3 minute read

From The Secretary



As we eagerly await spring, there’s a handful of items Mother Nature must check off her to-do list to usher in a new season. From longer and warmer days to fresh blooms and animals waking up from hibernation, there’s a concert of activities happening daily.

The season's changing gives all of us a front-row seat to the elements in nature, including plants and wildlife working together.

At the DNR, we are charged with protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources for generations to come. It is a job that we take very seriously. And we also can’t do it alone.

Partnerships with Friends Groups — whose members volunteer their time, services and support to enhance Wisconsin's state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas — and with conservation organizations that work on projects that improve and protect Wisconsin’s wild places are critical to furthering the DNR’s mission.

Volunteers are also an integral part of what we do across our state park system at campgrounds, nature centers and visitor centers. Whether you volunteer for a few hours or a couple of weeks, your service makes a world of difference. And now, signing up is easier than ever with our new online volunteer portal. Visit dnr.wi.gov to learn more.

When we think of spring in Wisconsin, it is important to remember that spring in Wisconsin is wildfire season. The Spring issue cover story focuses on fire season and provides several tips for preparing your home for wildfires.

Unlike out West, spring is the most dangerous time for wildfires in Wisconsin. After the snow melts and before plants, trees and grass turn green, fires can spread quickly.

Now more than ever, our favorite outdoor spaces play an important role in our lives. Whether out in nature or at home in our backyards, together we can protect the lands we love by preventing wildfires and recreating responsibly.

As a forester, I know firsthand how incredible a career in forestry can be. “Trail Blazers” showcases women in forestry at the DNR and the work they are doing to protect Wisconsin’s forests. Our foresters are not only on the front lines fighting fires, they are also working hard at nurseries, maintaining heavy equipment, overseeing forest health programs and more.

Spring also marks the start of the Ojibwe spring fishing harvest season. In “Tribal Harvest Traditions,” readers will learn about the importance of this tradition and the protected tribal rights to hunt, fish and gather off-reservation on land within the Ceded Territory.

Getting outdoors does a body good. This issue shares a number of ideas for getting outdoors, including day trips near Milwaukee, an insider’s guide to fly fishing in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area and engaging field trips.

Happy reading.