The Association of Retired Conservationists was organized by a group of retirees from the Wisconsin Conservation Department in the 1960's. By the mid-1970's, the WCD had been combined with the Department of Resource Development to form the Department of Natural Resources, and the retirees group had grown significantly, met monthly for lunch and began inviting speakers to address the group on issues of interest to the members. Today, the organization has more than two hundred members.

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Meeting Minutes



Meeting of April 4, 2018 held at Imperial Garden, 2039 Allen Blvd, Madison


ARC President Laurel Steffes called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm.


43 people were in attendance. Menu was a Chinese Buffet served family style: 5 main dishes with rice, egg rolls and tea. The cost of the meal was $16.00 (included tax, gratuity and a $2 contribution to ARC treasury.)


Thanks to everyone who contributes to the memorial donation jar, $27 collected this month.

A moment of silence was observed for friends and family who have passed, and for our troops who are serving in harm’s way.

The March minutes were read and approved.

New Members and Guests

John Lyons was attending a second meeting and was unanimously approved for membership.


Al Prey introduced Tom Blattner, a long-time friend, who retired in 2008 from UW Madison’s Babcock Dairy. Tom has attended several meetings and Al proposed him for membership since his agricultural and professional background was in keeping with the charter of ARC. Group agreed and Tom was unanimously approved for membership. Welcome John and Tom!

'Frank-n-Miller Report'

President Steffes relayed information that Ed Frank sent her as he is unable to attend the meeting today since he’s in Hayward at a breakfast with retired DNR Wildlife staff. He will give the SWIB quarterly report at the May meeting in New Glarus. He is concerned that the Group Insurance Board is leaning heavily toward offering only Advantage (health insurance) plans for 2019. That would be a major change, and COA has received very little information from ETF on the pro’s and con’s for retirees. Group Insurance Board will vote on the Advantage Plans on May.

Bob Schaefer said SWIB’s only comment on performance of the fund is that it is flat or slightly negative.


Annual COA meeting is May 11. Great opportunity to hear directly from governing body and ask your questions. In addition to Secretary Conlin and Executive Director Smirl, former Governor Marty Schreiber will be a speaker.


You can see a presentation that discusses how dividends are determined by going to this page on the COA website.


Kurt Welke he recently tried to get ahold of someone at ETF and warned everyone they should be aware that it’s very difficult to reach anyone by phone right now, e-mail is probably best if you need to contact them. The ETF offices are in the process of moving to the new building at Hill Farms.

Old Business


President Steffes is attempting to line up a speaker to talk about Medicare. Look for a program at a future meeting.


New Business


Kermit Traska thanked anyone who had to do with the publicly available UW photo archives. Lots of interesting historical images.

Deaths and Illnesses

Nothing to report, good news!

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Kermit Traska turns 70 this month – Happy big birthday!



Bruce Chevis mentioned that his last trip was to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. He and Patti loved Morocco; colorful, safe, would have like to have stayed longer than their small group tour was there.


Tom and Kim Thoresen visited Joshua Tree National Park while on a trip out west. Great park, some of the most unique vegetation he’s ever seen.


Doug Fendry said that the plan he and his wife made to take a trip every month has worked out differently than he thought – while he was in Utah at a Jeep safari, his wife was on a trip with girlfriends.


Chuck Pils was in Chicago over the weekend. He has family connections at the Field Museum, and attended a lecture by Dr. Jane Goodall on the occasion of her 84th birthday. The guests at the lecture all learned to hoot a “chimpanzee greeting” which Chuck repeated for us! If you have a chance, see the National Geographic Society documentary “Jane.” It was celebrity filled trip as he also ran into Herb Alpert who now is a sculptor.


Kurt Welke recommended a trip close to home – head to the Mississippi River and Clements Fishing Barge in Genoa. Cost is $20 for adults, $5 for kids. It’s a classic Wisconsin experience, and the perch are biting!


Bill Horns told a good one.

Meeting adjourned at 1:45 pm.

Financial report in separate document.