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Wild Wisconsin - Off the Record
17 minutes | 18 days ago
Smile, You’re On Camera: Snapshot Wisconsin Wildlife Photo Projects Catches Critters
Researchers across the world rely on curious citizen scientists to be their eyes and ears, collecting data that can help solve some of the biggest questions in science. Citizen scientists can be anyone from any background who wants to volunteer their time to helping the scientific community learn more about the world around us. At the Wisconsin DNR, we rely on these volunteers for a number of research projects, including Snapshot Wisconsin. On this episode, we spoke with Christine Anhalt-Depies, Snapshot Wisconsin Project Coordinator, to learn more about the largest citizen science project we have here in the state. Listen in to learn more about how the data gained from the project is used to help manage wildlife throughout Wisconsin and how you can be a part of it. Apply to host a trail camera: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Research/ApplyHostTrailCameraClassify Snapshot Wisconsin photos: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/snapshot-wisconsinExplore Snapshot Wisconsin for your classroom: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/intheclassroom.html
40 minutes | a month ago
The Outdoor Beat | Voices Of The Warden Service
As the Wisconsin DNR prepares to welcome another warden recruitment class, now, more than ever, diversity in the field is essential to make sure the warden service reflects the communities they serve. In this episode, we hear from DNR Conservation Wardens Vong Xiong and Juan Gomez who come from different walks of life and serve the same mission. Both share how they were introduced to the career field, the experiences they’ve had and why it’s important to have people of color in the warden service. Learn more about becoming a Wisconsin conservation warden: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WardenRecruitment
20 minutes | 3 months ago
Logging Off – Outdoors And Your Mental Health
It doesn’t matter if it’s January or June, snowing or sunny and 85 degrees; it’s always a good idea to get outdoors in Wisconsin. Sure, we have plenty of beautiful opportunities all across our state. But it’s not just a matter of looking at some pretty scenery. Studies have found a significant link between getting outdoors and improved mental health. On episode 57, we spoke with Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, a psychologist with UW Health about the benefits of stepping away from the screen, logging off and getting outdoors. Listen in to learn more about Nature Deficit Disorder, how even just a few minutes a day can be beneficial, and what you can do to reap the benefits of nature, even if you simply cannot get outside.Learn more about Dr. Shilagh Mirgain at https://www.drshilaghmirgain.com/Find your next adventure at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/adventure--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE GRANT: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host. DNR's Digital Communication Section Chief Katie Grant. With all the changes from the COVID-19 public health emergency, I'm sure a lot of adults feel the same way that I do lately. I stare at a screen all day while working from home with no meetings to use as an excuse to get away from those screens anymore.Then after work, I stare at a little screen while staring at a big screen until I go to bed and I start it all over again. And studies confirm what many adults are feeling. The average adult spends more time behind a screen than they do even sleeping. And it's not just the adults. Even before the pandemic, kids spent as little as 30 minutes a day playing outside. But they spent more than seven hours in front of a screen.All of this screen time really takes a toll on people's physical and mental health. But in a world where we're telecommuting and increasingly reliant on technology, how can we minimize the effect of all of that screen time on our mental health? In this episode, we sat down with Dr. Shilagh Mirgain. A psychologist with UW Health to talk about the benefits of getting outside, nature deficit disorder and how you can get a little bit of those benefits of being outdoors, even when you can't get out there. So sit back and listening to learn more.All right. We are welcoming Dr. Shilagh Mirgain to the show today. Thank you so much for joining us. Uh, can you go ahead and get us started by telling us a little bit about yourself, your background, um, and what it is that you do? DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:02:02] Thanks, Katie. I'm really honored to be a guest on today's episode. I am a clinical psychologist at UW Health who specializes in health and sports psychology.I've been at the University of Wisconsin for 15 years and have really um... One of the highlights for me of moving to Wisconsin has been discovering all the amazing outdoor, um, places to go in Wisconsin. And I've just had lots of adventures over the years of discovering, um, what, what is called Wild Wisconsin. All those natural, uh, wilderness areas that really make our state amazing.KATIE GRANT: [00:02:41] Yeah, it is one of the things that we are truly blessed with here in Wisconsin. And I've, I've talked about this with a lot of, of guests on the show. Um, it's something that I think a lot of Wisconsinites take for granted because, you know, especially if you've grown up here, it's, it's been around you all along and it's easy to take that for granted. What would you say is your favorite part of your job? DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:03:05] That's a great question. I love helping people. And with my job, I'm really working on the mind-body connection and really harnessing the power of the mind to really improve various health outcomes. I work with chronic medical patients like heart disease or chronic pain, um, injury rehab.And then as a sports psychologist, I'm also working on that mind-body connection to really fuel optimal performance. And many people you know, we can look to medical management taking the pill, but the favorite part of my job is to have people learn how to use a skill. And a variety of skills from mindfulness to cognitive behavioral therapy to acceptance work can really have profound impacts on people's quality of life and really allow them instead of just surviving to go to thriving and really flourishing.KATIE GRANT: [00:03:56] Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned that mind-body connection and, um, you know, one of the things that a lot of your articles that we've looked into, uh, talk about is the benefit of spending that time outdoors. Generally speaking, why is getting out in nature, even when it's cold and snowy and you maybe don't want to go out there. Why is that so important to our overall wellbeing? DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:04:22] It's such a great question and there's that, uh, phrase that nature is the best medicine and there's really some truth to that. And I am often prescribing nature to my patients and there's really robust research on this. Um, for example, one study looked at two groups of walkers.The two groups went for a walk for just a few minutes, five, ten minutes. The first group went for a walk in the park while the other just walked around the city looking at the city landscape of skyscrapers and sidewalks. And the results were really interesting that they showed that just a short walk in a park and that natural landscape, as little as 10 minutes actually affected participants' brains. The walk helped decrease stress hormones, like cortisol and actually improved thinking and memory. You know, and all of this really goes to suggest that time in nature can help relieve mental fatigue, improve focus and help boost our mood. And I think a real takeaway is that nature is restorative in many ways. And I always say that nature offers us something beyond what human connection can. There's a way when we go into a natural environment that we feel a sense of relief or calm or peace or perspective and it can really enhance our wellbeing.KATIE GRANT: [00:05:44] Yeah, for sure. And I think this is something that obviously with the COVID-19 pandemic has been kind of top of mind. Um, but this isn't new science. Um, you published an article about this all the way back in 2015. And in that you cited some alarming facts. Uh, the average adult spends more time behind a screen than they do sleeping.And kids spend as little as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day but more than seven hours on average in front of a screen. What are some of the consequences of all of this screen time? DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:06:19] There is a concept that was coined in the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, who said, um, nature deficit disorder, that term Nature Deficit Disorder. And we had it pre-pandemic, but you know, I think everyone can appreciate during the pandemic, our screen time has gone through the roof. Kids are spending all day behind screens if they're doing virtual learning. So many of us adults are working remotely and on Zoom calls all day. And so we're kind of tethered to our screen and it's in part of what has really taken a toll during the pandemic that we are connecting to one another virtually and we recognize we're becoming more sedentary.And we recognize that it's almost creating a sense of sluggishness or stress. And I go back to how nature, time and nature, even a little bit of time in nature really can help us stay more stress-resilient. It can help really enhance our ability to cope. Um, it improves even quality of our sleep.Something that many people might be struggling with. And again, it helps restore sense of vitality and helps us have a more positive outlook on life. I remember when the, for me personally, when the pandemic hit, it was an incredibly stressful time in behavioral health at UW Madison. We were just in a, over a course of a day or two having to transition all our providers to working remotely and I am in a leadership role, so I was part of some of those conversations and help... helping navigate those people transitioning to working remotely and getting all the equipment and technology and figuring all the details out. Like, how are we going to do this? And I remember feeling overwhelmed, not being able to sleep.And I thought I need to cope with this. And what I started doing was nightly walks. And I have a puppy. A three-year-old puppy and I did nightly walks in nature and there was a stillness there, the moonlight casting light over the trees and, um, the silence and the, the air. And there was something very calming about it.And I think it's just a great example that if we can make that time to get outside, um, on a regular basis, um, you know, that will help really, um, keep stability to our well-being. It can really boost our mood, energy, you know, so many different areas. And also, I just also want to really encourage people to seek out nature as part of, um, kind of that sense of adventure. There are so many amazing natural spots in Wisconsin to explore that can really build a lot of joy. It can be a great thing for parents to also introduce to their kids. KATIE GRANT: [00:08:59] Yeah, for sure. I know for me personally, over the summer, um, we really got into riding our bikes on the trails. So we would head out to Military Ridge and explore new parts of that or Cap City Trail, um, all of the amazing trails around the city of Madison.Um, it was a really great way to get out there, get our, get our minds off things. Get away from those screens after we've spent all week staring at them. Um, for you, um, I know you mentioned those nightly walks is... what's, is there still another favorite that you love doing or, or how do you enjoy getting out and enjoying those Wisconsin outdoors?DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:09:39] I think that's such a great question, Katie. One of the things I've done since I moved here is really exploring our state parks. And now that I have my three-year-old puppy, it's my goal of getting her to almost all of them. As many of them as we can. And each year we drive different places or for going somewhere and find a park we will stop in there. I also have a dear friend who takes me fishing on our local lakes and I'll sometimes go on Free Fishing Day. Although I missed, uh, the for free ice fishing day, unfortunately, the other weekend. But I'll sometimes get a fishing permit and join him. And during the pandemic, one of my pandemic goals has been to hike trails on the Ice Age Trail.Um, and just have been really amazed at what the Ice Age Trail Alliance has done of creating this trail throughout, um, our state. And it's been fun way of actually meeting people on the trail and connecting with them on social media. So again, just lots of really amazing places to explore. And I, you know, I think a really important point is that time in nature really can help provide a sense of meaning and purpose. Um, one of the emotions that can really boost a sense of wellbeing is the emotion "awe" when we feel awe for something. And that actually... there, there's been research out of the University of California, Berkeley that found that when people experience more awestruck moments that actually helped, um, those people had the lowest, um, markers of inflammation in their body. It suggested that it actually helped lower inflammation. And what is fascinating is the number one time that we experience awe is in nature. That sense that, you know, we encounter something that feels maybe vast and complexity.It alters how we see the world and allows us to see things differently. It shifts our perspective. And when we go in, in, in nature, you know, we start to experience that. The, um, we notice the natural cycles. That summer always comes after the depths of winter. That, um, you know that... and I think it gives us perspective that no matter what we're facing, it will change and things can get better.That notion of impermanence that, um, you know, I think we, we kind of connect back with, um, that vastness of life as well as I think more of ourselves come online when we can connect, um, with various natural areas. KATIE GRANT: [00:12:09] Yeah. And I think one of the, the really great things about Wisconsin is it doesn't matter if you're in the country or an urban setting. I mean, in Madison, there are so many options for getting outdoors. And Milwaukee the same. Um, I was amazed. We, we went and explored Milwaukee once the summer with our bikes and just the bike paths that I had no idea existed in the middle of the city. Um, so it doesn't matter where you are in the state, the options for those exist.DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:12:37] Very much so. You know, we want to really support, um, our state parks and, and all these organizations that are really doing great conservation and preservation work. And I, again, I just think it's something really important to prioritize sharing with your children. You know, make my, my, um, parents and I... my parents live up in Door County half the year.And, um, we make a point of, of hiking different, um, areas up there in Door County. That there are some land trust areas. I think there may be eight or ten, um, which have various trails through them. So we've been hiking through them. And that is something that we look forward to. And I just got my parents, um, Yaktrax so that we can do some hiking this next month. That they can stay safe on the icy trails.But you know, to think about making it a priority, maybe as a family, you start going for evening walks together. Or maybe you plan with the warmer weather to go to one of our state parks and do some camping. Um, or maybe you just take a, uh, a trip, a summer vacation and go somewhere to the state you've never seen before and check out some of the natural beauty, the natural landscape. And you know, and with children, you can really teach them mindfulness with nature. Being mindful, have them notice, uh, using all their senses, um, various aspects of nature.Um, in Japan, they have something called a Forest Bathing where you're not actually taking a shower in nature, but you're going out and, um, really, uh, kind of bathing using your senses. Bathing all your senses, your sight, sound, smell. Maybe taste or touch. Um, and again, research shows when you're in that kind of meditative, mindful, um, awareness, um, something shifts in you. You know, and for kids that's often, I think something that you remember. I certainly do from my childhood, you know, those times when we were on those field trips in nature, and I think... confidence for, for kids.And I always say that, um, you only protect what you appreciate. So as we, you know as a family and individual and, and instilling that value in our children, that, you know when they appreciate nature, then they're more likely to protect this precious resource. KATIE GRANT: [00:14:55] For sure. And you mentioned something in there that I think is really important to highlight. It can be as simple as just going out and taking, you know, a three-minute walk around your neighborhood. A short walk. It doesn't have to be, you know, traveling to a state park and going on this big hike with all of this equipment or anything, it can be really that simple. DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:15:14] And I'm so glad you mentioned that Katie, because I think that could be one of the barriers. It can feel intimidating. You don't feel like you have the time or resources or the gear to go out in nature. And that's where the research is fascinating. You know, we talked about as little as a, you know, ten-minute walk, but, um, it can be five minutes. It could be a three-minute on your lunch break. And then some really interesting research shows that even just looking at images of nature or bringing nature into your environment can produce some similar results.There was a study of people in, um, who were hospitalized and they found that those patients where their rooms just overlook natural areas. Um, you know, they might've had access to the outdoors, but their room, just their view looked over over nature. Those hospitalized patients had shorter stays and required less medication.So, you know, you can think about looking out the window more. Or bringing in a plant or some flowers into your home or having an office plant at work or having some pictures of nature or watching some nature documentaries. Or again, as you mentioned, just getting out on your lunch break for three minutes, get some fresh air and then come back in.So it doesn't have to be some huge elaborate thing, although those are great. Um, that, you know, we're really looking at how do we build more nature into our days? Because there was, um, some other really interesting research done by a friend of mine. Um, Dr. Pelin Kesebir who works at the Center for Healthy Minds.And she looked at, um, uh, kind of currently compared to the 1950s, how many nature words showed up in English books, popular song lyrics, and movie plot summaries. And she found that the use of nature words had declined by about 50%. So I think that suggests that kind of as a society we've become increasingly disconnected from nature.And we can see that, you know, we're, there are some negative consequences of this. And I think one of the silver linings of the pandemic is realizing we don't want to just be stuck indoors in front of screens. You know, that isn't, that isn't living, that isn't enlivening. And I think people are really seeing the value of getting out in nature, being with people you care about as part of some of the really incredible aspects of, of being human in the human experience that we want to preserve for generations to come. KATIE GRANT: [00:17:39] Yeah. Absolutely. Do you have any other advice for people who are trying to balance that, you know, virtual always on Zoom life with their mental health? DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:17:49] I would just say that the key to improving our lives is just right outside our windows. And it's free and always available. And to, you know, to just, um... You know I think if we can, you know, get in nature, uh, look outside, find opportunities, maybe start some new habits of ways of connecting with people by doing things outdoors together.Um, you know, certainly hiking in the summer. There are a lot of great winter sports, um, that can be done like snowshoeing or cross country skiing or ice skating. Um, There... we have wonderful lakes for swimming and, uh, stand-up paddleboarding that there's just so many ways of, um, of getting outdoors. Even just having a picnic and watching the sunset. You know, those, just having those moments of just, um, noticing, uh, our environment, the natural environment around us can really remind us that these can really turn these ordinary moments into extraordinary moments.KATIE GRANT: [00:18:48] Yeah. There's so many things that can be done outdoors. It's just a matter of finding what it is that you like doing DR. SHILAGH MIRGAIN: [00:18:54] Exactly. And to try and experiment and find what works for you.KATIE GRANT: [00:19:02] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin. A podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Have further questions about the impact of the outdoors on your mental health? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work with Dr. Mirgain to get you answers. Find your next adventure at dnr.wi.gov. And for more great content, be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
21 minutes | 4 months ago
She Sleds – Wisco Sled Divas
On Episode 56, we talk to Wisconsin snowmobilers, Erica Marten and Jen Marcott-Bong, founders of the female-focused Facebook Group “Wisco Sled Divas” connecting women who love to ride. Erica and Jen share some of their best tips, tricks and snowmobiling stories – including what to pack, favorite trails and how you can make the most of your next ride. Since safety is an important part of the ride, the Wisconsin DNR reminds all snowmobilers to think smart before they start.Learn more about staying safe on Wisconsin’s trails: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/safetyEducation Learn more about snowmobiling in Wisconsin: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Snowmobile Find the Wisco Sled Divas Facebook Group, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wiscosleddivas --------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE GRANT: [00:00:13] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host DNR's Digital Communication Section Chief Katie Grant. Did you know that the sport of snowmobiling started right here in the Badger state. Over the years interest in this hobby has grown exponentially and now more than 200,000 registered snowmobiles hit our 25,000 miles of groomed trails each winter. We just finished up International Snowmobile Safety week. While much of the state is still waiting for trails to open. We are doubling down on all things snowmobiling and encouraging you to think smart, before you start. Remember the basics. Don't drink and ride. Always wear a helmet and stay on marked trails.Need a refresher on snowmobile safety and the laws in Wisconsin? You can find them at dnr.wi.gov. In this episode we chat with Erica Marten from McFarland and Jen Marcott-Bong from Phillips. These two are friends and co-founders of a new female focused Facebook group called Wisco Sled Divas. They started the group this past November, and it's growing rapidly. Consider it a virtual space for fellow riders to connect, share information and support one another. Erica and Jen share some of their best tips and tricks. Including what to pack, favorite trails and how you can make the most out of your next ride. So sit back and listen in.Allright, so welcome to the show, Jen and Erica. Uh, why don't you guys go ahead and get us started off by just telling us a little bit about who you are and what it is that you do and Erica, we will go ahead and start with you. ERICA MARTEN: [00:02:05] Great. Thanks. My name is Erica Marten. I am in McFarland, Wisconsin and I am currently a recruitment specialist at UW Madison.KATIE GRANT: [00:02:17] Fantastic. And Jen how about you? JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:02:20] Um, so my name is, uh, Jen Marcott- Bong and I live in Phillips, Wisconsin and I am a Director of HR for a, um, global manufacturing company. KATIE GRANT: [00:02:34] Awesome. And how did you guys meet? Being, you know, in separate parts of the state. JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:02:40] So I used to live in the Madison area. Um, I just recently moved to Phillips about, well, I shouldn't say recently about five years ago I moved here and Erica and I used to work together.Um, so we worked at a, uh, a recruiting company in Madison and that's how we got to know each other. And then our husbands became BFFs as well. KATIE GRANT: [00:03:01] Those are always the best kinds of friendships. How did you guys get into snowmobiling then? ERICA MARTEN: [00:03:08] Um, well, um, my parents bought our family a Yamaha snowmobile when I was in high school. Um, and it was something my dad and I could bond on because I wasn't really the tomboy. I was the girly girl in the family. Um, and that quickly became one of my favorite things to do in the winters because it was fast. Um, but it was also fun. And unfortunately I kind of lost touch with it during college. Priorities changed.Um, but my husband got back into it a few years ago, thanks to Jen's husband um, and I was able to make my re-entry, um, with his hand me down sled at the time. And it kinda just brought back all those memories from high school, how fun it was, um, and how great... It's a great way to get out, um, take in the scenery and be active in the winter months.JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:04:05] For me a very kind of similar story. Um, grew up in a snowmobiling family. We, as a young kid, we actually had a cabin on Solberg Lake, which is in Phillips, um, so spent most of my winter weekends in Phillips, um, snowmobiling with my family. And, um, I just kind of learned to really enjoy it because I come from a family of mostly boys.So I was kind of a tomboy as well. And, um, similar story in the sense of got out of it when I went to college, had to sell my snowmobile cause you know, poor college student and um, when I met my husband, he um, for lack of better terms is obsessed with it. Um, and so got back into it because it was something he really enjoyed and it was something we could do together.And my brothers were still snowmobiling, so we kind of became a family thing again and kind of like Erica, I remembered how much fun it was. Being out of it for so long. KATIE GRANT: [00:05:03] What is each of your favorite things about snowmobiling? ERICA MARTEN: [00:05:07] Um, I'd say that when, when you're out, you're truly among friends because everybody is out there for the same reason. Um, you get to see new places, making new memories, but just in a completely different way. You're not stuck in the car. You're actually out on a sled taking it all in. And there's um, you know, I think is... Jen and I have both found there's a true sense of community with snowmobiling. Um, and that's, that's what makes it really enjoyable.JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:05:40] I would agree. Um, you know, I really enjoy just that aspect of, of getting out and seeing new places. And I think a lot of times when we go out snowmobiling, we have some sort of destination, whether it's, uh, a landmark or a new town or something that we possibly haven't been to before, just to kind of get out and explore and you know, meet new people. And it's something fun that we get to do with our friends and, and, uh, meet new people along the way. KATIE GRANT: [00:06:07] Very cool. That sense of comradery, uh, I think is something that we keep coming back to on this podcast when it comes to so many of the things that you can do in Wisconsin's outdoors, whether it is snowmobiling or fishing or hunting or whatever it may be. So it's really cool to hear that kind of carry through here. What are some of your favorite trails, uh, to ride in Wisconsin? JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:06:30] So I'm partial to the trails in Price County, mainly because that's what I grew up on. I grew up riding them, having a cabin on Solberg Lake and now that I live in Price County that's where most of our riding is done.So for me, um, there's, there's a lot of different types of trails. Um, you know, they can, you find really winding stretches that are kind of fun to drive on. Then you have some really nice straightaways where you can go faster. You have a lot of lakes where you can kind of, um, go faster. So I like the variety. So for me, it's Price County. ERICA MARTEN: [00:07:02] I would actually have to say the same. Um, my husband and I like to take it on the road if we can. Um, cause we like to experience trails outside of our immediate area here in Madison. Um, so more times than that, we ended up by Jen and her husband in Phillips, um, and take advantage of their local trails. Um, and then we also make our way up to the UP as many do, um, to take advantage of their trail system as well. But, um, but we like to head north for sure. KATIE GRANT: [00:07:33] And I feel like in most years that's a generally a safe bet based on snow cover but not necessarily this year. JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:07:41] No, unfortunately this year it's super sad. Um, we really are hoping for more snow and doing our snow dances to, to get more snow, but it's not coming.KATIE GRANT: [00:07:54] When you guys do get ready to go on these kind of trips, whether it's you know, Jen for you locally in Price County or Erica, you're going to visit, or do you guys are going to the UP or other parts of Wisconsin, what, what are your must-haves that you make sure you bring with you um, for the trips on the sleds, you know, staying warm, those sort of things? ERICA MARTEN: [00:08:18] Sure. Um, we always have a GPS and our cell phones ready to go. Um, both of our sleds are actually equipped with a charger so we can make sure that our cell phones stay charged.Um, and as many snowmobilers have probably learned the hard way a spare drive belt is also pretty important to take with. Um, and then we also take water and snacks just in case the ride ends up being a little longer, maybe than we thought. Um, depending on how cold it is, um, always wear a base layer and, or a mid-layer under my bibs and coat.Um, moisture-wicking socks are really important to make sure your feet stay dry and warm. Um, a good pair of gloves, um, an appropriate weight balaclava and of course a helmet. Um, those are some of my key things.JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:09:20] Um, to add to that. Um, you know, we, we try to prepare for any situation that we might come across. So I always try to take some extra stuff. Um, like extra gloves or extra socks just in case something gets wet because you never know what's going to happen. Um, and I found over the years that I really don't like having, you know, wet gloves and socks because it makes everything really, really cold. Um, the other thing that, um, Erica had talked about having, you know, GPS and a cell phone just because we use that to help navigate trails and things of that nature, but we always make sure that we also have a paper map in our snow sleds.Um, just because there are some areas, especially as the farther north you get that you might not get really good service. So, always good to have the most up-to-date map. And, um, lots of times a lot of establishments will have paper maps too that you can just get for like a dollar and all that money will go back to your, the local clubs that maintain those trails.That's a good way to also support, you know, the local clubs that are out there, but, um, And I think the other thing is, is whenever we prepare for, for going out is just making sure, um, that you do kind of that once over with your sled to make sure that there's nothing loose or, you know, um, that might come off and leave you stranded in the middle of the woods someplace.KATIE GRANT: [00:10:43] Yeah, the stranded in the middle of the woods someplace situation would not be super great in some of these areas. JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:10:49] Yeah. Been there, done that. Many times, especially when we were younger and you know, the older sleds or not... weren't as reliable as the ones that are now. There's lots of times where I can remember as a kid we had to truck back to the road, you know, wherever that was with my dad and, and, uh, find somebody we could call and mom had to come pick us up in the car and all that fun stuff. So...KATIE GRANT: [00:11:14] We found you guys through, um, a Facebook group actually that we stumbled upon called Wisco Sled Divas. Uh, you guys recently started the Facebook group. Can you tell us a little bit about what it is, who's in it and what inspired you to start the group?ERICA MARTEN: [00:11:30] Sure. Wisco Sled Divas is a Facebook based community for women riders here in Wisconsin. Um, Jen and I wanted to give fellow women riders a place to go to share their experiences, accomplishments, ask questions, certainly meet new friends, um, and just be supportive of each other along the way. Um, and we, we also, um, sold some apparel because we were being asked Hey, do you have shirts or stickers or something so that when we're out and about we can recognize, um, our fellow riders and group members, um, and kind of take that community from Facebook actually out into Wisconsin. Um, and the profits from the apparel were going, um, right back to the association... Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs. Um, because we want to make sure that we're giving back to the organization that helps preserve snowmobiling here in Wisconsin. KATIE GRANT: [00:12:40] Very cool. So how has the group grown since it started and what's kind of your vision for where it might go in the future?JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:12:48] Um, I, I think, you know, I can speak for both of us where this group has really kind of exceeded our expectations at this point. You know, when we first started out with this it was just something, you know fun for Erica and I do to get to know some more female riders in Wisconsin and we thought, okay, maybe we're going to get like, you know, 50 members and, you know, we're approaching 300 members and we never had the intention of having the whole apparel thing or anything of that nature.And it's just been great to see how well-received the group has been. And, you know, um, we've talked about, you know, maybe in the future we can do you like a Wisco, um, like group ride or something of that nature where we can all get together and it's just the group of ladies, um, from the Facebook page that get together and we go snowmobiling, you know, for the weekend or something of that nature.And, you know, maybe we do something like that on top of, with a top that off with a fundraiser that goes back to a snowmobiling organization or something of that nature. But I think at this point, um, we're still kind of surprised that it has taken off is as much as it has. KATIE GRANT: [00:14:03] It's very cool what you guys are doing to bring that community together, especially in a time, like right now where, you know, COVID has us not seeing those, those people that we're used to seeing in person. Um, so getting that started virtually and building that community virtually I think is really, really cool. JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:14:22] And it's been great to see like, there's been so many people who have shared, like where do they go riding? Or, you know, those types of things. And I'm so shocked like how many people will come up to Phillips and they stay like, three blocks from my house and I probably have ran into them, but yet I've never known them before.And it's just, it's neat to see that and just see where, where they're going and the experiences that they're having and, and those types of things. And, and again, it's... I almost feel like it's a great environment just for women just because it is a male dominated sport. And there's lots of times where women don't feel like they, they can go and do these things on their own.Um, and it's kind of another reason why we wanted to start the group of just, you know, showing that there's a lot of women who love the sport too. And it's not just for the guys. KATIE GRANT: [00:15:12] Definitely. That is a really good point. And, and creating that community, um, where you guys can, can come together and do that and see how small of a world it actually is, is really cool. How about a favorite or most memorable snowmobiling story from each of you? ERICA MARTEN: [00:15:30] So I'll share one from my childhood. So, um, like I said, I've been, I've been snowmobiling pretty much my whole life. I think the first time I was around a snowmobile on a trail was like, I was probably like three.Um, so I snowmobiled all the time and I always rode with my dad and there was, we always went out with my cousins and my, my uncle and my mom would go occasionally and so would my aunt. But it was usually, it was like, me and boys. And, um, I liked to fall asleep on the snowmobile when I was younger. And so I would always like fall asleep when I've sat in front of my dad.JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:16:06] But one of the first times where I was too tall to now sit in front of him I had to sit behind him. And on the way home I fell asleep and I fell off the back of it, um, off the back of the snowmobile in the middle of Solberg Lake and my dad did not notice until he got back to the cabin and my mom went "Where's Jen?"And he found me wandering towards the house in the middle of the lake at like, you know, seven o'clock at night. And I was just like, I remember when he picked me up, I was like, you just left me. You left me. And of course, he thought it was very funny. And now I think it's funny, but yeah, they learned really quickly that they should probably get some sort of, um, like back to the snowmobile and, you know, make sure I, I was a little secured, maybe I didn't go out on such long rides. I was probably about six at the time. ERICA MARTEN: [00:17:01] Well, it's definitely not as exciting as Jen's um, but last year, um, both Jen, myself, our husbands, and, um, about, oh I'd say six other folks, um, we all went up to, um, the UP to go snowmobiling and it was, you know, kind of one of my first longer trips in a long time.Um, and it just, it was really exciting to be out there with everybody and just, you know, have fun. Race across the open lake together and um, you know, we always... you know, jab at the boys you know. The girls can keep up with you just fine. And I was so proud, Jen and I did so well that trip. We kept up, um, just fine. So it was, it was, it was fun to know that you know, even though this, that amount of time had passed, like you can still do it. Absolutely. You can get back into it and pick up where you left off. KATIE GRANT: [00:18:08] Love it. I love it. What advice do you guys have for maybe someone who like you hasn't done it since childhood or someone who is maybe thinking about giving snowmobiling a try? What advice do you have for them?JEN MARCOTT-BONG: [00:18:22] First and foremost, especially if you really haven't been in, in it is, um, join a club. Um, I'm, uh, the secretary for one of the local clubs here in Price County and we get a lot of new members who have never, um, been snowmobiling and they're getting into the sport and it's just a really great way to A. Get to know people who are in the sport, but then ask, you know, just general questions or find out about what are the regulations and things of that nature that you might not be aware of. So I think that, you know, for anybody, you know, find a club in your local area, you can usually, you know, you can go on the AWSC website to find any local club and they're all listed there and lots of clubs have Facebook pages and it's just a, a great way to help you get into the sport. ERICA MARTEN: [00:19:11] Yeah. And to, to build on top of that, um, kind of some of the other things that might be a little bit more obvious, but, um, just finding a reliable sled, making sure you have the proper gear to keep you warm and safe and of course, um, someone to go out with you. Um, cause going back to that safety thing, you should never go alone.Um, so, um, learn how to care for your sled just as you would take care of your car. Um, Of course, the DNR has the Snowmobile Safety course where you can learn all the rules of riding, um, study trail maps, or use technology like GPS, um, or another navigation app. Um, we use the Polaris Ride Command app on our phones and of course, just make sure you understand the regulations for riding in your state. Um, and stay on those marked trails.KATIE GRANT: [00:20:14] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin. A podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Interested in joining in on the fun? Search for Wisco Sled Divas on Facebook to request to join. Have questions about snowmobiling and staying safe in Wisconsin? Email us. DNR email@example.com. For more great content be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts.Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
22 minutes | 4 months ago
Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Angler After All Species In WI
With roughly 15,000 lakes and over 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, there are plenty of opportunities for Wisconsinites to fish around every corner. Free Fishing Weekend is coming up this weekend – Jan. 16-17, 2021. It’s the perfect opportunity to give ice fishing a try. Grab some gear and find your adventure on any water bodies in Wisconsin where there is currently an open season. All other rules and regulations apply. Learn more at bit.ly/WisconsinFFW. On this episode, we spoke with Emily Edge, a self-proclaimed “die-hard fishing lady” and the 2020 Wisconsin Women Fish Rookie Of The Year. Emily talks about her unique fishing mission, tells us some pretty incredible fishing stories, and discusses what’s so special about fishing in the Badger State. Follow Emily on Instagram at @the_reel_em_angler.--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source. KATIE GRANT: [00:00:10] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host DNR's Digital Communications Section Chief Katie Grant. With more people finding their adventure outside in 2020 due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the DNR also saw a large increase in the number of fishing licenses purchased. And we expect that trend to continue as we start out the new year. Thinking about giving it a try? Now is the perfect time to grab your gear and hit the ice. Our annual Free Fishing Weekend is coming up January 16th and 17th. That means you can fish for free. No license or trout stamp required on nearly all Wisconsin waterways. All other normal rules and regulations apply. Check out our website for more information. To celebrate this upcoming event, we sat down with 28-year-old Emily Edge, a self-described diehard fishing lady to get her take on what's so special about fishing in the Badger state. Emily was born and currently lives in southwest Wisconsin and has fished all over the US. While she's been fishing her whole life, she got serious about it around three years ago when she revisited her childhood pastime in honor of her late uncle. Emily was named the 2020 Wisconsin Women Fish Rookie of the Year. And her ultimate goal is to catch all of Wisconsin's fish species. Sit back and listen in to learn why this hobby is about way more than just landing the big one. And maybe even get inspired to give ice fishing a try yourself. Welcome to the Wild Wisconsin Off the Record podcast. Why don't you go ahead and get started by just telling us who you are, what your name is? Um, a little bit about what it is that you do and where you're from. EMILY EDGE: [00:02:03] Yeah. So my name is Emily Edge I go by the "Reel Em Angler" and I am pretty much a die-hard fisherman or fishing lady.Um, I'm from southwest Wisconsin, um, and that's where I currently reside. KATIE GRANT: [00:02:17] How long have you been fishing? EMILY EDGE: [00:02:18] Um, so I've been fishing my whole life. I grew up doing it, however I wasn't big into it, back then I kind of thought it was like dumb or silly, you know? And then when I got to be a teenager that definitely was not a hobby of mine.Um, but I've been fishing religiously like I like to say the past three years now. So since 2017, when I moved back to Wisconsin. And I grew up fishing with my mom and my uncle. They're big into fishing. My mom likes to catfish, so that's kind of what I grew up doing. And then now it's ventured into... I do all sorts of fishing for all species and all types of... all types of fishing not just hook and line fishing. I like to noodle, or I like to try other techniques too. KATIE GRANT: [00:03:00] What got you interested in giving it a try again, back in 2017, give or take? EMILY EDGE: [00:03:05] So I don't really have a great answer for that. I guess, um, an uncle of mine passed away and he was the big fishermen and he got me into it. Um, so when he passed away, I kind of just felt that that was something I kind of needed to try to do more, to be like, close to him, if that makes sense. Um, so I kind of just picked it up and then I discoved that, wow I love this and it's so great being outdoors and being by myself or going out with other people. So I just started, you know, I didn't really know much at the time, just fishing with a bobber and nightcrawler on a hook and was catching little bass or a little panfish.And I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. And now fast forward three years, and now I'm doing all sorts of kinds of fishing. So it's really taken off from just, just trying it essentially back in 2017 or 2016 and it's really exploded. KATIE GRANT: [00:03:56] You're on a bit of an interesting mission. You're out to catch one of each of 160 plus fish species. What inspired you to give this a try? EMILY EDGE: [00:04:07] I don't even have an answer for that really, because, um, last year, last September in well, 2019, I was fishing on the Wisconsin River by myself and I caught my first Sturgeon. Um, and that was wild. And then, uh, like two casts after that, I caught my second Sturgeon.Um, and that took what? 27 years to catch one, let alone two back to back. Um, so from there I kind of just got researching this different species of Wisconsin. Yes. I know like the basics at the time, like Panfish, Bass, Muskie, Northern. Um, and then I really got digging into it and I've realized that there are so many fish in this state that aren't talked about mostly and I was just fascinated. Uh, so I'm now after all fish in Wisconsin. Is it possible? I have no idea. Uh, it's going to be a really hard task. Especially when I get into like the micro species and all the different rough fish. But it's something that, um, I've set as a goal and hopefully will try to accomplish as many as I can. It's been difficult kind of, uh, but in 2020, uh, from March until I think in the last one was like October, I caught 11 new species. So in that short amount of timeframe once I, when I started this, um, I accomplished a lot of species in one year. So hopefully 2021, will be double that for species.KATIE GRANT: [00:05:38] Absolutely. I it's just such a cool, unique way to go about doing something you love, which I just think it's, it's really cool that you've decided to do this. EMILY EDGE: [00:05:48] Yeah. And there's so many fish that when people ask me, well, what haven't you caught? And I'm like, well, I honestly haven't caught a lot because when you break it down into like the rough fish and especially the trout, um, I've only caught really just a couple, um. A lot of people think that for, um, Redhorse, for example, which is a sucker, um, they think that every single like sucker, they catchis the same kind, but really there's like Shortnose, Redhorse, uh, I think Blue River Redhorse.So, um, there's a lot of different species of each fish that, um, or classifications I guess, if it is. I don't know the proper terminology, but there's a lot more in depth than what people think. So I think I've caught more species than I've thought I have. I just have not gone through my pictures from the past three years to classify which, which kind of rough fish that I've caught already. And same with, um, when I'm looking at Panfish I definitely have not classified my photos, um, by the different types of Bluegills, which is going to be a task in itself as wellKATIE GRANT: [00:06:50] Yeah, for sure. Well, I'm glad that someone's doing it. I'm glad that someone isn't me. Um, cause I don't know that I could keep track of all of that, but it is really cool at any rate. What's your favorite fish to try for? EMILY EDGE: [00:07:03] I don't have a favorite. It really just depends on the day and what I'm going after. I do love fishing the Wisconsin River for big, um, Smallmouth bass. Those are super fun and like have a piece of my heart.However, I also like Catfishing or I also like, um, fishing for big Bluegill and Crappy. Otherwise just fishing for big rough fish is super fun. So I really don't have a favorite per se. And I don't think I'll ever have one species that I just solely love and that's all I ever want to catch. I do really love going out and fishing the river and being able to catch multiple different species and definitely unique species that aren't just the common core game fish.KATIE GRANT: [00:07:44] What would you say is your favorite thing about fishing? EMILY EDGE: [00:07:49] My favorite thing about fishing... One. Is being out in nature. I just love it. And I love fishing solo. I fish solo probably about 95% of the time. So I just love being out in nature and spending time with myself. It's like therapy to me. And then the second thing, or the two things I like about fishing, um, is just also getting people out there.Um, people think, you know I'm obsessed with it and they don't understand. So I want them to be able to try to get outdoors and try to fish, try to fish and really learn like the patience and the beauty behind it. And not that it's just, oh it's so boring you just sit there. Sometimes it is, but it's also more than just catching fish.KATIE GRANT: [00:08:30] And there's definitely, you know, a little bit of luck behind it. Uh, you mentioned those two Sturgeon. I think that's a, a pretty lucky thing, but, uh, it's, it's not the easiest thing ever. I mean, certainly there are times when you can go out and, and it's, it's easy to get fish after fish, after fish, but some days they just aren't biting. What would you say is the most challenging part of fishing?EMILY EDGE: [00:08:53] That's true. Um, the most challenging part is accepting that some days you're like you said, lucky, or like really good at it. And then some days you can go to the same exact spot that you were say yesterday and do the same exact things you were doing the day before and still not catching anything. And you can essentially throw your whole tackle box.You know, it keeps switching your, your, uh, your rig and what you're throwing and still not get a bite. Um, so that definitely gets frustrating. Um, when you think you... it's like game, when you think, you know what you're doing and you've got it down and then uh, you go out again and it's everything that you thought you knew and learned worked, does not work.So it's really like a constantly learning process if you will. Um, that just because something worked the day before, it does not mean it's going to continue to work. However, sometimes it does. Um, and then those are days that are really great and you feel like a professional and you're like, wow, I got this. I'm so good. And then you do the same thing and get skunked. So...KATIE GRANT: [00:09:55] You never know what you're going to get, which is one of the kind of cool things. I feel like that's a theme that we've had, um, on the podcast recently in both talking about fishing and hunting, you know, you can go out there with the best of intentions, but it's nature. You, you don't know what you're going to run into that day. EMILY EDGE: [00:10:13] Exactly. And the thing that I do is I try not to get my hopes up or set too high of expectations because when you set high expectations, uh, especially if you're like out hunting or fishing, you just disappoint yourself. If you go out with little to no expectations, then you're typically almost always going to have a good day, even if you don't catch anything.KATIE GRANT: [00:10:34] What for you, is the most gratifying thing about fishing?EMILY EDGE: [00:10:38] Probably is just being successful at it in the sense that, um, you put in kind of all this work and time. And then when you do get that hook set on a fish, it doesn't matter the size, how little or how big, it's just rewarding. And I think that's why I'm also hooked on it because you can go out and fish all day and catch one fish. But that one fish is going to mean a lot. KATIE GRANT: [00:11:04] You mainly do, or up until fairly recently um, mainly do fishing on open water. Um, you just started ice fishing last year. Do you have a favorite between the two yet? And if so, which and why? EMILY EDGE: [00:11:19] I thought I had a favorite and I thought that was going to be open water. Um, because I don't have a boat and I'm really good at shore fishing. Some people don't understand how I can go out all the time and catch fish from shore when they're out in a boat and sometimes can't catch much. However, this season for hard water season or ice season is different, I've decided that my goal for this, this season is going to be to become independent on ice. So essentially I want to be able to take myself safely, of course, um, out and successfully find fish. And, um, you know, be able to do everything on my own and not rely on someone else to tag along with me or let me tag along with them.So I recently bought my own shack, my own auger, um, went on a little bit of a spending spree, but that just made me more excited to get out. Um, especially now that I have those things that I can get out and feel comfortable if I do decide to step on ice by myself. So do I have a favorite? I do prefer open water a little bit more just because the temperature is warmer and it's, uh, not so freezing. But since I have a shack now it's, um, also becoming a favorite and I don't have to be out in the dreaded cold in freezing wind um, since I have a heater inside.KATIE GRANT: [00:12:39] I hear you on that cold. That, uh, that gets me every time there. I saw on your Instagram, you mentioned why do I live where my face hurts. And I ask myself that very regularly. EMILY EDGE: [00:12:49] Uh, and you know, I took a 10 day solo trip down to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico and I fell in love with it. Um, and I'm just so excited to get back down there where it's warm. KATIE GRANT: [00:12:59] So we won't make you tell us all of your secrets. Uh, and you've told us one of them, but I'm going to make you choose a different one here. Generally speaking, besides the Wisconsin River, what's your favorite spot to fish? EMILY EDGE: [00:13:15] Hmm, that is tricky. Um, while Wisconsin River's my go-to. Only because there's, um, so many miles. I think it's like, from below the, um, dam in Sauk... Sauk all the way to about the Mississippi, I think it's like 92 miles of shoreline. Um, so that gives me really ample opportunities to catch fish and all different kinds. Um, otherwise I kind of do like just fishing Governor Dodge, um, in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, or just right outside, just because I live near there.So I can just drive about 10 minutes there and, you know, hop out of the car and be fishing. But otherwise my go-to typically is going to be the Wisconsin River. Um, and the great thing about that is that the DNR, or you guys, have an interactive map. I can't think of exactly what it's called, but it shows all of the, the, um, what am I trying to say?All of the landings and like canoe landings and all of the access points um, along the river there. Um, so I use that a lot to help me find, um, shore fishing spots. And I, I just love it.KATIE GRANT: [00:14:20] For sure. I knew that was going to be a tricky one for you. What would you say is maybe a most memorable or funniest fishing story?EMILY EDGE: [00:14:27] So for more, most memorable, it'd probably be my, um, near record catfish that I noodled. So I went down to Mississippi state and, um, I went on a noodling trip with a guide and, um, a outfitter company and I noodled and for the first time, and I drove down 12 and a half feet with an air hose and I pulled up a massive catfish and I didn't realize how big it was when I was down there in the dark, trying to wrestle it.Um, I pulled it up and it was uh, 82 pounds. So that's probably the most memorable and probably will be for quite a while. Um, we thought it was a state record when I pulled it up and we got it to the boat and called the DNR and everything. Um, and then they weighed it the next day and it was shy of the... shy of the state record.So that was pretty awesome. Still kind of in shock from that. Um, yeah, so it weighed in at 82 pounds, one ounce, and then, um, it is 52.25 inches long. So essentially almost as tall as me. Um, and it just looks, it looks insane and unreal. When I, if you look at the pictures, me holding it up, it looks, it doesn't even, it doesn't make any sense because it's so massive. KATIE GRANT: [00:15:42] Wow. That's... the look on my face right now. I wish we were in the studio together so you could see that one. That's, that's crazy. EMILY EDGE: [00:15:51] Yeah. Uh, and people like, how did you not? I'm like, I don't... so much adrenaline, you know from, so it was my first time. I don't, it's not really diving, but it kind of is diving down with an air hose, not scuba gear and you can't see anything.It was my first time, you know, I like was panicking with my breathing on the way down and I almost backed out. And then I just was like, this is your last day here, you're leaving in a couple hours to go back to Wisconsin. So just suck it up buttercup. So I made it down to the bottom and it was kind of all a blur from there.I mean, I reached in, I found the, found the catfish. Got it. We swam up and, you know, just the adrenaline makes you not consciously understand what's happening. Like, yes, I'm holding a fish, but I have no idea how big it is because I'm trying to swim up without a life vest on, um, and not have this fish like drown me. So yeah, it still sounds absolutely unreal to me. And I think it always will. KATIE GRANT: [00:16:45] I, I just had to scroll to it there, uh, on Instagram to find it. And you're not kidding that it's almost as big as you are. It is huge. EMILY EDGE: [00:16:53] Yeah, that's correct. I just, yeah. Looking at it. It's like what in the? KATIE GRANT: [00:16:57] Any other fun stories or memories to share with us?EMILY EDGE: [00:17:00] Here's another memorable one. Um, this is a Wisconsin one. So this summer I was fishing, obviously the Wisconsin again, and I caught probably one of the coolest fish that I've caught so far in Wisconsin, and I caught it by chance. I know... I don't even know if that'll ever happen again. Um, but I caught a Quillback carp sucker, and it was really just a remarkable fish that has a really tall dorsal fin.And it just looks like it doesn't, it shouldn't belong here, but it does. Um, so that was a really cool fish to catch. And then, um, I caught a, also on the Wisconsin, I caught a really big, um, Smallmouth buffalo, which took me by surprise. Sadly, I didn't weigh that one or measure it, but it was just a remarkable fish to catch.I think I like catching more of the, um, rough fish and more of the unique fish more than I do just your typical game fish, which I know some people might hate that I say that, but I just love all fish. And the rare ones are the awesome ones to me. KATIE GRANT: [00:18:05] If someone were interested in giving fishing a try. What advice would you give them?EMILY EDGE: [00:18:09] The biggest piece of advice I'd give is that it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Um, so like when you're on social media, you see tons of people having like the best of the best and all this fancy stuff. I definitely don't have that. Sure. I have some nice things like for ice season I bought a shack and electronics and whatever, but my rods are just cheap rods and I know a lot of people are gonna come at me for that.But the rods I have right now for open water and ice are just like 20 to 40 dollar rods. And most of them are Walmart rods, like Shakespeare. So nothing wrong with that. You don't need fancy and for, well, I guess technically baits sometimes get expensive. I do lose a lot of money there. But, um, really you can just go buy a $10 pole at Walmart, buy some hooks, buy some sinkers and a bobber and buy some worms and you could really just be out fishing.So with what, 20 bucks, I guess, plus a license, um, you could be having a good time. And you don't need fancy stuff. You don't need, you don't need a boat to fish 'cause clearly I shore fish most of the time. Um, and I think... correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Wisconsin still has the, for your first license, fishing license, I think it's like $5. So you don't have to pay the full, full twenty or twenty-five dollars, which is great too. KATIE GRANT: [00:19:24] Right. Yeah. That first time license or your first time back, if you haven't bought a license in, I believe it's the last 10 years. Even if you, you know, if you fall in love with it this year and you want to buy one next year, or we had, you know, more new licenses purchased in 2020, um, than in, you know, 2019 or the year before that, um, we had a ton of new people give fishing a try in 2020. And so buying your, your license for the next year is still really affordable in this state. EMILY EDGE: [00:19:57] Yeah. And that's, that's really great actually, because I've fished, what was it like six states I think? And Wisconsin, for resident and I think even out of state is like by far one of the best reasonable priced um, states around. Um, because I know I've Florida and I've fished Mississippi, um, and Illinois and those were a bunch more pricey, so it's really is a good deal.Yeah. So that's kind of the best piece of advice. Um, and just try it, don't be afraid to not go out because you don't know what you're doing. Um, I learned a lot just by going out and just making things work and trying it. And even if it looked silly, I did it anyway. Um, and I watched a lot of YouTube videos and so basically study YouTube and just go out and try it.And you're likely bound to catch fish. Will they be big fish? I don't know. Luck of the draw really. You can catch a big, big, big fish on just nightcrawlers. Um, and I've done that too. So that's what my big Sturgeon came on. So really doesn't take much to get started. So just try. KATIE GRANT: [00:20:55] Absolutely. Is there anything else you want us to know about fishing in Wisconsin?EMILY EDGE: [00:20:59] I guess one thing is that we are truly blessed in a state with tons of fishable water. Um, and anytime I leave the state and go fish somewhere else, I'm like, dang, we are so lucky in Wisconsin because likely, no matter where you live in this state, you can drive probably within 30 minutes and have tons of fishing options.And that's just so awesome. And I think that as a resident to kind of, we take it for granted. Um, I know I do, especially when, when I travel a lot. So yeah, there's lots of fishable water and I think that there are lots of fish to catch, uh, and everybody should try fishing.KATIE GRANT: [00:21:37] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin. A podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Interested in following Emily's journey? Check her out on Instagram @the_reel_em_angler. And don't forget to take advantage of our winter Free Fishing Weekend coming up January 16th and 17th. Learn more at dnr.wi.gov. For more great content be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
20 minutes | 5 months ago
A Look Back At A Wild Wisconsin Year
‘Tis the season for celebrations and recollection. We’re looking back at all 15 Wild Wisconsin – Off The Record podcast episodes from 2020 and delivering our “greatest hits.” Hear highlights from a few of our best episodes and find a new favorite as we head into the new year. Listen to the full episodes here:50 Years Of Earth DayWhat 50 Years Of Clean Air Looks LikeIt’s Your First Buck, Buddy Find all of our past episodes here. Or tell us who you’d like to hear from in 2021.--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE GRANT: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host DNR's Digital Communications Section Chief Katie Grant. For our final episode of 2020 we wanted to do something a little different. Whether you've been listening for a few episodes or for years, we hope you'll enjoy some of 2020s greatest hits.We start with clips from our episode on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Now, this episode is special for two reasons. For starters, the founder of Earth Day was Wisconsin's very own Gaylord Nelson, a former Wisconsin Senator and Governor. And for this episode, we were actually joined by his daughter, Tia Nelson, who has an impressive resume for her work in environmental advocacy.Listen in as Tia talks about her father's legacy.Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist has gained international recognition for her climate strikes. She's also known for having said, "Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope, but I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is." How does it make you feel to see her and other young activists who are leading the environmentalist fight and do you think they fit with your father's legacy? TIA NELSON: [00:01:40] Yes. They certainly do. It's really... the story of Greta Thunberg is, um, a really inspiring one and it is one that I reflect on quite often for the following reason. It would have been impossible for Greta to imagine when she was sitting alone, protesting in front of the Swedish parliament that that simple act of defiance would launch a global youth movement.Just as Rosa Parks could not have known that that simple act of defiance, saying no to that bus driver when he demanded she move to the back of the bus, she simply quietly said one word. No. It changed the course of history. Just as my father could never have known that the simple idea of setting aside a day to teach on the environment on April 22nd, 1970 would launch the environmental movement, propel the environmental movement forward in these unimaginable ways. Keep in mind, there was no Environmental Protection Agency. Uh, it was signed into law by a republican president, Richard Nixon, um, some months after the first Earth Day. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, uh, Endangered Species Act, a whole slew of laws that we take for granted today passed that first decade after Earth Day. More environmental laws were passed, um, in the decade that followed that first Earth Day than any other time in American history. And so, Greta's story is inspiring to me in the way that Rosa Parks' story is inspiring in the way that my father's story is inspiring. These were individuals who had a set of values, who cared passionately about something and they took action and they kept at it and they changed the course of history. It demonstrates to me the power of individual action to inspire others, to become involved and be a part of the solution. And that to me is, is incredibly inspiring. Earth Day was successful beyond my father's wildest dreams. He never could have imagined that 20 million people would gather on that day or that 50 years later we would be celebrating, uh, his legacy in this way.And I, and I, I think that, that people on the hundredth anniversary of Earth Day, uh, will be saying the same thing about Greta Thunberg and the youth activists around the world who have done exactly what my father had hoped youth would do. And youth did do that first Earth Day. It shook up the establishment and made them pay attention. KATIE GRANT: [00:04:37] So at Wisconsin DNR we are embracing Earth Day 365 and encouraging residents to take small steps all year. So that taking care of our natural resources isn't just a thing that we think about once a year. Do you have any suggestions for small steps that people can take to make difference?TIA NELSON: [00:04:53] There's a number of powerful, small steps one can take. From reducing food waste to avoiding single use plastic to uh, composting food scraps to using energy efficient appliances to things like... funny little fact to know and tell is that something called Phantom power. Meaning our devices plugged into the wall when we're not using them.Uh, probably about 15% of average homeowner’s electricity consumption. Simply unplugging those appliances, uh, when you're not using them, uh, is a way to save energy and it saves money um, so, um, being a conscious consumer. Uh, being aware of one's impact on the planet, knowing that, you know, one of my favorite quotes from my father is... "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." And so, um, we have to recognize that our natural resource base is finite, um, and that we have to, uh, be good stewards of it. And that individual action, how we conduct ourselves in our daily life really does matter. Um, voting for, um, uh, elected officials, whether at the local or state level who put forward policies that protect our rights to breath clean air and drink clean water is really important. Outrider.org has a section, um, about how you can help. Uh, it includes a way to assess, uh, your personal greenhouse gas footprint and, uh, things you can do to, um, reduce it. So, um, get involved. Talk about it. Take action and, uh, join an organization that suits your particular interests.KATIE GRANT: [00:06:51] Catch more from Tia and her passion for the environment on episode 46, titled "50 years of Earth Day." Sticking with the theme of anniversaries we also wanted to highlight clips from our episode on the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. We brought in two leading air experts, Gail Good and Brad Pierce to discuss the impact of clean air here in Wisconsin. They give an explanation of the Clean Air Act, how Wisconsin faces some unique challenges and ways our state's air quality has improved over the last 50 years. What is the Clean Air Act? GAIL GOOD: [00:07:29] The Clean Air Act is one of the most successful pieces of federal legislation that's ever been enacted. You mentioned it was put into place 50 years ago, and that's, that's true actually at the end of this year, right on December 31st, 1970 was when the Clean Air Act was signed into existence. It's gone through several amendments. Clean Air Act, um, was designed really to um, cut down on air pollution while growing the economy. And the benefit of that, the cut down in air pollution is that it's actually saved lives over the 50 years it's been in existence. KATIE GRANT: [00:08:01] When it was enacted, what did it initially mean for residents of Wisconsin and I guess the entire country?BRAD PIERCE: [00:08:08] From personal experience...KATIE GRANT: [00:08:09] Yeah.BRAD PIERCE: [00:08:10] Uh, so I remember driving... I grew up in Minneapolis and we had family out east. I remember driving through Gary, Indiana on the way out east in the, in the early seventies and you could smell Gary, Indiana at that point. And it was very polluted. And now when you drive through Gary, Indiana, it doesn't smell like pollution anymore and the air is much better. So, you know, that's from personal experience, seeing that change dramatically over the, over my lifetime is pretty amazing. GAIL GOOD: [00:08:42] Yeah. When the act was first put in place in the seventies, it really gave us the ability to begin to study air pollution and its effects and how much it was impacting people and the world around them. And then over time, it's given us, uh, the ability to, you know, write permits for sources and just understand air quality issues in even more detail. KATIE GRANT: [00:09:04] So we opened up on Instagram and let everyone know that we were going to be doing this episode and ask what sort of questions do our followers have about air quality and the air in general in Wisconsin.So, here's a couple of those questions. Does Wisconsin require vehicle emission testing? Why or why not? GAIL GOOD: [00:09:25] Yes. There are some parts of our state that do require vehicle emission testing. Um, those areas are, um, Kenosha County, Milwaukee County. Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha counties. Um, the reason that we do that, um, is that these are areas that have historically violated the ozone standard.They were historically non-attainment areas. Um, some of them still are, um, and some of them aren't. But when an area is not attaining a standard for some time, when it does eventually attain a standard and we're able to re-designate that area. We want to be able to maintain that good air quality in that area.So, um, even some of those counties that are not at this point, um, non-attainment, those requirements are in place to make sure that that area can maintain that good air quality and not be in a situation where they're violating a standard again. BRAD PIERCE: [00:10:22] And I think simply put, part of the reason we've seen such reductions in emissions over the last 50 years is kind of two-fold. One, we put scrubbers on power plants and that reduced both, uh, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions. And we put catalytic converters in cars. And if those catalytic converters aren't functioning properly, then we're back where we were in 1970. So those, uh, the, the emissions testing is to make sure that the technology that's been developed and put in place to reduce emissions is still functioning right. KATIE GRANT: [00:11:00] Yeah, makes sense. You've kind of alluded to this already, but why does Door County have some of the worst air quality in Wisconsin at times? GAIL GOOD: [00:11:08] Yeah, that's a really good and interesting question. Um, so I mentioned that the lake shore areas are where we tend to see our higher concentrations of ozone. Door County, right, is, um, up at the, you know, tip of that Door peninsula and, um, there aren't a lot of sources of air pollution there. So, you might not expect to see high concentrations of ozone there um, like you might expect to see in some other parts of the state that do have some more of those, um, typical kind of emissions sources. Door County is interesting though I mentioned, um, earlier that, um, some of the ozone issue, um, is, is really caused by transported pollution from, from out of our state and also, um, on those nice summer days where you have that southerly wind. So, sometimes if you were able, we, we do actually provide air quality information to the public.So, you can kind of see how the monitors that we have along lake shore that are measuring air quality... You can see how they change over the course of a day. And so sometimes what you see, if you can kind of imagine that southerly wind coming up along lake shore, transporting that pollution, cooking over the Lake and kind of working its way up the lake shore.What we'll see is, um, kind of the, the, you'll see the concentrations increase over the day from south to north. And so then eventually towards the end of the day, as that southerly wind has kind of helped push that pollution up along the lake shore, you'll see Door County and the monitor that's there at Newport State Park, you'll see that monitor show an elevated concentration of ozone often towards the end of the day because that southerly wind has just... has helped push the pollution up to that point. KATIE GRANT: [00:12:48] Want to learn more? Check out episode 48 titled "What 50 years of clean air looks like," for the full story. To finish things off we wanted to highlight the power of friendship and giving something new a try. Justin Morrissey, an avid hunter and his mentee Joey Wakeen have been friends for close to 10 years. Joey, who happens to have Down Syndrome was interested in trying one of Justin's passions, deer hunting. Justin took us with them on Joey's first deer hunt, and we think it's one of the most memorable segments we've ever had on the show.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:13:26] I was a sophomore in high school when my drama or speech teacher, forensics coach, uh, Roxy Wakeen in, uh, she approached me and asked me if I would be available to mentor her son, Joey. And so I became Joey's respite care provider for, uh, at that point and I've been that for about 10 years. KATIE GRANT: [00:13:51] Joey, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are?JOEY WAKEEN: [00:13:54] I'm Joey, [Unintelligible] I work at cleaning... all busy. So it's like they got to go to... This is his land. I got shot in a deer about I'm going to check the shot, [Unintelligible] his shoulder. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:14:28] So, so what do you, what do you like to do for fun, Joey? Like what do you like to do for fun besides go hunting now? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:14:34] Well...hunting.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:14:37] You like to play basketball, right? Yeah. You like to go bowling?JOEY WAKEEN: [00:14:42] Basketball and bowling.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:14:45] Swimming in the summertime. JOEY WAKEEN: [00:14:47] Yep. Swimming. This is last summer.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:14:54] And you're probably about ready for summer again now at this point of the year. [Laughs] So Joey just... what Joey said is that he works at St. Croix Central middle school, and he cleans there. He has kind of like a janitorial role at the school, um, as part of the staff there. Um, so that's like his big, big job lately, right? Yeah. And then besides that, and you just have a heck of a lot of fun all the time don't ya? Like what about your deer? You remember your buck that you got? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:15:23] Yeah. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:15:23] [Exterior] All right. Joey and I are ready to go. What do you think Joey?JOEY WAKEEN: [00:15:28] It's... ready to go. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:15:30] That's right, we’re ready to go. Yep. So yeah, we just got our stuff ready here at the truck. Yeah, I got, uh, I got the camera. I got the big gun here. Joey's got the 308 on him and, uh, we're going to stay right by each other the whole way and, uh, get out to the blind. [Rifle shot] Joey. You got him. You got him. You got him buddy. What do you think, buddy? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:15:56] It's good.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:15:57] Dude, look at that! Joey Wakeen. It's your first buck buddy. JOEY WAKEEN: [00:16:08] I got it. I got...just shot a buck. I just shot a buck. I got it, wow. It's just this good... boy. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:16:20] Tonight. What's the day today?JOEY WAKEEN: [00:16:22] I got shot a buck. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:16:24] Joey shot a buck. The day doesn't even matter. Yeah, it is the day that Joey Wakeen got his first deer. Yeah. And it's a nice six pointer isn't it? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:16:34] Yeah. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:16:34] Right on. Good job, buddy. So, anyways, uh, and guess what? What, what day is Friday this week? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:16:42] This Friday night. This is my birthday. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:16:45] It is Joey's birthday. This is like your birthday buck, huh? Yeah. That's a good present huh? Yeah. So, what do you think? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:16:54] This is just good.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:16:55] This is just plain old good isn't it?JOEY WAKEEN: [00:16:58] Yeah. It Is good.JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:16:59] Right on buddy. All right. Remember, so you remember you pulled the trigger and we went out there and you had a lot of fun. Remember we were like dancing in the blind and stuff like that and have a lot of fun. Yeah. And we saw the deer out on the food plot. And then, and then remember you got your buck. So how did you feel about that? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:17:17] This is my... felt better. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:17:19] You feel, you felt much better after that didn't you? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:17:22] Yeah. JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:17:23] It was a life-changing experience. KATIE GRANT: [00:17:26] Was it very exciting for you, Joey? JOEY WAKEEN: [00:17:29] Yeah. KATIE GRANT: [00:17:30] So Justin, you are Joey's friend, but you described that moment to us when we first talked to you as being like watching your own kid, get their first buck. What was that experience like for you? And why was it so special? JUSTIN MORRISSEY: [00:17:43] Yeah so...I think that experience when Joey got his buck was really special because I mean, we've developed a relationship over all these years and he is like a brother to me, uh, like a little brother to me. And so just to grow with somebody and not only mentor him, but him mentor me, um, when we both sort of experienced that success together.I think it's just as, just as good, if not better as me harvesting a deer of my own. Um, or just even experience any sort of, you know, big success in, in my life. I mean, it was a really cool moment. And for Joey to express his excitement like he did in the video, um, you can pretty much see that, like that, that is what makes it awesome. Is just to see that big smile on Joey's face and, uh... that's, that's what it's all about.KATIE GRANT: [00:18:41] I don't know about you all, but it doesn't matter how many times I listened to this episode. I get chills every time. Give episode 43 titled "It's your first buck, buddy” a listen to hear more about their friendship and what it means to Justin to pass on his love of hunting. You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin, a podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR.Now's the time to buy your 2021 park passes. Find your adventure in the new year and gain access to some of the most scenic areas in Wisconsin, including thousands of miles of trails, dozens of beaches, and a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Learn more and buy yours today at dnr.wi.gov. For more great content be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
31 minutes | 5 months ago
Reduce, Reuse, E-Cycle: Wisconsin’s 10 Years Of Electronic Waste Legislation
In 2010, Wisconsin established legislation that banned electronics waste from the landfills. Over those ten years Since then, Wisconsinites have recycled more than 325 million pounds of TVs, laptops, cellphones and more. As one of only 25 states with some sort of an electronics recycling law, Wisconsin is widely considered to have one of the most successful programs in the country. But it isn’t without its challenges. On this episode, we speak with Sarah Murry, Wisconsin DNR’s E-cycle Coordinator, and Sen. Mark Miller of Monona, the legislation’s author and advocate, to learn more about what E-cycling is, how the last ten years have gone, and how Wisconsinites can help it be even more successful going forward. Find a location to recycle your old electronics: https://wisconsindnr.shinyapps.io/EcycleCollectorSite/ Read more about E-cycling in Wisconsin in the Fall 2020 issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/wnrmag/2020/Fall
29 minutes | 6 months ago
On The Hunt
Hunting is a long-established tradition woven into the fabric of Wisconsin’s culture. As hunters new and old make their way into the woods this November, we wanted to know what makes this season so special in Wisconsin. In this episode, we hear from Carissa Freeh, a wildlife biologist for Pheasants Forever in central Wisconsin. Hunting since 2014, she shares advice for anyone interested in trying it but not sure where to start. Also joining the podcast is lifelong hunter Jim Wipperfurth, a retired DNR wildlife technician, hunter’s safety instructor, and mentor for the DNR’s Learn To Hunt classes. Hunting since his father first took him out in the ’70s, Jim shares his love for the hunt. Whether it’s your first deer season or your 50th, there’s something exciting about heading out to your treestand on a cool, crisp November morning. Listen in as these guests talk about their favorite time of year – Wisconsin deer season. Find more information on deer hunting in Wisconsin at dnr.wi.gov/adventure/deer --------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE: [00:00:13] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin, Off the Record. I'm your host, DNR's Digital Communication Section Chief Katie Grant. This year, many of Wisconsin's residents have found themselves connecting with our natural resources more than ever before. Many of our state parks had lines of people waiting to get in this summer.Overall the park saw 15% more visitors in 2020 than in 2019, and fishing license sales were up 21%.As the leaves start to crunch and the mercury drops we're seeing another interesting trend. As of 10 days before the start of this year's gun deer season, sales of gun deer licenses are up 9% over 2019. Whether they're new hunters or people who just took a couple of years off, we're certain these hunters will find something unique to enjoy in the experience that is hunting in Wisconsin.On today's episode, we spoke with a couple of hunters. One who got into the sport within just the last couple of years and one who has been doing it pretty much his entire life. To learn more about what makes deer hunting in Wisconsin so special. Though our two guests come from different backgrounds and have different experience levels one thing is clear. They are passionate about hunting. So sit back and listen in to hear their stories. First up is Carissa Freeh. CARISSA: [00:01:44] Yeah. Hello. My name is Carissa Freeh. Um, I am currently a Wildlife Biologist, uh, for Pheasants Forever and I work in central Wisconsin. Prior to my job with Pheasants Forever I held, um, a couple of different positions with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the Wildlife Health section. And then as a Field Biologist up in Merrill, Wisconsin. KATIE: [00:02:10] How long have you been hunting for?CARISSA: [00:02:13] I began actually hunting um, I believe in about 2014. Um, my first hunt was actually kind of unique. Um, It was... a mentored raccoon hunt. KATIE: [00:02:29] Very cool. Tell us a little bit how you, how you ended up going on a, a mentored raccoon hunt.CARISSA: [00:02:35] Sure. So I, uh, went to college at UW Madison and after a little bit of soul searching, ended up majoring in Wildlife Ecology and just absolutely fell in love with the major and my peers. And I actually didn't have a hunting background growing up. Um, my immediate family did not hunt and some of my uncles and distant relatives who did, um, we're not living in Wisconsin. So I just was really never exposed to it. And in one of my college courses it was just highly recommended that you know, those of us going into the field of wildlife management, um, to at least just take a Hunter Safety course with hunters being such a big stakeholder and important in the conservation world.Um, they just thought it would be really important for us, you know, in our careers moving forward that we understood kind of that, that hunting heritage that's so rich in Wisconsin. So that was kind of my intention. Um, so I, took Hunter Safety for that reason. And afterwards was still you know, very interested in hunting.And shortly after finishing my course, I started getting some emails and saw some flyers of Learn to Hunt courses that the DNR was hosting. And it, it just so happened that the first one I saw and a weekend that was available to me was a Learn to Raccoon Hunt course. So that was super fun. It was a weekend course where we just learned about the management of hunting in general, and particularly, um, hunting with hounds, raccoon hunting. And I was successful in the mentored hunt and harvesting my first ever animal, which was a raccoon. And really just fell in love with the comradery and the people just being so willing to teach and share and particularly fell in love with dogs. Because of that I now have my own hound and do a little bit of bird hunting as well. And deer hunting and turkey hunting, but it all really just kind of started with that first mentored hunt.KATIE: [00:04:40] So tell me about how you went from small raccoons to hunting something big, like deer.CARISSA: [00:04:47] So, after my first Learn to Hunt class I just really wanted to learn more. And I think what really sparked the next step, um, in particularly hunting deer, was the motivation of food. And so the next, uh, Learn to Hunt course again, that I actually took through the DNR was, a Learn to Hunt for Food class that was targeted around deer hunting. And this was a longer course. I think it ran a couple of months and we would, we would meet and have class, and it was much more in depth of a course. Um, because instead of, you know, some of our standards, like youth hunts, where a lot of the youth that maybe attend, um, have family members that have already exposed them to, you know, what to look for when hunting deer or the equipment you need.Or even how to properly butcher a deer. This class was really geared towards more of those adults who had the interest and motivation to hunt for sustainable meats. And so the class went into all those details and talked about firearms and firearm handling. And we had days that we got to go in the field together and basically scout for good deer hunting spots. And the teachers of that course you know, taught us what to look for, what signs to look for. We had a course on butchering the deer. Um, so that would, we would ultimately be self-sufficient in doing that once we completed the course. Like many of the Learn to Hunt classes, they culminate in a mentored hunt. And I was fortunate enough to get paired with a mentor who's actually a DMAP cooperator. So, the Deer Management Assistance Program. Um, he's a cooperator in that program, and I was paired up with him and on a September afternoon I harvested my first deer at his property. KATIE: [00:06:44] Tell me a little bit about what it was like to actually be successful in that, and what did it mean to you to be successful?CARISSA: [00:06:52] You know, it's really, it's really difficult to pinpoint what it means. And I think that that's something that I value so much about hunting is the fact that it is such a unique experience person to person. It's incredibly hard to describe like there are some tangible things that I can take away of why I enjoy hunting and continue to do it.And some that are a little bit less tangible and I guess, hard to communicate. Um, but I do recall on that my first deer hunt, it was... it was incredibly overwhelming. At first it was this feeling of, Oh, what did I do? You know, I absolutely love wildlife. I'm fascinated with wildlife. And so there's that, you know, moment of almost shock when you are responsible for taking a life.And so that lasted, you know, for the first half an hour or so, but that quickly changed and it quickly changed because of the support and comradery back at camp. And so ultimately what it meant to me is... I felt incredibly self-sufficient. Like, I had just been through a course and was able to retrieve that animal and get it back and butcher it and package it and, you know, eat that meat over the following year. There was just, you know, that yeah, the self-sufficiency of doing that on your own and knowing that I was eating sustainable, uh, local foods. KATIE: [00:08:22] Yeah, for sure. Would you say that for you it's that self-sufficiency that, that food aspect that keeps you coming back? Or is there something else that keeps you coming back to hunting year after year?CARISSA: [00:08:34] Um, it definitely originated with hunting for food. And that is one main reason that keeps me coming back. But it's kind of evolved since then. Um, you know, since hunting and this first mentored hunt back in like 2014, I have continued to deer hunt on my own now or with family and friends, um, assisting me.It has evolved in the motivations that keep me coming back year to year. And some of those that I've seen are how quickly I'm able... Like it wasn't that long ago that I was the student and I was the one learning. Um, and in the few short years that I've been hunting, I've already found myself in scenarios to help new hunters around me or even longtime hunters.Um, and so something that actually comes to mind that is such a motivation for me is just assisting others and seeing other people's joy, um, from harvesting a deer. Um, actually just last week a close friend of ours harvested his first deer ever. And so it was really fun to help him track, um, and be there and help him, you know, learn how to field dress that deer.And I got to assist in that, even though it wasn't that long ago that I was a student myself. Um, but again I would say one of the biggest motivations keeps looping back to that community aspect. And so our friend came and we helped him butcher the deer and help him package it and told him the different cuts of meat and gave him some ideas on recipes.And he just told me that this past weekend he made a venison roast for his family and had his entire family over for a meal. Which is something that he has never done before. And so it was just kind of such a joy to live through other people's successes as well. So that community aspect is big um, in terms of the motivation that keeps me coming back year to year. In my first few years of hunting, um, it definitely has evolved.And I was thinking about this a little bit and it's kind of a strange motivation, but it is definitely very valid in that is honestly the mystery behind it. So I was just thinking about this and you know, like, why am I excited to go out this fall? Why am I excited to get out in the stand? Because... just like the years before the intent is the same, ideally to get some sustainable meat on the table to ideally have some time with friends and family and share stories to just be in the natural world.Um, because I have such a fascination with wildlife. It's just so wonderful to be out there. But one of the best parts is the mystery. Every time you walk into the woods, you never know if you're going to see zero deer or 10 deer, if you might spot the biggest buck of your life, if you might see a bear or turkeys or other wildlife, maybe the chance that even seeing like an albino deer.Um, so one of, one of the biggest motivations and I guess which... what keeps it exciting is the fact that there's just so many unknowns and there's so much mystery. And every time you walk into the woods, it's just going to be a new experience.KATIE: [00:12:01] That's actually a really cool way of thinking of it that I've never heard anyone express before. So thank you for sharing that, you know, you don't know what you're going to find in the woods. You don't know if you'll be successful. Um, and I think that that adds to the challenge. And like you said, the excitement, so... very cool. So for you, I know you've talked a lot about the, the community side of things. What is that like to be a deer hunter in Wisconsin? What does that mean to you? CARISSA: [00:12:28] To me specifically to be a deer hunter in Wisconsin, it feels like a love of place. I just feel like it is so ingrained in the history and heritage of the people around us now, and people many, many, many years before us. And so, yeah, definitely love of place.I just feel like a lot of Wisconsinites in general and particularly wisconsin hunters have this passion for where they live. A passion for where they recreate. This passion for the diversity and the landscapes that are offered in our state. Um, and so it definitely feels like to be a deer hunter it's just have a love of home and a love of place. KATIE: [00:13:10] What are you most looking forward to in this 2020 deer season? I know 2020 has been a bit of a crazy time. Um, it's, it's a little bit, not what anyone has expected, but what are you most looking forward to this year? CARISSA: [00:13:25] Yeah. It is a difficult year. I guess I'll preface that a little bit with the fact that the last two years, a group of friends and colleagues of mine created our own little version of, um, deer camp.It's a ladies only deer camp. Since most of us there, um, didn't start hunting until a little bit later in life. Most of us, um, did not grow up, you know, hunting with mom or dad. And so we kind of have this connection and that, you know, we're all ladies, which not as many women are hunters and we all are more or less, relatively new to hunting.And so the past couple of years, we had this deer camp where we got together and just the comradery hunting together, helping each other, sharing equipment. But just that time, I just was probably the thing I looked forward to the most in the last two years. And so in a normal year I would say that that is again, what I would be looking most forward to was, um, our ladies deer camp.And unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we're not going to be able to get together like we have the last couple of years, but still, um... what I'm most looking forward to this season is finding a way for us to get together and enjoy hunting together. We're not quite sure how it might look yet, but what I'm most looking forward to this year is seeing friends I have not seen in a long time, um, and just celebrating the best time of the year.KATIE: [00:14:59] For sure. I know we've kind of here at the DNR, talked about different ways that people can still experience that community, that comradery, even if we can't physically get together. And one of the things we talked about, you know, was utilizing those group chats or, you know, I know we're all zoomed out. We spend too much time on the computer, but just, you know, doing a quick FaceTime after someone gets their deer and being able to celebrate that together.So I think there it's, like you said, it's going to look different, but there, there are ways to make that happen. For sure. So. Obviously, you know, as you talked about Wisconsin, hunting has been a thing in this state for many years. A lot of our, our residents have, have grown up hunting, but we also have a lot of people who have never hunted before much like you hadn't until recently. What would you say to someone regardless of age, sex, race, you know, wherever in the state that they're from, if they're on the fence about getting into the woods and giving hunting a try, what, what advice would you give them? CARISSA: [00:16:02] Yeah, if I was giving advice to, um, a non hunter who, who may be interested, um, I guess just kind of reflecting back on, on my early experience, the advice I would give is... there is no expectation. One of my biggest fears when kind of looking down this path and following my interest in learning how to hunt was that I didn't have the equipment.I had never handled a gun. I didn't know how to field dress a deer. And so I guess the advice I would give is that there is no expectation and there is no right way. I learned very quickly that, you know, old pair of Goodwill jeans and a hand me down orange coat from a mentor, um, is all you need. I've been very fortunate and I would want other people out there to know who may be interested, that there are lots of people willing to help.Our biggest challenge is connecting the right mentors with mentees. Like how do we find people who are close, you know, located or live near each other that we can make it work. But there's so much help out there. The other thing I would say is there's no expectation with harvesting an animal. In some of my early classes, there was at least one peer of mine that when a deer presented itself for a shot, uh, they were....they weren't comfortable with it. And so my biggest advice is there's no expectations. And just to kind of learn with yourself and go with your gut and that there are people out there willing to help.KATIE: [00:17:41] Thanks, Carissa. We can't wait to hear how your deer season goes. Next up is a conversation with Jim Wipperfurth. Someone who has been hunting almost as long as he can remember. He's also spent a good chunk of his time mentoring others through their first hunts. Take it away, Jim. JIM: [00:17:59] All right. So I am actually a retired DNR Wildlife Technician. I retired from there four years ago. Um, I'm a Hunter Safety instructor. Uh, also have taught the DNR's Learn to Hunt Turkey and Learn to Hunt Deer classes. And, uh, avid hunter. I've hunted pretty much all my life. Hunt, fish trap, all the outdoor stuff. KATIE: [00:18:21] Fantastic. So you said that you've hunted pretty much your whole life. Do you remember how old you were when you first started hunting? JIM: [00:18:27] Well, when I first legally hunted you had to be 12 years old. So that's how old I am. So, so now we can hunt earlier, you know, with the mentor hunting laws, but we didn't have that back then. So when I was 12 years old, I got my first hunting license and I have had a license, a deer license every year, since then. And I've also had small game licenses every year, since then. So that's been... I'm 61 now so that's been almost 50 years. KATIE: [00:18:53] There've been a few years in there for sure. Was it deer that you went hunting for first or was there something else? JIM: [00:19:00] I think... back then we all started with small game. So I was a squirrel hunter. I mean, it was when I was 12 years old I was a squirrel hunter first because that season opened first. That was open early in September or October and the deer season didn't open until November and there wasn't as much archery hunting back then as there is now. And my dad was not a bow hunter so I never bow hunted until I was at least, oh, I think I was 17 or 18. So it was a few years since I was a bowhunter. KATIE: [00:19:27] So was this something, you know, where you wanted to do it for a specific reason or were you interested in it because it was what your family had done? Or tell me a little bit about how you got started.JIM: [00:19:39] Yeah. For sure. My dad is, was a big hunter and still hunts. He's 86 and doesn't get around to hunt as much as he used to, but he still likes to get out. So that's what we did. All my cousins, all my uncles. That was the big thing. We hunted. When there, there was no computer games, no video games, you know, there was three stations on TV, so our entertainment was to go out and hunt. And so that's how I learned to hunt.KATIE: [00:20:03] For sure. Is there a favorite memory that you have from your childhood hunting that you might mind sharing? JIM: [00:20:10] There are so many, but I will say my, I can remember my first deer, which was shot actually about half a mile from where I live right now. I can give you every detail of that one.It would be a long enough story, but, but, uh, I shot him... I was driving, my dad and I were driving. It was about lunchtime and we were driving back to our house and my mom was out. She always would drive around looking for deer. This is back in the day and we were in Dane County. And she was parked in the road in front of us and said, a deer just ran across the road right here.And she was excited to see it. So I was 14 at the time, so I could legally hunt by myself. So my dad and I took off across the field, the woods to get back where we expected that deer to run. And I, of course being 14, beat my dad back there and then the deer came running across the field where we expected it to, which never seems to work nowadays.But I remember I shot that deer. So like I say, it was a half a mile from where I live right now. So, so the first of everything is always one that I remember. So that was my first deer. Ever. And I think it was a nub buck. It wasn't a big deer, but it didn't matter. Your first deer doesn't matter if it's a nub buck or a 30 pointer, they're all, all special.KATIE: [00:21:24] For sure. That's very cool that you have such a fond memory. Do you have another favorite memory from all of your years hunting? JIM: [00:21:32] I will say one of my... I'm a big turkey hunter now. And back in... 50 years ago, we didn't have turkeys here. So this is, you know, these are the much more recent memories, but even those are 20...getting to be 25, 30 years old. But one of the best ones is... my wife actually shot a turkey and she is not really a hunter, but she was seeing all the fun we were having. I was taking my nephews out and she said she would go if it was going to be 70 degrees. Cause she doesn't like the cold weather. So we went and we hunted across the road from where we live now.And we tracked and tracked and tracked and never heard a turkey. And at that time you could only hunt till noon. So we were... I think it was 10:30, we were about probably a mile and a half from the... our house right now, from where we started. And I had three or four mouth calls and went thru all of them. And I had one that never, ever got a turkey to answer.I figured I got nothing to lose. It's 10:30. We haven't heard a turkey all morning. I put that in. Turkey gobbled back at me. And he wasn't very far away so we set up on him and he came right in, strutted in front of us. And my wife was sitting just a little bit below me and she couldn't see the turkey. I could see him plain as day, but she could not get a shot.And finally, I just let the turkey walk away. And then she's, I said, let's circle around and see if we can get a better angle on him. Maybe he'll come back in and we snuck around and came back at a different angle... and called and that turkey came right in and she shot him. That's the only turkey she's ever shot.And it was a 24 and 1/2 pound tom and it was 11... I think it was 11:25 or 11:30 um, when, when she finally got that bird and like I say, we could only hunt until noon. So that is a very fond memory of mine.KATIE: [00:23:14] You've been hunting, obviously for quite some time. You said about 50 years. What is it about hunting in general? Um, and and maybe specifically deer hunting, but I think we can talk, talk hunting in general, that keeps you coming back year after year.JIM: [00:23:30] Boy. That's a really complicated question. It's, it's kind of a drive. If you're a dyed in the wool hunter like I am. And there... I know quite a few people that are. It's just an inner drive that just keeps me coming back. I think all of... there's so many factors. It's the interaction with the animal... the, you try to fool their senses and their senses are, as anybody who hunts knows, pretty sharp. Um, just the challenge of getting close. I love archery deer hunting because you have to get close and I'm a traditional guy so I shoot a longbow. So I really have to get them close. So, um, the comradery with hunting with family and friends, that's getting to be more and more of a, of a, a bigger part of my hunting. I'd rather hunt with somebody. And that doesn't mean necessarily sitting with me. If we're going bow hunting. But to get together and then go hunt and get back together and share stories and share experiences and help each other out.Um, mentoring new people is getting... is more and more important. I'd just love to do that. I love to see people get their first deer, their first turkey. Um, so many things. Being part of nature. Just being outside watching the seasons change. I've been hunting, bow hunting... now it's November. So we've been out since September.So I've seen the leaves go from green and the woods being thick. To watching the leaves fall down, turn brown, you know, all of a sudden it's cleared out. You know, animals getting more active now in November. So it's just so many things. So, I don't know if it's, it's not easy to explain it, but I can just say that it's a drive.KATIE: [00:25:06] Yeah. I can totally understand that. You know, we've talked to a couple of different people about this and in my time doing this podcast, I've talked to several different guests about similar things. And that is one thing that always comes up is that challenge. And that, you know, you don't know what you're going to end up with. So that's very cool. JIM: [00:25:24] It's kind of like, I think there's kind of like, Las Vegas gambling. Cause you put a little more in and put a little more in and sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't. But when you do get the big payoff, which for a hunter would be, you know, getting, you know, a big buck or even any buck or... compared to being in Vegas, hitting the big payoff. Even when that finally happens, it just seems to make everything you've done worthwhile. KATIE: [00:25:51] That is a perfect analogy for it. What is it like to be a deer hunter in Wisconsin? JIM: [00:25:58] What is it like? That is a very difficult question. So for me, I don't know what people do in November if they're not deer hunting. To be a deer hunter in Wisconsin is, is a privilege for one. We have such a great deer population, a great tradition in Wisconsin that I guess I have a hard time coming up with what it's like to be a deer hunter because that's just who I am. And, you know, it's not, it's not a hobby if... it's just something that I am. It's part of me. So it's... for me, it's just exciting. KATIE: [00:26:30] I know, you mentioned that mentoring is, is something you've done a lot of and something that you're pretty passionate about. What would you say to someone, whether they, you know, come from a background where they've grown up with family hunting, or maybe they've never known anyone who's hunted before in their lives, what would you say to them if they may be on the fence and thinking about getting in the woods this season? JIM: [00:26:55] Yeah. Anyone who's on the fence. If you can find a way to hunt. And the way... really the way the hunt is to find a mentor. Find someone that will take you out. And that can be difficult. You might have to search around and maybe you don't know anybody that hunts, but the thing to do is find out who the Hunter Safety instructors are in your area and give them a call.And they may... may not be able to do it themselves, but they may have some suggestions for you. That is one of the hard parts of the COVID because we have not been able to do our Learn to Hunt classes. And we see it every year. People come in that want to learn to deer hunt. We see their enthusiasm and, you know, they look at deer hunting a little bit differently.A lot of that is more the food aspect, but once they get involved and see the excitement part of it, and just the pure fun of it... they're hooked. So, so the hardest part of becoming a new deer hunter is that first step. And a lot of that is just having a mentor to show you those steps, finding a place to go.So, so if you, if you think you want to go, you know, right now start asking around and find somebody that'll take you hunting. And even if they say, I'll take you along, but you can't bring a gun... go along. And that's one way to at least get a foot in the door, see if you enjoy it. Um, I guess, you know, try your best. Anybody that wants to hunt should try it. KATIE: [00:28:15] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin, a podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Interested in learning more about hunting in Wisconsin and how you can get started? Send those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work with our staff to get you answers. For more great content be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin, wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
23 minutes | 7 months ago
CWD Updates For The 2020 Deer Season
Chronic Wasting Disease is an always fatal, infectious disease that affects deer, elk, moose, and reindeer. Hunters (and non-hunters, alike!) play an important role in helping us monitor the disease across the state. And in 2020, we've made it easier than ever before to help us do exactly that.On this episode of Wild Wisconsin, we sit down with DNR wildlife conservation specialist, Amanda Kamps, to learn more about how hunters can participate by getting their deer sampled for CWD, the improvements that have been made to the process and some changes you should be aware of for the 2020 deer season. She also discusses some important ways non-hunters can help along the way.Learn more about CWD in Wisconsin at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/cwd.htmlFind a CWD sampling location near you at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/registersample.htmlListen to Episode 33 to learn more about important CWD research happening here in Wisconsin: https://share.transistor.fm/s/7e55a356Listen to Episode 29 to learn more about the basics of CWD: https://share.transistor.fm/s/5b651fb8--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE: [00:00:13] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host, DNR's acting Communications Director, Katie Grant. More and more hunters in Wisconsin are looking for ways to get involved with Wisconsin's management of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD is an always fatal infectious nervous system disease that affects deer, moose, elk, and reindeer.As the name suggests this disease slowly deteriorates the brain and nervous systems of the host animal, causing it to lose excessive weight and behave abnormally before ultimately dying. CWD was first discovered in Wisconsin in 2002. Since then, Wisconsin hunters have played an important role in helping us learn more about the disease and its impacts on Wisconsin's deer herd.This year, we are looking to expand that sampling, to continue to better understand where the disease is throughout the state. Whether you're a hunter or simply a Wisconsinite who's concerned about protecting our animal populations, there are ways that you can help. In this episode, we speak with DNR Wildlife Conservation Specialist, Amanda Kamps on how hunters can report cases of CWD to assist the DNRs efforts.She also goes into details about the various tools and resources hunters can use and updates us on new developments as far as CWD monitoring goes and so much more. So sit back and listen in. AMANDA: [00:01:48] All right, well, I am Amanda Kamps. I am the Wildlife Health Conservation Specialist for Wisconsin DNR. And part of my main responsibilities are to work with Chronic Wasting Disease and our monitoring and management of the disease and work with our staff statewide in a whole variety of different aspects from sampling efforts to public outreach and education. I'm aware of research that we have going on. So, involved in quite a variety of different things when it comes to CWD. KATIE: [00:02:22] Yeah. So just to get us started, what is Chronic Wasting Disease? Or as, as we often refer to it CWD.AMANDA: [00:02:31] Of course. So CWD is a fatal infectious nervous system disease, belonging to a family that's known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathys or prion diseases.So prion diseases is probably a much easier name to say, uh, when we're talking about CWD. And this is a disease that's found in cervid species. So we're talking deer, moose, elk, and reindeer or caribou. It has been found in the state in Wisconsin here. Our first positives were detected back in 2002 from a few deer that were harvested during the 2001 deer hunting season. But in general, uh, in Wisconsin, we had actually started monitoring for CWD in 1999. KATIE: [00:03:25] So what does it do to the deer? AMANDA: [00:03:27] So CWD is kind of like the name implies, so it's a chronic disease. Um, it's wasting, so it's a disease that takes some time to show some outward effects. So by chronic, it means that it takes that time in order for that to be visible, at least for, for us to see in deer. And with the wasting disease part of it is that when, uh, a deer had the disease for quite some time and now we're starting to see those outward symptoms of the disease. It's starting to get skinnier. It's starting to act a little bit more abnormal. And so it's, it's more or less really looking like the animal is wasting away. KATIE: [00:04:09] So I am I correct in remembering that when, when you and I have talked about this before, it's not exactly eating away at the brain, but it kind of in a way is, am I remembering that correctly?AMANDA: [00:04:20] Well, it's causing a change in the brain. The disease can be detected throughout the nervous system. So in the brain and the spinal cord, um, in the lymph nodes throughout the body. And what happens is when, uh, if a deer is infected with it, those prions, which are abnormal shaped proteins, once those start to accumulate enough in the body, they start creating a change in things like the lymph tissue, like the brain. Then it starts creating this change in those tissues, which then create then that outward appearance or the clinical signs that we see. KATIE: [00:05:00] Perfect. So it's been around here in Wisconsin for a while. Why do we care about it here? What potential bad could it bring to Wisconsin?AMANDA: [00:05:09] Yeah, that's a great question. And, you know, we were monitoring or sampling for it for, you know, since 1999. And certainly we don't know when exactly it came into the state, but at least in that 2002, when we got those test results back. Uh, that's when we had at least first detected it here. And so by having the disease here, you know, looking at research and seeing what we know about the disease already is that our research is suggesting if it's left unmanaged, that CWD can eventually spread throughout our entire state here. And that other modeling research suggests an increase of CWD prevalence in a deer herd will cause a moderate to substantial long-term reduction in the harvestable surplus. And there's other researchers in other states like out in Wyoming and they're seeing indications that CWD may be reducing both the age structure and overall populations in some of the highest, uh, CWD prevalence areas out there. So if these indications are correct, ultimately, uh, this could lead to declines in Wisconsin. Which then could have a significant impact on deer hunting here in the state. KATIE: [00:06:32] I think it's, you know, important to note here that it isn't just Wisconsin that's dealing with this, right? It is, you know, a lot of states throughout the country. There are some, some other countries looking at this, correct? AMANDA: [00:06:45] Yeah, that's correct. KATIE: [00:06:46] Right, right. So you mentioned that we have been sampling and testing for it here in Wisconsin for quite some time at this point. What does the DNR have planned for CWD testing around the state this year in 2020?AMANDA: [00:07:02] Yeah. This year is, um, well, every year for that matter is a little bit unique in the, uh, areas of the state where we are doing more sampling efforts, um, than we may have previously. So every year we do put together a, what we call our surveillance plan. And that plan um, looks at our information that we know about CWD in the state already.Where has it been detected? Uh, have we done sampling in certain areas recently? Or has it been some time where we may want to increase sampling efforts to get a little bit more of a current or up to date picture and see what's going on, as far as sampling deer, um, in certain areas across the state. So for this year with our surveillance plan, we have, uh, this is the third year actually, of what we're calling, uh, like a statewide sweep. So this year, our enhanced efforts are really focusing in the northeast. So this is the first year where, uh, we have many more sampling locations available to hunters. So we are looking to collect quite a few more samples from deer that are harvested in our northeast part of the state.Last year, we had this increased effort in the northern part of our state. So there's a handful of counties in the north where we are continuing to provide additional sampling locations because we are looking to collect a few more samples from those counties. And the purpose of this district's sweep is, is really just to collect more samples from areas of the state where we haven't collected this many samples from in a few years. So this is just giving us that more up to date picture about our deer herd in the state, the health of the deer herd. And if there are additional positives detected, we'll know where they are. And we can focus other surveillance and monitoring efforts in those areas. And if we don't detect the disease, that's great information to know as well.KATIE: [00:09:19] Right. So really, you know, we're, we're looking to get more data because if we don't have the data, we don't have a full picture of what's going on. Right? AMANDA: [00:09:28] Right. Exactly. So we need the data, we need the samples and the test results and both of the, uh, test results for positive deer and also the deer that are not detected. Those are equally important to know. KATIE: [00:09:43] So, how can hunters find where they can take their deer to get sampled? AMANDA: [00:09:48] Yeah, of course. So we have a number of sampling locations across the state. So the best place to go for hunters to find out where the locations are, is to go on our DNR website and type in or search for CWD sampling.And we have a whole page that is that, that has this map on this page that lists not only the CWD sampling locations. But also carcass disposal locations. So you can zoom in, you can find your county where you'll be harvesting. You can zoom in and click on icons on the map. That'll show you where the locations are, what type of location it is.If it's a self service kiosk, or if it's a cooperator or another location that will provide assistance with CWD sampling. So really the best thing to do is just to keep checking this map regularly throughout the season. We might have some things change. Some details about a location might change or some new additions might be added.So just important that as hunters are getting closer to their time out in the field. That they check the map regularly. So they know where, where the closest location is to them and that'll work out best for them. KATIE: [00:11:07] Right. Yeah. That's a question we get a lot on social media, you know... "Hey, it's the beginning of October, I'm looking at this map. There aren't any locations showing up in my area right now. How am I supposed to get my deer tested?" So it's, it's important to remember that that map is really reflecting what's available right now. And certainly as we get into the height of deer season, uh, those number of locations is going to increase. So there, there will be more added. AMANDA: [00:11:32] Oh, absolutely. Yep. KATIE: [00:11:34] Perfect. Yeah, you guys are hard at work. Keeping that up to date and, and looking for more ways that we can make this easier for hunters. So.AMANDA: [00:11:42] Yep, absolutely. KATIE: [00:11:43] So other than us focusing a good number of those efforts in those northern regions, what else is new this year in terms of the ways that the DNR is looking to fight CWD across the state?AMANDA: [00:11:57] Yeah, that's a great question. So we do have a new option available for hunters to enter or submit all of the other information that goes along with the actual tissue sample that's needed for CWD testing. So any hunters out there, if they've sent, if they've had their deer tested before they might be familiar with this datasheet that goes along with every sample.So the data sheet previously has just been available in a paper form. So after a hunter registers their deer, you get a confirmation email just to say your deer was registered. And in that email, there is a link and a message to say, if you're interested in getting your deer tested for CWD, you can click on the link in that email, and it'll bring you to an option where you can enter information about yourself. Uh, the location of harvest and then some other details about your deer and you can take care of all of that electronically this year. KATIE: [00:13:01] I think that's a really cool thing because you know, obviously everyone's penmanship is a little bit different or, you know, you may miss a thing on the paper form, and then you get a phone call from the DNR or one of our volunteers trying to help figure that out and interpret what it is that you wrote down. I think it just makes it a bit more straightforward and easier all around. AMANDA: [00:13:23] Oh, definitely. And I know one of the pieces of information that can be challenging, uh, on the data sheet is the location of harvest. So on the paper form, we asked for very, you know, specific location information that not everybody knows, um, off the top of their head.But if you enter this information online, you can see a map and you can zoom in on a map and just place a pin on your location of harvest. And it'll collect all of that other information automatically for you. A couple of other notes to say about that process too, is that. You can access the online form to submit that data through that confirmation email, like I said. You can log into your Go Wild account and you can access it that way.Uh, but one, a couple of things that are important to know in order to do that is you do have to know the station ID number for what station you'll be going to, to actually drop off the deer head for sampling. So every station has an assigned number. You'll need to know that number, which you can get, uh, at the station itself.Or you can get that number on that map that we just talked about that shows all the sampling and disposal locations, those numbers are in that map. But you do still need to go to a sampling location because the other number you'll need is a CWD bar code number. So that six digit number, and you need to enter that online.So important note, takeaway note right now is that... visit a sampling location and then start entering your data through that online process to finish it completely in one step. And then just another safety measure this year, since this is the first year with that online option, is that when you pick up your data sheet, just write your name and phone number on that.And then, um, keep that in the, the black plastic bags that you're using for, um, submitting your, your deer head at that sampling location. Just in case we need to contact you for something. It's nice to have your name and number right there. Since all of your other information was submitted online. KATIE: [00:15:44] Perfect. Perfect. Is there anything else new this year in terms of things that we're doing to help hunters fight CWD? AMANDA: [00:15:52] Um, yeah, so we are expanding our Adopt a Dumpster programs this year and also Adopt a Kiosk. Those two programs have been available for the past couple of years. And participation has been great.It's been increasing every year. And one of the new things with the Adopt a Dumpster program this year is our cost share option. So last year we, uh, the DNR was able to provide a cost share option for certain counties and up to two dumpsters in those counties and reimbursing a certain amount for those couple of dumpster locations.Well, this year what's new is that we have the cost share option available to every county. All 72 counties statewide. So if you, or an organization that you're affiliated with, if you're interested in looking into having a carcass disposal option available to hunters in your community, then check out this program and see if you can still sign up and even participate in that cost share option.KATIE: [00:17:04] Awesome. What can hunters keep in mind to help in the fight to slow the spread of CWD? AMANDA: [00:17:11] There's quite a few things that hunters can, uh, keep in mind here. So, you know, certainly we've been talking a lot about getting their deer tested and having those carcass disposal options available. And aside from those two things, there's... hunters should be aware and follow the carcass transport regulations that we have, uh, both for deer that were harvested here in the state.But also if any hunters go to a different state and want to hunt there and are successful and they bring back um, some meat or bring back something here to their home, is just knowing what those carcass transport regulations are. Both for in-state and, and for out of state. Um, another bit of information hunters should know about is baiting and feeding.So there are, um, right now currently 52 counties in the state have a baiting and feeding ban. And it's just knowing if your county is one of those or whether it's not. And then knowing what the regulations are when it comes to baiting and feeding. Ultimately, it's just making sure as a hunter for where you will be hunting, know if you have a baiting and feeding ban. And just, if you have questions on it, you can check our website to stay current, to know a little bit about that in your area or certainly reach out to us with any other questions. KATIE: [00:18:40] Yeah, absolutely. Are there other ways for hunters to help out in their communities?AMANDA: [00:18:48] Oh. Absolutely. So, uh, hunters can, um, you know, if they're interested, they can, uh, harvest additional deer and even possibly donate those to our, uh... through the deer donation program. So, um, we have this program that's available in the states where, you know, if hunters are out there, they enjoy getting outside. Um, they enjoy contributing to the need, the needs of their communities, where, um, those who may visit the pantries could then have a great option for some venison. KATIE: [00:19:25] 2020 obviously has thrown us a lot of curve balls. Um, everyone has had to make some changes. The DNR included. Is there anything different about CWD testing this year that hunters should be aware of? AMANDA: [00:19:38] Be mindful that the time that it would take that you might be... hunters might be used to, in the past for the time for when they submit their deer for testing to when they get those test results back might be a little bit longer this year. You know, we do have some adjustments that we're making, uh, with our staff and our sampling locations that we have available to hunters.And we're really still trying to do the best we can to have a lot of options out there. And we're checking them frequently. We're getting samples sent in for testing very regularly, but, but just because um, you know, everything that we're still going through here in this state, just give a little bit of extra time or a little bit more patience.It may be a little bit longer for those tests results to come back. And even the lab that does the testing might have some limitations there too. So, really the best advice is to, if you harvest a deer, just try and get it submitted for testing as soon as possible.KATIE: [00:20:41] Right. Yeah. Keep yourself and, and other hunters safe and healthy while, while you're at those stations. And we're, we're going to work our hardest to, to not have there be delays, but just kind of given the way things are there. There probably will be a longer time than you're used to. So great advice there. What's the most important thing for hunters to know going into this season, uh, with regard to CWD specifically?AMANDA: [00:21:07] I guess, overall, and this might be more of an encompassing, you know, um, big takeaway message right now is just really, um, their participation in one way or another in CWD sampling or monitoring surveillance. There's a lot of different ways that hunters can be involved and really we're all in this together to keep monitoring the health of the deer herd in the state. So if hunters can participate in any way that they can, that's really the best thing that they can do.You know, another way that hunters and even non-hunters can help with CWD monitoring is reporting sick deer. Or anything that's kind of abnormal. Making those reports to your local DNR wildlife staff. Um, and one last thing, of course I always recommend, is just for everybody to stay informed and up to date on CWD. There's a lot that we know already, but there's still a lot that we're still learning and that we don't know yet. And so it's really just doing what we can. Stay informed about it. And everybody definitely has a part in helping to protect our, the health of our deer herd in the state. KATIE: [00:22:25] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin. A podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Interested in learning more about CWD and how you can do your part to help? Send those questions to email@example.com and we'll work with Amanda and the rest of our wildlife management team here at the DNR to get you answers. For more great content be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts.Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
12 minutes | 7 months ago
Find Your Adventure, Go Wild In Wisconsin
2020 has been an unpredictable year. Despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsinites have remained resilient. Although times have been tough, Wisconsinites have gotten outdoors to enjoy the many adventures available in our state.In this episode of Off the Record, we asked residents on Facebook to share their inspirational stories of how they found their adventure at Wisconsin State Parks this summer. These four stories represent a collective upward trend in outdoor activity throughout Wisconsin. Find your adventure in Wisconsin at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/outdoorrecreation/adventure.html--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin Off the Record podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host DNRs Acting Communications Director, Katie Grant. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly presented its fair share of challenges, Wisconsinites have remained resilient. And if there's one thing Wisconsinites did a lot of this year, it was get outdoors. Between the middle of March and June 20, 26.4 million people visited Wisconsin state parks, and throughout all of summer, our parks saw 14% more visitors than in 2019.The spring turkey season saw 20% more turkey licenses sold. And sales of first time fishing licenses nearly doubled with more than 20,000 more sold this year, than in 2019. In this year of uncertainty, the DNR is proud of the upward trend of people partaking in the exploration of all of the outdoor activities our state has to offer. Here's DNR Secretary Preston Cole with more.PRESTON: [00:01:17] Outdoor recreation is essential to our economy. Our quality of life, our personal well being and happiness. Wisconsin is home to 49 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails, 84,000 miles of rivers and streams and roughly 15,000 lakes. Leaving folks with tons of opportunity to get outdoors. Being outdoors impacts us in a myriad of ways. But specifically our individual health and wellbeing. Outdoor recreation accounts for 7.8 billion economic impact in Wisconsin. Businesses that sell and rent bikes, kayaks, camping gear are all busier than ever.The increases that people are enjoying the great outdoors and everything that Wisconsin has to offer has been incredible for us to witness. It's clear to us that navigating this pandemic, that parks and Wisconsin's natural resources, in general, are essential for us as a people. And certainly for Wisconsinites.While we'll be exploring ways to enrich our parks in the short term and long term, looking for ways to improve the opportunities for newcomers, increases accessibility for individuals with mobility issues, provide better awareness and opportunities for those different ethnic backgrounds or social economic status.Even though you may see fewer DNR staff in person at your favorite state park, know that they are still working around the clock to ensure you have a positive and safe experience. KATIE: [00:02:42] We wanted to hear how you spent your summer finding adventure in Wisconsin. Our guests today share their stories of how they took advantage of Wisconsin's vast array of parks and recreation areas this summer. Some experienced things for the first time. Others continued old traditions. So sit back and listen in to hear their stories. ERIN: [00:03:05] Hi, my name is Erin and I am from New Berlin, Wisconsin, my boyfriend, Brandon, and our two dogs, Mac and Cam are on a journey to camp in fall at as many beautiful Wisconsin state parks as we possibly can. And this unprecedented summer really gave us an opportunity to take our first ever summer camping trip. So we ended up packing up our pop-up camper and headed an hour west of New Berlin to Lake Kegonsa in Stoughton, Wisconsin. And we had a truly unforgettable four day weekend. While at Lake Kegonsa we honestly explored every single dog-friendly hiking trail. And we even did some geocaching in the woods.And for those of you who have done geocaching before, there are a ton of these in Lake Kegonsa so I highly recommend trying it. But after a trip to the lake, we had hours of campfires. We saw a giant Osprey nest and honestly encountered more ticks and mosquitoes than I'd probably like to admit. We ended up making a memory we will never forget. And got to cross another state park off our list. So thank you so much, Wisconsin state parks and park staff for allowing us to keep our lives super adventurous during such an interesting time in our world history and letting us explore the hidden beauty that is Lake Kegonsa State Park. Next up, we have Mirror Lake State Park scheduled for this October and we can not wait.JOHN: [00:04:33] My name is John Stellflue. The COVID-19 virus has affected each and every one of us in some way, shape or form. You know, this spring, it caused two of my turkey hunts to be canceled. I had two tags, one for season three in zone one and one for season four in zone four. But with everything going on with Covid we all agreed we probably shouldn't get together as a group and hunt. I was very disappointed. I looked forward to these turkey hunts like many of you guys look forward to gun deer season. But as I drove to work the next morning, I realized that the border of zone one is just west of my home in Sun Prairie. My wheels started to spin.I knew it was some public land that could work just fine for us. I called my friend. He had the same tag and same season and told him, Hey, let's do this. And he said he was in. I had less than a week to scout, found us a few spots and the plan quickly started to come together for a last minute public land hunt.Hey, worst case scenario is we spend a few days social distancing in the turkey woods and perhaps find some morels and ramps. Nothing wrong with that. This was going to be my first public land hunt. We... I've always hunted private in the past. My biggest concern was that we were going to be dealing with a lot of hunting pressure.I couldn't have been more wrong. With all the people not working, Gym still being closed, the only thing many people could do for exercise was to walk the public land. We saw and heard a lot of them. After two and a half days of dodging people, I made the call to head to Governor Dodge State Park. My thought was, this is a very large park and we could escape the people.We went to the backside of Twin Valley Lake figuring we could get away from the crowds that were enjoying the park on the first day that the parks were open. Cause prior to this, they had been closed because of Covid. We were wrong. It seemed no matter what we did we couldn't escape the people who were enjoying the parks.As we ate a sandwich on the tailgate of my truck, desperately searching for answers, a friendly DNR park employee stopped and asked if we were seeing any turkeys. I said, all we're seeing is people. He gave us a tip and suggested an area of the park that wasn't frequented by a lot of people. We headed there to check it out.We really liked what we saw and both of us had spots picked out for the following morning. As the sun came up, I heard gobbling off to my left. I smiled... really big smile. Didn't take long before a group of Jakes showed themselves in front of me. I yelped at them and they started coming to my way. They stopped.They hung about a hundred yards out. I had to let out another yelp to get them to come over, come the last a hundred yards. As I was walking up to claim my bird, my mind drifted to the hours and hours we put in during this... during the previous three days. The fourth day of my hunt ended with my first ever public land bird that I would never have harvested if a friendly DNR park employee hadn't stopped by the truck and gave us a tip. You know, if you like the outdoors, do yourself a favor and get out and check out the amazing state park system we have in Wisconsin.KARI: [00:07:15] Hello, fellow campers. My name is Kari Retzlaff and I'm from Milwaukee. Our family's been tent camping at Ottawa Lake probably about 30 years. Our kids were little when we started camping there. Our adult son Craig was critically injured with a traumatic brain injury in 1996 when a drunk decided to drive the wrong way on the expressway.Since this happened, it's almost impossible for Craig to tent camp. We've been renting the accessible cabin at Ottawa Lake for about 20 years now. The cabin at Ottawa Lake is so convenient and close to home. This is our home away from home for four days each summer. It's a comfortable place for us to come and relax.We love the new glass top stove too. Ottawa Lake is also located near several hiking trails in the area, including the Scuppernong and Paradise Springs. We'd like Paradise Springs because it's paved and easy walking. We also walk down to the beach quite a bit. The paved trail to the beach is very accessible for Craig and easy for him to manage.We watch the sun go down. We watch swimmers. We also watch for the Sandhill Crane to appear and walk across the beach. We started bringing our grandson Gavin to the cabin when he was two years old. He is now 13 and still enjoys coming along with grandma and grandpa to swim, fish and hike around. He especially likes to fish.He could spend the whole day on the fishing pier. Which he has done. Craig likes to sit around the campfire at night. I shouldn't say just Craig, but all of us like to sit around the campfire at night. Sometimes we sing silly campfire songs. Sometimes we make up our own songs. We make S'mores and we... and other fun foods on the campfire.The special time for me is when I see or hear Craig laugh. Each moment in his life is precious to us. We are very fortunate for Craig to be able to enjoy camping. We are creating such good memories with him. These special members will last a lifetime. I thank the state parks for making this possible for us.ZACHARY: [00:09:19] Hello, my name is Zachary Ford. I'm from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. I'm talking about Peninsula State Park today. I've actually visited the park numerous times, but we've got young kids. So it wasn't until this year that my wife and I decided to camp up there. We've always loved doing our Door County day trip that we found so much to do up there now that we needed to be up there.And since we're huge fans of the state parks, we decided to stay at Peninsula. Um, I was really impressed with the park. I love the amount of trails that they have there. The bike trails there are just... they make getting around the park nice and easy. Parks very well maintained, which I found, especially impressive in the times that we're in with the DNR not having a lot of their people working, um, facilities were clean.Um, and well-stocked. And it was just a really, really great place to stay. We really liked the variety of the types of campsites. Uh, we, we managed to find a very open campsite, which is the type we prefer, um, with the kids running around a little bit, but we noticed that there was a lot of really nice ones and it's such a unique park.It's so big, um, that you're sitting at your campsite and you don't realize that within 50 miles of you there's just thousands and thousands of people. Which just makes it a really cool experience. Uh, we really liked using it as kind of our home base, so to say, for, um, our Door County trip. Um, you're able to get anywhere in Door County in a relatively short period of time from Peninsula State Park.We liked that it's so close, um, to the city of Fish Creek, where you've got a lot of different amenities. We've actually had such a great time up there that we're actually leaving this morning to go back up there for a couple nights before our school year begins. Um, and we're really looking forward to being able to spend some more time up there. Just another one of the great examples of the awesome state parks we have here in Wisconsin.KATIE: [00:11:16] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin. A podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Interested in learning more about how you can go wild in Wisconsin? Send those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more great content, be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin, wherever you get your podcasts.Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
27 minutes | 8 months ago
Run For The Record Books
Each year, over one million people use Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail to recreate, meditate or take in the unique sights sculpted by a glacier thousands of years ago.Last spring, Coree Woltering, a North Face sponsored ultrarunner, embarked on a challenge that very few have attempted in the IATs 12,000-year history.For over 21 days, Woltering endured an ankle sprain, remnants of a tropical storm and a barrage of mosquitoes and ticks all in route to setting the record for the fastest known time across the trail. Not only did Woltering successfully overcome every obstacle, but in the process, he also helped raise over $28,000 for Feeding America, a national nonprofit that assists food banks across the country.In this episode of Off the Record, we sat down with Woltering to discuss his origins as an ultrarunner, his desire to be a champion for diversity in the world of outdoor sports and how cupcakes and Kwik Trip chicken sandwiches fuel his run. Follow Coree On Social MediaFacebookInstagramTwitterLearn more about the Ice Age Trail at https://www.iceagetrail.org/Listen to episode 47 -- Hitting Wisconsin’s Trails With The Thousand Miler--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTANNOUNCER: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin "Off the Record" podcast. Information straight from the source.KATIE: [00:00:10] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. I'm your host DNR's Digital Communication Section Chief Katie Grant. The last six months have been full of uncertainty. Although the changes look a bit different for everyone.We've all had to adapt in some way. Early on in the pandemic, Coree Woltering an Ultra Marathon Runner from Ottawa, Illinois realized he was going to have to the shift gears as a sponsored athlete, he saw that races were being canceled for summer and his future was uncertain. He decided to turn lemons into lemonade and attempt to break a fastest known time record for running the Ice Age Trail across Wisconsin.And he decided to take it a step further by raising money for Feeding America, a national nonprofit that helps food banks all over the country. Coree's attempt began on June 1st at the Ice Age Trails, Western Terminus located in Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls over the next 21 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes.Coree raced against the clock arriving at the Eastern Terminus in Sturgeon Bay on June 22nd. Beating the record by about four and a half hours. We chatted with Coree via zoom to hear what it was like to run 1200 miles and learn a bit more about the eating, training and music that goes into pulling off the success. So sit back and listen. It. COREE: [00:01:38] Hey guys. Yeah. So, um, my name is Coree and I am a professional Trail and Ultra Runner for the North Face. Um, so basically I get to go explore trails and different areas and try to run fast on them. KATIE: [00:01:57] That's a pretty simple way of describing it, but what you do sounds in reality, a lot harder than that. Uh, how did you get into long distance running? COREE: [00:02:08] Um, that is a great question because sometimes I still wonder that. So I grew up, you know, playing multiple sports and was running usually to stay in shape for the sports and then kind of realized I was decent at it. And, um, So I ran in high school, ran in college, um, but it is more sprints and middle distance that I was doing.And then I also ran cross country. So I had to kind of get used to a little bit longer of distances. And then, um, just through a few injuries and stuff, I actually took up triathlon because I was like, you know, I know how to run. I can swim. So may as well buy a bike and start riding and next thing, you know, I find myself racing the middle distance and the sprints on the track, but then I'm racing half Ironman races in the summer to stay in shape for everything. And, um, turned out to be pretty decent at that. And so I raced the world championships twice. And then, um, moved to Boulder, Colorado and thought I wanted to become a professional triathlete and started hanging out with trail runners and found out that trail running was my passion.KATIE: [00:03:20] Very cool. Competing in Ironman triathlons just absolutely blows my mind. I have a couple of friends who do it and it, to me is crazy. Cause I'm not a runner at all, but good for you for doing, is there an official distance where it is no longer? Just long distance running and it is suddenly Ultra Running.COREE: [00:03:41] Um, so Ultra Running would be considered basically anything over the typical marathon of 26.2 miles. Um, but I believe like the first like official ultra distance is 50 kilometers, so about 31 miles. KATIE: [00:03:57] All right. That makes sense. Congratulations. You very recently, uh, set the record for the fastest known time running the Ice Age Trail. Why did you specifically pick the Ice Age Trail and why now? COREE: [00:04:13] Yeah. Um, so I picked the Ice Age Trail because I do a lot of training on the southern Kettle Moraine area um, trails down there, and then I've done quite a bit of stuff in the Devils Lake area. So it just kind of became this thing of like, Okay.I've seen a couple areas of the Ice Age trail, but now I'd like to explore more of them. So in May, uh, I basically decided that I was going to go after the Ice Age Trail FKT in June. Um, so not a lot of time to plan, but I took a couple of trips up to northern Wisconsin and got on some of the more technical areas up there and just kind of learned in the course a little bit.And then, um, And then yeah, just went for it in June. And I guess now was the time to do it because, um, like with COVID like we, we didn't have any races happening and we really don't know when the next race will be happening. So because of that and like, I have time to kind of do this and then recover after and not have to worry about getting ready for another race or something.Um, Yeah. So that was the first part of why. Um, and then the second part of why actually kind of... kind of happened, you know, like, um, you know, three or four days before I started, um, the George Floyd incident, um, I had no idea just like how much of a movement that was going to start. Um, but at the time I felt like this was kind of like my time to do this as, um, just a positive story of people of color in the outdoors, doing awesome things because...Uh, there just weren't a lot of positive stories happening at the moment. KATIE: [00:06:03] Yeah, absolutely. The way that you got started in this particular one, I think is a, such a very cool story, especially with everything going on in the world, not only with, um, you know, like you had mentioned the incident with George Floyd, but also with COVID and kind of the world being completely different right now than it ever has been before. Have you ever done a race that's this long before. Or this many like consecutive days? COREE: [00:06:32] No. So like the longest race that I've ever done was like 106 miles, I think is the longest distance. And then her consecutive days, like maybe a little over a week, but it wasn't all just running. So, um, So, yeah, like this is completely different for me.KATIE: [00:06:50] How many miles per day did you know that you needed to run in order to set the record? And I guess was the record what you were setting out to do, or were you just wanting to complete the trail in general? COREE: [00:07:03] Um, you know, the record was definitely what I wanted. Completing it was also going to be great. Um, I think it's about. 50 miles a day that you have to do to be able to get the record. Um, and so like not all of the days are 50 miles, but some of the days were quite a bit more. KATIE: [00:07:19] Right. What was the longest single day you did on this? COREE: [00:07:22] So in like a 24 hour period, I believe I covered like a hundred and. For 105 miles in one stretch. But like the longest that I believe I was up was almost 40 something hours with only a 20 minute nap in there and just pushing through. So that was like 158 mile push. I think I did at the end. KATIE: [00:07:44] Wow. That's as, as a non runner, I, I just, I have no words for that. That's awesome and crazy at the same time.COREE: [00:07:52] Totally. Absolutely. KATIE: [00:07:53] So what does it, obviously, you got into this kind of at the last minute, but for any of these longer runs, um, what does it look like to train for something like this? COREE: [00:08:03] For me, it was kind of, I was just going about it as if I was training for like a 100-mile race or something. And I'm just kind of doing normal training.Um, I didn't really... up my overall run volume. I didn't necessarily, uh, do any special type workouts or anything. I guess the biggest thing was more, um, I had a couple weeks where we did some back-to-back long run days, or I'd go out for maybe four hours on one day in six hours the next day. Um, but then nothing else that was like, I didn't put in a six-month build of, you know, big back-to-back long run weekends or big midweek workouts. Um, just kind of consistent 80 to maybe a hundred miles a week, uh, for a few weeks. Yeah.KATIE: [00:08:53] And you did it. What is, obviously, we're going to be favorable of Wisconsin here and say that obviously running this through Wisconsin was the coolest place you've ever run, but second coolest place that you have ever done. One of these long runs. Yeah, so I COREE: [00:09:13] was in Japan in 2019 for Ultra Trail, Mount Fuji. And that was pretty cool. So it's 106 mile race that goes in the mountain range around Mount Fugi. So you basically do this giant loop and that's just really awesome, um, from like a trail standpoint, but also, um, the, the trail comes down out of the mountains and goes through some of the small villages in that area. So you really get to actually see some, just like some of the daily life of the people that live in these villages, along with the mountains that surround it. So that's really kind of cool. KATIE: [00:09:51] Wow. I went to Mount Fuji by bus, not by running in 20...it would have been 2013 and that area is just absolutely beautiful. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be able to be running through that. COREE: [00:10:03] Yeah. And like the other really cool thing about it was that it was during a cherry blossom season. So like, it was just like the most amazing time to be there.KATIE: [00:10:14] Absolutely. Yeah. So you mentioned that you do a lot of training in the southern unit of, uh, the Kettle Moraine State Forest. What do you like most about training in this area? COREE: [00:10:25] Um, you know, it's, it's kind of the perfect mix of runnable trail, but still a hilly enough that it has that it's challenging. Um, and I think that's one of the things that's really, um, that people kind of take for granted or kind of don't think about when you think of Midwestern trails.Um, cause you know, like out in California you have the big giant climbs and we have mountains and um, on the East coast you have some really rocky and technical terrain and still some bigger climbs out there. Whereas for this, it's a lot of just short, but kind of steep climbs. Um, and I, I really liked that because I feel like it's a different style of running, but if you can do well on this, you can usually also do well when you go other places. But sometimes, you know, those big climbs that you're training on out west don't necessarily translate well to the style of running that we have here. KATIE: [00:11:19] Was there a segment of the Ice Age Trail trail that was your favorite? COREE: [00:11:24] You know, I really enjoyed Kettlebowl. Um, which is funny because that is not most people's favorite, but like, for me, that was just like, okay, like I'm feeling semi okay. Like, I. I, I guess that was kind of where you make the turn to finally also head south for a while, and it's like, you finished the hardest sections of this trail. And so now it's kind of like, it was just like that farewell to the north and northeast section, I guess. Um, So I really enjoyed that, but also like northern and southern Blue Hills is awesome. Um, yeah. KATIE: [00:12:05] I love it. Love it. So when you're out there running, um, are you listening to music? Are you just listening to nature? What, what are you what's getting you through there?COREE: [00:12:15] Yeah. Um, sometimes music, sometimes nature. Sometimes I'd have somebody else running with me. Um, which is still like, sometimes you're listening to music, even if you have somebody else with you.Um, sometimes not. I don't know, just being out there is fun though. Yeah. A mix of all of it as out there for anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day at times. So, and for the last few days, even longer than 20 hours. So, I mean, there's going to be a bunch of stuff. KATIE: [00:12:42] Absolutely. Was there a go-to song or a genre that you turned on? Like when things were getting really stuck, really tough and you had to really keep pushing. COREE: [00:12:51] Um, so I listened to a lot of different stuff, but for the first, probably for the first two weeks, I listened to you mostly like... um, EDM music and like upbeat stuff and whatever. I'm like, there you go. I enjoy listening to it necessarily my favorite, but it's tolerable for hours at a time.Um, and then like, I love heavy metal. So I actually saved like all my favorite heavy metal bands and stuff for the final week, in the final few days, just as like that little extra pick me up.KATIE: [00:13:27] Love it..Love it. Other than actually setting the record. What was your most memorable moment on the trail? COREE: [00:13:35] Well, um, so the funny story, it would be that, uh, the remnants of the tropical storm that were coming across Wisconsin, as I'm just running through Northern Wisconsin. And here's that tropical storm coming through and high wind. And it's like, what else can possibly be happening right now? [Laughs] We have, like, we have the ticks, we have the mosquitoes, we have the heat and humidity, we have the mud, we have the water and now we have the remnants of a tropical storm coming through. So, um, that was pretty funny.Um, I don't think it was funny at the time, but I think it's funny now. But one of my most memorable moments was, um, a three and a half year old. "Glacier B" is his trail name and he's already done like 150 miles of the Ice Age Trail. Um, and so he just, he loves the trail and, um, his parents were like, "Hey, you know, like there's this tunnel that he loves to go through."Um, and they're like, "would it be okay if he ran it with you?" And I said, absolutely. So, here we are, and I'm running through this tunnel and running with Glacier B and, um, he's like giving me advice on how to run the trail. So that was pretty sweet.KATIE: [00:14:50] So, for anyone listening. If you go check out Coree's Facebook page, video of that is on his Facebook page and it like truly, even without the sound on, I couldn't hear what he was saying to you, but even without the sound on it was the cutest thing ever to watch.COREE: [00:15:05] Yeah. So like, yeah, like that was just, that was a great moment. And like, I had been struggling a little bit too, but I'm like, all right, like he went straight on through the tunnel. Like, let's run, like, here we go. And it was just a nice distraction. KATIE: [00:15:17] So, obviously you had a time goal in mind as you ran the trail. Uh, were you able to balance taking in the scenery a little bit with competing against the clock? COREE: [00:15:27] So, the good news is... I had been on some of the stuff up north before. So, um, which was like, I was up there in May, I guess. Um, I wasn't necessarily taking in the scenery up north on some of those sections, just because they were a bit overgrown or trees were down or so muddy that I spent a lot of time just to looking down.Um, but it wasn't my first time on it. So, um, I feel like I was able to take in those sites the first time I was there. Um, and then, you know, different sections were definitely easier to take in sights than others. So, um, I got to enjoy most of it. KATIE: [00:16:06] Understandable. You, you certainly had a different goal in mind than just taking everything in. So it's completely understandable. You recently tweeted about the discovery of a burrito pocket in your vest while you're running. Other than burritos, which I just want to add is a great idea for portable food. What snacks or meals do you like to carry with you when you're out running? COREE: [00:16:28] Yes. Uh, the burrito pocket became a many things pocket over the course of this FKT. Um, so we discovered that Kwik Trip has cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches that, um, are enough calories and like the right size to also fit in that pocket. So, um, my diet on this thing was Kwik Trip cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches. And then, um, I was eating like... Chicken and Stars condensed soup straight out of the can and SpaghettiOs with meatballs, like straight out of the can.So that's what I was eating out on the trail and cupcakes and, and, um, like there's one day that, I mean, I spent $70 on Kwik Trip on just chicken sandwiches and cheeseburgers and like Starbucks coffee drinks. And it was really funny because the cashier was looking at me like, what are you doing with all of this food?Cause I, like I said, all of them that they had in there. Oh. And breakfast, croissants, like I just took all of them. Like, it's fine. I'm running. I need these. And it was just really funny, but yeah, those were, that's what got me through this. And in general, like I would not be eating like that out on the trail.Like if I was just going for a training run or a hike or something, but for something like this, when you're eating 6,000 to 8,000 calories a day, like, that's just, that's what you have to do. KATIE: [00:17:57] I'm fully on board with the Kwik Trip funded, a trail running diet. That sounds fantastic to me. COREE: [00:18:04] Yeah. I mean, I enjoyed it. And so they also have like those rice crispy treats in there that have a little bit of peanut butter in they're chocolate covered on top, like... oh my goodness I love those. And then like one day we were in there and it was like, I think they're doing donuts like $2 for a dozen or something like that. And like, well, you don't have to twist my arm.Like, I guess we'll take a few dozen donuts. Okay. Yeah. KATIE: [00:18:29] Maybe I need to take up trail running just so I can adopt the Kwik Trip diet. Uh, you know, it's not a bad reason to do it. So when you're out on a long-distance run like this, obviously you're out for many days at a time. How do things like sleep work? Are you staying in a tent, in a hotel, in a van? What, how are you sleeping and making that happen? COREE: [00:18:52] So. Sleep was definitely the interesting, uh, thing here because, uh, just like due to COVID, uh, some of the campgrounds are closed or the facilities at the campgrounds are closed. Um, and so that kind of threw a wrench into the plan a little bit. And then also like some of the hotels that we had planned on staying in weren't open.So, um, that did not help either. So there, I mean, there are some nights that we had... that we were able to get a hotel. Um, we didn't camp when we were up north, just because, um, the ticks and the mosquitoes were so bad up north, that I was like, you know what? I don't want to be sleeping in my tent and still hear mosquitoes buzzing outside or have ticks, like getting into the tent.Um, And then I also just wanted to take a shower at the end of the day. So, yeah, there's a lot of hotels. And then a few nights of sleeping in the van. KATIE: [00:19:47] What for you is the perfect weather to be running in? Do you like it when it's hot out cold out, anything in between sunny, snowy, raining? What's your perfect long distance running weather?COREE: [00:20:00] So like perfect for long distance, I would say is probably like 55 degrees and maybe slightly overcast. Um, but I enjoy heat and humidity. So like sunny 85, 90 degrees with decent humidity is what I really enjoy. Um, and so like for me, there are races like Badwater 135, which is, I mean, you know, a race, 135-mile race through Death Valley in July.That, that gets up to like 120 degrees, but it's super low humidity so that's a race that I'm very interested in. Um, but like Kettle Moraine 100 would be one of the perfect races for me, I think because normally that's a decently hot weekend in June and it's in the Southern Kettles and it's going to have the humidity also. So, yeah. Like something like that. KATIE: [00:20:55] So you consider yourself to be a champion of diversity. How do you envision getting more people of color involved in outdoor activities like Ultra Running and beyond? COREE: [00:21:05] And that is a very good question. And, um, so going back to last year, um, I raced Eco Challenge Fiji on a team that was like the first all African American team to do this adventure race.Um, and basically it's a 700 kilometer race across Fiji. That includes multiple disciplines of like, uh, sailing, rock climbing, um, mountain biking, trekking, orienteering. Um, and a lot of these are really fun disciplines that you don't necessarily see a bunch of people of color doing. And for me, it was one of those things where I felt like I wanted to race it because like, I, I knew what Eco Challenge was, but like I never saw anybody that looked like me on TV doing that.And I never really thought I'd be doing it. And then when I was, uh, someone's like, "Hey, you know, it'd be like to be on our team?" Said, yeah. And then I realized like... oh, like we actually have a great platform to show this off. Um, and so.... like Team Onyx is, was our, is our team name. And this year we had it, I had actually planned on doing like youth camps for like our different sports.Like for me, I'd be leading the trail running camp. Uh, we had a professional mountain biker, so she would be leading the mountain bike camps and we'd also be doing some sailing courses and different things like that. And just due to COVID like, unfortunately we can't really do those this year. Um, but next year we plan on bringing the camps back and doing that.And so, like, I just think that's, you know, one way you can do it, like actually going out and doing it, but then another way is just by like the media attention, this FKT has been getting and, um, And just being very open and just honest and visible with it and just being like, yeah, you know, this is me, this is what I do. And I hope that other people will want to do it as well. KATIE: [00:22:54] So, as you've mentioned, obviously COVID has thrown some wrenches in your plans as far as you can tell, what what's next on the docket? What's your next big thing?COREE: [00:23:05] I'm not super sure at this point. Um, this, it really depends on how long recovery takes from this FKT attempt and it's one of those things where even though I may feel recovered, I know that it's going to take a lot longer than I think it will. Um, so like, I really don't have plans to be racing for probably two to three months. Even if there are races coming up, I just don't think I will be. Um, so I'm just trying to figure out if I'm going to race next or if there's a shorter FKT, but I might want to go after or... yeah, I don't know. But right now it's just kind of, um, just relaxing and going through a really short runs and, uh, starting to get on the bike again a little bit. So yeah.KATIE: [00:23:55] For sure. If there were anywhere... you could go run anywhere in the world, where would you want to go run? COREE: [00:24:02] That is a really tough question because, um, because I have been to a lot of the places that I want to go run. Um, but I, I love the country Peru, so probably going back up to like Cusco and then doing some of the trails out there. I think it'd be really fun or, I mean, like the super high altitude places in Peru, I think can be really fun to go to again. KATIE: [00:24:26] Is there anything else you think that listeners should know about trail running in general? Getting started just doing it, anything like that? COREE: [00:24:37] Yeah. You know, when it comes to trail running like, figure out like what your local chapter of the Ice Age Trail would be and reach out to people. Because, uh, they like, people are just super friendly, but I mean, if it's not the Ice Age Trail, then um, just in general, like check for like a Facebook or something and see if there's people that would, I love to go out and like either hike with you or start to run.Um, but the big thing is like, just it get slow, you know? Like you don't have to go out and run ultra distances to be a trail runner. You also don't have to go out and try to set this FKT to be a trail runner and they're like, you can go out and enjoy the, you know, three miles segment that's by your house and still be a trailer runner. Like that's all okay. So I'd say the big thing is like, just... ease into it and just really enjoy it. KATIE: [00:25:27] Awesome. Great advice. If people want to follow along with your adventures in the future, where can they find you? COREE: [00:25:33] Yeah. Um, so I am Coree Woltering on Instagram and then my blog is Coree Woltering dot com. And then I also have an Athlete page on Facebook.KATIE: [00:25:46] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin Off the Record. A podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Learn more about Coree and see photos of his journey in the fall issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Have questions about running the Ice Age Trail? Check out episode 47 for a chat with fellow thousand miler, Melanie McManus Radzicki, or email us email@example.com for more great content.Be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
32 minutes | a year ago
What 50 Years Of Clean Air Looks Like
Ninety-four percent of Wisconsinites live in an area that meets all federal air quality standards. Fifty short years ago, that wasn’t necessarily the case. The first Earth Day in 1970 paved the way for a couple of landmark environmental initiatives, including the signing of the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act is widely considered one of the most comprehensive and successful pieces of legislation ever signed into law. We continue to benefit from it today. The act has achieved tremendous reductions in air pollution, protecting public health and saving lives, while allowing for economic growth and development. To learn a bit more about what the Clean Air Act is and its impact on the reduction of air pollution throughout Wisconsin, we sat down with leading air quality experts Gail Good and Brad Pierce. Gail Good is the Director of the Air Management program at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a co-chair for the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) Emissions and Modeling Committee. Brad Pierce is the Principal Investigator of RAQMS (Real-time Air Quality Modeling System) and Director of the Space, Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Learn more about air quality in Wisconsin at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/AirQuality/index.asp Download the Wisconsin Air Quality Monitoring App for Android devices here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.envitech.Wisconsin Download the Wisconsin Air Quality Monitoring App for Apple devices here: https://www.apple.com/lae/ios/app-store/--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast. Information straight from the source.Katie Grant: [00:00:11] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record. I'm your host DNR's digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. The first Earth Day was a turning point for environmentalism in our country. The awareness it braised resulted in real changes, including the creation of the environmental protection agency and the signing of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.Without these acts, there were few things in place to limit pollution. As a state, Wisconsin has made major progress in the last 50 years when it comes to air quality. To help us celebrate Clean Air Month and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, we wanted to learn a bit more about how the air was in Wisconsin in 1970, how it is today and how you can help us keep the air clean for the future.On today's episode, we sat down with Gail Good and Brad Pierce. Gail is the director of the air management program here at the DNR. In addition to her work for the DNR, she is a co-chair for the National Association of Clean Air Agencies' emissions and modeling committee. Brad is the director of the Space Science and Engineering Center at UW -Madison.He has more than 25 years of experience in the design, development, and execution of global atmospheric models. Since 2001, he has been the principal investigator of the real-time air quality monitoring system, which has been used globally since 2012 to make real-time air quality predictions. Sit back and listen in to learn more about air quality in Wisconsin and hear the answers to questions you asked about it on Instagram. Gail Good: [00:01:53] My name is Gail good. I'm the director of the Air management program here at DNR. Brad Pierce: [00:01:58] And I'm Brad Pierce. I'm the director of the Space Science and Engineering Center at UW-Madison. And I'm an atmospheric scientist. Katie Grant: [00:02:07] Fantastic. So we are here today to talk about the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. So what is the Clean Air Act? Gail Good: [00:02:16] The Clean Air Act is one of the most successful pieces of federal legislation that's ever been enacted. You mentioned it was put into place 50 years ago, and that's, that's true actually at the end of this year, right on December 31st, 1970. So when the Clean Air Act was signed into existence, it's gone through several amendments. Clean Air Act, um, was designed really to, uh, cut down on air pollution while growing the economy.And the benefit of that, the cutdown and air pollution is that it's actually saved lives over the 50 years it's been in existence. Katie Grant: [00:02:49] Fantastic. Was it just for Wisconsin or is it a federal thing that covers every state? Gail Good: [00:02:55] The Clean Air Act is a federal piece of legislation, so it does indeed cover every state.Katie Grant: [00:03:00] When it was enacted, what did it initially mean for residents of Wisconsin and I guess the entire country.Brad Pierce: [00:03:07] From personal experience? Katie Grant: [00:03:08] Yeah! Brad Pierce: [00:03:09] So I remember driving, I grew up in Minneapolis and we had family out East. I remember driving through Gary, Indiana on the way out East in the, in the early seventies and you could smell Gary, Indiana at that point, and it was very polluted.And now when you drive through Gary, Indiana, it doesn't smell like pollution anymore and the air much better. So, you know, that's from personal experience. Seeing that change dramatically over the, over my lifetime is pretty amazing. Gail Good: [00:03:41] Yeah, when the act was first put in place in the seventies it really gave us the ability to begin to study air pollution and its effects and how much it was kind of impacting people and of the world around them.And then over time, it's given us the ability to, you know, write permits for sources and just understand air quality issues in even more detail. Katie Grant: [00:04:03] What does it mean for us today? Because it's still in place now. Yes. So what, what does it mean for us today? What, what, might we see that we wouldn't see if we didn't have the Clean Air Act today.Gail Good: [00:04:15] So we're we implement the federal Clean Air Act here, um, in the air program at DNR. Um, we basically, what happens is through that act, EPA sets requirements and boundaries and things that we can do and implement here. So we're doing that here in the program. And then, um, we work within those boundaries to implement the act still today.So it's very much a part of what we're doing now in the air program. Katie Grant: [00:04:41] And you had mentioned seeing the change in Indiana, but what has changed about Wisconsin's air quality in the last 50 years, and how might people who aren't scientists notice a difference here in our state? Brad Pierce: [00:04:55] So I think it's a little. I do kind of global air quality. So for me it's a little easier to talk about it on maybe, for the United States as a whole. And if I look back on, uh, when I used to work at NASA, we were doing work with satellite data that was measuring the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere. So the particulates. And that's very relevant for the Clean Air Act because one of the, one of the, uh, pollutants that's, that is regulated as PM 2.5 which are small particulates.And as recently as 2000, 2003 when we looked at aerosols over the entire United States, we saw all sorts of heavy aerosol loading in the Ohio river Valley in the Southeastern US, and that would often get transported up into the, into Wisconsin. We don't see that anymore. So much of that aerosol loading, uh, that was in the atmosphere frequently is pretty much gone now.And that is from the Clean Air Act and the, the, uh, reductions in the, uh, the sulfur dioxide emissions coming out of power plants. Katie Grant: [00:06:11] Okay. And you had mentioned PM 2.5 what is that? Brad Pierce: [00:06:15] So PM 2.5 stands for particulate matter, which is small particles like dust that you can see, uh, blowing through the air, but smaller than 2.5 microns.So those are very small. Those are smaller than the dust particles that you can see in the sunlight when you see dust floating in the air. And those are particularly relevant because they can, when you inhale, those, those can get deep inside your lungs and then have adverse health impacts. Katie Grant: [00:06:47] Okay. Gail Good: [00:06:47] Sometimes we call PM two-five "fine particles", so you may have heard that term before too.And um, that's, fine particles, that's really a success story here in Wisconsin. We did used to have areas of the state, um, in the Southeast part of the state that we called "non-attainment" for PM 2.5 or fine particles. And what that means is that they aren't meeting the federal PM 2.5 standards. We don't have PM two-five non-attainment areas in the state anymore.Um, through successful regulation, through cutting emissions, um, we've been able to see those areas that were previously not meeting the standard, now meeting the standards. So that's good news and you know, part of the success of how the act works is it really allows you to regulate, set those boundaries, set those requirements, and see real reductions in emissions that lead to reductions and measured concentrations of these pollutants.Katie Grant: [00:07:37] Yeah. Are there, you mentioned that it was. Fine particles, correct. Is, is there any other kinder is, is PM 2.5 really what the only thing that we're watching for?Gail Good: [00:07:48] No, we also measure PM 10 in the state, so that would be particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less. Um, we also have at times measured what's called total suspended particulate, um, or particles that are even larger in size. We're primarily primarily now focused on, um, PM 2.5 because of the health impacts that it can have. Katie Grant: [00:08:09] Fabulous.Brad Pierce: [00:08:10] And then there's also some of the other pollutants that are regulated are ozone. So that's the other side of the coin, that the Clean Air Act controls ozone abundances as well through controlling different emissions.Katie Grant: [00:08:23] Does all of Wisconsin meet those federal standards today? And if not, what is the DNR doing to change that? Gail Good: [00:08:30] That's a good question. So 94% of the population of our state lives in an area that's meeting all federal standards. But we do have some areas of the state that we do consider non-attainment that aren't meeting all of the federal standards.Um, Brad actually just referenced, um, the pollutant that has been a persistent concern for us in Wisconsin. That's ozone. We do have some ozone non-attainment areas along our lakeshore, which is where we have historically seen these ozone non-attainment areas. That's really due to, um, the unique kind of meteorology, um, that can occur in that area.And then the geography along the lakeshore as well. So, um, and also, um, besides the meteorology and geography, we're really subject to a lot of transported pollution from areas out of state. So, um, if you can imagine a nice summer day where you have southerly winds. So winds coming up from the South pulling some of the pollution that may be formed, another, or being admitted in other areas, um, up over our lakeshore. During the day on a nice hot, sunny day, you take these... ozone is not directly emitted to, we should say, it's actually formed from a reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. Um, a nice sunny day, those kind of cook in the sunlight out over the lake. And then, um, if you've ever been, um, kind of visiting the lakeshore on one of those summer days, you might've noticed that the breeze picks up later in the afternoon often.So that ozone that's formed out over the lake then gets carried onto the lakeshore, um, with that lake breeze. That's why we tend to see some higher concentrations of ozone along our lakeshore and have historically had a persistent non-attainment issue there. Katie Grant: [00:10:19] How does Wisconsin compare to other States in implementing the Clean Air Act? Are we, we're, we're doing the best, right? We're, we're awesome. Gail Good: [00:10:29] Of course, we are! Different States implement the act in different ways. Um, some states, um, are, um, implementing it, very implementing the act very directly. We're what's called a "state implementation plan" state. We are able to work within the boundaries of the Clean Air Act and the requirements that EPA has, um, to, to write our own rules so that we're able to implement them in the ways that we need to, to, to meet the requirements of the act. So little bit of a difference. Um, but everybody is really implementing, um, the Clean Air Act in the way that EPA requires them to.Brad Pierce: [00:11:06] I can chime in on that too. I've, I've worked with, uh, regulatory agencies in California. Uh, I've worked with them in Texas. I've worked with them in the mid-Atlantic states and in Long Island and New York state, and I've worked with Wisconsin. And so, uh, Wisconsin is the only place where I've been able to actually participate in a field campaign to try and understand exactly that ozone problem that we have along the western shore of Lake Michigan.So I'd say Wisconsin is, is one of those, uh, areas that is really going out of its way to try and address the, uh, the exceedances that it has and understand them better. Katie Grant: [00:11:46] That's what we like to hear. Wisconsin is always the best. Gail Good: [00:11:49] Right? And you did ask what we're doing, um, to, to try and address some of our issues. So maybe we can spend a few minutes talking about that because there are a lot of things that we do to try to address our ozone issues. Brad mentioned one, um, we have done and, and actively participated in it and engaged with a lot of our partners like Brad at the UW, um, to try and understand the issue.Um, you can't, uh, solve an issue until you can kind of measure it and, and then, um, and understand it. And so we've spent a lot of time, um, doing just that. We also, um, we work with an organization called LADCO or Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium. They're a really important partner for us in working through some of the technical details that help us understand and define our ozone problem, um, so that we can work toward resolution.It also gives us a forum to engage with other states. Um, so I did mention that, you know, we are responsible for some of our air pollution, but there's a portion of it that, um, really is being transported to us from out of state. So working through LADCO gives us a forum to work with those other states to address some of those issues. That's just a few of the things that we're doing. And Brad, maybe you want to expand a little bit on some of the more specifics of some of the study that we've done.Brad Pierce: [00:13:07] So, yeah, we conducted, uh, the Lake Michigan ozone study, uh, in 2017. There actually was an earlier Lake Michigan ozone study that was mostly coordinated by the Wisconsin DNR. And, uh, as, as Gail mentioned, what's happening in terms of the ozone chemistry is happening out over the lake, so we don't have monitors, so that we can measure what's happening. So you need some unique ways to look at what's going on over the lake. The first Lake Michigan ozone study had aircraft that did profiles out over the lake and over land to try and get some idea uh, of, of what was going on, so we actually have, uh, measurement of the concentration of aerosols and ozone and its precursors, uh, right over the lake. We sort of took that and, and broadened the scope of the measurement. So we not only had aircraft that were doing profiles, so we know what the vertical distribution of ozone and other pollutants are, but also doing mapping, uh, so that we can actually see maps of that, uh, ozone precursor concentrations out over the lake, on land, and relate that to the, to the unique transport that's going on in in the area the unique meteorology. We also had a number of different ground-based measurements that were all along the shore, beginning in Schiller park, uh, in Chicago, right outside of Chicago O'hare, and moving all the way along up the western shore up to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and made those measurements continuously during May and June of 2017. Um, and also had some additional enhanced measurements at one site in Illinois. So again, in partnership with LADCO and the, the Illinois Department of Environmental Quality, uh, we had a site there, uh, and we had a site up in Sheboygan where we were able to look at very detailed chemistry and meteorology in those regions.So we're, we're in the process of, of analyzing that data now beginning to publish, uh, results of that. Uh, we're at Wisconsin at Madison. We're taking that a step further right now and trying to use those measurements to help improve our ability to model, to forecast the meteorology that's associated with these ozone enhancement events.And we're working with the Wisconsin DNR and the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium, uh, in a project funded by NASA to try and build the best modeling platform so that we can capture that unique meteorology and then use that to better understand how to control emissions to reduce those sort of, in the future.Katie Grant: [00:16:02] Yeah. It sounds like we know a lot, but there's still a lot for us to learn. Brad Pierce: [00:16:07] Yes. Katie Grant: [00:16:08] Yeah. Gail Good: [00:16:09] Yeah. We're, I think we have a relatively unique situation here. Um, there are other shoreline areas that experienced something similar, um, like we do where we're seeing elevated concentrations of ozone along the shoreline.But I think there are some uniquenesses to Wisconsin and in particular, this side of Lake Michigan that we're still working to understand. And then Brad talked a little bit about, you know, how to determine what's happening over water. And I think that's an area that we're still really trying to understand a little better. Um, you know, what really goes on to with those pollutants as they're over water. Katie Grant: [00:16:49] Yeah. So we opened up on Instagram and let everyone know that we were going to be doing this episode and asked what sort of questions do our followers have about air quality and just the air in general in Wisconsin. So here's a couple of those questions:Does Wisconsin require vehicle emission testing? Why or why not? Gail Good: [00:17:11] Yes. There are some parts of our state that do require vehicle emission testing. Um, those areas are, um, in Kenosha County, Milwaukee County, Ozaukee. We're seeing Sheboygan, Washington, and Waukesha counties. Um, the reason that we do that, um, is that these are areas that have historically, uh, violated the ozone standard.They were historically non-attainment areas. Um, some of them still are, um, and some of them aren't. But when an area is not attaining a standard for some time, when it does eventually attain a standard and we're able to re-designate that area, we want to be able to maintain that good air quality in that area.So, um, even some of those counties that are not at this point, um, non-attainment, those requirements are in place to make sure that that area can maintain that good air quality and not be in a situation where they're violating a standard again. Brad Pierce: [00:18:07] Yeah, and I think simply put, part of the reason we've seen such reductions in emissions over the last 50 years is, is kind of twofold. One, we put scrubbers on power plants and that reduced both, uh, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, and we put catalytic converters in cars, and if those catalytic converters aren't functioning properly, then we're back where we were in 1970. So those, uh, the, the emissions testing is to make sure that the technology that's been developed and put in place to reduce emissions is still functioning right.Katie Grant: [00:18:46] Yeah. Makes sense. You've kind of alluded to this already, but why does Door County have some of the worst air quality in Wisconsin at times? Gail Good: [00:18:54] Yeah, that's a really good and interesting question. Um, so I mentioned that the lakeshore areas are where we tend to see our higher concentrations of ozone. Door County, right, is, um, up at the you know, tip of that Door peninsula and, um, there aren't a lot of sources of air pollution there, so you might not expect to see high concentrations of ozone there. Um, like you might expect to see in some other parts of the state that do have some more of those, um, typical kind of emissions sources.Door County is interesting though. I mentioned, um, earlier that, um, some of the ozone issue, um, is, is really caused by transported pollution from, from out of our state. And also, um, on those nice summer days where you have that southerly wind. So sometimes if you were able, we, we do actually provide air quality information to the public.So you can kind of see how the monitors that we have along the lakeshore that are measuring air quality, you can see how they change over the course of a day. And so sometimes what you see, if you can kind of imagine that southerly wind coming up along lakeshore, transporting that pollution, cooking over the lake and kind of working its way up the lakeshore, what we'll see is, um kind of the, the, you'll see the concentrations increase over the day from South to North, and so then eventually towards the end of the day as that southerly wind has kind of helped push that pollution up along the lakeshore, you'll see Door County and the monitor that's there at Newport State Park, you'll see that monitor show an elevated concentration of ozone, often towards the end of the day. That southerly wind has just worked, has helped push the pollution up to that point. Katie Grant: [00:20:32] How big of a difference is there in air quality between the Northern part of the state and the Southern part of the state?Gail Good: [00:20:39] Um, well, that depends on what type of pollution you're talking about. Um, there is a difference. We talked about PM to five a little bit earlier and what that is, we do see differences in PM 2.5 concentrations. As you look from North to South, um, the Southern part of this. State, and especially the Southeast part of the state tends to be more heavily populated, so you have more vehicles.Um, and you also have more industry relatively, you know, relative to the Northern part of the state, um, down South. So we do tend to see higher concentrations of fine particles in the Southern part of the state compared to the Northern part of the state.Katie Grant: [00:21:16] What types of jobs are available with the DNR involving air quality?Gail Good: [00:21:20] We have lots of jobs. We, um, actually we, um, have about at any given time, between 110 and about 120 people working in the air program, so working on air quality issues. Katie Grant: [00:21:32] Throughout the state or just here in Madison?Gail Good: [00:21:34] Throughout the state. Um, we've got probably about 40% of the program working here in Madison and about 60% of the state, um, working around the state.Um, we have people here that are, um, obviously monitoring the air quality. We've talked about that a lot here. Um, so we. We do have a fair number of people who work around the state to make sure that those monitors are operating correctly and that they're doing what they need to do, um, to record concentrations so the public can understand what's going on with their air quality any given day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Um, we also have people here who do a lot of policy work. I mentioned that, that the act, you know, we're, we're really implementing federal requirements here. So we have a lot of policy folks who look at what those federal requirements are, keep track of changes that are being made at the federal level and work on how we're going to implement those throughout the state.We do write permits for our sources around the state as well. So we have, um, a lot of engineers working in the program who, um, write permits to make sure that people understand, um, what they have, what they need to do to be able to comply with different standards. Um, we have compliance inspectors who go out and work with the sources to make sure they understand the requirements of their permit and to make sure that they understand how to operate their equipment, um, and, and how to remain in compliance with the standards and with their permit. And then, you know, finally, we've got to make sure that we have people who can, um, we've got to have funds basically to do our work.So we, we rely heavily on, um revenue, kind of that we're bringing in from the sources. Um, and then also we rely on federal grants, um, to do our work as well. So we need people to help us do that, um, also in the program. So really a range of jobs. Katie Grant: [00:23:25] Yeah. Brad Pierce: [00:23:25] And meteorologists to help forecast our quality.Gail Good: [00:23:28] We do have a meteorologist on staff. Thanks Brad. Katie Grant: [00:23:33] I always get emails from him at, as soon as I leave the office, I get the email, Hey, we're going to have to issue an alert tonight. And I'm like, I just got home. Well, just got home. Gail Good: [00:23:45] We're always out there and making sure that air quality is good for people. We want people to know what's going on with their air quality. And our meteorologist is a critical part of that. Um, and the work that we do to make sure the public's informed about what's going on with their air. Katie Grant: [00:23:59] Yeah. Brad Pierce: [00:24:00] That's another good example of how Wisconsin collaborates with all the states within the great lakes area, because those meteorologists get together Monday, Wednesday, Friday during the, uh, the ozone season in particular to say, what's the outlook here?And they're working together, uh, across, you know, from various different states to get the best idea of what's happening. Katie Grant: [00:24:24] Yeah. So. What is the protocol here in Wisconsin, uh, for responding to air quality events like the Northern Metals fire in Minnesota?Gail Good: [00:24:36] I'm really glad you're asking that because that's actually a place where our meteorologist is, is really critical as well.Um, our, our, um, staff meteorologist is constantly, um, watching what's going on, um, and looking for situations like fires that may become impactful to our state. So our meteorologist is looking at maps, collaborating with other forecasters across the state to understand what's going on, whether it be something that's happening in Canada or Minnesota, as you mentioned.Um, and, in looking at satellite imagery and lots of other different tools to understand if we might be impacted by wildfire smoke here in Wisconsin. Another important tool that we have to identify, um, smoke events or wildfire events is our monitoring network. Uh, we talked about PM 2.5 and when we do see wildfires that are impacting our state, um, if that, if that wildfire smoke is making it down towards the ground level we will see that in our monitors and we will record higher concentrations of PM two-five. So the meteorologists and the monitoring folks are working together to keep an eye on situations like that. And then we do try to use a variety of means to get information out to the public.Our air quality mapping is available any time. Um, uh, you can go and take a look at your air quality, um, through the web at any time. We do also try to utilize social media, um, when we're seeing events to really spread the word that, Hey, if you're seeing kind of hazy air today, um, we are being impacted by smoke and we're seeing that on our monitors.And you know, a person may want to keep track of, of that, um, to make sure that, you know, if the levels of smoke are getting kind of elevated and we're recording higher concentrations, um, certain individuals may just want to be aware of that to be careful about being outdoors at that time. Katie Grant: [00:26:28] Yeah. From your research perspective. Um, do events like that mean anything for you? Is it, uh, an opportunity to explore this more?Brad Pierce: [00:26:37] So the event you were first referring to is a factory fire. Katie Grant: [00:26:42] Okay. Brad Pierce: [00:26:42] And I guess the other part of that is the, the local air quality management works with the EPA to make sure there, if there is any toxic pollutants.So not just the, not just the ozone and the PM 2.5 but, but toxics that monitors are deployed in the vicinity of, of that incident so that the public is. So that that ambient air is monitored and looking for any toxic release. So I think that was a big part of that deployment. The fires, the wildfires in general are something that that, as a researcher, I'm very interested in. And it's really, as I said earlier, we used to be concerned about regional haze events because of sulfate aerosols. And those are largely, those don't happen as much now, but as you know, fires in the Western US and often in the Southeastern US are now quite prevalent. And so we do look at those very carefully. And again, we use satellite measurements. Cause in some cases these are large enough plumes that you can track them across the country and out over the Atlantic ocean. So that's an area that we're researching quite a bit right now. Katie Grant: [00:27:55] Yeah. Gail Good: [00:27:56] Yeah. So really it does really depend on the type of fire that we're looking at in terms of the response that we might have and how much the program might get involved in it looking at that. There's certainly been other types of, um, fires at, you know, at sources where we've been concerned about, um, one pollutant or, or another. Um, and, and we would get involved in that in a variety of ways. It's usually in providing some technical assistance to folks like EPA who, um, do more response monitoring, um, for different toxics and helping kind of analyze the data and, um, just informing the public where we need to.Katie Grant: [00:28:29] Does pollution here ever get trapped close to the ground? Like it does in Salt Lake City? Why or why not? Gail Good: [00:28:35] It does. Um, that typically happens in something called a Temperature Inversion. So that's normally, um, if you could kind of imagine yourself at ground level and then kind of traveling up through the atmosphere, you would expect the temperature to get colder as you moved from the ground up.Sometimes though, um in a temperature inversion the temperature actually might, um, actually rise as you go up. And so, um, oftentimes we'll see these in the winter where you have, um, from the ground to a certain level, the temperature is going down, but then there's a spot where the temperature starts to go back up.And that's called a Temperature Inversion. It kind of acts as like a lid, if you will. Um, and can trap pollutants. That is what you're referring to in Salt Lake City. That does happen, and it can happen here as well.Brad Pierce: [00:29:22] It's that temperature inversion out over Lake Michigan that leads to the trapping of those pollutants and some of the ozone enhancements along the shore, and that's something that happens in the springtime when the water's cold and you get this a colder Marine boundary layer.Katie Grant: [00:29:40] Okay. What can residents do to help further improve the air quality here in Wisconsin? Gail Good: [00:29:47] Thanks for asking. There's a lot that people can do to learn about their air quality and take action. Um, I mentioned earlier that we offer, um, access to our monitor data all the time through our website. That's a really great place to kind of learn about air quality, learn what's going on with your air that day and stay informed.Um, we also do offer some mobile applications for that too, so you can go, whether you're Google or, um or Apple, you can go to wherever you go to get your apps and look for Wisconsin AQM and, um, download an application that can help you really stay informed about what's going on with your air quality throughout the day.There's also actions that anyone can take. Um, we do have a page on our website called, um, "Do a little, Save a lot" and it really helps people understand that they can do small things that can be very impactful to their air quality. So it might be things like considering a different type of lawnmower or, um, really working to make sure that you're using your vehicle most efficiently.Your, Brad mentioned catalytic converters, and you know, getting your car checked out and making sure that it's working to its optimal function. There are lots of different things that people can do to, to really make a big impact on their air quality.Brad Pierce: [00:31:03] Ride your bike. Take a walk, instead of driving in the car. Gail Good: [00:31:07] Yeah, good one.Katie Grant: [00:31:09] So those little things really do make that big of a difference. Gail Good: [00:31:12] They can, especially when we're talking about things like mobile sources or vehicles, those are really impactful. So riding your bike is a great way to get exercise and to really reduce emissions from, from your vehicle. You have zero emissions if you're riding your bike.So let's, yeah, absolutely. Those things add up.Katie Grant: [00:31:29] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin, a podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Still have questions about air quality in our state. Send those questions to DNR firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work with Gail, Brad, and the rest of the air team here at the DNR to get you answers.For more great content, be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us how you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
34 minutes | a year ago
Hitting Wisconsin’s Trails With The Thousand Miler
Wisconsin has thousands of miles of trails that can be used for everything from hiking to snowmobiling – and lots in between. State trails are an easy way to start exploring Wisconsin’s outdoors. We’re also fortunate enough to have two of 11 National Scenic Trails wind their way through our state -- all of the Ice Age Trail and about 200 miles of the North Country Trail. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail spends nearly 1,200 miles winding its way through Wisconsin’s many lakes, river valleys, hills, and even state parks. In 2013, author Melanie Radzicki McManus decided to take on the Ice Age National Scenic trail to set a trail running record. And once wasn’t enough for her – she hiked and ran the trail in both directions. She also chronicled her journey in “Thousand Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail.” Beyond her adventures in Wisconsin, she has traveled the world hiking and writing. On this episode of Wild Wisconsin – Off the Record, Melanie shares her experience hiking in Wisconsin and beyond, plus gives her best tips for getting started. Also weighing in is Brigit Brown, the DNR’s section chief for recreation management, who shares more on Wisconsin state trails. Listen in to learn more about Wisconsin’s thousands of miles of trails and the many ways you can use them. Learn more about Melanie Radzicki McManus at: https://thethousandmiler.com/ Learn more about Wisconsin’s state trails and find your nearest one at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/findapark.htmlFind your next adventure at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/outdoorrecreation/adventure.html--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin -- Off The Record podcast, information straight from the source.Katie Grant: [00:00:13] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin -- Off The Record. I'm your host, DNR's digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. These are unprecedented times as we embrace our new normal. We at the DNR hope you find this podcast to be a little escape from all things COVID-19. On this episode of Wild Wisconsin, I talk with award-winning journalist, author and hiking enthusiast, Melanie Radzicki-McManus. Available now, the Wisconsin native's first book, the Thousand-Miler, is a memoir about her record-setting trail run of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Melanie has traveled the world hiking and trail running. She joins us to talk about her journey.As you know, several things are postponed with COVID-19 including this podcast. We've recorded this episode before the COVID-19 pandemic when Melanie was about to start her next long-through hike. You'll hear a bit more about that in this episode, but... which... We wanted you to know that she is back home and safe now.As a friendly reminder under Governor Ever' Safer At Home Order for those looking to explore the outdoors, we encourage you to stay in your local community and social distance to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For now, listen into my conversation with Melanie Radzicki-McManus, the Thousand-Miler.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:01:32] My name is Melanie Radzicki-McManus, and I am a freelance writer. Um, travel is one of my specialties, and I write a lot about hiking in particular, uh, or active travel. But hiking is my super niche spot. Katie Grant: [00:01:47] Yeah. So we brought you on here today to talk about one of the experiences you've had here in Wisconsin.So back in 2013 and in 2015, you actually ran the Ice Age Trail. Why did you decide that this was something you wanted to do in the first place and why the Ice Age Trail specifically? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:02:07] Well, it's kind of a longish answer and it stretches back to, uh, I guess you could say 2009 when I first learned about the Camino.Um, and in, um, in Spain. It's a ancient pilgrimage trail and a lot of people were hiking it. So I went over to Spain and I was just captivated by this long-distance trail and following these yellow blazes through the Spanish countryside. And so I started going back many times, writing many articles. I had an app guidebook on the Camino.And then in 2012, a running, friend of mine named Jason Dorgan told me about something called the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. And he said, it's a lot like this Camino you love so much, Melanie. So I researched it that night and I was flabbergasted because here I was a travel writer for, I don't even know at that time, 20 some years.I had never heard of the Ice Age Trail. When I learned that it was a long-distance hiking trail, twice the length of the Camino, almost 1,200 miles in my own backyard. One of just 11 prestigious national scenic trails. I knew I had to, um, explore it. And I didn't have too much time to take off of work to explore it.So I thought, well, I want to hike the whole thing and run it. Um, or I want to explore the whole trail. I don't have that much time, but I'm good at running, so I could actually run the trail like my friend Jason did, who had set what's called a fast-packing record on the trail in 2007. And I thought, oh, he's the only one that's ever tried to do it.And he's a guy. So I could say, I could set the record for women and just to have a bunch of fun in the process, write a bunch of stories, learn about the trail, et cetera. So that's what got me started the first time in 2013 and then I just got so hooked. Um, I was obsessed in a healthy way with the trail and being outside for such a long period of time. And so I decided I wanted to write a book about it, and then that meant I needed to hike it again, or that's what I told my husband.Katie Grant: [00:04:03] Once wasn't enough. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:04:04] Right. So it's like I had to do it again opposite direction for the book. So I did it twice. Katie Grant: [00:04:09] So you wrote a book. Tell us a little bit about ... About the experience of writing the book and I guess what it's called so we can find it. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:04:15] It's called Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail, and it's this story. It's a story of the Ice Age Trail. It gives the history, it talks about my experience on the trail, and that's kind of the thread that holds the book together.And as I encountered different hikers along the trail, I weave their stories into the book as well. I also have a chapter devoted to Jason and his, um, fast-packing attempt, and another chapter devoted to the first person to through-hike the trail who did it back in I think like 1979 when I was probably in a disco.Katie Grant: [00:04:47] Wow. What were your favorite segments of the Ice Age Trail? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:04:53] I'm glad you said favorite segments with an s. Cause I'm a person who never has one favorite. There are so many wonderful segments in this trail. Um, I like the Chippewa... Chippewa Moraine segment a lot. It's in the northwest portion of the state because it's just kind of a perfect, you know, not too hilly, but not flat.The trails are all perfectly groomed. You pass these beautiful lakes. I love, um. The, uh, Point Beach section, which is around, uh, two rivers and I had never been to Point Beach State Park, even though it's close to where I grew up in Sheboygan, but that's a beautiful pine forest. Cushy. I liked that, and two miles are right on Lake Michigan, which having grown up in Sheboygan, I just really love Lake Michigan.So that's unique. Um, I love the Lodi and Lodi Marsh segments that are near us here in Madison. There, there's just so many and they're all different, which is um, another thing that's wonderful about the Ice Age Trail. Slinger... Goes right through Slinger and passes this awesome shop selling the best ice cream.Katie Grant: [00:05:54] I hope that you made a pit up for some ice cream. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:05:56] I did. Katie Grant: [00:05:56] Good. Good. Um, yeah, it's, it's interesting that on one stretch of trail through one state there's so much varied terrain and landscape and things to see and things to do and everything like that. Since your experience on the Ice Age Trail, you've explored some other famous trails throughout the world.You mentioned the Camino in Spain. Tell us a bit about some of your other adventures, maybe what was your favorite. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:06:23] Uh, don't say that word favorite again. Katie Grant: [00:06:25] Favorites. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:06:26] Yes. Um, I did a hike in Iceland called the Laugavegur Trail and one in New Zealand, um, the Tongariro Crossing. And both of those are rated, um, as some of the best hikes in the world.And what I loved about those two destinations is the scenery was so, um, different. I mean, it looked otherworldly, like someone just made it up for it a movie set or something. So those I really liked, but honestly, and every trail goes through just beautiful terrain. It's all different weather. I hiked the Arizona Trail last year, you know, that's all desert climate.Very different from what we have here that has beauty in its own way. Um, to the New England Trail. I hiked, that's another national scenic trail. Um, very much in some ways like Wisconsin, but very different because a lot of mountains in rocky outcrops, but everything is just beautiful. The being outdoors is wonderful.There's so much beauty in the world.Katie Grant: [00:07:26] Right. Right. Now, how many have you actually hiked and how many have you run? Is Ice Age the only one that you've done more running on than hiking? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:07:35] Yes, definitely. I mean, the Ice AgeTtrail, again, I was trying to have fun with it the first time, um, by running it and saying, I could be, I have the through-hike, fastpacking record for women, but also, again, as I had said to just so I wouldn't have to take so much time away from work.And then I did it again in, in 2015 because I had a really compressed timeframe by the time the book deal came through and I had some other obligations, but you know, now I'm getting kind of too old for that, so I'm just doing the hiking on these other trails. But I am, I have set a goal of trying to hike all 11 national scenic trails before I die.Katie Grant: [00:08:12] How far are you on that list? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:08:14] I'm going to start number five next week.Katie Grant: [00:08:17] All right.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:08:18] Yeah. And I'm in, I've got a sixth that I'm in the process of section hiking. So there's two ways you can hike these trails. You do. You can do a through hike, which means you do it all at once, or a section hike where you do it in sections over time.Katie Grant: [00:08:30] So where are you going to explore next? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:08:34] Next week? Katie Grant: [00:08:34] Yeah.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:08:35] It's a, it's a very unusual trail called the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Um, most of the other national scenic trails are a typical kind of point-to-point trail, but this one, um, is built by the National Park Service as a braided network of trails.So they're trying to showcase the best scenery and history of the Potomac River. So they've taken a lot of existing trails. For example, there's one called the Mount Vernon Trail that goes from Washington D.C. out to Mount Vernon. That's its own Mount Vernon Trail, but it's also part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.So logistically it's a little difficult to hike because there's a lot of back and forth and, um, some of the trails aren't as well marked as some of the others, and they don't have exact mileage... Mileage counts. So it's been, it'll be a little bit of a guessing game as to how long I'm out there. Katie Grant: [00:09:24] What's the estimate on mileage for that?Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:09:26] I've seen everything from, they mostly say 7 to 900 but I've seen one that said as much as 1,100 so it'll be a fun adventure. It sure will. Katie Grant: [00:09:36] What's the craziest experience you've had on the trails? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:09:41] I'm going to tell you two, one didn't quite happen to me. If... It was when I was on the Ice Age Trail in 2015 and I had a friend crewing me, which is he would drop me off at the start of the day and then meet me several times during the day to offer food and snacks and water and things like that.And when I met him at one of the trail crossings, he said, 'Oh my gosh, there were just two nude hikers out here.' And I said, 'what?' And apparently two men have been section hiking the Ice Age Trail, always in the nude. Katie Grant: [00:10:10] All right. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:10:11] So, yeah, call that crazy. I don't understand. I was very scratched up all over that day on my arms and legs, and I can't imagine it finding it enjoyable to be naked.But so then that's crazy. But luckily I didn't see, did not see them. But another kind of weird encounter I had, this is on the Superior Hiking Trail up in Minnesota, was, um, I saw a groundhog in the middle of the path and I thought, 'Oh, cute groundhog and didn't run away,' which I thought was amazing. So I took my camera out and I took a bunch of pictures and then as I went to walk it puffed its fur out and it started snapping these big long brown teeth at me and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, this is crazy.' I tried everything for like 20 minutes to get this thing to move. I tried kind of jabbing my trekking pole at it, screaming, blowing my whistle, hiding for a while, coming back out, and it just was right in the middle of that path and would... Did not want me to pass. I actually called my husband cause I was kind of on the sort of on the top of a mountain and say, can you Google how to get past and groundhog? And he's like, OK. And the answer was just walk around it. And I said, I can't just walk around it. I'm afraid it's going to bite me.And then I started thinking maybe it was a rabbit, because you know every other wildlife just runs away from you. So I remember thank goodness, I had some mace that my husband had given me just in case, and so I didn't even know how to work it, was afraid I would spray myself, but luckily I sprayed it, and it hit it and it ran away right away and then I ran by.But that was kind of scary. And then when I think back, it's like, it was a little groundhog, but it had those big teeth. Katie Grant: [00:11:46] Yeah, I'm sure at the time they looked way scarier than they actually were. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:11:51] I know. Katie Grant: [00:11:53] Beyond the Ice Age Trail here in Wisconsin, do you have any other favorite trails in the state for running, hiking, exploring?Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:12:04] You know, a lot of, in retrospect, looking now that I know what the Ice Age Trail is, a lot of the trails that I've hiked on and enjoyed happened to be part of the Ice Age Trail. Um, but that being said, like Indian Lake for example, I go to a lot mostly because it's close, but I do like it a lot. And there's a section of that that's the Ice Age Trail, but many other segments of that that are not, I like the trails at Devil's Lake a lot.How can you not like that? I like Lapham Peak. Um, quite a bit. And having grown up in Sheboygan, I did a lot of hiking in the Northern Kettle Moraine. So those are wonderful trails. So yeah, I would say those are some of my favorites for sure. Katie Grant: [00:12:45] Yeah, there's lots to explore here. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:12:48] Definitely. Katie Grant: [00:12:49] For sure. So let's talk a little bit about getting ready for these long hikes. Uh, do you do any sort of cross-training or anything in preparation and what else is involved in getting ready for one. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:13:02] Um, I don't usually train for a big hike per se, but that's only because I'm a very active person. I like being outside and I like working out. So, um, I'm normally doing some kind of workout six days a week.And that includes not just say running or elliptical, but also exercise, like pushups and things like that. So I have a good base, which I'm fortunate. Um, but then when, if you're getting ready for any adventure, whether it's hiking for several weeks or just for a day or two, you have to pay attention to the terrain.Make sure you have appropriate clothing. Always have, um, water, snacks, a phone or something for emergencies. Whistles, a little bit of first aid, um, supplies on you, that type of thing. And it's always good no matter where you're, how safe a trail is or how urban it is, just to let somebody know where you're going to be.Um, I know a lot of women in particular are nervous about hiking by themselves. I get that question a lot, and I am not, um, I'm not afraid at all of being out there alone. But that being said, you always have to take simple precautions. Katie Grant: [00:14:13] Yeah. Yeah, it's smart to stay safe. Um, and the, the, the part about letting someone know where you are, I feel like that goes for anyone going out into Wisconsin's outdoors ever.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:14:25] Right. Katie Grant: [00:14:25] You know, whether, whether you're hiking, hunting, fishing, whatever it may be, just let someone know where you are. So if something does happen, they can find you. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:14:32] Exactly. Katie Grant: [00:14:33] When you are out on the trail, what are some of your favorite go-to snacks to stay fueled? Other than ice cream? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:14:40] I have eaten a lot of ice cream on the Ice Age Trail, so if anyone wants to ever know where the best spots are, they can call me.You know, it's interesting. I started out doing all like energy bar things, mostly because I was going to be running and I thought my stomach can't handle anything more. But what I've learned over time is not that energy bars aren't real food, but real food tastes real good. So I started doing more packing, regular sandwiches and I still have some energy bars and things like that, but, um, you know, dried fruit is good.Nuts are good. Um. Some candy's good. Especially if you're going all day, you do need some calories, so it's nice to have a big candy bar that I don't normally let myself eat. Katie Grant: [00:15:23] Yeah, yeah. Do you prefer to listen to any music or podcasts or anything or just be out there in nature and enjoy the sounds?Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:15:32] Mostly I like to be out in nature and enjoy the sounds. I love the sounds of the wind of when going through the different tree branches and all the different noises. Uh, branches can make, you wouldn't believe it. Everything from like a, um, an old door, big wooden door creaking open in a haunted house or something to some that sound like a, you know, a boat rubbing against a doc or something. That being said, especially if I'm on a long-distance hike where I'm maybe hiking for 8 or 10 hours a day, um, toward the end when I start getting tired, I need music or podcast or something to kind of distract me. So that's when I switch to that. Katie Grant: [00:16:10] Okay. Keep you going.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:16:11] Right. Katie Grant: [00:16:13] So in some of your recaps of hiking, running the Ice Age Trail, you mentioned that you did it kind of in September cause you don't like the heat and then of course it ended up being a super hot September anyway. Um, do you get out on the trails in the winter? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:16:27] I do. Um, yes. I like to snowshoe. That's actually my trail name now, Snowshoe. Um, and there's great snowshoeing on a lot of the trails all over the state. Um, and that's a great activity. I'm trying to get more people into it because so many people say, 'Oh, it's winter. You know, snow, it's cold.' But unless you're talking, you know, zero or below zero, it's, you generate heat when you're out there snowshoeing.And it's...it's so beautiful when you get into some of the woods where they're just, you know, the snow is so deep and it's so quiet and just so beautiful out there. And, uh, cross country skiing is nice too. And then sometimes when we don't have that much snow, we'll just hike on the trails in our boots.Katie Grant: [00:17:12] Right. Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:17:12] And just, it helps to have, uh, if you're doing that, some kind of traction device, like yak tracks or, um, ice cleats or something cause it can get icy. Katie Grant: [00:17:22] Right. Yeah. Do you have any tips for other cold-weather gear that you love or have to have? Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:17:27] I'm a big fan of trekking poles year-round. Um, they're useful for so many ways, not just balance or taking weight off your knees.You can see, um, if how deep water is in the summer and the winter, you can see, um, if the ice is thick, you know how, how, how solid the ice is. Um, in the summer, they keep your arms parallel to the ground, which means you don't get really swollen fingers. Um. So I love that. It's like a little, my little secret tip, I just discovered that by using them, but they come in handy for, well, didn't help with the groundhog but for other wildlife.You know, if you need to kind of draw yourself up large or just look scary, you know, trekking poles can help for that. And um, hydration. I'm just gonna mention too, cause we talking about year-round, but a lot of people think if it's winter, you don't need water, you don't need as much water and you definitely need water and sometimes you can, you need more water and it's, and you need to remember to drink your water cause I'm bad about that too. I'll take all this water in the winter and then sometimes it's like, ah, I'm not thinking to drink it, but it's really important to do that, to stay hydrated.Katie Grant: [00:18:33] For sure. For sure. What advice would you give to someone who's interested in maybe running the Ice Age Trail for the first time or doing a long through-hike kind of a thing? Any, any tips for beginners?Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:18:47] Well, if you're going to do something like running, um, make sure you have a big, uh, base, a deep base for running.Um, I had been running for decades before I started that and did long runs on the weekends and things like that. Um, and for, if you want to do, thinking of a long through hike and you're, um, maybe not having hiked that much. Just make sure you start getting out on the trails and getting yourself used to it and building up slowly.You can also start, a lot of people start these long hikes and just start out and build their way, as they're hiking. So for example, maybe your first day you hike five miles, maybe your first week you hike five miles a day or eight miles a day, and then you next week you bump up to 12 or whatever.It's always good to start, um, slowly and do some research so you know what you're going to get into. Um, I what I didn't know when I started the Ice Age Trail, despite nine months of research, I didn't realize that that trail and many of our others, um, are maintained by volunteers. And what that means is, um, people like you and I go out in their free time and they trim back the trail amongst other things or put fresh markings, but it's all people can't be out there.Keeping the trail in perfect condition every minute of every day. All I had in my head was, it's a national scenic trail and there's only 11, and I was picturing some like Disney-esque type of path where, you know, every, there'd be no weeds or rocks or roots, and it would be just perfectly mowed. And when I got up there, there were some sections that were pretty overgrown because volunteers just hadn't gotten there yet.And so you have to be prepared for that. Um, if you're going to, most trails have some kind of organization or place where you can find out information where you can call locally and just say, what's the trail like? So if you don't want to be in a situation of waiting through knee-high brush or something.Um, just call and say, what's this? This is where I want to hike. What's it like right now? And someone will be able to tell you, or if you like the adventure... Katie Grant: [00:20:52] Go for it anyway.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:20:53] To be surprised by what you'll encounter. Katie Grant: [00:20:55] Yeah. Yeah. Anything else that you want us to know about your, your adventures, your experience, things that people should know before they get into this.Melanie Radzicki-McManus: [00:21:05] Two things. First of all, get out on the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin and start exploring. You'll be blown away by the beauty. I thought I had seen so much of this state just from whether it's driving the car or times when I've hiked or ...Or biked or ran through different parks. But the trail takes you to so many places you just wouldn't normally stop and you will not believe how beautiful it is.And then also I would say, please people get outside and move. There's so many studies that show being out in nature is healthy for you. And, and uh, especially they, there's a link between walking and being in nature. And I'm here to tell you it's absolutely true. I cannot believe how therapeutic it was to be out there day after day in nature.All the stress and anxiety levels go way down. And um, it's just wonderful. So whether you can spare an hour a day, three days, just do it. You'll love it. Katie Grant: [00:22:05] Are you feeling inspired to find your next adventure here in Wisconsin? Curious about how many trails we have or maybe wondering all the ways that can be used? To answer those questions and more we talked with DNR Section Chief for Recreation Management and the Bureau of Parks and Recreation. Brigit Brown: [00:22:21] My name is Brigit Brown, and I am a Section Chief for Recreation Management in the Bureau of Parks and Recreation in the division of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Uh, prior to that, I was the state trails coordinator for about 15 years.Katie Grant: [00:22:36] We brought you in to talk about our trails today cause we have a lot of them and they're pretty awesome. Um, and it turns out that it's not just a simple question of how many we have. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what it is that we have here in Wisconsin for trails. Brigit Brown: [00:22:49] Yeah. Well, we have a really rich history of trails here in Wisconsin.Um, everything from the first rail to trail conversion in the Elroy Sparta State Trail, uh, to, uh, the Ice Age Trail and the North Country Trail to national scenic trails. Um, the Ice Age Trail, uh, is one of the only nationals scenic trails that is contained entirely in one state. Uh, and the Ice Age Trail also has the distinction of being Wisconsin's only state scenic trail, a special designation that it has in state law.Katie Grant: [00:23:25] What does scenic trail mean for it? Brigit Brown: [00:23:27] Oh, that's a good question. Well, it sounds really nice. So that's one thing, but essentially, uh, it, it's a designation that was given, uh, at a federal level. Uh, so it is a national scenic trail. There are also national historic trails. Um, to me, I think, uh, although a lot of the national historic trails are things like a Natchez Trace, um, you know, Trail of Tears, uh, those kinds of trails that have a really rich, um, cultural history. Uh, the Ice Age Trail is really special because, uh, it really commemorates geology and the ice age formations that are, uh, so abundant here in Wisconsin. So it's, it's scenic, in that you know, you get to see a lot of the beauty of Wisconsin and a lot of our geologic, uh, ice age history.Um, but also just Wisconsin's beauty. Katie Grant: [00:24:20] What can you do on state trails on Wisconsin? Brigit Brown: [00:24:24] Oh, wow. That's a great question. So we have all kinds of opportunities on state trails in Wisconsin. Everything from walking and snowshoeing and skiing to, um, more, uh motorized pursuits and, uh, opportunities like off-highway motorcycling, which is a fairly new program here in Wisconsin.Snowmobiling, ATV-ing, UTV-ing. UTVs are kind of the, um, souped-up golf cart looking type devices, uh, that are treated very similar to alternative vehicles or ATVs here in Wisconsin. We also have a lot of equestrian trails, um, we have a lot of diversity in the kinds of pursuits that people enjoy here in Wisconsin on trails.So even among bicycling, there are a lot of different kinds of trails. So what we've done here at DNR is divided those into some different categories. So people have a better idea of the kind of experience they can expect and maybe even the kind of equipment they might want to have with them. Uh, so we have bicycle touring trails, which are, you know, sort of the easier trails, like our pave trails.A lot of our limestone surface trails on former railroad beds, uh, they generally appropriate for all levels of, uh, cycling ability and, and bikes with pretty skinny tires. Then we have off-road bicycle trails, and those are a little bit more intermediate level trails, often in the woods. And they have a variety of surfacing from just native soil to, to woodchips.Um, they're, you know, maybe more appropriate for folks, a little bit more experienced and who are looking for a little bit more of an adventure in the woods. Uh, they're appropriate for, you know, hybrid type bikes. Or mountain bikes as well. Then we also have constructed mountain bike trails. These are trails that are really purpose-built for bicycling.Um, in a challenging way they're, they're a more narrow width, usually about 18 to 24 inches in width, and, uh, they're, they're built to pretty specific standards for mountain biking. That's not to say though that other uses don't really enjoy them. We have, um, a lot of other folks, um, whether they be pedestrians, uh, hikers, runners, walkers, uh, who enjoy that kind of trail as well.Snowshoers, we find also really, uh, often enjoy those more narrow kind of intimate trails, um, that, uh, our constructed mountain bike trails offer. Katie Grant: [00:26:59] Yeah. So some of these are kind of multi-use, you know, you can bike them, you can run 'em, you can hike them. Some of them are more specialized where, you know, maybe you can only snowmobile on them or, um, only cross-country ski on them at different times of year.Brigit Brown: [00:27:16] Yeah, that's a really good point. All of our trails are open to people walking and those basic pedestrian uses, um, with the exception of our groomed cross-country ski trails. We don't want people walking on those. And so we have what's called administrative code that says, essentially, when one of our trails is groomed, uh, don't hike on it, don't allow your dog on it. Um, because we want to preserve that really specific experience of those tracks for the cross-country skiers. Um, but yeah, we have a whole variety of trails that are open to a lot of different uses. And I think a good way maybe to think about it is that trails will have, uh, multiple uses that are allowed uses.So you can do bicycling, you can do ATV-ing, you can walk on a trail. However, they may not be a kind of the, the experience that's catered to on that trail. So a lot of times, um, you know, we, we have a motorized trail that is open to a whole variety of uses. Um, but in large part, it is designed and maintained for usually that motorized use.So you can definitely walk on it. You can definitely bicycle on it, but it may not be a bicyclist or a walker's most desired experience. So, um, we encourage folks to kind of think about what their desired experience is. And we do our best to provide information and provide facts about all of our different trails so that folks can really find an experience that is gonna meet their needs and really meet what they're looking for.Katie Grant: [00:29:03] Yeah, for sure. So before we got started here, you kind of had mentioned that one of the things you like to do as long-distance hike and we have some resources on our website specifically about that. What is your favorite long-distance hike in Wisconsin? Brigit Brown: [00:29:17] Oh, that's a great question. You know, I have to say the Kettle Moraine is always a classic.Um, we're fortunate to have, uh, some great backpacking experiences here in Wisconsin. Of course, we have our two national scenic trails with the North Country Trail and the Ice Age Trail. And what we've done is we've provided online, if you, if you look up, uh, on our website and type in backpacking, we have some kind of sample experiences for folks.And, you know, they can say, 'Hey, I, I'm new to this backpacking thing. Maybe I just want to try one night.' Well, we have some, uh, areas where we suggest, 'Hey, you can park here, you can hike out on this trail, camp here, and then hike back the next day.' Um, maybe you want to try a few more days. And we have some, some sampling... Sample itineraries for that as well.Katie Grant: [00:30:09] What do you need to be able to use Wisconsin state trails? Do you need to buy any sort of a pass or admission stickers or anything like that? Brigit Brown: [00:30:17] Yeah, so we do require vehicle admission stickers at a lot of our properties. So once you get into the property, if it does require that vehicle admission sticker, then we also have some trails that require a state trail pass.So what that is is just a, it's a piece of paper that allows you for the calendar year to access our state trails. Uh, if you're doing so by bicycle or horse or cross country ski, um, and that isn't across the board. It's for certain uses on certain trails, and we do explain exactly where it's required and for what uses on our website if you just type in keyword "trail pass." Katie Grant: [00:31:02] Is there any trail etiquette that users should be aware of? Brigit Brown: [00:31:05] Yeah, that's a great question. And thank you for asking. Um, this is one of the things that I, I really wish more people knew about. Um, so basic trail etiquette, uh, and, and sometimes it gets confusing because if you're, if you're walking or bicycling on a road, uh, it's really different.But if you're on a trail in general, you want to stay to the right of the trail pass people on their left. Let people know that you're passing. Now we have a lot of folks who are at different speeds and different skill levels, and it's really frankly just the polite thing to do to say, 'Hey, on your left,' and to let someone know that you're going to be passing them.They won't always hear you. We do have a lot of folks that like using the trails with, uh, with headphones on or earbuds in, but, um, at least doing your best to alert others, to let them know that you're passing. You know, I think always looking before you want to change your position on a trail, whether you're going to be passing someone else or you want to avoid something, um, you know, a lot of it really just focuses on, um, kind of the golden rule of treating others how you'd like to be treated, you know, being polite and, and when in doubt, uh, I think yielding to other users is a good rule of thumb as well. Katie Grant: [00:32:28] Anything else you want us to know about Wisconsin state trails? Brigit Brown: [00:32:32] It can be considered that Wisconsin's trails are the windows to the DNR. In that trails can be a really great way for folks who don't necessarily have a lot of outdoor experience to have sort of a low consequences or, uh, uh, an easier introduction to, to being outside and to experiencing DNR lands. You know, we have, we have trails, especially some of our state trails, our rail-trails in urban areas.And you know, just getting on one of those trails and seeing where it takes you, it's, it's a great experience and a great way to get introduced to some areas and places and some of the beauty of Wisconsin that you might not otherwise see. Katie Grant: [00:33:14] It's an easy way to just get out there and go for a little ways and then turn around and come back, you don't have to commit to a lot of it. Brigit Brown: [00:33:21] Absolutely. Katie Grant: [00:33:22] Learn more about how you can explore Wisconsin's outdoors by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching for keyword, "find your adventure." Be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin -- Off The Record wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from next time.Thanks for listening.
31 minutes | a year ago
50 Years of Earth Day - Off The Record Podcast
Earth Day was founded by Wisconsin’s very own Gaylord Nelson. Then a senator, and former Wisconsin governor, Nelson had a simple idea for a day of awareness for the planet. The year was 1970. Gas was cheap. There were no regulations like the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act to keep factories from polluting our air, land, and water. A rising consciousness after several environmental disasters had the country buzzing with a desire to do more. His idea took off, and millions joined in across the country. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people around the globe. Nelson’s daughter, Tia, is paving the way for his legacy to live on through her environmental advocacy. She is the managing director on climate at the Outrider Foundation. In this episode, she sheds light on her father’s work, what Earth Day means to her and how you can get involved.Learn more about Nelson’s legacy in the spring issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine: https://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/ Learn more about Outrider Foundation at https://outrider.org/features/earth-day-film/--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNRs Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast, information straight from the source.Katie Grant: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record. I'm your host, DNRs digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. That's 50 years of living, changing and advancing. In 1970 a gallon of gas was 36 cents. The Beatles released, "Let it be" and then later broke up and a quarter would get you a dozen eggs. It was also the year of the very first Earth Day founded by former Wisconsin governor Gaylord Nelson. It was a time when factories pumped pollutants into the air, lakes and rivers with few repercussions. Gas guzzling cars ruled the roads. Before 1970 there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, and no Clean Water Act.Then a senator, Gaylord Nelson, had an idea to raise awareness about air and water pollution. His idea took off and on the first Earth Day in 1970 millions of Americans participated in rallies, marches and teach-ins for environmental education across the country. Earth Day catalyzed a movement in the United States that founded the Environmental Protection Agency and ignited a spirit of stewardship that has driven progress for five decades.Today, Earth Day is celebrated around the world with billions of people participating in their own way. Although Gaylord Nelson passed away in 2005, his legacy lives on through his daughter, Tia, who was 14 at the time of the first Earth Day. She has since followed in her father's environmental protection footsteps.Today, Tia Nelson is the managing director on climate for the Outrider Foundation. She is internationally recognized as a champion for environmental stewardship and climate change. Before the Safer at Home order, we spoke with Tia in early March to hear more about her father's life work, what Earth Day means to her and how you can get involved.Just because most of us are at home doesn't mean you can't celebrate Earth Day this year as we all do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19, the DNR encourages you to celebrate 50 years of Earth Day close to home. Be sure to practice social distancing if you're out in the community. At the Wisconsin DNR, we embrace Earth Day 365. For us, every day is Earth Day. Sit back and listen in to how a Wisconsin senator helped establish Earth Day 50 years ago and how his daughter keeps his memory alive today. Tia Nelson: [00:02:37] My name is Tia Nelson. I'm managing director for the climate change program at the Outrider Foundation. We seek to educate, engage, and inspire action on big global challenges like climate change, help people understand the risks, but importantly also help them understand the opportunities to be a part of the solution.Katie Grant: [00:03:00] Fantastic. So you could be doing anything in the world. Why are you so passionate about the environment? Tia Nelson: [00:03:07] I have always had a love of nature. I spent a lot of time in the outdoors as a child. I went on to study wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin. I had wanted to be a veterinarian, but I'm pretty severely dyslexic, and so I struggled in school and once I found out that veterinarians had to go to school as long as doctors did, I figured that wasn't the best path for me.And I had the real privilege to study under, uh Joe Hickey, uh, who had done really important early work on how DDT was thinning, uh, eggshells and impairing, uh, the reproduction of bird species, especially, uh, predators, um, in Wisconsin and across the country. It was a big inspiration to my father who then went on to introduce the first bill to ban the use of DDT.So I was, uh, influenced, um, by great professors like Joe Hickey, uh, Orin, Ronstead, uh, Bob McCabe. Um, Bob was Dean of the Wildlife Ecology school. When I, uh, started attending the university and he actually inscribed, uh, and gave to my father the first day that my father was sworn in as governor, uh, a inscribed first edition copy of the Sand County Almanac with a beautiful inscription in it. I haven't here on my desk, um saying, um, "with and in between the lines of this book, you shall find great wisdom." Um, so I guess that's a long way of saying that, uh, nature was imbued in me as a child just as it was for my father, and I just seem to gravitate to the issue naturally and studied it in school and went on to work in the Capitol.I worked for the DNR as a fisheries technician summertimes while I was in college. It was a great job. Um, it's always been my life's work and my passion. Katie Grant: [00:05:07] Yeah. Did you ever feel pressure to work in the environmental space or you just knew it was what you wanted to do? Tia Nelson: [00:05:13] I just did it. It just was me. It was just a part of me and, uh, a keen interest of mine from a very young age.Uh, it must have obviously been influenced by my father and his work. Um, but I don't remember an epiphany moment. Um, it simply was imbued in me from a very early age, and it wasn't something that I honestly gave a lot of thought to. It was just who I was. Katie Grant: [00:05:43] Tell us a little bit about your father's legacy. For anyone who doesn't know, why is he so important to Wisconsin and Earth Day in general? Tia Nelson: [00:05:50] Well, my father grew up in a small town called Clear Lake in Polk County in northwestern Wisconsin. Not far from the St. Croix River where he camped and fished and canoed and his experiences in nature as a child had a big influence on him.The places his father took him, uh, the St. Croix, uh, which I just mentioned. Also, they visited the Apostle Islands. It's interesting for me to reflect on the fact that those childhood experiences in nature here in these magnificent, uh, natural landscapes in Wisconsin became inspiration for him once he was elected to office.And he served in the state senate for 10 years. He became governor when I was two. In 1958, he was elected and he became known pretty quickly as across the country as the conservation governor, principally because of a bold initiative that he put forward to tax uh, put a penny, a pack tax on cigarettes to fund the Outdoor Recreation Action Program --known by the acronym OREP -- uh, to fund, uh, the protection, uh, of public recreation lands for the citizens of Wisconsin, and to create opportunities for, uh, fishing and hunting and recreating. And that program was wildly popular and, uh, drew a lot of national attention, the National Boating Magazine, um, in I think around 1960, um, their front page was "All Eyes on Wisconsin" with a picture of the state of Wisconsin. And my, an image of my father overlaid and a story about how the, the great, uh, conservation innovation that was taking place in Wisconsin.So that was my father's, um, early efforts as governor, he took that experience and the popularity of that program, which is now known as the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, named after my father and Republican governor Warren Knowles, who succeeded my father when my father was elected to the senate. Um, uh, so Wisconsin's had a long bipartisan tradition of support for those types of initiatives.The OREP program was wildly popular, um, to members of both parties. My father went off to Washington as the United States senator. He took with him a scrapbook of all the good press that he'd gotten for, uh, pushing, uh, conservation and outdoor recreation, uh, agenda as governor in Wisconsin. And, uh, he managed using that, good press that he'd received here in Wisconsin to convince President John F. Kennedy to do a conservation tour. My father was looking for a way to get politicians to wake up to the fact that the, uh, citizens, uh, were eager and interested in, uh, passing laws that protected our rights to breathe clean air and drink clean water and, uh, protect, uh, outdoor recreation areas. The conservation tour failed to accomplish what my father had hoped. Um, indeed, it was cut short after a few stops, as I recall. Um, and, um, sadly, President Kennedy was assassinated several months after that conservation tour, and it was between 1963 and 1969 my father continuing to push and talk about the environmental challenges of our time. And to try to think of an idea that might galvanize, um, uh, the people and, uh, shake as my father said, shake the political establishment out of their lethargy, um, and, uh, step up to address the big environmental challenges of our time.Keep in mind that Lake Eerie was so polluted at the time, um, that it had burned for days. Um, and, uh, today you can, uh, fish some good walleye out of there. Katie Grant: [00:10:15] Right. Right. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old, uh, Swedish environmental activist has gained international recognition for her climate strikes. She's also known for, having said "adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope, but I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to act as if the house, house is on fire because it is." How does it make you feel to see her and other young activists who are leading the environmentalist fight? And do you think they fit with your father's legacy? Tia Nelson: [00:10:48] Yes, they certainly do.It's really, the story of Greta Thunberg is, um, a really inspiring one, and it is one that I reflect on quite often for the following reason. It would have been impossible for Greta to imagine when she was sitting alone protesting in front of the Swedish parliament that that simple act of defiance would launch the global youth movement just as Rosa Parks could not have known that that simple act of defiance saying no to that bus driver when he demanded she moved to the back of the bus, she simply quietly said one word, no. It changed the course of history. Just as my father could never have known that the simple idea of setting aside a day to teach on the environment on April 22nd, 1970, would launch the environmental movement, propel the environmental movement forward in these unimaginable ways.Keep in mind there was no Environmental Protection Agency. Uh, it was signed into law by a Republican president, Richard Nixon. Um, some months after the first Earth Day, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, uh, Endangered Species Act, a whole slew of laws that we take for granted today, passed that first decade after Earth Day. More environmental laws were passed, um, in the decade that followed that first Earth Day than any other time in American history. And so Greta's story is inspiring to me and the way that Rosa Parks story is inspiring in the way that my father's story is inspiring. These were individuals who had a set of values and cared passionately about something, and they took action and they kept at it and they changed the course of history. It demonstrates to me the power of individual action to inspire others to become involved and be a part of the solution. And that to me is, is incredibly inspiring. Earth Day was successful beyond my father's wildest dreams. He never could have imagined that 20 million people would gather on that day or that 50 years later we would be celebrating his legacy in this way.Katie Grant: [00:13:20] Right. Tia Nelson: [00:13:20] And I, and, and I, I think that, that people on the 100th anniversary of Earth Day, uh, will be saying the same thing about Greta Thunberg and the youth activists around the world who have done exactly what my father had hoped youth would do and youth did do that first Earth Day. It shook up the establishment and made them pay attention.Katie Grant: [00:13:45] Right, right. You've mentioned in past interviews that you have a kind of fuzzy memory when it comes to what you were doing on that first Earth Day. As you got older, though. Do you recall any of your father's continuing work with regard to Earth Day? Tia Nelson: [00:14:02] Um, yes. Well, I, I was almost 14 when the first Earth Day occurred and I did not remember what I was doing.I, of course, get asked this question quite often. I, you know, was tempted to make up a good story, but I thought better of it. Uh, the way I learned that I was cleaning up trash at my junior high school is I was doing a talk show, a radio talk show, and one of my, uh, um, friends from junior high called and said, you were with me, we were picking up trash. So, um, but as the years, um, ensued, uh, I think it really dawned on me the significance of Earth Day on the 20th anniversary. I was on the Washington Mall with my father for the 20th anniversary. That was a magnificently large, um, and significant anniversary event. And it was pretty obvious that this would be a big, and enduring, um, uh, thing for a long time, uh, to come.My father worked tirelessly and he also he, he felt very, uh, drawn and very duty-bound to speak to youth. And he accepted the smallest school. If the kids wrote him a letter and asked him to come speak to them about the issues, the environment, he went. Um, he saw great promise in our youth. He knew that, uh, it were, that it was the young people in 1970 that, uh, made such a big difference, uh, in, in the success of that event.And so he would give speeches to big audiences. He would give talks to little schools. Uh, he was tireless in his advocacy, outreach and, um, public efforts to engage people because he saw the power, uh, of, um, doing that. And so, um, he was, uh, tireless, and in, in delivering that message and traveling around, giving talks, visiting schools, giving media interviews and doing everything he could to continue to advance the cause.Katie Grant: [00:16:20] When you spoke with us, uh, for our article in the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, you said one of the reasons the first Earth Day was so successful was because of the way it grew organically at the local level, rather than being planned from the top down. Why do you think the simplistic approach worked in his, kind of made it work for the last 50 years? Tia Nelson: [00:16:40] If you look at the first Earth Day, there were literally thousands of organizers in, um, communities across the country. My father did not prescribe a specific agenda. He didn't tell him what issues they should be talking about. He encouraged people to think about what they cared about, where they lived, what the challenges, the environmental challenges, quality of life challenges, were, wherever they lived, uh, whether it was in, uh, the city or the countryside. Um, and people responded, I think if you look at Adam Rome's book, he interviewed over 140 people, um, dozens and dozens and dozens of these local organizers. And one thing that's obvious is by not prescribing what the agenda was and what the issues were and how my father, uh, trying to prescribe from Washington what people were supposed to do, but rather letting them identify their priorities and values, um, uh, where, where they lived, um, and worked, uh, and raised their families.Um, that was very powerful. So some people planted trees, some people picked up trash, some people protested, some people had concerts. I have images of the, uh, Earth Day, uh, on State Street. State Street was closed and, uh, an entomologist and in, you know, a professor of insects, uh, set up a booth. A rather shabby looking one at that, uh, with information about the importance of insects as pollinators.Um, my point is, uh, whether it was entomologists educating people on the importance of bees as a pollinator, uh, or, uh, uh, Girl Scout troop picking up trash and in their local neighborhood or another group, um, planting trees, um, people felt empowered to take action in a way that was meaningful to them.And in, in not trying to control what people did and how they did it and how they messaged around it, um, turned out to be really, uh, uh, a stroke of genius on my father's part. Katie Grant: [00:19:07] For sure. For sure. So over the years, I'm sure you have participated in Earth Day and a lot of different ways, uh, do you have any particularly memorable ways that you have celebrated it?Tia Nelson: [00:19:20] Um, well, they're all meaningful to me. It's always been important for me to honor my father and my own, uh, life's work on Earth Day. It's particularly been important to me to, uh, tell his story to kids um, so that they understand that my father was just a little boy from a little town, um, in Wisconsin, and he grew up to change the world in unimaginable ways, and I want kids to know they have that power, too.Um, so I have always done as much as I can, uh, uh, some local events, media events, um, uh, try to talk to, uh, schoolkids, uh. This year is different though. This year I have a spreadsheet with, gosh, close to 40, um, appearances, interviews, podcasts, like the one we're doing now. Um. Uh, I'm very proud, very excited that we'll be debuting a, uh, uh, film, uh, at Earth X, the largest environmental film fest in the United States in Dallas, Texas on Earth... on the eve of Earth Day.We'll be opening that, uh, Earth X event. Uh, we will be closing out the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism event on April 25th. Uh, the day the mall or a mall event will occur. We've been invited to show at Tribeca Film Fest, uh, in New York and are still trying to figure out whether we can do all of these things in, in the short timeframe of a week.Uh, I will be showing the film at the University of Wisconsin Nelson.. Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies on Monday, April 20th. Uh, and what's exciting to me about the film is I recruited the youth activists Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, and Bob Inglis, the former Republican congressman, founder of a group called RepublicEN.Uh, the two of them have joined me, uh, in this film to honor my father and in a call to action to people today to come together and address the biggest environmental challenge of our time, which is climate change. And that, uh, Bob and Varshini, uh, eh, are joining me and talking about the need for a multigenerational bi-partisan socially just movement to address climate change is just a source of enormous excitement and pride for me. So I'll be showing that film around the country. Uh, I will be doing more podcasts, more media interviews. Um, I'll be keynoting, uh, after Earth Day at the annual meeting of the United Church of Christ, uh, at the Midwest Renewable Energy fair up in Custer, Wisconsin. Um, I, I'll, I'll, I'll be tired by the time it's all done, but it's, uh, um, it's a good challenge to have and I just, I couldn't be more grateful or excited to have the opportunity to tell my father's story, the story of other activists today. Um, and to encourage people to get involved and, um, be a part of, uh, building a brighter future.Katie Grant: [00:22:40] At what point did you and your family really start getting the sense that Earth Day had become something special? And did you guys ever discuss how big of a deal it had become?Tia Nelson: [00:22:51] Um, well, sure. I talked to my brothers about it, uh, on a regular basis. I'm updating them on the stuff I'm involved in, uh, here.But, uh, as I mentioned a little earlier in our interview, I think it probably first dawned on me, what a big deal it was on, uh, probably the 10th or the 20th anniversary. Um, that it was clearly going to be an enduring, um, event, uh, in a part of an important part of my father's legacy. Um, and the family's talked about it.Um, you know, we talk about it all the time. Uh, so, um, but especially, you know, this time of year. Katie Grant: [00:23:31] What are a few ways Wisconsinites and beyond Wisconsin can embrace your father's legacy and celebrate Earth Day this year? Tia Nelson: [00:23:38] Well, there's an unlimited number of things one can get involved in or be a part of, uh, you in, in your local community, um, or, uh, through, uh, established organizations. And that was one of the things that was really exciting to me about the video we've produced the, uh, the Sunrise Movement is very oriented towards youth activists. Uh, RepublicEN is oriented towards a more conservative audience. What they share in common is prioritizing, addressing the issue of climate change and, um, uh, the future of our environment.There's really literally an organization for anyone and everyone to join, uh, and there's, uh, uh, website, uh, the Earth Day Network has a site where you can go plug in your zip code and it'll show you, uh, local events here in Madison. I invite everyone to attend the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies Earth Day, um, celebration, which goes on, is really going to be fabulous this year and has a number of significant national speakers, uh, and workshops. And that's on April 20th, all day at Monona Terrace. Uh, there are, um, uh, more local activities one could get involved in, uh, if you don't feel like joining a group. You can, uh, do something with your neighbors or friends um, uh, that, uh, would be probably pretty similar to what people were doing in 1970 deciding, you know, how they wanted to get involved, whether they wanted to go pick up trash or plant trees or join an organization. And, uh, there's sort of an unlimited in terms of, of what one can do because every, every individual action matters and, and people, um, uh, have an opportunity to get involved in any number of ways. Katie Grant: [00:25:48] Yeah. So at Wisconsin DNR, we are embracing Earth Day 365 and encouraging residents to take small steps all year so that taking care of our natural resources isn't just a thing that we think about once a year. Do you have any suggestions for small steps that people can take to make a difference?Tia Nelson: [00:26:05] There's a number of powerful small steps one can take from reducing food waste to avoiding single-use plastic to composting food scraps to using energy-efficient appliances to things like ... Funny little fact to know and tell is that something called phantom power, meaning our devices plugged into the wall when we're not using them probably about 15% of average home owner's electricity consumption. Simply unplugging those appliances when you're not using them, uh, is a way to save energy and it saves money. Um, so, um, being a conscious consumer, uh, being aware of one's impact, uh, on the planet, knowing that, you know, one of my favorite quotes from my father is "the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment. Not the other way around." And so um, we have to recognize that our natural resource base is finite, um, and that we have to be good stewards of it. And that individual action, how we conduct ourselves in our daily life really does matter. Um, voting for, um, uh elected officials, whether it at the local or state level, who put forward policies that protect our rights to breathe clean air and drink clean water is really important. Outrider.org has a section, um, about how you can help. Uh, it includes a way to assess, uh, your personal greenhouse gas footprint and things that you can do to, um, reduce it.So, um, get involved. Talk about it. Take action and join an organization that suits your particular interest.Katie Grant: [00:28:02] At a time when there can be a lot of doom and gloom in the news, how do you stay optimistic about the future of our environment? Tia Nelson: [00:28:08] I often say I'm in a complicated dance between hope and despair.You can't be involved every day of your life in the environmental challenges that we face today and not be concerned. Uh, the science tells us we have a lot to be worried about. On the other hand, I know the power of individuals to make a difference. I know how on that first Earth Day, a simple call to action, uh, precipitated significant progress in how we manage our resources and, uh, protect our environment. And so I reflect on my father's legacy and work. I reflect on the fact that he worked tirelessly and was, felt a sense of defeat, um, many, many times, but he got up the next day and went back to work and made significant progress.And I believe in American ingenuity. I know that we have a bright future of clean and renewable energy. That today renewable energy is... costs less than fossil fuel energy. We have some big challenges as we make that transition, but we know what the solutions are. And, uh, it's a question of creating the social will and political capital to move forward, uh, swiftly with a sense of urgency to address these challenges. And I believe we can do it, but we, we have to join together. That's why I'm so excited about the film with Bob Inglis and Varshini Prakash. They have very, very different ideas about what the solution is. That doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that they've come to the table to have a conversation about how we can work together and solve these big environmental challenges. That's what matters. And as long as we're having the conversation and agreeing that the problem requires an urgent response, we'll find a way to build the social capital and the political will to act.And so that is how I think about it and motivate myself to carry on the work. Katie Grant: [00:30:34] You've been listening to Wild Wisconsin, a podcast brought to you by the Wisconsin DNR. Show us on social media how you're celebrating Earth Day this year by using #EarthDayAtHome and tagging Wisconsin DNR in your posts.For more great content, be sure to subscribe to Wild Wisconsin wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review or tell us who you'd like to hear from on a future episode. Thanks for listening.
11 minutes | a year ago
Shape Your Future - Off The Record Bonus
Every 10 years, the U.S. population is counted via a census – and the 2020 census is right around the corner. In March, about 95% of the nation’s households will be receiving an invitation in the mail to participate. And 2020 will mark the first year that the census can be completed online. How and why should you respond to that invitation? In this week's bonus episode, we talked with Joanna Beilman-Dulin from the Department of Administration to learn why it's important to participate and how it all works.--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNRs Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast, information straight from the source.Katie Grant: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another bonus episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record. I'm your host DNRs digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. At the DNR, one of the tools we use to better understand animal populations such as eagles, deer, rattlesnakes and more is to simply count them. That's also the goal of the census that happens every 10 years to better understand our human population and where we all live. 2020 is a big year for a lot of things. We're celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the Clean Air Act, the 30th anniversary of Wisconsin recycling laws, and if you couldn't guess where this was going, the 2020 census.For this week's bonus episode, I sat down with Joanna Beilman-Dulin to learn why it's so important for you to participate and how it all works. So to sit back and listen in. Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:01:04] I am Joanna Beilman-Dulin and I am an employee at the Department of Administration. And what I do there is I am doing census coordination.The 2020 census is right around the corner and it's so important for Wisconsin, and I do whatever I can to help promote the census and answer questions about it. Katie Grant: [00:01:22] Fantastic. So, let's just kind of start at the beginning. What is the census? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:01:27] Sure. The census is a count of our nation's population. Every 10 years. Article 1 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that our nation's population be counted.So we know where people live, what communities look like and it helps inform a lot of really important decisions made at the federal level, state level and even the local level. Katie Grant: [00:01:47] So how does it all work? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:01:48] In mid-March, about 95% of the nation's households are going to get a, an invitation in the mail to participate in the census.And when they get those invitations, you can go online, uh, to fill out your census online. It's actually really exciting. This is the first time ever that you can do the census online. Katie Grant: [00:02:06] Yay, technology. Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:02:07] Absolutely, yay technology. Um, it's also mobile-friendly, fun fact. Um, but so people will get an invitation in the mail to participate and hopefully everybody responds right away, of course.But, um, folks as if they don't respond right away, they'll continue to get a couple of reminders in the mail. Um, and then eventually a paper copy would come to them. Katie Grant: [00:02:26] OK. And then what if you don't fill out the paper copy? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:02:30] Well, if you don't fill out the paper copy and you don't fill it out online or by phone, which are the three ways you can fill it out, um, beginning in about May, uh, census takers will, uh, be going door to door to, uh, check in with folks and make sure that they are remembering that they need to fill out the census. It is required under our constitution for every resident of the United States to participate. Uh, so they'll be going door to door to, um, connect with folks and follow up with people who haven't filled it out yet.We want to make sure that we get a full, accurate count of everyone because as I said before, it just makes such a difference in our nation's policies. Katie Grant: [00:03:06] Yeah. What kind of questions can you expect to be asked on the census? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:03:10] So there are a number of different demographic type questions. Uh. How many people live in your household? What are their names? Uh, what race, what, uh, sex are people, questions of that nature. There's a lot of information that can be turned into statistics that can be useful later on. Um, any responses that people give are not going to be personally identifiable down the road. And, um, one question that's not on there actually is a citizenship question.There was a lot of discussion about this several months ago about whether there would or would not be a citizenship question. There is not. Katie Grant: [00:03:45] OK. Good to know. So how is all of this information used and why is it so important that we participate? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:03:51] It is used in so many different ways. I'm so glad you asked that question.It will help guide the distribution of about $675 billion in federal funds. It will be used to determine how many different congressional seats, uh, each state gets in the next, uh, decade. Um, and it will also be used to help inform decisions that are made at the local level. It will be turned into demographic information that can be used by businesses trying to decide should we expand, should we relocate? Who are our customers? It will be used by, uh, you know, climate scientists and people making environmental policy decisions to look at where a different population centers and how are different governmental policies impacting people? Katie Grant: [00:04:33] What are some of the reasons that people sometimes choose not to participate?Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:04:39] I'm really glad you asked that question because there are a lot of historically under-counted populations. Um, our goal, of course, every 10 years is to count and account for every single person living in the nation, but some folks might be hard to locate, hard to contact, maybe nervous about sharing their information with the government.Um, there are a wide range of historical reasons. There are a lot of, um, more contemporary reasons as well. Um, and so we want to take opportunities like this to reach out to people and, you know, encourage them, ask them to respond. Um, even if they're a little bit nervous. Um, census responses are protected and kept confidential by federal law.Um, your, in your responses that you provide to the census are not going to be shared with any outside agency, including other agencies of the government. They reside purely within the U.S. Census Bureau. Um, the Census Bureau will then turn that into statistical information that can be used, but they will never be releasing any personal, uh, personally identifiable information.Katie Grant: [00:05:42] And they're not asking for things like your social security number or your phone number or anything like that, right? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:05:48] They are wanting to get just demographic data. They're going to ask for your address, of course. That helps the census make sure that, um, that they're getting everyone counted, but only counted once. Um, and they're asking for information that can just inform the decisions that are made about policy. They're not looking to find people and track people down. Katie Grant: [00:06:08] Perfect. Let's do a little bit of census myth-busting. What are some of the common misconceptions of the census?Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:06:16] Well, one is that it's an optional thing. It's actually required under the Constitution. Um, another is that there is going to be a citizenship question on the 2020 census. There will not be. Um, those are really the big ones. Um, but another, another component that I want to bring up is, um, as I mentioned before, this is the first time that people can respond online.Um, I'll just put it out there. The sooner you respond online, the more you can make sure that, uh, that you don't get a phone call or a, you know, a door knock later. Katie Grant: [00:06:48] That's, that's a great thing to keep in mind. Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:06:50] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the, the, the Census Bureau wants to make sure that we're, that we're, you know, finding everyone and making sure that we have an accurate picture of what our communities look like.But if you would rather not have someone come and knock on your door in May, June or July, filling out the census right away, um, is the best bet. Katie Grant: [00:07:08] Gets you ahead of that. So what does the census mean for our state? Both cities like Madison, here, and Milwaukee, but also, and maybe more importantly for all of the small towns we have across Wisconsin?Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:07:21] Well, there are a lot of um, decisions that are informed by the data. As I mentioned before. There are also a lot of programs that are aimed for particular communities. And, um, of the $675 billion that I mentioned, that gets distributed in federal funding, some of those dollars, um, the, the government wants to aim toward, say, rural communities.And so knowing, you know, who is in particular communities and having an accurate picture of what do the communities here in Wisconsin look like will be really important for that. I also want to say that policymakers and, and you know, advocates, they rely on census data to, um help make sure that we're enforcing different equitable protections that exist in state law and federal law.Um, you know, the data really guides investments in communities and programs, and that's not just for large cities. That's not just for small towns. That's for every different type of community. Knowing, um, what does our community look like? Will just help us be able to make better decisions based on accurate data.Katie Grant: [00:08:24] Right. Right. So let's say it's, I've, I've never participated in a census before. Is there anything I should know before I get into it? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:08:33] Well, you should know. It's pretty quick. It's free. It's easy. And again, it's confidential. This is the first time that people can respond online. Um, we're really pushing that as an, uh, as a response option.So, um, if that's easy, go for it. It's mobile-friendly. Um. You won't actually get a paper copy in the mail until, uh, later in April. So you may be expecting to get a paper copy right away. That's not going to happen this time since we have this neat online response option. Um, I'll also say if you haven't responded to the census, you might be surprised at how many different language supports there are.Um, the census for a lot of people will be sent to their house in English, but there are actually 59 different language supports available through the Census Bureau. And if you, um, need that or would like that support, you can call the toll free number that will be in your census invitation letter. I'll also say that, um, there are supports available for people with disabilities. And so if you have a particular type of need for, um, responding to the census, um with a, say an ASL interpreter, you can make that request and the Census Bureau will, uh, will help you in that way. Katie Grant: [00:09:48] Fantastic. Is there anything else that you think we need to know? Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:09:52] Well, I think keeping the timeline in mind is really important.March 12th is the first day the census website goes live. That's the first day you might receive the census invitation letter in the mail. Um, census day proper, is April 1st but you can be responding to the census -- you can do your census response as early as March 12th. Um, so the sooner we all respond, then of course, the more accurate information we have.Wisconsin was actually number one in mailing response rate 10 years ago. Minnesota was a close second to us. So, um, we want to do everything we can to have that really fantastic response rate again, and to just make sure that we're counting everybody. Anyone who lives in, sleeps in a household, most of the time should be counted, um, in that, in that residence.Katie Grant: [00:10:40] Fantastic. Let's not ... Not let Minnesota beat us this year. Joanna Beilman-Dulin: [00:10:43] Absolutely not. Katie Grant: [00:10:45] Learn more about participating in the 2020 census by visiting census.gov. We'll be back next week with more inside voices on Wisconsin's outdoors. Thanks for listening.
24 minutes | a year ago
Celebrating Wisconsin’s Women in Research - Off The Record Podcast
More and more women are getting involved in science-based careers historically dominated by men. Although women are still underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a number of women scientists. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, we talked with three women research scientists at the DNR. Listen in as Stephanie Shaw, Jennifer Stenglein and Christine Anhalt-Depies discuss their work, experiences as researchers and their advice for other women interested in science-based careers.--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNRs Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast, information straight from the source. Katie Grant: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record, I'm your host, DNRs digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. International Women's Day is March 8th. It's a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women's Day has occurred for well over a century with the first gathering in 1911 which was supported by over a million people. The 2020 theme encourages us to work together to create a gender equal world. According to the UNESCO's Institute of Statistics, only about 30% of the world's scientific researchers are women.Let's meet a few of them. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:00:51] Hi, I'm Jennifer Stenglein. Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:00:53] Hi, I'm Christine Anhalt-Depies.Stephanie Shaw: [00:00:55] Hi, I'm Stephanie Shaw. Katie Grant: [00:00:57] These three women all work for our Office of Applied Science. Sit back and listen in to our conversation about the obstacles faced by women in STEM fields, what inspired them to pursue a career in science and the advice that they have for girls who are interested in following a similar path.Jennifer Stenglein: [00:01:14] All right, so I'm a research scientist, a quantitative wildlife research scientist, and my job is a couple of different things. Part of it is working on a statewide trail camera project called Snapshot Wisconsin, where we work with a bunch of volunteers to collect data for wildlife decision support. And the other part of my job is about deer and deer populations.So we gather data statewide to become inputs into our population models and derive population estimates for each deer management unit of Wisconsin. And we work with wildlife management staff across the state, and they work with their County Deer Advisory Councils to help get that information out there.Katie Grant: [00:02:00] Very cool. How about you, Christine? Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:02:03] I am also a research scientist with the DNR and like Jen, I work on the Snapshot Wisconsin project. I'm the project coordinator. So that involves working with a whole team of people, including Jen, um, where we partner with the people of the state to monitor wildlife using this statewide network of trail cameras.Stephanie Shaw: [00:02:23] So I'm a fisheries research scientist for the DNR. So very similar stuff to what the other ladies work on, except I am obviously fish oriented, kind of how, uh, um, Jen mentioned it or it's, um, quantitative population dynamics, I guess. So it's a lot of modeling. Um, and kind of looking at taking info from a lot of management assessments and really looking at how kind of aquatic ecology, um, harvest and different types of things kind of play out.And trying to help kind of get our managers information on kind of the best things to do for their sport fish populations. Katie Grant: [00:02:59] Very cool. I feel like I, I'm not the smartest person in the room right now, surrounded by a lot of really smart women, which is super cool. What got each of you interested in a career in science and I guess, how old were you when you knew that this or something like it was what you wanted to do? Stephanie, let's start with you. Stephanie Shaw: [00:03:17] Um, you know, I always remember liking science as a little kid. I don't know that I recognize it as science, but I liked being outside and I liked, you know, typical tomboy, girly things like bugs and dirt and fish and animals. And, um, I guess I didn't really get into science until kind of school and later, you know, when you start to get formal classes and stuff. And I, though, they were always my favorite classes, you know, and um, that kind of continued through college. And, um, I guess eventually I ended up where I am, where I could do science and be outdoors and all that good stuff. So, yeah. Katie Grant: [00:03:53] And why fish? Stephanie Shaw: [00:03:55] Ah, interesting question. Um, I really like being on the water. I do fish, not so much anymore. Uh, cause I think about fish all the time and I think I kinda got into fisheries really. I don't know. Aquatic ecology was really interesting to me. I find it kind of fascinating because, you know, unlike maybe some other national resources, you can't really see what's going on.It's kind of a mystery. So it's kinda cool to be able to kind of like dive in there and do sampling and kind of see what's going on underneath the water. And I don't know, I just think it's fascinating. Katie Grant: [00:04:27] That works. Stephanie Shaw: [00:04:28] Okay. Katie Grant: [00:04:28] Christine? How about you?Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:04:30] Like Stephanie, I've always been interested in wildlife and the outdoors from an early age.Um, and I have a pretty specific memory where I was able to put a career to wildlife in the outdoors for the first time. Um, growing up I did a lot of camping and hiking and went on a vacation with my family to, uh, Badlands National Park. Uh, and there were a couple of women who were, uh, camping near us.And doing a mark-recapture study on prairie dogs. And I had the opportunity to go out with them and help them with some of their fieldwork. Uh, one of the mornings when we camping and for the first time learned that there was this whole career path that you could do where you work with wildlife and you get to be outside.And so I guess I'm one of those sort of unusual people who from the age of eight or nine, knew exactly what I wanted to do. And, um, ended up. Sticking with that career path for most of the most, most of my education. Katie Grant: [00:05:29] Very cool. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:05:30] Yeah. Similarly, I really enjoyed being outdoors as a kid, and we did camping and fishing and things outside, so that definitely helped me develop my interests.I didn't know I wanted to be this, uh, a Ph.D. wildlife researcher when I grew up. I had a fantastic science teacher in high school who I'm still very good friends with, Kevin Hennis, and he, uh, allowed me to do an independent study on conservation. And gave me a whole bunch of books of.. Aldo Leopold.. was one.I grew up in Ohio and so Aldo Leopold wasn't a regular part of the high school curriculum in Ohio, but I learned about Aldo Leopold through a Kevin Hennis and Wooster High School in Ohio. And then other conservation writers too. Uh, I also, in my high school, uh, one, the class Lorax award for being the most environmentally conscious.I know. Katie Grant: [00:06:34] Was there like a cool sort of trophy that went with that or something? Jennifer Stenglein: [00:06:38] Should have been, no, I may have been the first recipient. Yeah, it was pretty geeky. Um, but yeah, so then I was realizing I just, I really loved the environment and I love, I love being outside and I love nature. I love science, but I thought at the time that track was going to be education.So in my undergrad, I studied to be a teacher, uh, both a high school science teacher and then an environmental educator for kindergarten through 12th grade. And I went through all that certification, did student teaching, and although I liked it, I really loved science. I loved science more than I liked babysitting kids.So I decided to go on to a Master's and then kept going with education. Uh, but when I was an undergrad, I didn't know that this career existed. So it was a bit of a stepping stone process to get where I am now. Katie Grant: [00:07:36] Yeah. Very cool. I like that you know, there's pieces of your backgrounds that are similar, but also, you know, some, some different pieces.If my Google research is correct, we'll see if it is, two of you aren't originally from Wisconsin. Stephanie Shaw: [00:07:52] Uh, correct. Katie Grant: [00:07:54] Yes! What is so unique about Wisconsin that made you guys decide you wanted to study our natural resources, and Christine for you, what made you want to stay here to study our natural resources?Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:08:06] Sure. So like you said, I was born and raised in Wisconsin and have always really appreciated the diversity of natural resources that we have in Wisconsin, from our great lakes to the Northern forests of Wisconsin. And so, you know, knowing, having that history here, um, having spent a lot of time outdoors in Wisconsin as a kid, um, I jumped at the opportunity when there was an opportunity for me to stay and do research and build my career in Wisconsin. Katie Grant: [00:08:34] Yeah. How about for you guys? Whoever wants to go first? Jennifer Stenglein: [00:08:38] Sure. I'll go. Well, let's see, Wisconsin. So I was born in Ohio, as I mentioned before, raised there mostly. So that was also very, we'd consider it the Midwest, although it's hilarious now to realize how far east Ohio is, as compared to Wisconsin.And when I was in, working on my Master's out in Idaho, and I also did a bunch of field jobs out in Montana area, I realized I'd meet people from Wisconsin and they loved Wisconsin and they always wanted to go back. And I always feel like people from Wisconsin are like little bunny rabbits where they leave and then they make a big circle and then they come back and you meet them and fieldwork and things.Um. And so a good friend I met in Idaho at the University of Idaho, ended up coming back to Wisconsin, uh, to study, to be a veterinarian. And I followed her, essentially, she was going to be a great roommate and there was a Ph.D. program here I was interested in, and I fell in love with Wisconsin. Uh, unfortunately, there's no mountains.There are hills, uh, and, but there's great water. And so I've also fallen in love with different water sports like canoe camping is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Katie Grant: [00:09:53] Very cool. How about for you? Stephanie Shaw: [00:09:55] Um, yeah, actually very similar. It's kind of weird talking to all the ladies, like you said, very different, but very similar kind of experiences too.But, um, I am also from Ohio. I'm from Northwest Ohio, so I grew up outside of Toledo and I love Ohio. Great. I actually worked there for a little bit as a technician on Lake Erie, uh, with the Division of Wildlife, and that was a great experience. Cool fisheries, cool place to be. Um, I kind of moved around a little bit early in my career, so I teched in some different states around the Midwest.I did my Master's at South Dakota State. Um, I did, my research though, was up in northern Minnesota and the bordering waters. And then, um, I went down to Florida to do my Ph.D. and Florida also very cool place, but I am not a warm-weather person. Um, there was a lot I liked about it, but when I was kinda finished up and looking to start my career, I guess I wanted to kind of come back towards the Midwest.And similarly, most people that I ever talked to, um. I always loved to Wisconsin. I had driven through it, parts of it, but, um, I had never lived anywhere in Wisconsin. Um, and fishery is kind of a small world. So again, I knew several people that worked here. They all liked it. Um, Wisconsin had a really great reputation in terms of the DNR and, um, you know, being great research and good opportunities and, you know, kind of strong, well-managed fisheries.And, um, I guess just so happened that some jobs became available and I, I pushed for it. So, yeah. And I'm glad I ended up here. Katie Grant: [00:11:22] Well, we are glad that you are all here as well. What is the best part of each of your jobs? Stephanie Shaw: [00:11:28] I think one of my fears, well, being out in the field is obviously fun and we have so many lakes around the state.It's pretty cool to get a chance to work on different fisheries and different spots. But one of the things I really like about my job is, um, being able to help management. I guess my background is really in sport fish management. And again, that was another big push for coming to Wisconsin as a lot of our managers are doing great jobs, they got a huge workload and a lot of them really just need a little help here and there in terms of, um, you know, getting some data analyzed and answering some questions.And I kind of love doing that cause I like being able to, you know, help solve problems for those guys and kind of help them out. So, yeah. Katie Grant: [00:12:10] How about for you? Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:12:12] I would say that my favorite part of my job is that no day is the same for me. Um, one day I could be out talking to the people of the state about how about the research that we're doing.Um, another day I might be sitting in front of my computer, puzzling through some data analysis. Um, so I like the fact that there's a lot of variability in what I do. Um, if it's being outside, um, talking with folks out in the state, or even just working through a really tough problem on my computer. Katie Grant: [00:12:45] Yeah. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:12:48] I have three, but I'll narrow it down to one.Katie Grant: [00:12:51] I mean, we'll let you do all three. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:12:53] Let's start with one. Probably my favorite thing about the job is working with great people. We've worked with really great people and they, they make, they make the job great. Uh, cause you know, there, there are, there are tough things about my work too, especially around deer, especially this time of year when we're calculating population estimates.But working with great people is just like, so foundational. And having, um, a good experience here and I'm very, very grateful for that. Katie Grant: [00:13:28] Yeah. There's a lot of passion at the DNR. Absolutely. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:13:32] Yeah. Yeah. Katie Grant: [00:13:33] Now I'm curious, what are your other two? Jennifer Stenglein: [00:13:36] Kind of related, uh, well, one is the, uh, second one is just the, also the applied nature that Stephanie talked about.It's really great and fun and important for me that the work I do is used. And it is used so quickly by the DNR. So producing, I mean, there, uh, in our annual process of decision making requires that we have inputs on an annual basis and the data comes in, it has to be analyzed and it has to be used immediately.And that's really fun. Uh, and to see the relevance of your work. And then the third thing that is my favorite is I have a flexible work schedule, which allows me a fantastic work-life balance that I'm not sure I could get many other places and it's really great. Katie Grant: [00:14:28] What are some of the unique obstacles that you've faced and how have you overcome them?Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:14:34] I think that one thing that was difficult for me at different points in my career path is just this idea that sometimes you don't see yourself represented, whether it's in the workplace or, um, the education environment. And I think that being able to have mentors or seeing yourself uh, as a woman represented in the career path that you're interested in is something that's, um, really important.Uh, I think that a couple of the things that I tried to do, um, to overcome that were seeking out mentors who were women to get that perspective. Um. And also something that I've tried then to do as a result later on in my career, now that I'm in the position to do that, is to be able to provide mentorship to other women who are interested in this field so that they can see themselves as represented in this field and as something that is a potential career path for them.Jennifer Stenglein: [00:15:33] I mean, one thing that's clear to me. I have a son at home who's almost three, is just when you're trying to balance work and having a family, it, it can feel really challenging to know how to do that and to kind of keep up with the research expectations while you're trying to scale back, to give the time that you need to, to a young family.And, um, and I think maybe men and women experience that in different ways. And that could, that could be a big part of it would be for sure, I guess.Stephanie Shaw: [00:16:14] One thing that's kind of promising is, I guess I've been in fisheries now for over 10 years, maybe going on 15 years total. Um, since I kind of started and I think every year I see more and more women in professional positions and science positions and, um, more and more female students coming in, which is awesome.Then yeah, I mean, I think, I guess there's more and more of us, which is, which is good. Katie Grant: [00:16:37] I think the pendulum is definitely starting to swing. Um, and I wonder for you from the fisheries management side of things, you know, more and more women are getting into fishing in general, and I wonder if that is kind of fueling some of that change? Stephanie Shaw: [00:16:53] Yeah. I mean, I don't, I guess I don't really know. You know, before my time kind of why there weren't as many women around it was, you know, it seems like going back in history, there was always a few, when you look back at some of the professional societies and, and photos and things, there was always a few women sprinkled in there.Yeah. Maybe. Hopefully as, as interest in you know, female recreational anglers and professional anglers. And, um, you know, if we get more women in those fields, and, um, I think a lot of it, you know, it's just again, seeing yourself represented. And I think that's very encouraging for young women in school and also kind of expanding coverage of, um, fisheries and wildlife in the media and conservation and the media.And, um, you know, young girls, um, can see more women in science positions. And that kind of stuff I think is, um, really encouraging. I hope it's really encouraging, I guess to young women. Katie Grant: [00:17:44] As as we see that pendulum kind of start to swing. What do you guys think needs to be done to support young girls and get them interested in pursuing these careers in science?Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:17:54] This isn't really a fully formed thought, so maybe this can talk it out, but I think there's this misconception out there about what a scientist looks like. Um, you know, on TV for example, you see, uh, like in the Big Bang Theory. The women who are scientists in that show, for the most part, are like these really nerdy types. Or this idea that, you know, to be a scientist in our field, you know, you have to be out, um, in the field all the time and wearing a flannel shirt.And one thing that. It is important to me, and I think helps to recruit a diversity of people to science is trying to, uh, dispel some of those stereotypes that it takes all kinds of people with all kinds of interests. And there's so many different types of careers in science out there and ways that people can do science even, uh, not as a professional.Um. Snapshot Wisconsin, the project that both Jen and I work on is this citizen science project, and that's a great way for everyday people just to dip their toe into doing science. Um, and so it doesn't matter your age or gender, um, whether or not you have a degree on your wall, um. There's all kinds of ways to do science, whether that's part of your career or if it's ah something that you do on the weekends.Katie Grant: [00:19:25] Yeah, the Snapshot program is really a great example of that. While in citizen-based science in general, um, anyone can get involved, you know. You can sit down with your family on a Saturday and help identify the, the photos on Snapshot. You can volunteer to have to host a camera. You know, there's a variety of ways that you can get involved.Um, I think that's a really important thing to note for sure. What advice do you have for women wanting to get into a science-based career? Stephanie Shaw: [00:19:59] I think one thing about myself that I've learned in a science career, and I, I would hope this kind of lends to other women that are interested in it, um, is for one, don't be afraid to fail.Um, I am not the smartest, uh, kid around. And, you know, I was, did pretty good in high school and then in my undergrad, you know, and not so great. And I never thought I would go to grad school. You know, I was still interested in science, but I didn't really know what I was going to do. And it kinda took me a while to get there.Um, you know, I worked as a technician for a long time and I learned a lot and I got a lot of different experience. Um, and in that, you know, I think don't be afraid. You don't have to be a super genius to be a scientist. You know, I think if you're interested in it and you kind of have the drive and you want to persevere, um, you know, you can get there.It really just takes hard work and, and interest and not being afraid to fail and not being afraid to fail in front of your peers, whether they be male or female or anybody. Cause, um, personally, that's kind of where I learned the most is, you know, um, they say if you never fail, you never learn anything.And I completely agree with that. So, yeah. Katie Grant: [00:21:09] Great point. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:21:09] I would say it's about people. Again, as I mentioned before, uh, for me, finding really great advisors and mentors has been a really important part of my career and feeling like I can do it. Uh, cause it is very hard. There's always still very hard moments, not unique to being a woman, even. Just to being a professional in a career that's demanding and having people who you can trust and who you know are there to support you is the most important thing that I have found. And so that would be my recommendation even more than if you're wondering about what specific species to study, say as a Ph.D. student, having an advisor that is somebody you can really connect with is going to just do so much for you in terms of your, uh, future confidence as a researcher. Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:22:13] I most definitely agree with both Jen and Stephanie, I was just gonna say volunteer and get exposed to different career paths and different opportunities within science, and maybe that will create some of the opportunities that Jen talked about and being able to identify mentors that help you explore different, um, different opportunities within science. So I think that volunteering can be a really great place to start. Katie Grant: [00:22:40] Yeah. Well, the whole point of this episode is a International Day of Women ... International Women's Day. And so again, we just want to celebrate you guys and all the women working in science and here making what we do here at the DNR possible.If listeners could walk away knowing one thing from this episode, what would you want that to be? Jennifer Stenglein: [00:23:00] There are women in science and we love it. Katie Grant: [00:23:05] That's an easy one. We'll take it. Christine Anhalt-Depies: [00:23:08] That anybody can do science, and in fact, it takes all kinds of people to do science. And so if folks have an interest in science, they shouldn't feel limited that they should pursue that.Katie Grant: [00:23:22] Give it a try. There's lots of ways to get involved. Jennifer Stenglein: [00:23:25] Exactly. Stephanie Shaw: [00:23:26] You know, I say I completely agree with that wholeheartedly. You know, if the different experiences and interests and things that really add to it, you know, science isn't cookie cutter. We're constantly learning. That's the whole point. And constantly asking questions and, um, different backgrounds, different opinions, different experiences, all help to that. And they can, uh, you know, bring different questions to the table that maybe others didn't think about. And, um, you know, we're here. Katie Grant: [00:23:54] Visit dnr.wi.gov to learn more about the careers that we offer along with volunteer opportunities to get involved. And follow along with how others are celebrating International Women's Day by searching #EachForEqual on social media. We'll be back in two weeks with another great episode. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it. Thanks for listening.
26 minutes | a year ago
It's Your First Buck, Buddy! - Off The Record Podcast
During the 2019 hunting season, we asked you to pass it on and take someone hunting with you. Justin Morrissey was already a step ahead of us and was working with his best friend, Joey Wakeen, who has Down syndrome, to get ready for the season. The friends, who are really more like brothers, decided it was time for Joey to give hunting a try. They started, without success, with turkeys in the spring. After practicing shooting for safety and accuracy all summer and fall, they were ready for deer season. Days before Joey’s birthday they headed out into the stand and had success – Joey’s first buck! On this episode of the Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record Podcast, we sat down with them to learn more about their friendship, what it was like for Joey to get his first buck (from both of their perspectives), and why mentoring is so important to the Wisconsin tradition of hunting and fishing.Learn more about National Shooting Sports Foundation and the +One Movement at https://www.letsgoshooting.org/plusonemovement/Learn more about mentored hunting in Wisconsin at https://dnr.wi.gov/education/outdoorskills/mentor.html--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast -- information straight from the source. Katie Grant: [00:00:09] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record. I'm your host DNR's digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. At Wisconsin DNR, we love sharing your stories, whether they're about how you fell in love at a state park, how you learned to fish, that one time you saw a rare bird on your backyard feeder or really anything else in between. We're delighted when you tell these stories to your friends on social media and tag us in them, and we get even more excited when you allow us to share your stories with the world.Leading up to the 2019 deer season, we started to get tagged in a series of posts from Justin Morrissey about his experience mentoring his friend Joey Wakeen -- who's really more like a brother -- to get ready for Joey's first time deer hunting. We silently followed along hopeful that Joey would have success.Justin Morrissey: [00:01:01] All right, Joey and I are ready to go. What do you think Joey? Joey Wakeen: [00:01:05] Ready to go. Justin Morrissey: [00:01:08] That's right. We're ready to go. So yeah, we just got our stuff ready here at the truck. I got, I got the camera, I got the big gun here. Joey's got the .308 on him and uh, we're going to stay right by each other the whole way and get off to the blind.[gun shot] Joey, you got him. You got it buddy. You got him. What do you think, buddy? Dude, look at that. Joey, it's your first buck buddy. Joey Wakeen: [00:01:46] I got it. I got shot a buck. I just shot a buck. I got it, mom. It's just, this is good. This boy. Justin Morrissey: [00:01:58] Tonight. What's the day today? Joey Wakeen: [00:02:00] I shot a buck. Justin Morrissey: [00:02:02] Joey shot a buck. The date doesn't even matter. Yeah, it is the day that Joey Wakeen got his first deer.Joey Wakeen: [00:02:09] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:02:10] And it's a nice six pointer, isn't it?Joey Wakeen: [00:02:12] Yeah! Justin Morrissey: [00:02:13] Right on. Good job, buddy. So anyways, uh, and guess what? What, what, what day is Friday this week? Joey Wakeen: [00:02:20] This is fun night. This is my birthday. Justin Morrissey: [00:02:23] It is Joey's birthday. This is like your birthday buck. Huh? That's a good present, huh? Joey Wakeen: [00:02:30] Yeah! Justin Morrissey: [00:02:30] So what do you think? Joey Wakeen: [00:02:32] This is good. Justin Morrissey: [00:02:33] This is just plain old good, isn't it?Joey Wakeen: [00:02:36] Yeah, it is pretty good. Justin Morrissey: [00:02:37] Right on, buddy. All right. Katie Grant: [00:02:40] I was able to chat with Justin and Joey to learn a bit more about what the experience was like for them. Why mentoring is important in the world of hunting and fishing and what their next big adventure will be. So sit back and listen in. Justin Morrissey: [00:02:54] My name is Justin Morrissey. I am the manager of social media for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.I grew up in Baldwin, Wisconsin, which is in the west-central part of Wisconsin, uh, kind of close to the Minnesota border. And I grew up hunting. Uh, I'm very passionate about it. My dad got me introduced to it and my brother and I definitely, um, kind of built, built up each other over the years and helped each other gain new experience and we kind of motivated each other to, and challenged each other to get more involved in hunting and try new things.And then over the years we got other friends involved and had a lot of great experiences. And that kind of led to me having a career in the outdoor industry. And then when, let's see, it was bud 10 years ago. I was a sophomore in high school when my drama or speech teacher forensics coach, uh, Roxy Wakeen, and, uh, she approached me and asked me if I would be available to mentor her son Joey.And so I became Joey's respite care provider for, uh, at that point. And I've been that for about 10 years, but there were some periods in between that, um, like when I moved to Connecticut for three and a half years that I wasn't really around as much to hang out with Joey. Um, but now I moved back to Wisconsin, still have my same job of work remotely, and it's kind of put me in a position where I can mentor Joey again and hang out with him. Katie Grant: [00:04:36] Cool, Joey, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are? Joey Wakeen: [00:04:41] Oh, I'm Joey, I'm out. I go to work. My second cousin goes to middle school. Yeah. I working at clean and clean, clean, all busy. So it's like they got to go to them. This is his land. I shot in a deer about, I'm going to check his shoulder. This is, yes. Good, down.Justin Morrissey: [00:05:13] So, so what do you, what do you like to do for fun, Joey? Like, what do you like to do for fun besides go hunting now? You like to play basketball, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:05:24] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:05:25] You like to go bowling.Joey Wakeen: [00:05:26] Yeah, basketball and bowling.Justin Morrissey: [00:05:29] Is there a big one? Swimming in the summertime? Joey Wakeen: [00:05:32] Yeah, swimming and this is last summer. Justin Morrissey: [00:05:39] And you're probably about ready for summer again now, this point of the year? So, Joey, just what Joey said is that he works at St. Croix Central Middle School, and he cleans there, he has kind of like a janitorial role at the school, um, as part of the staff there. Um, so that's like his big, big job lately, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:06:00] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:06:01] And, uh. And then besides that, and you just have a heck of a lot of fun all the time, don't you? Joey Wakeen: [00:06:06] Yeah. Katie Grant: [00:06:07] It sounds like it. We first met you, Justin, when you reached out on Facebook with kind of an exciting update. Joey, you got your first buck during gun deer season this year, didn't you?Joey Wakeen: [00:06:19] Oh, yeah. Katie Grant: [00:06:20] Yeah. What was that like for you, Joey? Joey Wakeen: [00:06:23] This is, um. This in the woods. This is kind of my walk. It's just deep. This is the, it's for my, my boots. Justin Morrissey: [00:06:39] OK Joey, she's not asking about...There. There are odd little experiences that Joey has when walking like in the woods, like the ground is uneven. What he's talking about, the ground being uneven and it kind of being a little bit difficult for his feet.But we're, we're talking about the deer though. Like, what was it like? I remember you kept saying that it was a really good experience in the videos. Right? Joey Wakeen: [00:07:07] Oh, yeah, yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:07] So you want to explain more of that? Joey Wakeen: [00:07:09] Yeah.Justin Morrissey: [00:07:10] Explain. Joey Wakeen: [00:07:11] Hmm. Um, it got shot in the eye. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:17] So what about the deer, man? Mm. Like what about your, do you remember your buck that you got?Joey Wakeen: [00:07:22] Yeah.Justin Morrissey: [00:07:22] Remember? So you remember you pulled the trigger and, we went out there and you had a lot of fun. Remember, we were like dancing in the line and stuff like that? And have a lot of fun. Joey Wakeen: [00:07:30] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:31] And we saw the deer on the food plot? Joey Wakeen: [00:07:33] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:33] And then, and then remember you got your buck. Joey Wakeen: [00:07:36] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:36] So how did you feel about that?Joey Wakeen: [00:07:38] It was better. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:40] You felt much better after that didn't you? Joey Wakeen: [00:07:42] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:07:43] Just your, it was a life-changing experience. Katie Grant: [00:07:47] Was it very exciting for you, Joey? Joey Wakeen: [00:07:49] Yeah. Katie Grant: [00:07:50] Yeah. So Justin, you are Joey's friend, but you described that moment to us when we first talked to you as being like watching your own kid get their first buck.What was that experience like for you and why was it so special? Justin Morrissey: [00:08:04] Yeah, so, I think that experience when Joey got his buck was really special because, I mean, we've developed a relationship over all these years, and he is like a brother to me, uh, like a little brother to me. And so just to grow with somebody and not only mentor him, but him mentor me.Um, when we both sort of experienced that success together -- I think it's just as just as good, if not better as me harvesting a deer of my own. Um, or just even experience any sort of, you know, big success in, in my life. I mean, it was a really cool moment. And for Joey to express his excitement like he did in the video, um, you can pretty much see that like that, that is what makes it awesome is just to see that big smile on Joey's face.And, uh, that's, that's what it's all about. It's not about, actually killing the deer. I mean, it's, it's a, it's definitely good to, uh, you know, harvest a deer and have meat from it and to experience that ... that success, but it's also just being together with someone and to accomplish something like that. Um, after we went hunting like all year and, uh, worked on firearm safety and just, you know, it takes time to learn that stuff through the mentor process.Um. And so it just was, you know, I guess it's really hard to describe really, but it's a definitely something that I want to continue doing. Let's just put it that way. Katie Grant: [00:09:39] Yeah. Very cool. So as you kind of had mentioned, you guys were getting ready to go hunting for quite a long time this year. You spent, what was it? Did you start like last spring, early summer? Justin Morrissey: [00:09:52] Yes. Yes. So we started with turkey hunting, uh, in the spring. And I first brought Joey out target shooting. Um, and we started with the .22 and he shot at a clay pigeon cause it's good to start with reactive targets because then you actually get some feedback, um, as soon as you shoot.So he shot at a clay pigeon and the first shot he hit it right in the center of the clay pigeon, which that was the first shot he ever took with a firearm. Katie Grant: [00:10:21] That's not easy to do at all. Justin Morrissey: [00:10:23] Yeah, we were, we were like super pumped. And then he took two more shots and we thought the second shot that he missed, and we didn't walk up to the target at all.Um, and we just couldn't see, uh, a different hole in the target. Um, because he shot at the same clay, like the first shot, it just left one hole in the clay, but it didn't break it or anything. So then the second shot, we're like, 'Oh, you missed.' Sure enough. Now, on the third shot, we saw that that whole grow a little bit bigger, um, in the clay and it never broke, and then when we walked up to it we realized that he hit in the same spot in his first three shots, like same hole. Katie Grant: [00:11:05] Wow. That's awesome, Joey. Joey Wakeen: [00:11:07] Oh, thank you. Justin Morrissey: [00:11:08] So from that point, we stepped it up to the shotgun because then he, you know, you kinda got used to the sound of the gun going off and you know, the reaction, um, or, you know, cause and effect.He pulled the trigger, the gun goes, bang. Um, so then we stepped up the shotgun. He, uh, blew up the first clay. We just put stationary clays out on, on some stands, and he busted, I think you got like 14 out of 15 or something like that, all the way out to like 50 yards. So he was definitely, that was like not a concern of mine like him being good shot was like, he's a natural. So, um, so yeah. Then we went out turkey hunting though like a couple of days later. Right. And we went out, we brought the blind out. Right? Joey Wakeen: [00:11:53] Yeah, right. Justin Morrissey: [00:11:54] When was that? That was a good time, wasn't it?Joey Wakeen: [00:11:55] Sure. Justin Morrissey: [00:12:00] And so yeah, we went out, brought the blind out. The first morning we went out, we had a Tom come out in the field. I think it was like a hundred, and it was like a hundred yards away, but it just didn't quite close in. Um, and we just had challenges with that Tom that whole season that Joey had and ended up not getting a shot opportunity. But we saw hens like right up close to the blind. Right?Joey Wakeen: [00:12:22] Oh yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:12:23] What what sound did the turkey make? Joey Wakeen: [00:12:26] This is um. This is kind of... crocker. Justin Morrissey: [00:12:32] OK. Sounds, yeah. It's got like a little bit of a crack to it on the slate, doesn't it? But what does it sound like? Can you do make the sound for us?Yeah, exactly. That's a hen, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:12:44] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:12:44] And then what did the males do? What do, what do the Toms do? A gobble, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:12:49] Yeah. Oh, gobble.Justin Morrissey: [00:12:54] Perfect. Yeah. Yeah. So, so anyways, from that point, turkey hunting, and we moved on to more target shooting in the summertime. And we continued working on his skills with the .22. And I got really involved in the rimfire challenge at the Colfax Sportsman's Club. So I just kind of, uh, got Joey into like clinking steel with the .22's and yeah, we got video of that and he's a rock star once again, like he just hasn't ever shown a dip in his shooting skills.He's been like on. Um, so we're just kind of working on increasing the speed that he shoots, cause you likes to take his time a lot, which is important, you know, definitely accuracy over speed when you first start, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:13:38] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:13:39] Um, and then we just got into the fall. We went, uh, bow hunting. Uh, Joey got a tag, um, an apprentice tag or a mentor, mentor tag.Joey Wakeen: [00:13:50] Right. Justin Morrissey: [00:13:51] And we went out bow hunting a few times. Uh, the first two times we had does come out in the food plot and we got really excited, but we were, let's just say that, that, uh, Joey learned to sit still in the blind, right? Yeah. What do you gotta do when you're in the blind? Sit still, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:14:09] Yes. This is, yes. Yes. Shhhh. Yup.Justin Morrissey: [00:14:14] And you gotta be...Joey Wakeen: [00:14:16] Be quiet. Justin Morrissey: [00:14:16] Yeah, exactly. We worked on a couple of those important things. You know, we, we definitely had, um, had to have a little patience out there, but we had eventually had some does come and close, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:14:28] Oh yeah. Yup. Justin Morrissey: [00:14:30] And he shot at, um, one doe and just barely missed, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:14:34] Yeah.Justin Morrissey: [00:14:35] And so we didn't get that. Um, and then things got really busy for me, so we didn't go out after that again until gun season. And so that led to the hunt where Joey um, got his first buck. Joey Wakeen: [00:14:49] Yeah, squirrels. Justin Morrissey: [00:14:50] Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah. We're going to, we're going to go hunt for rabbits and squirrels now, aren't we? Well, I think squirrel season season's done, so we gotta maybe try for rabbits.Katie Grant: [00:15:03] So squirrels and rabbits are the next big thing you want to try hunting. Joey? Joey Wakeen: [00:15:07] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:15:07] And we, we tried once already. Right? And we definitely learned that the reaction time, you know, with speed being a big factor with hunting rabbits. Um, Joey needs to work on his speed a little bit when it comes to, um, you know, acquiring the target and just pulling the trigger. But like I said, I think the important thing is accuracy, um, over speed, right? And so we're maybe going to try going out and sitting and waiting for rabbits in some spots that we know there are a lot of rabbits.That's what you've got to do, when you mentor though, you got to adapt to the, the hunter and you got to not expect too much.You got to kind of, you know, patience is a huge part of it on any learning process, whether you're mentoring or learning on your own. And so we're just kind of, letting time do it's thing, aren't we Joey? Joey Wakeen: [00:16:00] Yeah. Katie Grant: [00:16:01] What are you doing with your deer now that you have it? Joey Wakeen: [00:16:04] Mm. Oh! Justin Morrissey: [00:16:06] What are you doing with your deer? Joey Wakeen: [00:16:07] Oh my deer. Yeah, this is like 150 pounds. Justin Morrissey: [00:16:14] Yup. It's 150 pounds. Yeah. Are you going to get it mounted? Joey Wakeen: [00:16:18] What? Justin Morrissey: [00:16:18] You're going to get the deer mounted, right? Shoulder mount, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:16:21] Oh yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:16:22] And, and his mom said that... So they don't have any taxidermy at their house, but his mom said that she's definitely going to hang it right in the living room so that it can be a good conversation piece when people come over.Katie Grant: [00:16:34] That's very cool. So getting outdoors is kind of a way of life for both of you. Joey, I hear that you're not a huge fan of ice fishing, but what else do you guys like to do outside together?Joey Wakeen: [00:16:47] This is what to too cold it is. Oh, ice, icy. This is, this is just cold, like my right foot.Justin Morrissey: [00:17:02] Your foot fell on hole that one time, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:17:03] Yeah right in the hole. Justin Morrissey: [00:17:04] Yeah. We, uh. There was a rogue hole that just flew out and came out of nowhere, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:17:10] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:17:11] And you, uh, your foot just hit it just right. And it went right in the hole, didn't it? Joey Wakeen: [00:17:15] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:17:16] And that, uh, but your foot's okay, right? Yeah. I think your foot's just fine. You just, it was just a traumatic experience. So, so, but what else besides, you like fishing in the boat, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:17:29] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:17:29] Yeah. why don't you tell, why don't you tell about some fish... fishing that you've done in the boat? Joey Wakeen: [00:17:33] Oh, about, um, about, um, bass, about guppies. And is it more that fish? Justin Morrissey: [00:17:44] So what's that one right there, right? That one. Joey Wakeen: [00:17:47] This is, um, lot of ice. Justin Morrissey: [00:17:51] Yes. Yup. Walleyes and northerns, right? Yeah. So we, we fish for, for all of them. Right? You can take what we can get around fishing in the boat. Right. So, yeah. So we do that. And you went out, uh, you go out hiking with me sometimes, right?Joey Wakeen: [00:18:06] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:07] Like this time of year we go look for deer antlers, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:18:09] Yes, sir. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:10] Yeah. And you haven't found any yet, right? Yeah. Yeah. But we're going to keep trying, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:18:15] Yeah. I kept trying. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:16] Persistence pays off. Correct. All right. What else do we do out there? Joey Wakeen: [00:18:23] Well, this is kind of cold nights. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:27] It's, well, it's cold right now this time of year, but we like, we like sitting by the bonfire, right?Joey Wakeen: [00:18:31] Oh yeah. Like fire. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:32] Bonfires at night. That's all good. Joey Wakeen: [00:18:34] Yeah. This is good. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:35] Yup. And you like helping me cut wood and stuff at my land, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:18:40] Yeah. Justin Morrissey: [00:18:40] That's all important stuff. Yeah. You gotta stay active outside, right? Joey Wakeen: [00:18:44] Sure. Katie Grant: [00:18:44] I love it. You've kind of talked about this a little bit, but can you tell me a little bit more about what it's like to be a hunting mentor and a little bit about the plus one movement and why people should get involved?Justin Morrissey: [00:18:58] Yes, absolutely. So I think that mentorship in general these days, um, is a really important thing, uh, because I think there's ... there's a lot of disconnection between people, um, and communities because of... I'm going to go back to social media, even though it's my job, uh, to manage social media for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.I manage it because I know that I can make a difference on there and I can educate. So I think that like social media just creates a disconnection between people, and community is where a lot of people go on social media and use that as kind of an outlet or use it as a distraction. Oh, uh, a way from like the important things, which are community, which are friends, which is the outdoors, which is stepping outside.Um, and so I think that mentorship through social media and educating and using social media as a education platform versus like a platform to create controversy. And you know, I think entertainment is an important part to help education become more attractive. But I also think that the education component is really, really important.And that's where mentorship comes in with anything in life. Um, I think that education is critical for the understanding of everything around you. It gives people perspective. And so the plus one movement and what that is, is a peer-to-peer campaign that pretty much encourages people, um, hunters, outdoorsmen, um, outdoorswomen, um, and just people in general who maybe even have gone out and tried target shooting or hunting before to just give it a try.Um, because it does give you unique perspective. And a lot of people just don't know what it's all about. So if we just help each other get involved in it, um, and sort of see and gain that new perspective, that's really what it's all about. And so really the statistic is with the hunting side of things anyways, is if one in three hunters introduced someone new to hunting, it would create a strong future for hunting and conservation.And so that's one in three, and we're trying to just encourage everybody to get out and do it, but one in three and that would create a very strong future for wildlife through conservation dollars and all of that. It would help the, uh, outdoor industry. So that's really what it's all about is, uh, you know, kind of creating more awareness around the positives that hunting can provide in people's lives. Katie Grant: [00:21:52] Very cool. I think you guys are a great example of how easy it is to make this happen. You know, being a mentor is something that anyone with hunting experience can do and really even fishing experience, you know, you, you can mentor someone to become a fisher as well.So I don't want to focus just on the hunting aspect of it, cause I think there's definitely both sides, but, and anyone with the experience can do it and just bring someone with you. Justin Morrissey: [00:22:20] Yeah, absolutely. I, like I said, I think it kind of crosses over into any element of life. Um, you know, when, as a parent teaches their kids and their kids develop, um, I think that mentorship and parenting go hand in hand.It's just that mentorship kind of extends beyond parenting. Like Joey isn't my kid. Um, and I have a lot of friends who, you know, they're not my relatives. We're not family, but mentor ... mentoring them, um, it kind of creates that connection of like a really strong friendship connection. And so that's really like what the plus one idea is all about is like creating community, which is critical these days.So, so, yeah. And then with the mentoring, like. You know, Joey hasn't taken Hunter's Education. Um, and then through the mentorship program that Wisconsin offers, um, you know, I, I definitely am there with him the whole time right next to him and making sure that, you know, the firearm that he is holding is, is really my responsibility.And so we pretty much set that um, understanding right from the beginning. And so Joey is really careful. He's really safe, and I'm really proud of him for being as safe as he is. And I think that, you know, it's all, it's all in the approach. Katie Grant: [00:23:45] Absolutely. If there was one thing that you guys wanted listeners to walk away with after listening to this episode, what would you want that to be?Justin Morrissey: [00:23:54] I think the most important message is to be inclusive and to keep an open mind when it comes to what somebody thinks about hunting and the outdoors to begin with. And because that open-mindedness and that inclusiveness and that willingness to reach out, that is what creates a respect from the other, from maybe different perspectives also.Like once you offer that extend, you know, extend your hand, I guess, out and, and create an opportunity and create an understanding that you're willing to connect in some way, whether it's through hunting or any activity. I think that just creates an opportunity for people to respect each other more, try new things, and also just have a lot more fun.Katie Grant: [00:24:46] I love it. Well, Joey, we are so proud of you that, that you got your first deer this year and that you're doing so great in giving hunting a try. If I could give you a high five through the computer right now, I totally would. So Justin, give him a high five for me. Justin Morrissey: [00:25:01] I just did. Katie Grant: [00:25:03] When you're thinking about your next hunting or fishing trip, think about who you can pass the experience onto and then make it happen.Mentoring is a rewarding experience and a great way to get more people involved in the outdoors. You can learn more about becoming at dnr.wi.gov.What do you want to hear on future episodes? Email us your questions and ideas at dnr.wi.gov and if you like what you're hearing, be sure to leave us a review.Thanks for listening.
25 minutes | a year ago
Wisconsin State Parks: A Love Story - Off The Record Podcast
There’s a lot of love for Wisconsin’s state parks. In honor of Valentine’s Day, visitors share their Wisconsin State Park love stories about first dates, surprise engagements and scenic wedding days. Listen in to hear how their special day is something they’ll remember forever. --------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNRs Wild Wisconsin - Off the Record podcast, information straight from the source. Katie Grant: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off the Record, I'm your host, DNRs digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. When I started my job here at Wisconsin DNR, one of the first fun facts I learned was that you could get married in a state park.I had no idea that was even a possibility, let alone something that people actually did. I let the fact leave my brain until this last summer when I interviewed Jane Simkins and Missy Vanlanduyt for Episode 42 - How Do You OutWiGo? On that episode, Jane said, "people use parks as a platform to sort of bring people together." A short conversation about the opportunities to use state parks for your wedding ensued, and that got us thinking, what sort of a role have state parks played in your love stories? We put that question on a shelf until now. In honor of Valentine's Day next week, we asked for your state park love stories, whether you went on a first date at a state park, got engaged or married at one or anything else in between, and we got you guys to tell us them in your own words.Now I'm a bit of a nerd about Valentine's Day. It's been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember, and I've definitely driven my friends crazy with how much I like to celebrate it. So, to say I've had fun reading and listening to your stories is a bit of an understatement. Sit back and listen in as we hear from our listeners about how state parks have played a role in their lives.Zach: [00:01:43] Hi, this is Zach. Erika: [00:01:44] And this is Erica. Zach: [00:01:46] And, uh, our story begins like many others on the dating app, Bumble. I, uh, didn't have very good dates before, so I wanted to find a, uh, a line that would, um, align people with more my interests of the outdoors and, uh, geology. So I added, 'you don't know High Cliff State Park unless you've seen the stromatolites.' And once I put this line on, I was going through people's profiles and I come across Erika. And Erika, we went to high school together and we went to middle school together and I had a big crush on her. So I, you know, swipe on her and we matched. 'OK! Yes. Great.' And we, I wait about a day, and on Bumble you have 24 hours to, uh, Erika needs to talk to me.So I'm like, 'well, come on, is she gonna do this?' And at the last minute she messages, so where are these stromatolites? And, of course I'm gonna hold off on this or that. Uh, nah, I'm not going to tell her these locations so I can show her on a date. I invite her two days later to go get drinks. And, uh, she says, no.Well, OK. She doesn't really say no, but she doesn't... she ignores me for two more days and I'm like, 'OK, if she answered the line on the first place, and like, stromatolites, uh, this has got to work.' So I invite her to go on a hike to High Cliff State Park, and she says, yes. So, it's a Friday night. It looks like there's rain in the forecast, but I think it's going to be clear and we start on our hike.Erika: [00:03:25] All right, so we're hiking along, and I'm promised that I'm going to see these stromatolites and it starts to rain a little harder. And I'm wondering where these things are. Wondering if maybe he's made these up just to get me on a date. Zach: [00:03:39] Oh yeah, I definitely did. Erika: [00:03:41] But eventually, he brings me to the site of the elusive stromatolites, and he gets down on the ground and he points to a mound of rock, and I look at his face and his eyes are so lit up, and I just am like 'what? That's it? This mound of rock on the ground, all this hype for this pile of rock.' Zach: [00:04:04] She definitely had that look in her eyes. I'm like, no, these are really cool. Erika: [00:04:08] But he was super excited about it, so I got super excited about it too. And then we finished our hike and we went to the top of the tower and at this point we were both soaking wet and it was getting cold. And then it got dark and we talked for a long time.Zach: [00:04:25] And we've been going to state parks ever since. Woo! State parks.Ellen: [00:04:35] Hi, I'm Ellen. Cole: [00:04:36] And I'm Cole. Ellen: [00:04:37] And we're from Madison, Wisconsin. And our state park love story started when I was a really little girl. I would go camping at Governor Dodge State Park every summer with my family. We would go there multiple times each summer and just swim and camp, and it became really part of who I was as a person.So growing up when I started dating Cole, um, it was definitely one of our most common date spots is that I would take him there and we would eat lunch and swim, and go for hikes at Governor Dodge State Park. Cole: [00:05:13] Yeah, and there was this, on one of the trails, there's one of these, um, cliffs off to the side of it that we would go to.And when we went to the cliff, then I was like, yup, this is, this is going to be the spot one day. Years later, you know, on the day that that I ended up proposing, we, we drove to ... to Governor Dodge. It was a Sunday and the weather was terrible. It was pouring rain. Ellen: [00:05:40] And he really wanted to go hiking up to the cliff and I was getting a little grumpy. I was like, 'why are we going to this cliff?'Cole: [00:05:47] Yep, it didn't make any sense probably, but I was on a mission and the rain held off long enough. And, um, we ended up going up to the cliff with, uh, her sister and brother in law. And, um, you know, I asked her to marry me there and then when we did it, you know ... she is, she was going crazy.And, uh, and then we...Ellen: [00:06:12] It was perfect. It was right at our spot at Governor Dodge. And then, yeah. And then we walked down and he had surprised me with the rest of our family waiting in the shelter, also in the rain. Cole: [00:06:22] Yep, they're all waiting, and she was super surprised. Ellen: [00:06:25] It was a great day and a perfect location.Emily: [00:06:32] So I'm Emily Stetzer. Nick: [00:06:38] And I am Nick Stetzer. Emily: [00:06:40] And uh, we have a state park love story for sure. Um, where our relationship started where we really weren't supposed to be together. When you look back at, uh, at our own personal plans. So it was only a few months really that we were together and we both kinda knew we needed to be together. Nick: [00:06:58] We would go up skiing at Granite Peak all the time. We would go up to the top or a mountain, state park, and just look out over the city of Wausau and see how beautiful things were. Um, we knew we wanted to be together and, um, as we started to talk about our life together, um, we knew that Rib Mountain State Park was definitely the place that we wanted to get married.We started looking into it and there were just, there were so many options out there, but we knew Rib Mountain State Park was the place that we had to get married. Emily: [00:07:31] Yeah. But it's, of course, before we get married, we've got to have that proposal. So, um, I work in television and, uh, we were doing something called a promo.Um, someone, my ... my boss was saying, 'hey, you gotta go up there and we're going to just, you know, ask you about a few questions and have this beautiful backdrop, uh, of, you know, Wausau area, um, from the top of Rib Mountain. Nick: [00:07:56] So worked out perfect because her boss, um, allowed her, uh, was in on this the whole time and, um, allowed her to do the promo there.So what I did is I hid behind the rocks. Um, had a photographer kind of hiding a little bit, pretend like she was taking pictures of the mountain and the city. And Emily came down with her promo guy and started, uh, talking. Emily: [00:08:21] Yeah. "Why? Why do you love journalism?" And so I started to say that, and it was a little windy, not like crazy windy, just light breeze.And I was just very focused on the job that I needed to do. But then I heard some shuffling shoes behind me and I was terrified. Nick: [00:08:38] Turned around, and little did she know her handsome man was standing right behind her. Emily: [00:08:43] And then it was just water works. I knew exactly why he was there. Nick: [00:08:47] It was a beautiful day.Um, it was actually raining earlier in the day. Um, and it stopped. The sun started coming out after I proposed. And, um, we took a lot of pictures up at Rib Mountain. Uh, it was very, very beautiful. YEmily: [00:08:58] Yeah. But we knew we wanted to get married up there then, too. So, Bill at the Rib Mountain State Park, he is just awesome. Um, he checked in, you know, we would check in with him and he said, "Yep. You know, there, there's a few other people that are looking at your date, August 11th, 2018. Um, but, you know, we'll, I'll keep you posted." And, uh, we were just waiting in anticipation, you know, the two weeks, uh, you know, after we put in our application. And I get a call from Bill and Bill's like, "Emily, I have some good news for you, and I was just in my newsroom and just started to freak out. I was like, "Oh my gosh. We did it." Nick: [00:09:35] It was special. Emily: [00:09:38] So I'm sorry for anyone else who was waiting for August 11th, 2018 but, uh, we got that. Nick: [00:09:45] Then the day finally came, the weather was perfect. I mean, couldn't, couldn't be any better. Um.Emily: [00:09:52] And accommodated all our friends and family. The weather, yeah again, was beautiful. Beautiful pictures. And just exactly the environment that we wanted to be in and where our love grew. State parks are just definitely a special place and will always hold a special place in our relationship, too.Polly: [00:10:12] A lifelong love born at Peninsula State Park, by Bob and Polly Kuehn of Door County, Wisconsin. It was January 29th, 1986. I was newly single and had heard about the moonlight ski to be held at Peninsula park. I felt compelled to go and asked the only friend I could think of, a non-skier to go with me. She immediately said yes.Bob: [00:10:35] At the same time, I, also newly single, was alone at home with no plans for the night. My friends insisted on picking me up to go to the same moonlight ski. Ignoring my protest, they picked me up and took me to the park. I entered the warming shed and the first person I saw was Polly. Polly: [00:10:53] The ski in the full moon light was beautiful.Afterwards, I was talking to a friend in common about the first college course I was about to begin at age 33. Bob: [00:11:03] I came over and showed Polly and her friend the lamination on the bottom of my ski. Polly: [00:11:08] Bob's ski lamination, did not compare to my excitement about starting college, so I did not give him much attention.Bob: [00:11:16] Afterwards, I asked our friend about Polly and I liked what I heard. Early the next morning I called her. I later told Polly that she was the first thing I thought of when I woke up that day. We set a time to meet for coffee and the rest is history. Polly: [00:11:30] We dated for three years. Both of us had children and we had logistics to work out. On February 10th, 1989, we were married. Bob: [00:11:38] Each year, on January 29th, we marveled that if just one thing had not happened we may never have met. Cross-country skiing is still a huge part of our lives. We have been lucky enough to ski all over the world. Polly: [00:11:51] We still love Peninsula park. We help with the candlelight ski, we sled with the grandkids and we're helping develop plans for an improved warming shelter.Erin: [00:12:03] My name is Erin Dams and my husband is Greg Dams, and my husband actually proposed to me at Lapham Peak State Park.Greg and I started dating in 2013 and early on we had gone to Lapham Peak, so it kind of became a thing that we would either go hiking or camping at this state park. In the summer of 2017, we adopted a dog. So when Greg had asked about taking him hiking there, I didn't really think anything of it. We didn't really live right in that area anymore, but I thought it was a great idea.You know, we'll go make a day trip, take the dog out, it'll be a ton of fun. And then Greg said he wanted to go geocaching, which was not something we had ever done before, but it sounded like something Greg would randomly want to do. So I didn't think anything of it. So we're going to the park and you know, Greg's telling me where to go for the geocaches.And, uh, we find the first one and it's this cute little ornament of like a coffee cup, which is perfect cause we do coffee dates all the time. And then we're going along and we find the second one and it's a camping ornament, which is also something we enjoy doing. What a weird coincidence. And then we're driving to the third one and Greg kind of forgot where he put it.So we're kind of in the area and Greg's trying to find it. And then our, our dog, Tito, is actually like kind of pulling us around. And Tito ended up finding it, which seemed absolutely incredible at the time. But in hindsight, I'm sure he just smelled that Greg had been there, you know, earlier that day. Spoiler alert, Greg had planted all of the caches.They were not real geocaches. So then we get to the last geocache, which is at the observation tower. And we're looking and looking, and I can't find this thing for the life of me, and Greg is insisting it's there. I'm convinced it's not. And it turns out it was this tiny little like thimble-sized geocache.So I finally find it. And you know, I open it up, it has this little piece of paper in it, and I'm, you know, unrolling this piece of paper and it just says, "Erin, will you marry me?" So of course, I do turn around and Greg is on his knee for the proposal and asking if I will marry him. So of course I said "yes."And we ended up getting married in April, 2019.Natalie: [00:14:48] My name is Natalie Weeks, and this is my state park love story. So two summers ago, I was out in Wyoming working for an organization called Safari Club International, doing a professional development for teachers, teaching them how to teach wildlife conservation since I teach a class to my high school students all about processing game and wildlife management and camping and fishing and hunting and all of that good stuff. So my now husband came out to visit me at this camp, and I was really, really hoping that he would propose to me in the Bridger Teton National Forest. It would have been the perfect backdrop, but it never happened.And he, uh, went back home and to say I was disappointed would have been the understatement of the century. So a couple of weeks later, I head home and I drive for two days straight, finally get back home to Wisconsin. He's so happy to see me. And the first thing he says is, "Hey, tomorrow morning, do you want to go kayaking?"And I thought that was weird because I just drove for two days and I just wanted to sleep. And I'm like, sure, sounds great. And he's like, all right, well let's go to Pike Lake State Park tomorrow. And I'm like, all right, sounds good. Go to bed, wake up in the morning. And it's a beautiful day. So I said to him, "you know what? Pike Lake is probably going to be really busy," cause it was a Sunday. And I said, "let's go to Little Cedar Lake." So we went to a lake a little bit closer to our house. And we kayaked and got to the middle of the lake, grabbed my kayak, pulled it close to him, and he proposed and I said, "Oh my gosh, are you kidding?"And he's like, "no, of course not." So I was really impressed that he wanted to do it on water where he could potentially drop a ring into the bottom of a lake. But we did get our Pike Lake love story because we got our engagement pictures taken at Pike Lake, and it was the perfect backdrop with the water and fall colors, and it was absolutely beautiful and couldn't have hoped for anything better. And he knew that Pike Lake was really important to me cause I go trail running there a lot and open water swimming and kayaking and I absolutely love that park. Then so it was really special that we were able to get our engagement pictures there and then we'll have those pictures forever.And that is our state park and public lands love story, and we really, really hope to raise kids to love the outdoors like we do, and love hunting and fishing and camping and water sports and everything that makes Wild Wisconsin wild. Morgan: [00:17:35] Hi, my name is Morgan and I am from Chippewa Falls. My husband is David, and we started dating in the summer of 2015. Our first date was at a local park here in Chippewa and every other date since then, we just kept going to different parks in the area. And after I met his parents for the first time, they, they knew how much we like to be out in parks and so they got us a, uh, a state park pass. And we had been eager to go to a couple of parks that were further away. And so we started planning a trip and our first one was to Devil's Lake.Now, the night before we went to Devil's Lake, we unintentionally stayed up until 4 in the morning just talking about life and, you know, the potential of getting married. And, um. We went on the trip anyway, very sleep deprived. But we went and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When we got to the park, we started hiking one of the trails, uh, we heard there was a beautiful lookout spot over the lake. But we didn't know how steep it was, and that climb was incredibly difficult, being as sleep-deprived as we were. Shortly after that, we got engaged and my husband took me to his hometown over in Door County, uh, which I had never been to Door County before.So of course we had to explore all of the parks in that area, and ultimately we decided to get married in Potawatomi State Park. We got married in October of 2015 and we ended up eloping, so it was just me, David, the pastor who married us and our witnesses. Uh, or so we thought. We, uh, uh, got to the park and our intention was to get married on the top deck of the watch tower that was next to Lake Michigan.Um, but when we got there, there was already a group of about five or six people at the top. So, um. We waited and they didn't come down. And it was about 40 degrees and really windy out that day. So we decided to just get married on the deck that we were on so that we could get back to our warm cars. And about halfway through our ceremony, the people who were on the top deck started coming down and they walked right through the middle of our wedding.As they were coming down and they realize that they were interrupting a wedding. They started shushing each other, but we just, you know, stopped and smiled at them and we all kind of awkwardly laughed. And after they were gone, we continued on with our wedding. And, um, it's not your typical wedding by any means, but we wouldn't have had it any other way.Brian: [00:20:27] Hi, this is Brian and Sarah Hefty, and here is our Wisconsin State Park love story.Sarah: [00:20:33] Brian grew up in New Glarus and started working part-time in state parks just out of high school and throughout college at Cadiz Springs Recreation Area, New Glarus Woods State Park. I grew up in Dodgeville in southern Wisconsin and moved to eastern Wisconsin near Milwaukee, but loved camping and exploring many of Wisconsin State Parks with my family. Brian and I both attended college at UW-Stevens Point. It was at UW-SP where Brian and I met through mutual friends and soon found out each other's love of Wisconsin state parks. Well at UW-SP, our closest state park was Rib Mountain State Park. We would go visit in our free time.One special day in November, Brian proposed to me at the top of the lookout tower at Rib Mountain State Park. Since then, we have camped, kayaked, biked, skied, fished and hiked together at many Wisconsin state parks. We now have been married 20 years and we enjoy taking our two kids to all of unique and special state parks in Wisconsin.And of course we have taken them to Rib Mountain State Park where it all started.Alec: [00:21:50] Hi, I'm Alec.Emilie: [00:21:52] And I'm Emilie. We've been together for a little over five years now, and we thought we'd just share a little bit of why Wisconsin state parks have been such an important part of our relationship. Alec: [00:22:02] So we met in college and since we both love the outdoors, one of the first dates I took her on was to Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau.Emilie: [00:22:10] Yeah, it was so much fun. We went hiking and took pictures. It was a blast. And I actually grew up near High Cliff State Park. So when I brought him home to meet my parents, one of the first things that we did together was go hiking there. Alec: [00:22:22] After that, we kind of had the idea of trying to visit all the state parks in Wisconsin and go to each one and take pictures and just experience them all.Um, we actually have a poster board that we keep track of all of them, and we pin pictures that we've taken at each state park to the board, and it's going to be a giant map of all the pictures. Emilie: [00:22:43] Yeah, it's a work in progress, but I think we've been to 16 so far. Alec: [00:22:48] And some of them we've gone to many, many times.Emilie: [00:22:51] Near his family's cabin up north. Um, we really like Copper Falls and Amnicon Falls. Alec: [00:22:57] Last September I bought a ring. I knew after all of the experiences that Emilie and I had together, the proposal needed to be in a state park. I planned a trip to our cabin in October and I invited my brother and Emilie's sister and her boyfriend to join us, and nobody knew what I had planned.I told them I wanted to show them state parks and plan a full day where we would go to Copper Falls, Amnicon Falls and then Pattison State Parks. Copper Falls was always our favorite and I always wanted to propose there, but when we reached the spot I wanted to do it in, it was too crowded and I backed down.We left and I traveled to Amnicon Falls next. I was feeling defeated and felt that the right spot and moment had passed. As we explored Amnicon Falls, I noticed from on top of a small cliff, a peninsula with a lone tree sitting right on top of a waterfall, and I realized it was the perfect spot. I told Emily I wanted to get a picture in that spot and I brought her down there and that was when I surprised her and got down on one knee.Emilie: [00:23:53] It was, "oh my gosh. It was just like a fairy tale. I'm still blown away. Of course, I said "yes." And now that's our new favorite spot. This really just cemented to us even more how important state parks are to us and in our relationship. And I mean, they'll be a big part of our lives, our entire lives as we grow and have a family and we'll always have state parks and we'll always have those memories.Katie Grant: [00:24:22] As you can tell, there's a lot of love at Wisconsin state parks. Learn more about state parks and even how you can host your own wedding at one at dnr.wi.gov. We want to hear from you. What questions would you like to hear answered on a future episode? Email us: DNRpodcast@wisconsin.gov. Thanks for listening.
21 minutes | a year ago
Sled Town -- Snowmobiling in Wisconsin - Off The Record Podcast
Wisconsin is the birthplace of snowmobiling and continues to offer some of the best snowmobiling opportunities you are likely to find, especially in the northern part of the state. Eagle River is the Snowmobile Capital of the World and host of the Amsoil World Championship Snowmobile Derby. On this episode, Kim Emerson, Executive Director of the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, sheds light on the mecca of snowmobiling. With more than 200,000 registered snowmobiles hitting Wisconsin's 25,000 miles of groomed trails each winter across the state, safety is an important part of the ride. DNR Warden April Dombrowski has tips on how to ride smart from the start. Listen in and discover why Wisconsin is where it’s at when it comes to snowmobiling. --------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast. Information straight from the source.Katie Grant: [00:00:13] Welcome back to another episode of Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record. I'm your host DNR's digital media coordinator, Katie Grant. When it gets cold outside and the snow starts to fall, you might start to hear a familiar noise.Snowmobiles .At Wisconsin DNR we just finished celebrating International Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week. With over 18,000 miles of funded snowmobile trails in Wisconsin, we think it's an important topic to talk about. Northern Wisconsin is a haven for snowmobiles. I mean, what we think of as a snowmobile today was actually invented by Carl Elliason in Sayner, Wisconsin back in the 1920s. So it was kind of meant to be. But beyond that legacy, Northern Wisconsin gets a lot of snow. According to the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce, thye average 65 inches of snow per year. Less than 30 miles away is the "Snowmobile Capital of the World" -- Eagle River. I called Kim Emerson from the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce to learn more about snowmobiling in the area. Kim Emerson: [00:01:26] I am the Executive Director of the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.Katie Grant: [00:01:31] Fantastic. So Eagle River is known as kind of being the "Snowmobile Capital of the World." Why is that? Kim Emerson: [00:01:39] Well, we are the "Snowmobile Capital of the World." We've got spectacular snowmobile trails here. And with all of that and how well they're groomed, and the many people who are aware of our trail systems, that's how we can be the "Snowmobile Capital of the World."Katie Grant: [00:01:55] Fantastic. And what about the Eagle River area? What makes it such an attractive place for snowmobiling and even other vacations throughout the entire year? Kim Emerson: [00:02:06] Sure. Eagle River area as an as a family destination, it's a four season family destination. There are activities for everyone... for any type of activity that they like to do.Uh, for instance, during the winter, we have our snowmobile trails. We've got over 600 miles of groomed trails right here in the Vilas County area. And then of course, so we're, we're seated right here next to the Nicolet National Forest. We have lots of county acreage of, um, County Forest. And we also have the Wisconsin American Legion Forest as well.The other thing we're known for is our chain of 28 lakes. And so that offers all kinds of activities during the summer. So if you hike, bike, snowmobile, fish, uh, we have it here in Eagle River area. Katie Grant: [00:02:58] Absolutely. So by your estimates, how many people visit the area every year in the winter for snowmobiling or other outdoor winter activities?Kim Emerson: [00:03:09] Well, I would say, um, winter activities is our second busiest season of the year. I would say there are, oh, I, I would gather close to...During the whole winter months, probably over a hundred thousand people. Katie Grant: [00:03:26] Wow. Kim Emerson: [00:03:27] It's a great activity area. Snowmobiling alone brings in over $40 million, uh, to the Vilas County area from December through March.Katie Grant: [00:03:39] Wow. That's a lot. How....How are trail conditions so far this year? Kim Emerson: [00:03:44] Trail conditions are in good shape. This year we've had some really good snow. Other parts of our state, unfortunately have not had snow. So if you are interested in snowmobiling, Eagle River is the place to be. Uh, we do... If you go to EagleRiver.org, we update our trail conditions continually. Uh, by 8:30 every morning. So for the most up to date reports, EagleRiver.org. Katie Grant: [00:04:10] Fantastic. So what are some snowmobiling must do's in the area? Is there like a specific trail or a place to go eat while you're out or if you come up there, what do you have to make sure you do. Kim Emerson: [00:04:24] Well, right here in Eagle River, again, we've got over 600 miles of snowmobile trail that you can enjoy. Uh, they do connect many different businesses. And, uh, for instance, you can go to, uh, you can snowmobile for breakfast, you can snowmobile for lunch, dinner. It's a great opportunity. There are so many different wonderful restaurants. It's hard to name them all.Katie Grant: [00:04:49] Now, before we go any further, we need to give a huge shout out to all of the volunteers and snowmobile clubs throughout the state who work to make sure these trails are maintained. The DNR also offers grants to these clubs to help make their work possible. The grants are funded by things like snowmobile registrations, the state trail pass program, and a small portion of the state's gas tax.These grants are used to fix things like old trails and bridges, to build new bridges and even to add new miles to already existing trails. There's plenty of snowmobile fun to be had, but our goal is to make sure that you do it safely and responsibly. That's why I sat down with Warden April Dombrowski. So sit back and listen in.April Dombrowski: [00:05:34] So I'm the section chief, uh, with the Recreation, Safety and Outdoors Skill Section within the Bureau of Law Enforcement here at DNR. Katie Grant: [00:05:42] So what all does that cover? April Dombrowski: [00:05:43] That in encom...encompasses a lot. So I oversee, um, our safety programs as it relates to boats, snowmobile, ATV, um, hunter education, off-highway motorcycles...Um, but then it also incorporates other, R3 programs, so the "Learn to Hunt," um, "Fish for Food," the shooting ranges, those type of things. So, um, a lot that covers, um, wwithin the recreational side of, of our program.Katie Grant: [00:06:10] All the fun stuff.April Dombrowski: [00:06:11] All the fun stuff. But then there's, so there's the educational component of, of, uh, um, those disciplines, but then there's also the enforcement side of those disciplines.Katie Grant: [00:06:20] Absolutely. What? Well, first of all, how long have you been here with the DNR? April Dombrowski: [00:06:25] I've been with the DNR in this, in this capacity with the Bureau of Law Enforcement for 22 years, and I've been in my current position, uh, for five years. Katie Grant: [00:06:34] Okay. And what got you interested in this world of becoming a warden? April Dombrowski: [00:06:40] Sure. Um, good question. I've always been, uh, really connected to the outdoors growing up, whether it was fishing, camping, hunting, mountain biking, ATV, snowmobiling, those type of things. But as far as, uh, becoming a conservation warden, it was really... I was inspired at a young age. I'm at the age of 15, um, I was actually working for the DNR in their youth conservation camps.They no longer exist. Um, but, uh, that was my first job. And, and, um, it was a summer job, uh, basically working in the parks, ah trail maintenance, fish habitat, uh, planting a lot of trees. And that's really where I was able to, uh, grow, um, into my interest of the, of the, uh, natural resources and, and what we have here in Wisconsin.Katie Grant: [00:07:26] Yeah. Fantastic. So you're here today because January is International Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Month. Why is talking about this so important here in Wisconsin? April Dombrowski: [00:07:38] This is very important in Wisconsin because we're a unique state in the fact that we have a snowmobile season, and depending on where you are in the state of Wisconsin, you can have a long season or you can have a very short or a short season.We kind of have that magic belt of where the snow falls within a given season. So, um, it's very important, um, because obviously, you know, I believe snowmobile safety is important, um, because the, the people, uh, deserve, uh, to have a safe and enjoyable experience while they're out recreating, um, you know, on our landscape, whether it's, you know, on our trails or on our waterways.Katie Grant: [00:08:14] Right. April Dombrowski: [00:08:15] So, uh, Wisconsin is also the birthplace for this tradition that we have of snowmobiling. Um, and it involves friends and families, uh, being able to do this activity outside together. Uh, we do have a number of miles of trail, like probably over 25,000 miles of the trail.Katie Grant: [00:08:34] It's a lot. April Dombrowski: [00:08:35] Not to mention all, all our frozen bodies of water, uh, during this time of year.So it's just very important that, you know, people that are out there recreating, uh, they have that opportunity to enjoy it, to have those experiences and then being able to do it safely. Katie Grant: [00:08:49] Right, right. When we're talking snowmobile safety...What are the most important things that people should keep in mind when they're out snowmobiling?April Dombrowski: [00:09:00] So when people are out snowmobiling, uh, really what it comes down to a couple of categories I like to categorize, um, kind of, uh, uh, where, where people need to be thinking when they go out and doing that activity. Um, really being able to ride within your capabilities. And when I say that, it's operating at safe speeds, not only that the operator can handle, but what the terrain provides them.Um, the terrain is different when it, when you go from a groomed trail to a frozen body of water and all of a sudden it's glare ice. The snowmobile responds differently to those conditions. Um, and then also knowing the capabilities of the machine. Um, we have many different machines out there, many different year models, and they all handle differently.So it's being able to, uh, ride within the machine's capability, just as the user. Uh, this also includes ah riding at night versus daytime operation. When you're riding at night, you know, you got to slow down because you gotta be able to see and respond to any hazards that, that come out in front of you.And, um, you know, what, what, what we gotta be cautious on is that we're not overriding our headlamps. We override our headlamps, um, obviously that, that, uh, um, can end in just not being able to properly identify those hazards. Katie Grant: [00:10:15] Right. April Dombrowski: [00:10:17] Um, it's also, uh, important for snowmobilers uh, again, not to, um, really just, um, you know, being cognizant of, of other operators out on the trails.So, um, just being cognizant of the space that you're taking on those trails. Katie Grant: [00:10:34] Okay. Yeah. Playing nice with everyone out there.April Dombrowski: [00:10:36] Playing nice with ev--. It's a big playground, but we all got to play nice together. The other thing is really riding responsibly, and that is, I talked a little bit before about our trails and our groomed trails. It's staying on the marked trails. Um, there's a number of miles of trails that landowners open up their properties so that the, the trails can go through the property and really respecting those landowners and staying on the trails um in accordance with the signs. Um being courteous and safe when operating in a group.And then always remember to, you know, if you're following somebody, maintain a following distance that you're going to be able to respond and react if that snowmobiler in front of you has to make a sudden stop. Um, the other thing with, trail conditions is, um, you know, a snowmobiler in front of you can, can, uh, kick up, you know, snow dust and, and kinda, um, interfere with your vision of what you can see, um, at any given time.So just being cognizant of those things. Um, and then as I mentioned before, you know, really just staying to the right most side of the trail because there's other users out on the trail, you know, that may be going the opposite direction of you and in obviously, being courteous to that space. Katie Grant: [00:11:47] Right, right.April Dombrowski: [00:11:48] So, and then the other thing is really just practicing zero alcohol, uh, which is a personal choice, uh, to refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages, um, until you're done operating, you know, your snowmobile for the evening.Um, whether that's going back to a hotel or a lodge, resort, you know, back to your residence, those types of things. Um, and then, uh you know, with more snowmobile traffic on the trails the last thing we want um to do is to, um, you know, have that, have your reaction time slowed down because of, um, you know, because of, of those beverages that, that you may have taken, uh, prior to, you know, to, uh, being done for the night.Katie Grant: [00:12:25] Right. April Dombrowski: [00:12:26] Um, and then the other thing is really, um, talks about that equipment. Uh, winter provides a uniqueness in the fact that, you know, the weather conditions can change. I mean, you got to dress for the conditions. So the most important thing is, you know, wearing that helmet, you know, protecting your head.Um, and then also, um protecting, you know, the other parts of your body from the elements. Um, you never know snowmobile goes down and you're standing out in the cold and you didn't anticipate that that's what you're going to be doing. Um, and then obviously if operating on a frozen body of water, wearing a life jacket, um, in case you would happen to find yourself in open water.Um, and that obviously helps with that flotation. And then also really, um, you don't go alone. Um, typically snowmobilers will go with friends, family, they'll have a partner with them. And that's always good to have that extra companion out there on the trails with you. Katie Grant: [00:13:15] Yeah. Yeah. So let's kind of shift gears a tiny bit. Uh, you mentioned riding on ice. Um, tell me a little bit about staying safe on the ice, whether you're on a snowmobile or out ice fishing, or even just going for a walk. April Dombrowski: [00:13:34] Sure. Um, and, and there's a number of recreationalists that utilize the frozen, uh, waterways during the wintertime, whether it be a snowmobiler, a fat bike rider, cross country skier.There's a lot of activities, ice fishing, you mentioned. Um, and really just keep it in mind that when you're out on those frozen bodies of water, uh, that, that brings another set of hazards. Um, and the best advice to follow is no matter what the month, what the temperature is, um, just consider all ice as unpredict...predictable.Because when you're in that, that element in the environment there's a lot of changing factors in the ice condition. And it can be, you know, four inches in one spot and then all of a sudden you have it really thin in another spot. And, and you know, obviously that can, um, uh, you know, have its own issues in it in itself.So. When we talk about ice and just the arm predictability, um, just, just being on a snowmobile too, I mentioned it a little while ago as far as, you know, uh, it, it presents challenges from going from a groomed trail to now you're on ice conditions. There could be cracks or heaves in the ice that all of a sudden throws you off a little bit.Um, the steering, the braking, um, and the overall control of the machine, um, it just changes its characteristics um, when you are go from groom trail to to ice conditions. Um, another thing is some lakes and rivers, um, you know, have, have notorious bad spots, whether it's a spring is there, um, a current runs through there, those type of things.So when that energy is still running through that system, um, you know, the ice ain't going to be as solid as maybe in a spot, um, that, that, uh, you know, is frozen up in a little bit harder. Katie Grant: [00:15:21] Right. April Dombrowski: [00:15:22] Um, so really using a high degree of caution while traveling on ice, um, and checking the ice conditions with, with the local, um, the, the local individuals that have that particular knowledge of that body of water. And that could come from bait shops, fishing clubs, I mentioned snowmobile clubs before. Um, and then if there's any local Outfitters that have a connection to that body of water, um, whether that be a sportsman's, um, you know, store or, or a bait shop type of thing.Um, they usually have those daily reports coming in, um, if not hourly reports coming in because the customers are coming in and out and those conditions change. And then as mentioned with ice, you know, making sure to either carry or wear a life jacket, um, have a cell phone. Handheld spikes are really good because if you would happen to fall through, um, some ice, uh, they just provide you some leverage and grip to get back up to a more solid surface.Um, if that would happen. And then again, um, riding with a companion is always. I'm good. And then the other thing is, if you're, if you're unfamiliar with the conditions, um, you should maybe think about, do I need to be out there now? Do, is it, is it, do I need to be out there in the evening hours? Those types of things.So that unfamiliarity, um, really needs to be in check when, when venturing out on, on those frozen bodies of water. Katie Grant: [00:16:45] Yeah. So in Wisconsin and a lot of states, we have required Hunter Safety courses that you have to take. Is there something like that for snowmobiling and what are the requirements to need to take that?April Dombrowski: [00:16:58] Sure, yeah. All, all riders, um, at least the age of 12 and born on or after January 1st of 1985 are required to complete a Snowmobile Safety course before they can legally operate. Um, so really what that means is, uh, anybody turning 35 this year, um, has to have that snowmobile safety certification. Um.Riders ages 16 and older, they can complete a course over the internet. So we have internet options for them to be able to take that course and get their certification that way. Uh, those that are under the age of 16, uh, we'll typically have courses set up around the state, and that'll be like a in-classroom, in-person with our volunteer instructors, uh, teaching... teaching that course.Katie Grant: [00:17:46] Right. And I assume it's just a like one day, several hour type thing, or is it a fairly long process? April Dombrowski: [00:17:52] No, it's not a long process. Um, typically, you know, courses can take place in about two days or two evenings. Um, whether it's a Friday evening, Saturday or breaking it up through the weekend type of thing, maybe a couple hours a evening, a night.Um, but it's really not uh, a long drawn-out process. It's just a, a familiarity for snowmobile safety and ethics, uh, for those, um, for those individuals coming in, um, requiring that certification. It provides awareness and really just a, a kind of a a starting point of where everybody, you know, kinda has that base knowledge, but then really the true experiences, um, come from then, you know, taking the rides out on the trail and learning things from friends and family, you know, as they continue to grow.Just like, just like an automobile, you know, um, you, you, you gain experiences the more time you're behind the wheel. Right? Katie Grant: [00:18:48] Right. April Dombrowski: [00:18:48] So, and then as far as information on safety classes, you know, we have them posted throughout the state. And, um, you know, we try to have them in every county, but, uh, we really rely on our volunteer instructors, uh, to perform, uh, and kind of, um, meet, meet the demand of our students.But if anybody is looking for more information on a snowmobile safety course, they can simply visit our website at www.DNR.wi.gov and then really just the typing in a keyword of "snowmobile safety." Um, and that'll get them to the homepage and they'll find a lot of information, um, that they can navigate, um, and learn not only what safety courses are in their area, but also safety tips, regulations, um, just that, um, information as they enter that snowmobile world. Katie Grant: [00:19:42] Yeah. And if you're interested in becoming a volunteer, I assume there's information on that there too. April Dombrowski: [00:19:47] Yep. There's information there on that. And then obviously part of our program is, uh, working with our volunteer instructors and providing those, uh, the training and the materials to be able to go out and conduct courses accordingly.Katie Grant: [00:20:00] Perfect. Anything else that you think we should know about snowmobiling in Wisconsin? April Dombrowski: [00:20:06] A snowmobiling in Wisconsin is, it's really a great time. I mean, my family comes from, um snowmobiling there's again, a lot of great memories and great stories, uh, with that activity. But you know, at the DNR here in Wisconsin, we really just want everybody to be safe -- being able to enjoy that experience in the outdoors and really create, continue to create those, those memories with friends and family. Um, I think common sense is the greatest ally in preventing ah snowmobile and ice related, um, incidents. Um, and this really includes checking and ice conditions and riding responsibly, uh, when venturing out on our trails and frozen water bodies.So I guess I'd like to end with just, um, everybody to happy trails and, uh, um, have a great winter season. Katie Grant: [00:20:54] Yeah. Stay safe out there. April Dombrowski: [00:20:55] Yes. Katie Grant: [00:20:56] There is still plenty of winter left, so as you head out to enjoy it, keep these tips in mind and do it safely. We'd love to hear about your snowmobiling adventures.Email us to share your stories -- DNRpodcast@wisconsin.gov Thanks for listening.
8 minutes | a year ago
Spending Time On The Ice - Off The Record Podcast Bonus
Ice fishing is a favorite pastime for many Wisconsinites, who have fond memories of going out on frozen lakes with their families with they were young. If you drive past any Wisconsin lake in the middle of winter after its iced over, you’ll almost certainly see at least one person out ice fishing. On this bonus episode of Wild Wisconsin, Bill Scott talks with See Yang about the appeals of ice fishing -- it's tougher to predict than open water fishing, and there's always something new to learn. Get started January 18th and 19th with Free Fishing Weekend! Learn more and find free clinics at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/anglereducation/freefishingweekend.html--------------------------------------TRANSCRIPTAnnouncer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Wisconsin DNR's Wild Wisconsin - Off The Record podcast. Information straight from the source.Katie Grant: [00:00:12] Welcome back to another bonus episode of wild Wisconsin - Off The Record. I'm your host DNR's digital media coordinator Katie Grant. Ice fishing to someone who isn't from Wisconsin can seem like an absolutely crazy activity. But if you drive past any lake in the middle of winter after it's iced over, you'll almost certainly see at least one person out fishing. On this bonus episode of Wild Wisconsin, we're bringing you another story from Wisconsin's wild side. So sit back and listen in as Bill Scott and See Yang talk about ice fishing and a special opportunity in our state to give it a try. We'll be back after this.Announcer: [00:00:50] There's nothing like the adventure of ice fishing in Wisconsin. The calmness of the frozen lake, the camaraderie with other anglers and the excitement of catching fish you normally can't get to in the summer.January 18th and 19th you can ice fish for free during Free Fishing Weekend. Bring your friends and family. Have some fun. And make some memories ice fishing. For info on how you can host or join a Free Fishing Weekend event, go to dnr.wi.gov and search "Free Fishing Weekend." Wisconsin DNR -- adventures and memories.Bill Scott: [00:01:20] We are talking ice fishing with See Yang. See -- when did you start ice fishing? See Yang: [00:01:26] I actually, didn't start ice fishing til like I was in college maybe in like 2000. But yeah, that was when I first started. I met this younger guy who was a friend of my brother's, and, he got me into me, into it. And we were actually I'm from LaCrosse so... We fished the backwaters of up on the Mississippi, and that's when I actually started ice fishing and got into it and started loving it. Bill Scott: [00:01:49] So what really drew you to the sport? See Yang: [00:01:51] I would say, you know, I guess like just the different way of fishing and just like not being able to predict as as well as you would in open water.You know, like the way you fish it is a, you know, like the vertical fishing is so much different than your open water. Bill Scott: [00:02:07] So I'm assuming you got your start on open water, correct? See Yang: [00:02:10] Yes, I did. Yeah. I actually started when I was very young... My dad actually, he got me fishing and when I was a little kid, he would, he used to take us out to, um, to the creeks and we would fish for creek chubs and just, it started from there, which is, but then it's funny cause my dad and my brothers, they haven't fished ever since then, but I've always like, I grew to love it and I just been fishing all my life. Bill Scott: [00:02:31] What is it that you like about it?See Yang: [00:02:33] What I love about fishing and ice fishing in general too, is that, you know, just the learning opportunities that you... that it's never ending. You're always learning. You're constantly trying to figure out what the fish is doin' and and, and it's so cool to, um, learn fish behavior and you gotta how to adapt to them and try to figure them out.So that's, that's what really I really like about that. Bill Scott: [00:02:55] So other than the cold and lack of bugs, what are some of the attributes that sets ice fishing apart from open water fishing? What gives it its appeal? See Yang: [00:03:04] You know, I think it kinda goes back to that, just the, the different different skills and different things you can do with it.You know, you, it's easier to just get a group of a big group of guys to get out there and just hang out and do the ice fishing thing and, you know, like, you know better than getting your boat rigged up and know how to do a, do with all those, hassling with all those other things as far as open water. But yeah, I think just being able to get more people involved is, is what, you know, kind of draws other people to it. Yeah. Bill Scott: [00:03:34] Tell us about some of the basic gear. What are the essentials to get started? See Yang: [00:03:37] As far as first basic gear, I mean, number one thing is always your safety gear... Your ice picks, you know, some sort of flotation device and throwable. Also, your ah auger, handheld auger or gas powered. And nowadays they have, um, I mean those battery operated power augers.Um, there's just, your some simple rod and reel and then just tip-ups. I guess that's pretty much what your basic needs would be if, uh, as far as what you need to just get it started, but you can always get into more of the other newer technology and newer things such as like, you know, like the flashers and things like that. Your jigs and plastics that come along with that. But usually live bait is probably your best bet. Bill Scott: [00:04:18] Okay, what about safety?See Yang: [00:04:19] As far as safety, like I said, you know, like having your, your ice picks, your spud to check the ice. And usually the general rule of thumb is that four inches of clear solid ice is best for ice fishing if you're traveling by foot.So, yeah. And then if you, you know, like just following some, uh, guidelines as far as if you're, you want to take an ATV or, or truck out there, uh, just following those guidelines as far as how thick of ice you should, you should have a such as, uh I think for ATV it's between nine and 10 or something, and then suddenly got closer to that and then at least 12 to be able to drive a truck on it.Bill Scott: [00:04:57] What if a person doesn't have gear? See Yang: [00:04:59] If the person doesn't have any gear, there is ah the DNR have, they have several tackle loaner sites around the state and people can, are always welcome to go stop in those DNR sites and do rentals. Um, so what you do is you just you ask for that, and they'll be able to supply you with that and you just return it back when you're done with it.And, uh, so there's a lot of opportunities that the DNR will have throughout the state that have those equipment for people who don't have that. Bill Scott: [00:05:26] Where can a person learn basic ice fishing skills? See Yang: [00:05:28] There are a couple of opportunities within, uh, throughout the year there is the Free Fishing, uh, Weekend clinics that are also held statewide for the first weekend, full weekend in June. That's for the open water. And then in January, uh, the third full weekend in January, that is another opportunity for people to start learning about ice fishing and, uh, all the safety and all of the things that comes with it. Bill Scott: [00:05:50] Where can people ice fish? See Yang: [00:05:52] So in Wisconsin we have, we are so fortunate to have like ah 15,000 lakes and you know, thousands of miles of streams, so you can practically fish anywhere in the state of Wisconsin.The only thing about the streams is that it's, it's a lot more of a hazard. Um, and it is the increased hazard because of the flowing water. But, um, any, any, you know, with all the lakes that we have, uh, people are allowed to go fish on there as long as they're ah, the lakes are safe as far as ice and as long as there's access that people can get in there, especially in regards to boating. Bill Scott: [00:06:26] Tell us about fishing licenses.See Yang: [00:06:28] So a fishing license in Wisconsin is great. Um, you can pay for a $20 license and you'll be able to fish 365 days out of the year. But if you want to do salmon and trout, there's a, there's a stamp that comes along with that. It's about like $10 to support the habitat restoration and stocking efforts. So there's a lot of opportunities, and I believe, uh, within the, the state, or if you're a first time buyer, it's actually cheaper it's about $5.Um, I, I don't know if it's changed, but in the past couple of years, I know if you haven't bought one, it's $5. But then if, or if you haven't bought one in allow it's $5 for the first time. Katie Grant: [00:07:06] Are you taking a friend or family member out to give fishing a try for F Fishing Weekend? We'd love to see your photos and hear your stories.Share them with us via email, email@example.com. Thanks for listening.
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