Wisconsin Department OF Natural Resources
MADISON — Thousands of acres of monarch habitat restored on public lands. Tiny rare turtles and bats outfitted with transmitters to help save their species. Rare wild orchids pollinated by hand to boost their survival.
Those are just some of the stories shared in the “Natural Heritage Conservation Program Field Notes,” a 16-page publication from the state Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Program and Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.
“These field notes describe a few ways we worked together with partner agencies and organizations, citizen scientists and donors to care for Wisconsin’s rare plants, wildlife and special places,” said Drew Feldkirchner, who directs the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program.
“There is much to celebrate in these pages and in our companion videos,” Feldkirchner said. “We are very thankful for the time, effort and donations of so many. Together we are making a difference.”
Natural Heritage Conservation staff are responsible for protecting, managing and restoring rare and native wildlife and plants and hundreds of State Natural Areas. Those public lands serve as refuges for rare species and for the best remaining examples of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands, forests and unique geological and archaeological sites.
The vast majority of those properties are open to the public for wildlife watching, hiking, hunting and other activities. Feldkirchner said the 2018 Field Notes also highlight many ways people can get involved in caring for these natural resources.
Volunteers can choose from dozens of citizen science projects to help collect valuable information about the location, number and trends of native species. There are also many opportunities to lend a hand on State Natural Areas, including some of Wisconsin’s most unique areas, by cutting brush, pulling invasive plants, and collecting seeds and other work.
Thousands of donors provide financial support. Their donations to the Endangered Resources Fund are matched and account for up to 25 percent of funding needed for NHC’s work with rare species and State Natural Areas.
Find the 2018 Field Notes and companion videos by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, using keywords “NHC annual report.”