buying a license or booking a campsite, we hope you will consider showing that you cherish Wisconsin by contributing a few dollars to the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund.



Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Featured Fund

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

development, maintenance and restoration, and the development and maintenance of rest-stops including benches, overlooks, and interpretive signage. The unique partner-based structure of this endowment helps to leverage scarce resources to do more with less. The Friends groups provide the people power to get much of the work done, allowing these projects to come to life with lower budgets. And with matching funding from the endowment this partnership has opened opportunities for improvements that may not be available otherwise. “As a retired professional it keeps me connected to the resources I love. So, we go out and can see these projects materialize,” says David. “I don’t see a day coming when we can say we’re done. That’s why endowments are so valuable because they grow and produce in perpetuity.” Ten parks throughout the state have already completed projects with matching funds from the David and Joyce Weizenicker Endowment Fund for State Parks.

“Our vision is

that long after we’re gone our fund continues to provide an experience that many people take for granted.”

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hidden Falls Trail at Kinnickinnic State Park, funded in part by NRF (Norma & Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund and David & Joyce Weizenicker Fund for State Parks).

Caitlin Williamson

Many of us know what it feels like to work hard in our careers for a goal or a cause—to dedicate years of effort—and then to move on, whether through retirement or a job change, and to worry that our efforts will be lost. For David Weizenicker and his wife, Joyce, David’s 35 and ½ years with Wisconsin State Parks was gratifying and meaningful. At the same time his role impressed upon him again and again that more always needed to be done. As superintendent of Devil’s Lake State Park in the 1960s and later as parks director in the 1980s and 1990s, David was all too familiar with the constant need for, and ever-shrinking supply of, funding for maintenance and improvement projects. He led the effort in the mid-1990s to form the statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks group to provide financial support and people power for projects. “As the legislature pulls back funding for parks, a void is left,” says David. “You never catch up — just like with your house. There’s always work that will need to be done.” David also helped lead the charge for increasing accessibility at state parks. “When we first got into accessibility we took our team out and we took loaned wheelchairs and had to use them for a half a day,” recalls David. “You had to use it to do everything—lunch, bathroom breaks, everything in your wheelchair. That really made a big impression on everyone.” After retiring David and Joyce continued to enjoy visiting their favorite state parks, but noticed that accessibility for seniors and for those in wheel chairs or using walking assistance was still lacking. Knowing that funding for infrastructure, trail improvements, and even for maintenance often can’t meet all needs, they decided to do something to help. In 2010, David and Joyce created the David and Joyce Weizenicker Endowment Fund for State Parks. This endowment provides matching oneto-one funds to Friends groups of Wisconsin State Park properties in support of projects that facilitate accessibility for senior citizens, especially trail

Caitlin Williamson

By Nora Simmons

David and Joyce Weizenicker Endowment Fund for State Parks



P.O. Box 2317 Madison, WI 53701 Toll-free (866) 264-4096

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Foundation’s Mission Advanced by Volunteers

Rick Jones and Liz Hempsel

By John Kraniak

We are very fortunate to have two volunteers at the Foundation who have both given their time and talents for more than ten years. Rick Jones began his volunteer stint circa 2004. He has put in countless hours processing thank-you letters, addressing membership renewals, and packing T-shirts to mail. In addition to his loyal volunteering, Rick brightens our office with his dry, New England sense of humor. Liz Himpsel started her volunteer work in 2007. She has labored over many renewal letters, membership appeals, T-shirt mailings, and various computer projects. She also has a great sense of humor and has been known to tease our membership director about his foibles. In addition to all their volunteering, Liz and Rick attend many Foundation Field Trips and they also personally support the Foundation as members. Thank you, Liz and Rick, for your years of service!

Profile for Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Bridges Winter 2018  

This is the annual lands and waters edition of our member magazine. In this issue you'll learn about a complex and critical restoration proj...

Bridges Winter 2018  

This is the annual lands and waters edition of our member magazine. In this issue you'll learn about a complex and critical restoration proj...


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