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.

website contact:

What's New in 2019?

Member SinceNameYears of ServiceDiv/Bureau
JanuaryAndy Morton36Water
MarchMary Ellen Vollbrecht30Administration
MayMary Ann Buenzow35Forestry
MayKim McCutcheon30Water
AugustJohn Olson32Lands & Facilities
SeptemberTerry Westby42Lands & Facilities
NovemberMike Netzer30R&R
DecemberJulie Hankes13Lands & Facilities
DecemberSue Joseph30Water

December 2019

Julie Hankes left the WDNR after working 13 years in the real estate program where she dealt with land acquisition, appraisals and appraisal reviews in the Wildlife, Fisheries, Endangered Resources and Forestry programs to start her own real estate company. She continued to work in the environmental area, mostly with non-profits such as the Nature Conservancy, helping acquire land in the Driftless Area of SW Wisconsin. Since selling her business, she has enjoyed traveling, recently returning from a trip to the southwest United States. Julie is looking forward to spending a month in Spain visiting a former foreign exchange student.

November 2019

Mike Netzer retired from the Department in 2009 after a 28 year career with the DNR. Mike began working for WDNR in the old Coke building located on University Ave before moving to the Pyare Square building, then onto the Northeast Region where he was stationed from 1998-2001. He then moved south spending time at the South Central Region before finishing his career in GEFII. During his career Mike worked in the Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste and R&R programs. During his retirement years, Mike has enjoyed hunting, fishing and golfing. He also enjoys spending time in Forest County, with his two sons, working on the family cabin. He and Linda also enjoy special time with their four grandchildren.

Morrissette, Douglas Wayne

Douglas Wayne Morrissette, age 84, of Fitchburg, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at GOOD SHEPHERD CATHOLIC PARISH at ST. JOSEPHS, 1905 West Beltline Highway, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, with Mons. Thomas Baxter presiding.

Burial will be held at Oak Hall Cemetery in Fitchburg. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON FITCHBURG FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 2950 Chapel Valley Rd., Fitchburg from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, and at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Tuesday.

Online condolences may be made at Gunderson Fitchburg Funeral & Cremation Care 2950 Chapel Valley Rd. (608) 442-5502

Preston Cole, Secretary
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster St., PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707

RE: Resolution of Commendation

Dear Secretary Cole:

At its October 2, 2019 meeting, the Wisconsin Association of Retired Conservationists (ARC) unanimously passed the following resolution:

“The Wisconsin Association of Retired Conservationists commends DNR Secretary Preston Cole for strengthening and restoring necessary scientific research efforts on behalf of conservation and management of Wisconsin’s natural resources. The Association firmly believes that such programs are critical to the future well-being of Wisconsin’s natural resources and its citizens.”

ARC applauds the agency’s rededication to science-based natural resources management, the foundation of DNR’s mission. ARC resolutions are extremely rare and this commendation reflects the great importance we place on scientific research. We look forward to reviewing upcoming studies and DNR research efforts.

The Association of Retired Conservationists is an organization of nearly 300 retired Wisconsin DNR and conservation agency professionals. We continue to be committed to protecting and enhancing the health of Wisconsin’s environment and the stewardship of the natural resources to which we dedicated our careers.


Laurel F. Steffes, President
Wisconsin Association of Retired Conservationists

cc: Natural Resources Board
Governor Tony Evers
Wisconsin Association of Outdoor Communicators
Wisconsin State Journal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WDNR Magazine
“Celebrating 50 years of DNR.”

Interested in a copy of “Celebrating 50 years of DNR?”

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine staff would love to mail you a copy of their special publication paying tribute to the agency’s history, hard work and accomplishments.

Right now, it’s available as a PDF on the magazine’s website Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, look for the links in the right-hand column.

Or if you wouild like a printed copy, send an email to:

Managing Editor

or Associate Editor

with your mailing address and they’ll send you a copy, while supplies last.

September 2019

Terry Westby began his long career with the Department of Natural Resources in 1976 working in the mailroom at the Pyare Square building. Terry was transferred to the newly constructed GEF II building in April of 1980 when the DNR headquarters was moved. He continued working in the mailroom until he retired in September of 2018, after a 42 year career. He enjoyed working with and leading his team for the many years he was employed by the State. In retirement, Terry enjoys being in the out of doors, working around his home on projects and visiting his son who lives in Seattle, WA.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Guest Speaker, Camille Zanoni

ARC Members, and Natural Resources Foundation founding members, Bruce Braun and Ron Semmann, along with ARC President Laurel Steffes welcome Camille Zanoni to the September meeting.

Director of Philanthropy for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Camille Zanoni gave a very interesting presentation of the Foundation's history, its roots in DNR and the very successful endowment program. Over 100 endowments, many financed by retired WDNR employees and funded in perpetuity, support various aspects of the Department's programs. Discussion also included the many Foundation supported field trips offered annually to Foundation members.

Go here for more information
regarding the Natural Resouuces Foundation

August 2019

John Olson retired on January 10, 2019 after a 32 year career with WDNR. John started his career in the South Central Region as a Water Reg & Zoning Engineer in 1986 and transferred to the Central Office in 1990 as a Water Reg & Zoning Floodplain Engineer. In 1993 he transferred to Property Management as an Engineer. Then it was back to the SCR where he staffed the Region's Property Management engineer position. One more move in John's career took him back to the Central Office where he served as the State Boat Access Engineer for Facility and Lands from 2013 until 2019.

go here to read the PEW Charitable Trust's report on
'The State Pension Funding Gap: 2017'

Klusendorf, Joyce Elaine

Joyce Elaine Klusendorf, 89, passed away on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at Bloomfield Manor. Joyce was born in Dodgeville on June 2, 1930, to Walter and Alice Mae (Peterson) Urfer. She attended first through eighth grades at Prairie View School and graduated Valedictorian of Spring Green High School’s class of 1948. She majored in Home Economics at UW-Madison until 1951, when she married TomKlusendorf, in Spring Green. While raising their children, she still found the time to complete her studies at UW-Madison, and received her BS in 1960. In 1960, they moved to Dodgeville, where they owned and operated Klusendorf Chevrolet-Buick. In 1976, Joyce moved to Madison, and she worked at Verex Insurance Company. While working full time, she started taking accounting classes at the University, and graduated in 1984, with an accounting degree. At this time, she began a career with the Department of Natural Resources, and after obtaining her CPA in 1986, worked as their accounting supervisor; she retired in 2001, as the audit supervisor for the Wisconsin DNR.

Joyce is survived by her sons Greg (Michele)Klusendorf of Dodgeville, Dave (Debbie Bogosian) of New York City, Brad (Cindy) Klusendorf of Dodgeville and Fritz (Chris Sonderegger) of Monroe; her sisters Bonnie (Bob) Ringelstetter of Prairie Du Sac and Betty (Carlton) Overland of Stoughton, sister-in-law Cynthia Urfer of Morristown, NJ, brother-in-law Cliff Donner of Merrimac; eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, 2019, at the GORGEN-McGINLEY & AYERS FUNERAL HOME in Dodgeville. A visitation will be held on Saturday, July 6, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Inurnment at East Side Cemetery in Dodgeville will take place at a later date.

Gorgen-McGinley & Ayers Funeral Home
400 E. Grace Street Dodgeville

Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants
2019 Annual Conference

The 2019 Coalition Conference regarding the Wisconsin Retirement Fund was held May 10 at the American Family Campus in Madison.

Topics and speakers included:

Go here to see Conference Summary

202 N. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 187
Muscoda, WI 53573
(608) 739-3188 or 1-800-221-3792




MUSCODA .... The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board will sponsor a series of canoe outings on the Wisconsin River in late June and July. The large voyageur replica canoes commissioned by the State of Wisconsin in conjunction with the sesquicentennial in 1998 will be used for the trips that will explore different segments of the river. Seating is limited to 14 persons for each excursion and reservations are required. A waiting list will be developed in case of cancellations.

The excursions will be led by Mark Cupp, Riverway Board Executive Director. Water levels and weather permitting, a sandbar stop will be included in each trip. Participants should bring their own beverages, food, sunscreen and bug spray. No glass containers are allowed. Lifejackets and paddles will be provided but participants are welcome to bring their own personal flotation device. Small groups may sign-up for the trips but should do so early to assure adequate space is available.

Additional information may be found on the Riverway Board website at Lower Wisconsin State Riverway or the board's Facebook page.

To make a reservation or to ask questions about the canoe trips, contact the Riverway Board office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (608) 739-3188 or 1-800-221-3792.

The schedule for the canoe trips is as follows:

Thursday, June 27Muscoda to Port Andrew 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.
Friday, June 28Gotham to Muscoda 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.
Tuesday, July 2Port Andrew to Boscobel 9:00a.m. to 2: 00p.m.
Wednesday, July 3Muscoda to Port Andrew 9:00a.m. to 1:00p.m.
Monday, July 8Spring Green to Lone Rock 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.
Tuesday, July 9Lone Rock to Gotham 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.
Thursday, July 11LWSRB Muscoda to Port Andrew, 12:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.
Monday, July 15Prairie du Sac to Mazomanie 4:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.

Goeckermann, Kent

Kent Goeckermann passed away at his home on May 11, 2019. He was born December 15, 1940 to Roy and Dorothy (Kent) Goeckermann in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

He graduated from Washington High School, then attended the University of WI-Milwaukee obtaining a degree in Anthropology. There he met the love of his life Judith Ann Kubnick. They have been married 54 years.

In 1964 he volunteered for the U.S. Air Force, had a tour of duty in Vietnam and served as an Air Force Captain, manning nuclear missile silos in North Dakota. Upon completing his service, Kent returned to school at the University of Minnesota graduating with a master’s degree in forestry. He was hired by the Wisconsin DNR and became the Park Manager at Copper Falls State Park, Mellen WI in 1974. He also worked in fire control and for a time managed Big Bay State Park in addition to Copper Falls.

Kent believed in community and service. He was a member of the Mellen Fire Department, an EMT, a Lions Club member and served on the Mellen School Board for several terms. After 34 years of working with wonderful park crews, Kent retired from Copper Falls and moved with Judy to Highbridge, WI. In retirement he, as always, enjoyed his family first, but also worked for the U.S. census and volunteered testing water quality in the Bad River Watershed, worked with the North Country Trail Members and relished traveling near and far. Kent was an avid reader and lover of knowledge. He was fortunate his spouse was a librarian as, for the entirety of his life, every spare minute was spent reading, especially history books. He loved his country and, until the very end, voiced his concerns, but also his optimism about the United States of America.

He is survived by wife Judy, son Kurt (Cheryl) Goeckermann of Baraboo, daughter Jill (Eric) Guttormson of Wauwatosa, grandchildren Paige, John, Lea, Claire and Tanner, Sister Holly (Richard) Worth and family of Port St. Lucie, FL, cousin Phil Dibb of Colorado Springs and the extended Kubnick Family.

Kent was preceded in death by his parents, his father and mother-in-law Herman and Myrtle Kubnick and cousin Steve Dibb (combat Vietnam).

The family would like to thank the staff at Marshfield Medical Center, Park Falls Hospital, Avanti Home Health Care, Regional Hospice, Lifestar Ambulance (Nephew Mike Krueger), Great Divide Ambulance Service and MMC emergency room. The family also cannot thank enough the numerous other families, friends and the Mellen Area Community that Kent so enjoyed who have been so caring and helpful in the last year. It is hoped that all will fondly remember his love of telling a good story. The Ranger has left the park.

Please join the family at the Copper Falls picnic area shelter on Friday, May 24 anytime between 4 and 7pm to share a moment with us and enjoy the view from the trailhead or take a short hike. The park fee has been covered.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Mountain Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ashland and Mellen, WI.

Gathering for Family and Friends
Friday, May 24, 2019
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Copper Falls State Park
36664 Copper Falls Rd
Mellen, WI 54546

Becker, Edward Brooks

Edward Brooks Becker passed away on April 28, 2019. He was born on Aug. 12, 1931, to Earl M. and Ethel Brooks Becker in Emporia, Kan.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Emporia State College. Brooks served in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Germany during the Korean Conflict.

After returning to the United States, he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Kansas in 1959, where he met Mary Helen Clark. They were married in June of 1959. That year, they went to France on a Fulbright scholarship.

Early in his career, Brooks was a research chemist at Pittsburgh Plate Glass in Barberton, Ohio. He then worked at American Machine and Foundry in Alexandria, Va.; and at Spencer Chemical Company in Kansas City, Mo., and later in Pittsburgh, Pa., after the company was purchased by Gulf Oil Company.

In 1970, he came to Madison to head the Department of Air Pollution Control and Solid Waste Management for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In 1978, he co-founded and was president of RMT, Inc., an environmental engineering company, from which he retired in 1990.

A resident of Shorewood Hills, he served as village president from 1987 to 1989. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Madison Downtown Rotary and the Madison Club.

Brooks enjoyed playing golf and bridge, and traveling to destinations such as Antarctica, Turkey, the Baltics, the Canary Islands, Scotland, Germany, France and Italy. His one and only painting won a place in a juried art show and was exhibited at the Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Mo.

Brooks is survived by his wife, Mary Helen; daughter, Susan (Steve) Pschorr, of Madison; daughter, Donna Becker (Jose Hernandez), of Beltsville, Md.; son, John (Cindy) Becker of Brattleboro, Vt.; grandchildren, Alexander (Sarah) Pschorr of Madison, Maximilian Pschorr of Hartford, Conn., and Caroline Pschorr of Minneapolis, Minn., Jack and Tim Becker of Brattleboro, Vt.; great-grandson, Nathaniel Pschorr of Madison; and cousin, William (Jan) Brooks of Wichita, Kan. He was preceded in death by his parents; and infant grandson, Hamilton Brooks Becker.

A Celebration of Brooks’ Life will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday, May 17, 2019, at OLBRICH BOTANICAL GARDENS, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Brooks’ name may be made to the Madison Rotary Foundation

May 2019

Mary Ann Buenzow will retire May 1, 2019 after a 35 year career, all within the Forestry program. After serving as a trainee in Oconto during 1984, Mary Ann transferred to Janesville where she worked with private landowners in Rock, Jefferson, Dane and Green counties for 25 years. She then moved into management serving first as Team Leader located in Poynette, then as the Fitchburg Team Leader. She became the first female District Forestry Leader for the Division of Forestry and after the recent alignment supervised the forestry program in 33 counties. Besides knitting, Mary Ann continues to enjoy hunting, fishing, training her Springer spaniel, Arbor, and riding her Indian Scout motorcycle.

May 2019

With over 30 years in the Department, Kim McCutcheon retired On February 1, 2019. Starting in GEFII in 1987, she worked in the Solid Waste, R&R and Green Tier programs. She started working in the South Central Region in 1980 and worked in the Public Water Supply and the Wastewater programs until she transferrred to GEF 2 to work in multiple programs including Solid and Hazardous Waste Management as a Superfund hydrogeologist and the Statewide Emergency Response Coordinator. During the mid 90's reorg, Kim took a position with the newly created Cooperative Environmental Assistance Program. In 1999 she transferred back to South Central Region and worked in the Green Tier program. In 2012 she was hired as Wastewater Specialist in the Storm Water Program and remained in that position until her retirement. Kim became a grandmother in December 2018. She plans to travel around the US, with her husband Pat, in their new teardrop trailer!

Roark, William

William N. Roark died peacefully on Easter morning, April 21, 2019, at Madison Heights Senior Community, where he was in hospice care. Born in Madison on April 12, 1935, he had just passed his 84th birthday. Following several brain injuries, he had suffered a gradual loss of muscle and nerve control.

Bill graduated from Madison West High in 1953 and earned his B.S. at UW-Madison in 1957. He later attended Purdue University and in 1967, earned an M.S. in sociology. He had held part-time student positions in research libraries, enjoyed them, and went on to work, for about 10 years, at the library of Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Being a confirmed birdwatcher and nature enthusiast, he found it especially satisfying as a reference librarian to work with biologists and other scientists. He earned an M.A. in library science at the UW in 1981, and worked in several specialized libraries in Madison, including that of the DNR.

Bill was alarmed when his contacts at the Madison Audubon Society told him of a plan to develop condos on the wooded banks of Lake Mendota between Picnic Point and Shorewood Hills. He joined a handful of activists determined to convince the Madison Plan Commission that so choice a natural area should be preserved. Bill attended every meeting of the Plan Commission and spoke up at every hearing. The group engaged leaders at the University and Dane County, as well as the city. In the end, not only did they protect most of the shoreline (today, the UW Lakeshore Preserve), but they inspired the County, in 1984, to create the Natural Heritage Land Trust, now named the Groundswell Conservancy.

In 1994, Bill took a position in records management with the Dane County Parks. He enjoyed years of association with the staff, continuing some of his work after retirement as a volunteer. He continued to keep a protective eye on lakeshore environments, including the half-mile of waterfront the Roark family owned on Lake Wisconsin. Bill and the family put this land under the easement protection of the land trust so it could never become a condo development.

Bill never missed a family gathering at the welcoming home of his brother, Gene, and sister-in-law, Jean, with her splendid holiday dinners. He shared his nature observations with family and friends, as he shared also his love of opera and classical music.

Bill is survived by his sister, Nancy Roark of Berkeley, Calif.; sister-in-law, Jean Roark; and two nephews, Michael of Madison and David (Sally) Roark of Reading, England, whose family includes sons, daughters and grandchildren.

A gathering will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, beginning at 11 a.m., followed by a time of sharing at 11:30 a.m.

Please share your memories at

Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
(608) 238-3434

Starch, Vera

Vera Starch age 72, of Madison, lost her battle with cancer on April 6, 2019, with her family by her side. She was born on Aug. 12, 1946, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Joseph and Charlotte Thies. She graduated from Madison East High School in 1964. Vera worked for the State of Wisconsin for 45-1/2 years and retired in 2011.

In her free time she was an avid quilter and enjoyed crocheting gifts for her family and friends. She also enjoyed her travels to upper Minnesota to see family and go fishing. She adored her two grandchildren and cherished the time she spent with them.

Vera is survived by her three daughters, Sue Sherman (Kevin Kohn), Arlington, Christa (Rich) Welling, Madison, and Aimee (Jon P.) Schwichtenberg, Elko New Market, Minn.; a granddaughter, Ashley (Kenneth) Zawodny, Las Vegas, Nev.; a grandson, Cody (Rachel) Schwichtenberg, Madison; a great-granddaughter, Ivy; and a great-grandson who will arrive in July; a brother, Ralph (Karyl) Theis, Colorado Springs, Colo. She is further survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives. She was proceeded in death by both her parents; a sister, Debra Hoff; and a brother, Donald Thies.

The family would like to thank the UW Carbone doctors and staff, along with Agrace HospiceCare team in both Dane and Rock Counties for the care and compassion they showed their mother. They would also like to thank her friends, Kathi, Barb, Chris and Bill for the friendship and support they showed to Vera.

It was Vera wish to not have a funeral or memorial service. Instead it was her desire to be cremated and have her ashes spread at her favorite lakes.

Donations can be made in honor of Vera’s memory to Agrace HospiceCare, Wis. Public Television or Dane County Humane Society.

Reddeman, Reuben “Rube” F. Jr.

Reuben “Rube” F. Reddeman, Jr., age 79, passed away March 13, 2019 in Madison. He was born September 11, 1939 in Poynette to parents Reuben Reddeman Sr. and Anna (Falk) Reddeman. Rube's mother died when he was very young, and his father later married Ila (Johnson) Reddeman, who, along with his sisters' help, raised him on the family farm in Arlington Prairie. He graduated from DeForest High School in 1957, and began his 40-year career with the Department of Natural Resources. He started in the mail room, and worked his way up to boater registration, then on to property management, where he traveled the state purchasing, insuring, and selling the equipment used at all of the state parks in Wisconsin.

Rube filled his spare time managing the parking lot of the Dane County Coliseum, and volunteering for the Madison Jaycees. On December 7, 1974, he married Cheryl Ann Smithena, and moved to Cross Plains. Together they enjoyed traveling, camping, and their time spent in Florida during the winter months. Rube loved coaching the Packers and Badgers from the comfort of his couch, but always appreciated going to a game. In 2009, they moved to Parkside Village in DeForest, where they currently reside. Rube also enjoyed the outdoors: camping, fishing or boating on the local lakes. Rube was always telling jokes, and he will be remembered as a funny, easy-going guy with the ability to easily make friends and spread laughter.

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Reddeman of DeForest; son, Todd (Pam) Reddeman of Alpharetta, GA; daughter, Tami (Mike) Strang of Prairie du Sac; granddaughter, Brianna Reddeman of New Orleans, LA; sister, Evonne (Charles) Linde of DeForest; sister-in-law, Joyce (James) Quackenbush of Middleton; numerous nieces and nephews, other loving family and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Ruby Ann (Ervin) Schmidt; and his step-sister, Katherine (Burnette) Hellickson.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Dan Jarzemsky and his entire team at the Cross Plains Clinic for their thirty years of care.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 22, 2019 at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 6924 Lake Rd., DeForest. Visitation will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 2317, Madison, WI 53701 or online at: Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
Windsor/DeForest Chapel
6924 Lake Road
(608) 846-4250

Knauer, Douglas

Douglas Knauer, age 77, of Negaunee Township, passed away Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at his home, in the loving, comforting care of his family and the caregivers of UP Home Health and Hospice.

Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family. A complete obituary will be forthcoming.

Condolences may be expressed online at:

March 2019

Mary Ellen Vollbrecht started a long career with WDNR in 1986 working in half-a-dozen programs, but primarily in Water Regulation and Zoning. In 1992, she promoted to Water Reg Supervisor, overseeing the six county area of the Southeast Region. In 2008, she became the Secretary's Executive Assistant. From 2012 until her retirement in 2016, Mary Ellen headed the Groundwater Section, located in the Central Office. In retirement, Mary Ellen enjoys biking all around the world. Closer to home she enjoys gardening, cross country skiing and helping people to get out and vote!!

Wisconsin tree champions lauded for outstanding community service
Posted on February 26, 2019

CONTACT: Sara Minkoff, DNR Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608-669-5447,

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council recently announced award recipients honoring those dedicated to protecting, preserving and increasing the number of trees that line city streets, fill community parks and beautify neighborhoods throughout the state. The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the management of urban and community forest resources.

“These awards honor individuals, organizations and communities for their hard work and dedication to trees and the critical benefits they provide,” said Kristin Gies, chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council’s award committee. “Each year we review the nominations and learn about the great things happening around Wisconsin that support healthy community forests.”

This year’s recipients were announced recently at the 2019 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR urban forestry conference in Green Bay.

Lifetime Achievement: Ted Pyrek is recognized posthumously for his over 30-year leadership and dedication promoting and improving urban forestry in the City of Horicon. He was instrumental in the creation of the city’s Tree Board, in securing their first and subsequent Tree City USA designations, and was an integral part of 30 years of Arbor Day celebrations. He engaged a wide array of local citizens in these efforts, including many service groups (Rotarians, Lions, Jaycees, Kiwanians), Explorer Scouts, City officials, students from elementary school through high school, and their teachers. Ted’s impact will endure, and his work will continue to provide multiple benefits to the community for decades.

To learn more, see previous winners and nominate your community tree champion, visit keyword, “Urban Forestry Council.” The deadline for 2020 nominees is October 31, 2019. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time.

Chizek, James Thomas

OREGON—James Thomas Chizek, age 88, passed away in the morning of Jan. 30, 2019, into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. Jim was born on May 15, 1930, to James and Anna Chizek in Fifield, Price County. He grew up on the family farm with one sibling, Etta Chizek (Swanson) while a baby brother passed away during childbirth. Jim graduated from Fifield High School and was then drafted to into the U.S. Marine Corp. Jim loved being a Marine. He served as an admiral’s personal bodyguard aboard ship on an Essex Class Aircraft Carrier, the USS Oriskany, during the Korean War from in 1952 to 1953. After the war, he returned to Fifield and worked for the Soo Line Railroad.

He married Shirley Plyer on July 23, 1955, in Phillips. He then found his passion in life and trained as a conservation warden in Ladysmith, Park Falls, Shawano, Jefferson and Janesville. His first assignment was in Portage, based in Columbia County. He then accepted a position as a regional conservation warden for the State of Wisconsin based out of Park Falls in Price County. The family was happy being back in northern Wisconsin. His duty was now in the Chequamegon National Forest. An unfortunate car accident occurred and Jim was severely injured, which then, is when a new opportunity presented itself, the family moved to Lodi. Jim continued to work in Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a special investigator for several years.

Jim trained many law enforcement officers and recruits. Jim trained SWAT teams at Badger Ammunition for southern county law enforcement in 1970, just prior to bombing at Sterling Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus. He was a well-respected leader among the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement based in Madison.

Jim was truly a legend in his own time. Jim loved his family, their dogs, gardening and the outdoors. Especially hunting, trapping and fishing. His favorite food was “any” pie. There were many family-fishing trips to Canada and to the families’ log cabin in northern Wisconsin. Jim created and served as the first president of the Wisconsin Conservation Warden’s Association. He taught many safety and educational classes focused on hunting, boating, trapping, recreation and collecting natural edibles from the woodlands. The family housed numerous abandoned and injured animals throughout the years. We were taught how to respect and care for these animals who were disadvantaged. He also served on the board of directors for the MacKenzie Center located in Poynette, in efforts to preserve wildlife of Wisconsin.

In later life, Jim authored three books that were written and dedicated to protect the outdoors and historical education on the State of Wisconsin. He was a collector, inventor and holds some U.S. Patents. Jim loved telling stories about his adventures as a conservation warden.

Jim also volunteered to work on the Wolf River Sturgeon Guard Program and served as sturgeon general. Jim was part of integral teams that founded three Wisconsin Museums; MacKenzie Center Museum in Poynette, Warden’s Museum in Stevens Point and the Old Town Hall Museum in Fifield. He had a robust circle of friends that shared his passion for conservation of the outdoors and they had numerous adventures together. Jim and Shirley also enjoyed traveling the U.S. and spending winters in Gulf Shores, Ala. and Benson, Ariz. later in life.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, James Sr. and Anna Chizek; sister, Etta; and baby brother, Chizek. He is survived by his children, Frank, Donald, and Michelle (Greg); and grandson, James (Casey); and grandchildren, Catherine and Madeline; along with nephews, Randall (Dawn) Swanson and James (Sandi) Swanson. A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at 10 a.m., at the LODI FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH, 206 Pleasant St., Lodi, with a service to follow.

Please join us for lunch after the service.

January 2019

Andy Morton retired in September of 2018 after a 36 year career with WDNR. He began working for WDNR in the Central office in the Acid Rain and Air Management Section, where he worked for six years until he moved to the Southern Region as the non-point Source Coordinator. Duties included serving as the Watershed Coordinator for the Region, as well as coordinating grants to counties, and serving as the Regions front line for dealing with non-point complaints from cities and farmers. For the last 17 years of his career, he served as the Region's Water Program Runoff Supervisor. Since retiring, Andy continues to enjoy playing his several acoustical mandolins, which he also builds as a hobby, and also enjoys flyfishing.