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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What's New in 2019?

Member SinceNameYears of ServiceDiv/Bureau
JanuaryAndy Morton36Water

Amundson, Roger F.

Roger F. Amundson died peacefully on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Peshtigo, WI at the age of 82.

Roger is survived by wife, Pat Archambault; children, Wendy Amundson (Tony Graves), Lori Amundson, Dan Amundson (Kathy Peterson); step sons, Greg Archambault (Cindy), Chris Archambault (Kim), Ted Archambault, John Archambault (Jeff Stevens) and grandchildren, Jason Southall, Crystal Southall, Elizabeth Southall, Peter Amundson, Kristina Amundson, Anna Amundson, Ethan Archambault, Megan Archambault, Payton Archambault, Alec Archambault, Matt Archambault, and Trevor Archambault. He is preceded in death by wife, Ruth Amundson and brother, Donald Amundson.

Roger was born on September 9th, 1936 in Minneota, MN to Arlo and Charlotte Amundson. In 1959, he married Ruth Greve, his hometown sweetheart. After serving his country in Korea with the Army, he graduated from South Dakota State University in 1963 with a degree in Wildlife Management. Roger and Ruth moved to Barron, WI in 1964 where he began his 30 plus year career working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a Wildlife Manager. Later, his career took him to Jackson County and then Marinette County, where he finish out his career. His children remember him as a kind, supportive, hands-on father who was always forthright in his love for them and never missed an opportunity to share his love of the outdoors.

Roger was an enthusiastic nature lover and shared his reverence for nature with anyone who cared to listen to his stories and songs or join him in full-out expeditions. A voracious reader, he was a student of life who never stopped learning, embracing subjects such as botany, entomology, history and astronomy. He also relished outdoor activities like camping, skiing, birding, berry-picking, pheasant hunting, running, golfing and scuba diving. He was a member of the Peshtigo United Methodist church where he taught Sunday school for a number of years. He loved hockey and was an active supporter and volunteer for Marinette youth hockey. He was often called upon to present his popular wildlife program to local grade schoolers, a presentation he had honed over many years.

A visitation will be held February 16, 2019, from 4 until 6 p.m. at Hansen-Onion-Martell funeral home, Marinette, WI. A memorial service is scheduled for February 17th, at 1 p.m. at Peshtigo United Methodist Church, with a reception to follow. Pastors Kevin Dembinski and Ron Helgerson will officiate at the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Roger's life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. To plant a tree in memory of Roger Amundson, please visit our Tribute Store.

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.

From: Cole, Preston D - DNR
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2019 2:31 PM
Subject: Leadership Announcement

This message is being sent to all DNR Staff

Greetings DNR colleagues,

As your Secretary, one of my first priorities is to fill Department Leadership Team positions so that your leaders can get to work for you and for the public. I am happy to announce the following appointments to the Department Leadership Team:

Elizabeth Kluesner
DNR Deputy Secretary

Elizabeth Kluesner has agreed to join me in serving DNR as part of the Executive Leadership Team, in the role of Deputy Secretary. Elizabeth is currently DNR’s liaison to local and federal government. She has held several positions at DNR, including Business Project Coordinator, 11 years as the agency’s Legislative Liaison, and one year as Executive Assistant to Secretary Scott Hassett. She served for 4 1/2 years as Kathleen Falk’s Director of Policy and Program Development for Dane County, where her primary duties focused on land acquisition, recreation, land use and transportation planning. Elizabeth has also served as President of the Junior League of Madison and as a board member of the Groundswell Conservancy Land Trust. Elizabeth is originally from Madison, Wisconsin, and holds a B. S. and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cheryl Heilman
Chief Legal Counsel

Cheryl Heilman has accepted the position of Chief Legal Counsel. Cheryl has been with the department since 2011, and has been serving as a Deputy Chief Counsel in the Bureau of Legal Services. An experienced attorney, Cheryl previously worked for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, a federal court monitor, a criminal justice nonprofit, a private law firm and as a law clerk to US District Court and Court of Appeals judges. Cheryl is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Fred Souba
Forestry Division Administrator

I have asked Fred Souba to continue to serve as Administrator of the Division of Forestry and Wisconsin’s Chief Forester. Fred was originally appointed to this position in 2016. Prior to that he had an extensive career in the forest industry, including owner and Senior Consultant of ProVision Forestry LLC, Vice President of Wood Supply and Sustainability for NewPage Corporation and served as chair of the Wisconsin Council on Forestry for seven years. Fred graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Forest Management and Administration.

Doug Haag
Internal Services Division Administrator

Doug Haag has also agreed to continue serving as Administrator for the Division of Internal Services. Doug began working for DNR in 1986, served as Chief of the Real Estate Section and then Real Estate Director prior to his appointment as Division Administrator in 2016. He also worked for Dane County Parks Department from 1990 to 2000. Doug has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Geography.

I will announce additional appointments as they are made.

Please welcome these members of your Department Leadership Team.

Thank you,

Preston D. Cole
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S Webster Street, Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608-267-7556

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.