Month: May 2021

Wisconsin Wildfire Report: Dry Conditions And Low Relative Humidity Keep Fire Danger Elevated

Over the last week, the DNR has responded to nearly 50 wildfires mainly caused by equipment and debris burning.

The most critical fire danger is now in northern Wisconsin, particularly in the northwest, where significant rainfall will be needed to improve the situation.

Low relative humidity is expected through this weekend, with the lowest across northern Wisconsin. This dry air, combined with warm temperatures, aid in the spread of wildfires. Winds are expected to remain light, which will be a large influence in helping fires that start to stay small.

Wisconsin DNR Burning Permits will be suspended as needed throughout the weekend. Before you burn any debris this weekend, check for any suspensions or restrictions at

Please exercise caution with anything that could start a wildfire. Operate equipment, including chainsaws, ATVs/UTVs, lawnmowers, etc., early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks when fire weather is most critical. Secure trailer chains to keep them from dragging. Keep campfires small and contained and delay having them until the evening hours.

Please remain alert and report fires early by calling 911.

May 14 marks the 8th anniversary of the Germann Road Fire in Douglas County that burned 7,442 acres and 100 buildings including 100 homes and cabins.

DNR firefighter surveys damage resulting from the 2013 Germann Road Fire.


Tree Health Monitoring Program Available

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Madison, or 608-445-4578

Joseph OBrien, USDA Forest Service,

Monitoring for tree health enables managers to anticipate maintenance needs. However, health monitoring is often inconsistent, generic or requiring advanced knowledge of insect pests or diseases. There can be a better way, and this might be one.

Since 2015, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have spearheaded a tree health monitoring initiative called Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities (HTHC) that uses a simple methodology for lightly trained observers to identify potentially problematic trees. Disparate organizations have successfully employed the procedure, from Boy Scouts to the New York City Housing Authority. And now, the Wisconsin DNR has partnered with USFS and TNC to incorporate the methodology into the Wisconsin Community Tree Map, should any communities or organizations be interested in trying it out. One does not need to have a current tree map license to pursue this effort.

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Celebrating A Successful 2021 Arbor Day

By Patricia Lindquist, DNR Urban Forestry Communications Specialist, Madison, or 608-843-6248 

Despite significant challenges this year, many communities adapted their annual Arbor Day celebrations or came up with creative new ideas. Thanks to everyone for going above and beyond in 2021!

A big thank you to the 43 communities who participated in the Arbor Day Social media campaign! All together, these communities created 159 posts for Facebook, Twitter and their local government websites during Arbor Week. We’re thrilled that so many of you helped spread the word about the benefits of trees and proper tree planting and care practices.

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Congratulations To 2021 Bird Cities!

Ninety-one communities received Bird City Wisconsin status in 2021. Greenfield and Wauwatosa are first-time recipients.

The following communities have renewed their status: Algoma, Altoona, Amery, Appleton, Ashland, Bailey’s Harbor, Baraboo, Bayfield, Bayside, Beaver Dam, Brookfield, Brown County, Brown Deer, Chenequa, De Soto, DeForest, Door County, Eau Claire, Egg Harbor, Elm Grove, Ephraim, Ferryville, Fond du Lac, Fontana-on-Geneva Lake, Fox Point, Glendale, Grafton, Grantsburg, Green Bay, Green Lake, Hales Corners, Horicon, Howard, Hudson, Janesville, Kaukauna, Kenosha County, Kenosha (City), La Crosse, Lake Geneva, Madison, Manitowish Waters, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette County, Mayville, McFarland, Menomonie, Mequon, Milwaukee (City), Milwaukee County, Monona, Muskego, Newburg, New London, Oconomowoc, Oconto, Osceola, Oshkosh, Ozaukee County, Pittsville, Plover, Plymouth, Port Wing, Prairie du Chien, Presque Isle, Racine, Reedsburg, Rice Lake, River Falls, River Hills, Rome, Sauk City/Prairie du Sac, Sheboygan, Shorewood, Shorewood Hills, Stevens Point, Sturgeon Bay, Superior, Taylor County, Trempealeau, Washington Island, Waunakee, Wausau, West Bend, Whitefish Bay, Whitewater, Williams Bay and Wisconsin Rapids.

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First Downs for Trees Celebrates 11 Years

On April 20, the First Downs for Trees program celebrated its 11th year by distributing 411 trees to 16 Brown County communities for planting. First Downs for Trees is a cooperative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and corporate sponsors Essity and Green Bay Packaging, Inc.

The program donates trees to participating communities based on the number of first downs in the previous season.

On average, NFL teams produce more than 450 tons of carbon dioxide per year in travel, and the Packers wanted to reduce those effects as a part of their Green Team initiative. The donated trees help the Packers offset their carbon footprint. These trees also increase the urban forest canopy and provide a plethora of environmental, economic, social and health benefits to Brown County residents.

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Feature Story: Dennis Fermenich, Greenfield’s City Forester

Love Wisconsin, a digital storytelling organization, recently wrote a series on municipal workers at the local level. One of the stories featured Dennis Fermenich, the city forester for Greenfield. Here is a link to the full article.

Copied below are a few segments of Dennis’ story:

Getting started as the Greenfield city forester: At first, everyone in the city didn’t welcome me. But there were certainly people in the city who wanted the trees and wanted forestry to move forward. I’ve outlived several of those people that were kind of anchors on my heels, to the point where I’m now working with the city and enjoying this amazing support from the public works department, from City Hall; they recognize the contribution that forestry makes to the city.

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1000 Friends Of Wisconsin’s Leafing Out Webinar Series

Leafing Out, Episode 6: Small Insects Can Cause Big Tree Problems with August Hoppe

Thursday, May 20th, 2021, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

This webinar has been produced in collaboration with the Hoppe Tree Service

Join 1000 Friends and August Hoppe, from Hoppe Tree Service to learn about the insects that might be bugging your trees.

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Funding Opportunity Available For Nonprofits Through The DNR

Nonprofit conservation organizations (NCOs) are encouraged to apply for grants to help fund land acquisition through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Applications are due Aug. 1, 2021, for the following NCO grant subprograms:

  • Habitat Area grants
  • Natural Area grants
  • Stream Bank Protection grants
  • State Trail grants

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New K-8 Curriculum Guide Released

Project Learning Tree® (PLT) recently released a new curriculum guide to engage kindergarten through eighth-grade students in exploring the environment. 

Fifty field-tested, hands-on activities integrate investigations of nature with science, math, English language arts and social studies. Copies of the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide can be purchased at PLT’s online store​.
PLT is a long-established, award-winning environmental education program that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to advance environmental literacy, stewardship and pathways to green careers. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative administers the national program.

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