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Contact: Anne Reis-Boyle, Public Lands Specialist or 608-279-6483

DNR Recognizes Conservation Partners And Friends Groups For Stewardship Of Fish And Wildlife Areas

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) awarded the first ever Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area and Friends Group of the Year awards to conservation partners.

The Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area program was created in 2015 to engage local communities and organizations in public land management and build the state’s conservation community. Program participants must dedicate 100 hours of volunteer efforts during at least three events or donate $3,000 annually. Volunteer work typically includes brush and invasive species management, stream restoration, tree planting and property maintenance.

This February, the organizations with the most volunteer hours logged or money raised for their adopted fish or wildlife area were recognized. DNR staff presented awardees with their commemorative plaques.

The award winners were:

  • 2023 Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area Group of the Year: Lakeshore Trout Unlimited for adopting Onion River Fishery Area in Sheboygan County
  • 2023 Wildlife Area Friends Group of the Year: Friends of Brillion Nature Center in Calumet County
  • 2022 Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area Group of the Year: Groundswell Conservancy for adopting Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area in Dane County
  • 2022 Wildlife Area Friends Group of the Year: Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center in Dodge County

“We were happy to celebrate with the groups both in attendance and virtually for the first time, acknowledging the collective 17,400 hours and $423,371 of funding donated or raised in the last two years to support the state’s wild places,” said Tim Lizotte, DNR Wildlife Management Land and Habitat Section Supervisor.

In the future, the DNR staff will host more events to celebrate the vital work of the Friends Groups and Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area Groups across the state.

Interested In Adopting A Wildlife Or Fishery Area?

With more than 300 fish and wildlife areas throughout Wisconsin, plenty of opportunities exist to help improve wildlife habitat and nature-based recreation. The DNR will provide necessary training and equipment for agreed activities, and program participants will be recognized through property signage and social media outreach.

For more information on the Adopt-a-Fish or Wildlife Program or Wildlife Area Friends Groups or how to volunteer, visit the DNR’s Wildlife Management Volunteer Opportunities webpage