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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Next Meeting
June 7
Johnnys Italian Steakhouse
8309 Market St., Middleton
Social Hour
11:00am Social Hour
12:30pm Lunch

Happy spring, ARC members,

I write this monthly note on Earth Day, 2017.  It’s an amazing day as people all over the United States – and other countries – march for science.  I was privileged to attend the first Earth Day at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The brain child of Gaylord Nelson, it was billed as a “teach in.”  No one would have guessed that Earth Day would have gone on to be a planet-wide force.

According to the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies:

"Earth Day planned itself," Nelson later reflected. An estimated 20 million Americans, young and old, gathered on April 22, 1970 to confront the ecological troubles in their cities, states, nation, and planet—and to demand action from themselves and from their elected officials.

“Earth Day was a watershed moment for environmental politics, kicking off what is now termed the "Environmental Decade" of radical legislative reforms. After struggling to pass legislation through the 1960s, Nelson was deeply involved in many of the most important environmental protection legislation: the Clean Water Acts, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Federal Pesticides Act, the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Education Act, the National Hiking Trails and the National Scenic Trails Acts, and the establishment of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.”

This is where you take a bow.  Implementing these watershed acts is your legacy and gift to the state.  I see your work, sweat and tears in every one of these acts, and your continued efforts on behalf of Wisconsin’s natural resources and environment.

Some of you may already be involved in a new group which launched on this Earth Day.  Wisconsin Green Fire: Voices for Conservation just went public. The group takes its name from one of Aldo Leopold’s essays, ‘Thinking Like a Mountain.’ According to the group’s coordinator, Terry Daulton, “ It  tells us, as citizens and as scientists, that we all share a responsibility for the land, for one another, and for future generations.”

Budget cuts in Wisconsin State Parks and public lands management, scientific research and communications/education staff, potential elimination of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, and the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board; removal of climate change information on DNR’s website; and limited science testimony at public hearings,  a group of retired and active Wisconsin scientists with experience from a wide range of institutions—including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), the University of Wisconsin, federal natural resource agencies, nonprofit environmental groups, research institutions, and the private sector—have established Wisconsin’s Green Fire.

WGF is an independent, nonpartisan group. Its nearly 70 members represent a depth and breadth of experience in natural resource management, environmental law and policy, scientific research, and education. WGF will help local units of government, nonprofit organizations, media, decision makers and citizens get the scientific information they need to address local and regional issues. The group will also be a source for those seeking experts who can and will take positions and bring scientific clarity and scrutiny to contentious and complicated environmental issues. Underpinning WGF’s mission is the belief that scientific research, knowledge and education are a basis for ensuring clean water, air, and healthy ecosystems for the economic and social benefit of society.

More information about Wisconsin’s Green Fire: Voices for Conservation, a website, and opportunities to join and/or contribute will be available in coming months.  If you have expertise you are willing to share, please contact Terry:

Happy Earth Day!  I look forward to seeing you all in New Glarus.  As usual, it will be a great meal, and we will be treated to a presentation after lunch.  See you there.


Dick Steffes bagged a potential new state record with this 15 1/2 inch, 1 pound, 1 ounce camera drone, taken April 20 after being stuck for months in a tree near Madison. 

"How many times did you shoot it, " wailed newly drone-less grandson Elijah.