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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Member Profile

Barb Wolf

Barb retired from the Department of Natural Resources in December 2012 after 31 years as a conservation warden in a number of locations around the state. Barb was born in Waukegan, Illinois – yes, a flatlander, but she explained, Waukegan is rather close to Wisconsin and it isn’t the really flat part. She lived in the city, but remembers fondly visiting her grandparents’ nearby farm where she had her own chickens, and escaped to the wilds of Lake County with her Girl Scout troop.

Barb with one of her feathered friends

Graduating with a B.S. from UW-Milwaukee in 1978, she got the bug for a career in outdoor work by volunteering to mist net birds, age deer and taking every field trip her major in biology offered. Earning credits for hiking in the Smokies didn’t seem like school at all! A few years of food service and various LTE jobs later, Barb was hired by the Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Law Enforcement in 1980.

After a recruit warden period which included basic law enforcement training at Fort McCoy, and working with field training officers Jerry Meronk, Gary Gurske, Todd Wipperman, John Glennon and Jack Daniel, Barb was assigned to the field station in Kenosha County where she worked for 6 years. That is way back when the biggest problem on Lake Michigan was extremely high water levels!

Barb practices her skinning techniques at Clark Amundsen's
"fur school" in Park Falls

She then transferred to Wisconsin’s “west coast,” and worked 3 years in LaCrosse County, before taking a promotion as the South Central Region’s safety education specialist in the Fitchburg office. Best parts of the job included working with the volunteer instructors, the municipal patrols, and participating in public relations events that dealt with safety on the trails and the water.

Barb and Smokey work the DNR exhibit at State Fair Park

She was involved with the group that developed the first iteration of the Department safety program database, and training of Front Line staff when the program went live.

Barb said that she was happy to have been able to attend the Women in Resource Management conference that the Department held in 1986. What a great way to bring employees together. Barb was a member of the DNR’s first Diversity Council.

In 2000, Barb succeeded John Glennon as the Madison team supervisor, and later as the South Central regional warden for an 11 county area. She found it a most interesting job and can’t even start to name all of the people who made it so by learning from their expertise!

As one of the more recent retirees, Barb hasn’t gotten the hang of any extended and exotic trips so far, but has indulged her enjoyment of downhill skiing more frequently and managed several out west ski vacations.

She has been regularly competing with 6 year old Golden Retriever Zora in agility trials. Though her older dog Milo was enrolled in many dog training classes, he never quite caught on. (Barb said had he been a human boy, she’s sure she would know every juvenile judge in the local court system.)

Barb and her two poochies, Milo and Zora

Barb and Zora at Agility Training

Barb was a founding member of Dogs On Call, a therapy dog organization that she was been involved in for 12 years. Besides visiting with residents at assisted living facilities and hospitals, the therapy dog group gives dog bite prevention lessons to children, so Barb has been a presenter at a number of schools in Dane and surrounding counties.

She is also keeping busy as a volunteer Hunter Education instructor, continues to teach Professional Communications at the recruit academy and has a part time job as an agility instructor.

In 2009, Barb had the opportunity to travel to Croatia (her grandparents’ homeland) with her mom Amanda.

Barb and Amanda
Opatija, Croatia

Barb with her fiance, Mike, skiing in Utah

Spring turkey hunting is a favorite pursuit . . .

. . . and fishing had been a life long pursuit, too!!!

Past Member Profiles

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