WCHF Announces 2018 Inductees

WCHF Announces 2018 Inductees
Roy and Charlotte Lukes, George Meyer and Arlie Schorger

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation (WCHF) has announced the selection of four conservation leaders for induction on April 14, 2018 at 10:00a.m. at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point. The public is invited.

A coffee reception will be held at 9 a.m. prior to the Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 14th at Sentry Theater in Stevens Point.  Following the ceremony, there will be a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the Sentry World Center. The Induction Ceremony and Coffee Reception are free and open to the public. Reservations for lunch ($25 per person) may be made online or by calling Schmeeckle Reserve at 715-346-4992.

Saturday, April 14, 2018
Sentry Theater in Stevens Point
Program: 9 a.m. Coffee Reception (free)
10 a.m. Induction Ceremony (free)
12:30 p.m. Luncheon – ($25/person)

The inductees this year include a couple who have spent their lives as “Partners in Nature” protecting the natural heritage of Door County, a Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) who never retired, and an almost forgotten UW-Madison Wildlife Professor and philanthropist who contributed directly to Leopold’s Conservation Legacy.

Roy (1929-2016) and Charlotte (1944- ) Lukes

Door County naturalists, Roy and Charlotte Lukes, spent their lifetimes protecting the natural beauty of the peninsula and sharing its magic through their teachings, writings, and personal charm. As “Partners in Nature,” they built the Ridges Sanctuary into a center for conservation education, research, and advocacy. They educated and inspired citizens of Door County and the State through their many research efforts, lectures and nature walks, books and newspaper columns. Although Roy has passed on, Charlotte has continued to write the weekly column “Door to Nature” for the Door County Pulse.

Roy and Charlotte were also instrumental in protecting many of the county’s most scenic gems and ecologically valuable habitats. They saw their scientific research on the flora and fauna of Door County as a cornerstone to their work in conservation related education, policy and public leadership.  In recognition of their lifelong collaboration, the couple received nearly thirty awards from numerous educational, literary, civic and environmental organizations.

George Meyer (1947 – )

A highly respected and influential Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), George Meyer was instrumental in creating and advancing major conservation and environmental policies affecting all of the State’s natural resources. During his three decade career with the WDNR, Meyer worked on many of the most challenging, and often controversial, policy issues affecting Wisconsin.

In addition to his years in public service, Meyer spent much of his life promoting citizen participation and the advancement of conservation organizations. Since retiring from the WDNR in 2002, Meyer has led the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, serving as its first Executive Director. With 200 affiliate organizations statewide, the Federation promotes sound resource management through its educational and advocacy programs.

Throughout his career, he has been respected for his integrity, leadership, and unassuming personality. He has received many awards and much recognition for his contributions to conservation.

Arlie (Bill) Schorger (1884 – 1972)

As a man of many talents, Arlie (Bill) Schorger excelled as a chemist, inventor, businessman, and wildlife conservationist. In conservation circles he is most well known for his work as a nature historian and for his books on the life histories of Wisconsin’s Wildlife and man’s impact on them. His 1955 award winning book, The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction helped advance a global concern for wildlife management, biodiversity and the new field of conservation biology.

He became a Professor of Wildlife Management after retiring from his business career in paper chemistry and devoted the rest of his productive life to advancing conservation through his research and writings. As a personal friend of Aldo Leopold, he also played a pivotal role in launching Leopold’s career and conservation legacy.

He was also known for his public service, philanthropy and leadership in state and national conservation organizations. He served on the Wisconsin State Conservation Commission (now the WDNR Board) and as President of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Art and Letters.  As a philanthropist, he contributed to many conservation, literary and civic programs.

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and Visitor Center, located at Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, was established in 1985 to advance the conservation legacy of Wisconsin and now recognizes 88 leaders who have contributed significantly to it. WCHF is a cooperative venture of 32 State-wide conservation organizations. Individuals may be nominated for induction by member organizations or by the public. Based on a set of criteria, nominees are selected for induction by the WCHF Board of Directors and an independent Board of Governors.

Dianne Moller of Hoo’s Woods and Raptor Friends

Dianne Moller educator, rehabilitator and licensed falconer with Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center in Milton, Wisconsin was a presenter at this year’s Eagle Days along the Fox River. People in the audience got to meet many of her feathered friends.

2009-2017 Citizen Scientist Data for Fox River Eagles

WDNR wildlife specialists Bryan Woodbury, and Joseph Henry presented the 2009-2017 Citizen Scientist Data for Fox River Eagles at the January 13th Eagle Monitoring Volunteer Reception. Some of the most interesting data included the increase in sightings from 2009 to 2017 during the five months during which monitoring is conducted. On the average, there has been about a 50% increase.

The month of January is typically the month in which the most sightings are observed.

The largest count of eagles occurred in 2013 and again in 2017. Can’t wait to see the results for 2018.

Monitoring eagles is infectious. Once you try it, you’ll be waiting for the next month you can do it again. For more information contact Cheryl Root. No experience is necessary; all ages welcome!

Read full Fox River Eagle Survey report.


January 20th, 2018 Presentations

The comeback of the eagle is a symbol of the importance of conservation and preservation of our natural resources.  Presentations at the Neenah Library focused on our waterways and wetlands as well as the successful management of the sturgeon population in the Fox-Wolf waterway system.

Eagle Days Along the Fox River – Today

The weather is going to be great today! Last week monitors saw dozens of birds flying or roosting in areas along the Fox. Based on the December survey, the DNR estimated almost 250 eagles in a twenty to thirty mile stretch of river.

Groups of eagles use the largest trees along the Fox River to watch for fish. Photo by Jeff Marquardt.

Take advantage of the winter activity and soar with eagles along the Fox today!


Viewing Sites


Yearend Eagle Monitoring Report

Saturday, January 13, 2018 was the annual reception for eagle monitors and the public to get an update on the status on the eagles in the Fox Valley. Some of the interesting things we learned include:

  • Eagles can see a fish under water from one-half mile away
  • Eagles are territorial for approximately a one-half mile radius around their nest during nesting, but not so intolerant of other eagles after the eaglets have fledged
  • Primary reason for decline in eagles has been:  logging, reduction of food source, predators and DDT
  • New River Alliance citizen science monitors began working with the WDNR’s Bald Eagle Program in 2009.
  • In 2017 the Fox Valley accounted for 176 eagle nests.
  • 2017 was a record year. There were 1590 Bald Eagle nests in Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin’s Eagle Data Area 2 had the highest count of eagles in North America (includes Vilas and Oneida counties)
  • Since budgets have cut, the Bald Eagle Program depends heavily upon the WDNR Donation Fund called Adopt an Eagle Nest Program administered by the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation

Citizen Scientist Data Fox River Eagles 2009-2017

Wisconsin Bald Eagle Nest Survey – 2017

Audubon Lists 5 Hotspots for Photographing Bald Eagles

Listed in the Winter 2017 issue of the Audubon Magazine were five hotspots for photographing Bald Eagles. They are:

  • Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah
  • Conowingo Dam, Maryland
  • LeClaire, Iowa
  • Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
  • Skagit River, Washington

Today Bald Eagles nest in every state but Hawaii, so the chance of seeing one is a lot easier than back in the 1960s — before DDT was outlawed. In fact, there is good opportunity to see the Bald Eagles that make the Fox Valley their home.

Although you can see them  all year long, they are especially visible during the winter months because they congregate near the open water of the Fox River. Plan to join us for Eagle Days activities during the next three Saturdays, January 13, 20 and 27th.  See Schedule.

Eagle Monitoring January 13th

Eagle monitoring for this coming Saturday, January 13, 2018, will be from 6:56AM to 8:30AM.  Viewing sites are located throughout the Fox Cities. Citizen scientist eagle monitors will be on hand at each site.

Following the early morning monitoring, a reception will be held at 10:00AM the Atlas Waterfront Cafe for an update by WDNR personnel Bryan Woodbury and Joe Henry on data collected through 2017.

The public is invited to join any of the eagle monitoring activities.

Refreshments will be available.

New Eagle Days Contributor

Mr Brew’s Taphouse in Appleton, Wisconsin has recently been added to our list of contributors for Eagle Days Along the Fox River. Mr Brew’s is located along the river shore and is an excellent place to stop for a brew and watch the eagles. Thank you Mr. Brew’s Taphouse for being a contributor.

Other contributors to our Eagle Days event are:

Wild Bird & Backyard, Appleton

Go Wild with Birds, Neenah

Atlas Waterfront Cafe & Gathering Room, Appleton

Eagle Days Along the Fox River 2018

Thousand Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna, Wisconsin along with the Northeast Wisconsin Alliance organization, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other interested enthusiasts are collaborating again to provide opportunities  for everyone to view Bald Eagles along the Fox River during the month of January.

Besides learning about the Bald Eagles that make the Fox Valley area their home during the winter months, all visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the Fox River and the abundant wildlife viewing it has to offer.

In a nutshell, here are planned events.  Details can be found at Schedule.

  • January 13  Mid-Winter Eagle Monitoring*
    • 6:44-8:35AM Eagle Monitoring at designated sites
    • 10AM-Noon Reception and update on 2016-17 monitoring results at Atlas Waterfront Cafe
  • January 20  Various Eagle Education Programs
    • 10:30AM-2:30PM Paper Discovery Center
    • 10AM-3PM Neenah Public Library
    • 7:45-9:15 AM Guided Bird Hikes at various locations
    • 7AM-5PM Self-Guided Viewing Locations along the Fox River
  • January 27  Various Eagle Education Programs
    • 7AM-5PM 1000 Islands Environmental Center
    • 9AM-NOON Kaukauna Public Library
    • 7AM-5PM Guided Viewing Locations along the Fox River (Kaukauna locations only)

Fox Cities Eagle Viewing Map

Other American Bald Eagle viewing opportunities in Wisconsin

*Eagle Monitoring

Eagle monitoring occurs on the second Saturday of the month in the Fox Valley area from November through March. Start times begin one half hour before sunrise and continue for ninety minutes.

There are various locations, most of them public, between the mouth of the Fox River on Lake Winnebago and the Wrightstown Bridge. If you’d like to get out to watch for these amazing soaring creatures, contact Cheryl Root for more information. No experience is necessary and there’s no age limitations.

See also Volunteers, DNR Work to sustain Fox River’s bald eagle population

See also Celebration of Eagles.