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 September 6, 2023 held at Maple Tree Supper Club, McFarland


ARC President Laurel Steffes called the meeting to order at 12:45 pm.


42 people were in attendance. The cost of the meal was $21 for broasted chicken, cole slaw, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy all served family style. An ice cream sundae was served after the meal.


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


Financial Report:


The treasury is back in the black, and all outstanding bills have been paid. There is $102 in Savings, $396 in Checking. $16 was given in donations today.


New Members and Guests: none



“Frank-n-Miller Report:”


Bob Schaefer said that the latest retirement system performance report available (July 31) shows 8.32% for Core and 17.9% for Variable. Bob reminds everyone that the It’s Your Choice enrollment period is September 25 – October 20. Don’t miss the deadline if you intend to make any changes to your health insurance plan.


Old Business:




New Business:


Bill Volkert will make a presentation at the October meeting (Vintage Brewery on Whitney Way) and we are hoping the DNR Secretary will attend our November meeting (Imperial Garden.) The Holiday Party will be at Maple Tree this year, December 6. Maple Tree has made a lot of improvements since a fire damaged part of the building last October and can accommodate a group our size.


Laurel said the new DNR web page focused on hunting is a good resource, be sure to check it out. We try to post links to many of the DNR’s newsworthy items on the website. Currently you can find information on providing feedback on the Wolf Management Rule, comment period ending September 15 and the Waukesha Water Diversion issue, comment period ending September 19.


Also on the ARC website are notifications from the other DNR retiree groups around the state for their luncheons or other events. So if you find you’re going to be near Rhinelander or Green Bay, consult the schedules and consider dropping in to visit!


John Hagman moted that we don’t have very many recent retirees joining our group. Laurel will check to make sure the information about how to contact us (and other groups based on location) is still included when HR sends letters to exiting employees.


Lew Posekany will be inducted into the Conservation Hall of Fame.




Duane Gilner of Wisconsin Dells passed away September 1. He worked in Forestry for 54 years.


Mike Lutz’s mother Adeline passed away August 4.


Birthdays and Anniversaries to celebrate this month:


Roy Lembke is 80!


Laurel and Dick Steffes marked their 52nd wedding anniversary.



Floyd Beecraft had the opportunity to go on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in May. He said it was very moving and encouraged any veterans to apply. He also had a great family vacation to Eagle Lake where his grandkids had a great time fishing. He’s also getting away for a 10 day trip to Belize, Honduras and the Panama Canal.


Meeting adjourned at 1:00 pm.



Laurel Steffes introduced our speaker, Bill Smith who joins us today from Shell Lake.


Most of you already know Bill since he was a DNR employee from 1978 to 2013. He worked as an environmental engineer, district/regional director, deputy DNR secretary and Natural Resources Manager. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, the International Crane Foundation, and has been a contributing member of several conservation organizations.


He’s been a member of the Natural Resources Board since 2019 and Chair since 2023.


Bill served in the US Air Force from 1972 - 1995, with 6 years as active duty helicopter pilot followed by 15 years of National Guard duty as a civil engineering officer.


He and Jackie have been married for 51 years and have 4 sons and 9 grandchildren.