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Freelance Guidelines

We're glad you're interested in contributing to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine! Given our 85,000-plus subscribers, an extensive pass-along readership and thousands of visitors to our website, WNR is a great place to share your writing skills and display your photographs and illustrations.

A word about our readers

WNR readers are a diverse group with many interests. They're active and care about protecting our natural resources. They're also armchair philosophers and knowledgeable about environmental issues. They enjoy wildlife watching, nature study and outdoor recreation, and appreciate stories offering tips on how they can enhance their outdoor skills.

Our readers are well-informed and want to know more about the state of Wisconsin's environment and the people who work on behalf of natural resources. They want to read about the cultural and historical roots of outdoor traditions and environmental problems. They appreciate art that reflects concern for the environment  and they have a sense of humor.

Subject matter and style

Feature stories  the kinds of articles the magazine publishes  are meant to be read for enjoyment and information. Authors should focus on Wisconsin resources, environmental issues, observation and research, rather than merely sharing personal opinions. Weave a good, exciting story while maintaining a strong factual message. Magazine staff can help you find a good angle for your story to capture readers' attention. Please remember that WNR is not a literary magazine and does not publish extensive fiction stories or poetry.

WNR is also not a technical journal for researchers and should not read like one. Cite research results to make a point and give readers some insight, but don't overdo. Our readers are not interested in methodology; they want to know what you learned and what your research implies for the environment.

If you are writing a "how-to" piece (making fishing lures, preparing wild game recipes, building a bird house, etc.), you don't need to be a specialist, but you need to have experience and know what you're talking about. Assume readers have basic skills with tools and home equipment, but don't assume they know the jargon of a particular hobby or skill. Having good photos, diagrams or drawings to explain the process is important.

Copy preparation and submissions

It is best to contact magazine staff before starting a story. They will work with you on your story idea, determine whether it is appropriate for the magazine, advise on the length and timing for the story and plan for any additional information, illustrations and photographs needed for the article. Feature stories can run as short as 500 or as long as 2,500 words.

We use Microsoft Word but can convert from other formats. We prefer to receive stories submitted via email, but we can also work with hard copy submissions if you do not have email available.

Photographs and graphics

We encourage authors to submit images with their stories, but we are always looking for new, high-quality photos and graphics. If you are a photographer or artist interested in submitting your work, we always need images showing a variety of outdoor recreation activities and pursuits including:

  • People enjoying outdoor play or work;
  • Hunters enjoying a hunt;
  • People exploring a stream;
  • Researchers in the field;
  • Hikers or bicyclists on a trail;
  • People fishing; and
  • Skiers and snowmobilers.

We need both full-body shots and close-ups of faces of men, women and children. The outdoors is for everyone and we need photos of all ages, abilities and ethnicities. Take advantage of these shots when the opportunities occur naturally. We prefer images of people in action as opposed to set-up or posed shots.

Wisconsin landscapes and scenery
Strive for the rich colors of early morning and evening that help capture a region, a season or a mood. Sky, water, earth, branches, clouds, grasses and woods should be colorful and clear.

Animal and plant close-ups
Birds, furbearers, small mammals, reptiles, coyotes, weasels, bear, deer, hares, bobcats, otters, beavers, muskrat, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, frogs and fish  we need images of all creatures great and small! WNR always needs properly identified clear close-ups of flowers and other plants as well.

Photos/graphics to complement your article
Photos of people and places described in your article are essential. If the article has a seasonal flavor, include seasonal graphics if you have any. For "how-to" pieces, if part of your story can better be told with a drawing or diagram, provide it or sketch it well enough that we can give it to an artist to develop further, or photograph step-by-step the assembly or construction process.

Photo/graphic submissions

If you are forwarding digital images for our consideration, we need high-resolution images of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). When taking photographs, it is best to set your camera on its highest resolution. We prefer to receive digital images, but we can also work with prints, slide transparencies, watercolors, oils, pen-and-ink or other media.

Please include information we can use for writing a caption, tell us who took the photos or created the images and how to reach that person via e-mail, mailing address and phone number in case we have follow-up questions.

Production schedule and deadlines

Our magazine issues are planned out months ahead of time, so remember to contact us early and plan to submit your materials accordingly. Because the magazine is published seasonally four times a year, advance planning is vital. If your article or idea is tied to a specific date or season, contact magazine staff as soon as possible (six months to a year in advance is not too soon).

WNR issue Content due
Spring Jan. 1
Summer April 1
Fall July 1
Winter Oct. 1


You should know that we do not pay authors, photographers or artists for their unsolicited work. That's a reflection of our budget, not our respect for your work. We are grateful that you and so many others want to contribute to our magazine  we couldn't produce this fine publication without your contributions.

WNR magazine gives you an opportunity to display your talents to more than 80,000 subscribers, an extensive pass-along readership and thousands of visitors to our website. We'll also send you complimentary magazine copies featuring your work. Published contributors are given the opportunity to claim their contributions as non-cash charitable donations for tax purposes.

Still interested?

We hope so, and we look forward to hearing from you or receiving a query letter or email. Get imaginative, and get going!

Andrea Zani, Managing Editor
Wisconsin Natural Resources
PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921