Conservation On Tap – May

Conservation On Tap is coming up Thursday! Join us for a conservation happy hour.

Conservation on Tap is hosted every third Thursday of the month. Are you interested in Wisconsin conservation efforts? Curious about how to make a environmental difference? Conservation On Tap is for you! Come to socialize about Wisconsin conservation over a Wisconsin beer!

Conservation On Tap is an opportunity for conservation enthusiasts to connect across agencies and fields, for young professionals to network and get tapped into greater conservation efforts, and for non-professional conservation practitioners to get engaged. Come and chat, hope to see you there! #ConservationBuzz

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Be An Advocate for WI Public Forestry Funding

Oppose the Proposed Elimination of the Forestry Mill Tax

Wisconsin has one of the most diverse collections of forest types in the country if not the world. In our state the southern and eastern deciduous forests converge with northern conifer to form natural communities that are unique to our state and the upper Midwest. In Wisconsin, we have over 16 million acres of forests, which is 46% of the land. Meaning if you could walk every inch of our beautiful state, half of your steps would be in the shade.

However, this year Wisconsin forests are facing an enormous threat and it’s not a borer, wilt, or algid; in fact, it is something much more devastating. The Governor’s current budget proposal removes the forestry mill tax and eliminates nearly all state mandated funding for forestry management. This essential tax is leveed equally upon all landowners to support sustainable forestry throughout the state. It funds nearly every state sponsored forestry program in some way and is our main line of defense against the overuse of our excellent timber resource. In fact, the tax was put in place in 1927 after unchecked logging removed every single marketable tree from the state. Think about that… every single tree.

This is not a matter of politics. Wisconsin residents and visitors all directly rely on the forest in some way; whether it is for food, water, lumber, recreation, tourism, the list goes on. However, it is also not about just about how we use these forests, because whether it is an oak in the Driftless Area, a pine the Central Sands, or maple in the Northwoods, these trees are part of our identity. And this is the only state tax that assures our forest identity will remain intact for future generations.

Eliminating the mill tax is the modern day equivalent of allowing the lumber barons to clearcut our forests. This is especially true with recent developments of federal tariffs imposed on trade of softwood with Canada. Local forest markets will undoubtedly increase as Wisconsin softwood timber market is historically low despite being the top paper producing state. This is a good thing for many communities, but if left unchecked can also result in the conversion of our mature forests to pure production bases systems and the loss of many natural services. History has shown we cannot solely rely on the industry to police its self (…every single tree).

Fortunately we can make a difference. The Governor only proposes the budget, it us up to our Legislators to pass it. In April the Joint Finance Committee received public input on the mill tax and numerous state organizations spoke out against its elimination. These groups ranged from the Forest Stewards Guild (FSG Mill Tax Letter) to the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council (WPFC Mill Tax Letter).

Now is the time to for you to act. Call your local representatives today and let them know your concern about elimination of the forestry mill tax. This tax has been on the books for nearly 100 years and made Wisconsin’s private forest resource the strongest in the country. So it’s elimination as a budget item is already a contentious topic among lawmakers.  If enough senators and representatives hear from concerned citizens about this topic, it would be an easy item to change on the Capitol floor in June. So please contact your representatives today and help save our forests!

Sugar River Wetlands Workday – April 22nd

Join WSCB as we assist the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA) restore the Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area. We will be cutting and piling invasive species like honeysuckle and buckthorn. Celebrate Earth Day by promoting native vegetation! Volunteers and work leaders will gather where Epic Lane and County View Road meet in Verona, overlooking the Epic Systems campus to the east and the Military Ridge State Trail to the west. An approximate address is 2517 Country View Road, Verona, WI 53593. Google Map. 

Please RSVP in advance so that we can arrange carpools from downtown.

Contact Yasi at wisconbio@gmail.com to RSVP.

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Upcoming Event: Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing

Don’t miss your chance to participate in this year’s annual Conservation Congress Spring Hearing on Monday April 10th. This is your opportunity to elect local delegate representatives for the Conservation Congress which advises the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources on how to responsibly manage Wisconsin’s natural resources. You’ll also have the chance to provide input on fish and wildlife regulations and introduce new resolutions. Visit the DNR website for more information on hearing locations by county and to download this year’s questionnaire. The questionnaire summarizes resolution procedure and has a comprehensive list of all of the proposed changes to rules and regulations. Your vote counts!

Call for Secretary – due March 24th!

We have an immediate opening on our board of directors for the role of Secretary.  The Secretary provides a critical communications role in our mission to foster collaborative relationships and advance the science and practice of conservation in Wisconsin. This board member takes the lead writing and posting content for WSCB social media platforms, updating our website, and writing and compiling content for our monthly member newsletter.

To apply, send a letter of interest to wisconbio@gmail.com by Friday, March 24th. We welcome questions about the position at the above email and look forward to connecting with you.

WSCB board members serve for a one-year term, and these are volunteer positions.  Board members must be SCB Global members. To read more about specific roles and responsibilities, please see here https://wisconbio.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/wscb-board-of-directors-roles-and-responsibilities1.pdf

Call for applications to the WSCB Board of Directors!

Do you have a passion to serve and make a difference in conservation? You can make a lasting impact on our Wisconsin Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and give back to Wisconsin’s conservation community by joining our board of directors.

Letters of interest should be sent to wisconbio (at) gmail.com by December 1st.

Serving on the WSCB Board of Directors allows you to help further our strategic mission of fostering collaborative relationships among conservation researchers, professionals and students in Wisconsin, and advance the science and practice of conservation in our state. As a board member, you make important decisions about our finances, communications, events and initiatives, and engagement in statewide and local conservation policy.

Board members are required to attend six meetings each year, attend chapter events, plan at least two events, workshops, panels, trainings, initiatives, etc. each year, and advertise WSCB events within their own conservation networks. Please see here for more information on specific roles and responsibilities.

Board members will submit a letter of interest and are voted in by SCB global members of the Wisconsin Chapter during our annual meeting on December 7th. Once elected, board members will select positions (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, conservation committee chair, policy chair) amongst themselves.

Please submit your letter of interest as soon as possible and no later than December 1st. The term for the 2017 board of directors begins January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

To submit your nomination, or to request additional information, please email the current Board of Directors at wisconbio@gmail.com.

Upcoming Event: Tuesday, October 18th – Monarch Butterflies: Dwindling numbers for an iconic insect

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Tuesday, October 18th – 7 p.m. @ UW Arboretum
Madison Audubon and WSCB Present: Monarch Butterflies: Dwindling numbers for an iconic insect

An Evenings with Audubon presentation by nationally-renown monarch expert Karen Oberhauser

Monarch butterflies populations have been declining over the last 20 years. Because insect numbers are notoriously difficult to assess, and because they often show large year to year fluctuations, simply documenting this decline has been a challenge. It is now important to move beyond simple documentation, and toward responding to the challenge posed by monarch conservation, and insect conservation in general. Monarchs are negatively impacted by many human activities, and various scientists and monarch advocates have implicated habitat degradation and loss, pesticide use, climate change, vehicular collisions, invasive species, and pathogen spread in their dwindling numbers.

In this presentation, Karen Oberhauser, one of the nation’s top monarch conservation biologists, will describe the amazing biology of migratory monarch populations, and the work of citizens and scientists in documenting monarch numbers at all stages of their migratory cycle. She will discuss threats to monarchs, and potential responses to these threats. Because conservation biology must be, at its essence, a science of hope, Karen’s focus is on positive changes as well as on the challenges posed by declining monarch numbers.

Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science; this research has resulted in over 100 scientific publications. Her strong interest in promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy led to the development of a science education program that involves courses for teachers, and opportunities for youth to engage in research and share their findings with broad audiences. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. She is the chair of the Monarch Joint Joint Venture, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science.

More information can be found at monarchjointventure.org

Photo: Joshua Mayer

Volunteers wanted for DNR prairie seed collection day

Come join WSCB as we assist Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources restoration crews on Sunday, September 11th at Empire Prairies State Natural Area (near Madison). From 2 – 5pm we will be collecting seeds to be used in future restoration projects to expand the prairie. We will meet along the road near 5197 Brabender Rd in Middleton and will ride in from there. Please contact Yasi at yasi.rezai@gmail.com to RSVP, and if you can offer a ride or need a ride from downtown.

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WSCB Member Social on July 18th!

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Join us for a WSCB Member Social, on Monday, July 18th, 6:30 p.m. at the Old Fashioned (23 N. Pinckney St.). Take a break from the NACCB Conference to meet other conservation scientists, practitioners, undergrad and graduate students working in the field of conservation right here in Wisconsin. Hors d’oeuvres included (drinks on your own). We’ll be near the bar on the main floor. See you there!

Join us in the field for our first annual WSCB Birdathon!

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We’re excited to announce that WSCB is doing its first Birdathon this year, as the WSCB Bino Bird Hunters! Our Birdathon date is Sunday, May 15th, from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. near Mt. Vernon and Mt. Horeb, WI. you can join us for all or part of this fun day in the field!

What is a Birdathon? 
“See a Bird, Save a Bird!” – Birdathon is a fundraising tool to help support bird conservation. Friends and organizations make birding teams, raise money by asking for donations or a pledge per species, and then have a 24-hour period to count as many bird species as possible.

What is the Great Wisconsin Birdathon?
The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is an annual statewide event to raise money for the Bird Protection Fund, and is a joint effort between the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. The Bird Protection Fund was established in response to declining bird populations and supports bird conservation projects throughout Wisconsin. The statewide goal for 2016 is to raise $70,000! The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is also a great way to support WSCB, since 50 percent of the funds that we raise goes back to our organization. We see this as a great opportunity to bring our WSCB members together for a day of birding, learning, and fun, while raising money for Wisconsin’s 284 native bird species and, as a bonus, to fundraise for our organization.

Want to join us in the field for our Birdathon on Sunday, May 15th?
To join our team, simply go to: http://wibirdathon.org/participantpage.asp?fundid=2097&uid=4048&role=3 and select “Join a team” under the “Participate” heading. Select the “WSCB Bino Bird Hunters”, set a personal fundraising goal, and that’s it! You’re ready to helping the birds! And remember to mark your calendars for Sunday, May 15th! Birdathon details follow:

We will meet at 8:30 am at Donald County Park just outside Mt. Vernon, at the north parking area off of Hwy 92. We plan to bird until roughly 11:00 am. At that time we will make our way back to the parking area and head to The Grumpy Troll Brew Pub in Mt. Horeb for lunch! Following food, more conversation, and a bit of relaxation, we plan to head to Stewart County Park on the north end of town for a couple more hours of birding. We’ll meet at the parking area just southwest of the lake.

Can’t join us in the field, but still want to support our Birdathon team? To make a donation, visit our team Birdathon page. We thank you for your contributions to bird conservation in Wisconsin, and also for helping support the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology!