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Conservation Issues

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Nominations Sought for 2018

Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award

     Each year Winnebago Audubon Society recognizes an individual (or an organization) from our community who has worked to achieve the Society’s objectives. The award was named to honor the memory of Katherine D. Rill who dedicated her time, skills and efforts to preserve and restore wildlife habitat, conserve birds, engage in citizen science, and educate others about natural systems.  Past recipients have included George Curtis, Michael Lizotte, Paul Fowler, Quintin Metzig, and Elaine Swanson.

     Katherine played a vital role in establishing our chapter in 1982 and continued to be an integral part of the chapter for over 20 years. In the mid-1960s she was involved in the statewide effort to ban DDT. She was instrumental in the preservation of Cactus Rock, a state scientific area south of New London. Along with her husband, Russ, they helped preserve Tellock’s Hill Woods, a state natural area near Clintonville. The thesis for her master’s degree, “A Flora of Winnebago County,” was published in the transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences. Her own herbarium, donated to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh a few years ago contained over 8,000 sheets of dried, pressed plants. She worked for the Natural Areas Preservation Council, now the Bureau of Endangered Resources, creating an inventory of unique, relatively undisturbed areas in five counties – many are now state natural areas. She never hesitated to take action against ill-conceived projects, often attending permit hearings of the US Army Corps of Engineers and DNR. And she served as secretary and president of the Citizens Natural Resources Board.  These are just some of the things Kay was involved in.

     Nominees for the Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award must be from our area. The candidate must have shown a dedication to preservation or restoration of habitat; or conservation of birds; or engagement in citizen science; or education of others about natural systems. Candidates may not nominate themselves. Please send nominations to Winnebago Audubon Society, PO Box 184, Oshkosh, WI 54903 no later than March 15, 2018. Include your complete contact information along with a letter detailing why your nominee qualifies. The nominee should be able to attend the Spring Banquet on Sunday, April 15, when the award will be presented.


Meritorious Service Awards

Audubon Chapter Recognizes Outstanding People


     Long-time Audubon member, Dave Hanke, was given a Meritorious Service Award for his 13 years of service as a director on the Winnebago Audubon Society board. This is a well-deserved recognition to show our appreciation for all the time and energy he has devoted to our chapter at many of our activities. With his exceptional talent as a carpenter he handcrafted many Leopold benches, bird houses, and bat houses to benefit our chapter, the birds and bats. Thank you Dave!


     Winnebago Audubon presented a Meritorious Service Award to Carla Hansen at the Spring Banquet for years of dedication to our chapter. Carla has been Teasurer for the past four years, ans also served in this position from 2000-2003 and again from 1989-1991. She was VP from 1996-1999; President from 1991-1993; and a Director from 2007-2010. Not only that, but she has been chair of Membership and Audubon Adventures. She is currently chairperson of the annual Birdathon and the Amphibians in School Program, and volunteers at Sullivan's Woods, which she plans to continue doing even though she is stepping down from the board.

     I have known Carla since she first joined Winnebago Audubon in 1984. She has truly been dedicated to our organization and its mission. I have often use her as a sounding board and have always appreciated her practical advice. She says it is time for new and younger people to get involved with our chapter. Besides, she want more time to spend with her grandkids and to take more birding trips with her sister. Thank you Carla for all you have contributed to our chapter and I look forward to continuing to work with you on Birdathon and the Amphibians Program.


     Winnebago Audubon recently presented awards to two outstanding people in the community for their dedication to their chapter.

     Dana Hartel received the Meritorious Service Award in grateful recognition of her outstanding service for conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitat. Dana served on the Board of Directors from 2001-2011 and as Vice-President from 2011-2013. She also coordinated the Audubon Adventures program in the schools the past two years.

     The Meritorious Service Award honors members who have sustained a level of activity beyond that of the average Chapter member. The criteria for selection include: outstanding or sustained leadership as a Chapter officer, committee chairperson, special project leader, fundraiser, activist, membership recruiter or other area of dedication. Dana received a certificate signed by Lynn Tennefoss, Vice President of National Audubon Society State Programs and Chapter Services.

     John Pagel, owner of Mail List Processing, received a Certificate of Appreciation for his many years of behind the scenes support which has included printing of the newsletter, mailing and providing a meeting place for the Board. John and his wife, Joni, were also charter members of the chapter. John served as Treasurer from 1984-1986. 

     As with any organization, Winnebago Audubon depends on people like these two and the awards are just one small way to say thank you!


     Winnebago Audubon recently presented three of its members with a Meritorious Service Award. Don Meton, Doris Thomas and Dave Moon each received the award in grateful recognition of their outstanding service for conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitat.

     The Meritorious Service Award honors members who have sustained a level of activity beyond that of the average Chapter member. The criteria for selection include: outstanding or sustained leadership as a Chapter officer, committee chairperson, special project leader, fundraiser, activist, membership recruiter or other area of dedication.

     The recipients received a certificate signed by Lynn Tennefoss, Vice President of National Audubon Society State Programs and Chapter Services.

     Doris Thomas, Oshkosh, served on the Board of Directors from 1988-1993 and then again from 2001-2007. She was newsletter editor from 1988 to 1999 during which time she transformed it into a professional looking piece. She and her husband, David, also hosted the annual Spring Potluck for several years at their church.

    Don Meton, Omro, is a Charter Member of the Winnebago Audubon Society and served on the Board of Directors in 1981-1983 and again in 1996-2001. His love of the land and birds is appreciated by all.

     Dave Moon, Oshkosh, served as Vice-President in 1986-1987 and as a Director in 1987-1990; 1992-1996; 2000-2003; 2010-present. He also was Treasurer from 2003 to 2010.  Since 2005 he has been volunteering as a guide at Sullivan’s Woods. Additionally, Dave coordinates trail and prairie maintenance at Sullivan’s Woods and volunteers at many of our events.

     As with any organization, Winnebago Audubon depends on dedicated members like these three and the Meritorious Service Award is just one small way to say thank you!


     The Winnebago Audubon Society Board of Directors honored two of its longtime members with a special Member Recognition Award at their annual Spring Banquet on April 9, 2011 for their dedicated service and support of the principles of environmental stewardship and conservation.

     Jan Moldenhauer has passionately supported efforts to protect and improve the environment in our area for decades. She grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from college in Illinois.  After a lifetime of teaching, she finished her career at UWO where she inspired her students to care for the environment. Always active in sports, she still swims and plays tennis. Every summer she teaches sailing at a camp in Canada. She has been an active member of Winnebago Audubon, having served on its Board of Directors for many years, and participating in its activities, raising money to support environmental activity and education in the community.  Her willingness to help out has been invaluable to the group.  She also has been involved with other organizations in the area.  Moldenhauer received an award from Sierra Club for her active participation in the club.  She participates in taking water samples of local waterways for studies conducted by Trout Unlimited. She holds strong beliefs on the rights of citizens to expect the environment to be protected. Writing letters to the editor and politicians, speaking at citizen input hearings and traveling to Madison to speak to our legislature, are all part of her everyday efforts.

     The other outstanding member being recognized is Jan Scalpone, who served as a Winnebago Audubon Board of Director for many years. Scalpone has brought important information and data to the attention of the Board regarding environmental rules and regulations, and potential developments that could affect the environment in our region. She worked for many years for the East Central Wisconsin Planning Commission where she was focused on regional planning issues. Many of the developments that have occurred throughout the Winnebago/Fox River region have been studied by her. She also worked on environmental issues in her work with the Oshkosh League of Women Voters, where she helped bring data to that group’s deliberative process of developing positions on environmental issues of the day. As a member of the Oshkosh Sustainability Advisory Board, she contributes to the discussion of what the City of Oshkosh can do to be a more sustainable community. Scalpone has carried with her the principles of scientific inquiry and developing data to help decision makers make the best choices when facing environmental questions. She has been the voice for support of environmental integrity.

     Always willing to help, always supportive, both Jan Moldenhauer and Jan Scalpone, have been valuable members of Winnebago Audubon and our community. They highly deserve the chapter’s recognition and thanks.


Great Egret Award 2017

Winnebago Audubon presents

Great Egret Award to Janet Wissink

     President and longtime member of Winnebago Audubon Society received National Audubon Society’s top award this spring.
      Janet Wissink, of Pickett, became the second person from our chapter, behind only Anita Carpenter (her mentor), to receive the Great Egret Award from the national organization. The Great Egret Award is given to individuals who have made significant, long-term contributions to Audubon and to conservation in pursuit of the Audubon mission.
      To be eligible for the top award, individuals must have been working for the Audubon mission “in the trenches” for 20 years or more, either as a volunteer or staff member, and must have made significant contributions at one or more levels within the local chapter, center, state, regional or national level.
      The Great Egret Award Certificate that Wissink received reads:
“This award is given in recognition of Janet Wissink’s 35 years of outstanding service to Winnebago Audubon, a chapter of the National Audubon Society. A charter member, Janet has served almost continuously as a Board Member and as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President, and several terms as President. For the past 18 years, she has used her artistic and creative talents to edit and produce an informative, well-designed, professional-looking chapter newsletter “The Lake Flyer”. With her enthusiasm for the natural world, excellent leadership skills and attention to detail, Janet is the sparkplug and glue that keeps Winnebago Audubon moving forward. In appreciation of her longstanding and genuine dedication to this chapter, we are honored to present her with this well-deserved Great Egret Award.”
     “From a young age, I was a bird watcher. I would go with my parents on a drive or a picnic after housecleaning on Saturday morning, and I was always interested in the birds we saw,” she said. When the Audubon chapter was forming in the early 80s, she went to a meeting and joined.
Throughout the years, her interest has grown from birds to all forms of life in the outdoors. “Bird watching isn’t just bird watching,” Wissink said. “It is looking at the plants, the animals, the butterflies and bees. I came to appreciate the relationship between all plants and animals and realize how important that is. I want to share that appreciation with young people so that there continues to be people who will help preserve nature and the environment.”
      Wissink said she is most proud of the Winnebago Audubon’s Society’s focus on educating children. “We do more hands-on programming specifically for children today,” she said. “We want children to realize how interesting and fun nature can be; to respect and care for our environment.”
      Some of their most popular children’s programming has been about monarchs, frogs and raptors. Every year the chapter sponsors these types of programs in area schools, in addition to year-round activities open to the public.
      Along the way, Wissink met Katherine Rill, a botanist and birder who became one of her mentors. As Rill taught Wissink more about native plants, Wissink joined and also became involved in the Fox Valley Area chapter of Wild Ones. In addition, she is chairwoman of the planning committee for Oshkosh Bird Fest.

Great Egret Award 2012

Winnebago Audubon presents

Great Egret Award to Anita Carpenter

     Winnebago Audubon recently presented the Great Egret Award to Anita Carpenter in recognition of her 32 years of outstanding service to their chapter of the National Audubon Society. Anita is a charter member and has served over the years as President, Vice-President, field trip leader and program presenter. One of her greatest contributions has been writing a column for the chapter newsletter, “The Lake Flyer” since its inception over 30 years ago. Her “Badger Tracks” articles are always informative and a pleasure to read. She is a naturalist who shares her passion and knowledge of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and all the critters, with an enthusiasm that is contagious. For her longstanding and genuine dedication to this chapter Winnebago Audubon offers their sincere gratitude and was honored to present her with the Great Egret Award.

     Winnebago Audubon submitted their nomination of Anita to the National Audubon Society who agreed that she qualified for this recognition. Anita received a framed certificate signed by the National Audubon President and the Chair of National Audubon Board of Directors plus an exquisite framed color photo of a Great Egret by Bill Stripling.

     The purpose of the Great Egret Award is to recognize individuals who have made significant long-term contributions to Audubon and conservation in pursuit of the Audubon mission. To be eligible, individuals must have been in the “trenches” for 20 years or more and made significant contributions at one or more levels within the local Chapter. Since 1998 only 41 people have received this prestigious award nationwide.


Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award

Tribute to Frank Zuern

Recipient of the 2015 Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award

Frank Zuern (center) with his grandson Ben Seidl (right) and Janet Wissink (left).


     Winnebago Audubon Society recently presented the Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award to Frank Zuern. Society members, friends and family honored Frank for his lifetime achievements in the area of environmental stewardship and commitment to instilling his love for the natural world in his family and anyone with whom he comes in contact. For Frank, like Katherine Rill, being an environmentalist is a lifetime endeavor.  Frank exemplifies excellence as a private citizen in all four of the areas used as criteria for the award.

     An educator by profession, Frank was instrumental in locating Sullivan’s Woods and convincing the Oshkosh Area School District in 1977 to purchase the 40 acres from Beatrice and Humphrey Sullivan.  This outdoor classroom plays an integral part in the school district’s outdoor education program and has been visited by over 40,000 students. After retirement Frank continued his involvement by serving as a classroom guide and helping maintain the property.

     Frank’s interest in conservation of birds, especially bluebirds, began in the 60’s when the bluebird population had reached its lowest point.  He started building birdhouses and established several bluebird trails, which he diligently monitored. While traveling in Georgia he observed a bluebird nesting in a cannon and consequently designed a new bluebird house and named it the “Tree Branch” house. Frank based the design on the theory that the bluebirds would nest in the back of the box and the long distance from the entrance would prevent raccoon’s from destroying the nest. This design was published in the Wisconsin Bluebird, the newsletter for Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (BRAW).  He is a long time member of BRAW and has served on its board. 

     Over the years Frank has engaged in citizen science by writing many letters to local and statewide newspapers regarding environmental issues.  In 2012 he was interviewed by attorney George Curtis regarding the Governor’s controversial wetland reform bill.  This was posted on and demonstrates Frank’s passions for protecting our wetlands.

     Frank showed his dedication to preserving and restoring habitat by persuading the Winnebago County Conservation Club to create the old Glatz brewery grounds into a nature preserve/park.  In Arkansas he participated with groups that prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from dredging and straightening the Cache River.  This motivated him to write and publish “Cache River Eulogy” in 1973.


Pat Nichols (left) and Janet Wissink (right) present the

Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award to Elaine Swanson (center)

at the 2012 Winnebago Audubon Spring Banquet.

Tribute to Elaine Swanson

Recipient of the 2012 Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award

     The recipient of the Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award for 2012 is Elaine Swanson of Pickett, Wisconsin. Elaine exemplifies excellence as a private citizen in all four of the areas used as criteria for the award. All of the 16 individuals who contributed to her nomination remarked on having been indelibly touched by Elaine's passion for birds and for the natural environment which supports them and all other living things.

     The first criterion for the Rill Award is Dedication to Preservation or Restoration of Habitat.  Elaine Swanson is a model of what private citizens can accomplish as stewards of their own land. She and her husband Severin have transformed 53 acres of former farmland into a wildlife sanctuary consisting of diverse wetland, prairie, and upland habitats, including 15 acres of forest and another 15 acres of prairie plantings. Thousands of trees they planted provide conifer and hardwood habitat for a wide variety of bird species, where only biologically sterile rows of corn previously existed. Trees have been replanted, and hedgerows reestablished. Flowers and shrubs were planted specifically for butterflies and birds, and two spring-fed ponds were dug. Elaine has hosted a tour of her prairies and has advised others who are starting their own prairies. The Swansons have also worked with Pheasants Forever for maintenance burning of their prairie.

     All these activities exemplify what one of her friends describes as "living her . . . life with respect for the land and all the wildlife inhabitants." Elaine herself has described living on this land as ". . . a privilege to live here and work towards the restoration of a sanctuary for wildlife."

     Conservation of Birds is the second criterion of the Rill Award. Elaine Swanson's extensive restoration of habitat has paid great dividends. A 10-house bluebird trail has been established, and Elaine has arranged for banding of the nestlings. Her avian "public housing projects"  also include martin houses, nest boxes for owls and wood ducks, and the release of pheasants and quail into the restored prairie, now home to 110 species of birds and four species of frogs. Elaine's concern for wildlife has not been limited to birds. She has tagged monarch butterflies and installed two bat houses on the family barn. Her spirit in acting as a human advocate for birds and other wildlife as shown by the following incident, contributed to her nomination.

     Recently one of her outbuildings was renovated and installed with closing doors . . . When the barn swallows returned and hovered in front of the closed doors, she took immediate action to allow the birds to nest in their chosen site. . . the  swallows were allowed to nest in this building, and Elaine cleaned up after the birds daily.

     Engagement in Citizen Science is the third criterion used for the Rill Award. Elaine's restoration of habitat and conservation of birds have succeeded because they are based on extensive self-education in the environmental science underlying her efforts.

     Recently Elaine's activities as a citizen scientist have come to public attention, as she (with other area residents)  formed an organization which opposed granting permits for the largest dairy in the state, a Confined Animal Feeding Operation ("CAFO"), built within sight of her property. This organization, with Elaine as its driving force, is named PEPL, which stands for "People Empowered Protect the Land." PEPL has monitored the dairy's operation to help insure that it is held to promised environmental protection standards. This work is vital to the public, since the DNR cannot do extensive monitoring. Elaine has educated herself on arcane aspects of CAFO operation, testified in public hearings, and submitted scientifically-informed comments to the DNR. Although she has been challenged in the press and the CAFO has expanded, her work has resulted in important environmental protection. A professional in environmental management has commented: "Because of Elaine's continued leadership [of PEPL], the environment and the people within are the better for it."

     Elaine's Swanson's leadership in protecting the environment has been a model of what a determined citizen scientist can do to help preserve our natural world, often at personal cost and without the satisfaction of success.

     The fourth criterion used for the Rill Award is Education of Others About Natural Systems. Elaine Swanson has long been a prolific and poetic advocate of environmental protection, and has spread her considerable knowledge among her friends, neighbors, and the larger community.

     She has written letters to local and regional newspapers and to public officials on conservation priorities, testified at public hearings and before legislative committees, and been interviewed by the news media. The BBC sent a film crew to interview her and other members of PEPL about their work; the interview was shown nationally in England on the popular BBC program "Countryfile." Elaine often alerts people in her community to environmental issues likely to affect them, uncovering facts that otherwise would have remained hidden. She has the ability to approach people in a way that clearly communicates what needs to be done or changed, yet is respectful of organizations and people with differing views. A member of 19 environmental organizations, Elaine filters a wide range of information about nature and environmental policy for her audiences.

     In sum, Elaine Swanson's ability to share her love for and affinity with the natural environment has made her an effective environmental educator in connecting people (young and old) with nature. To quote an environmental attorney: "I feel privileged to work with Elaine, and am awed by her unending enthusiasm, energy, strength, courage, and kindness."

     Many individuals have engaged in one or a few of these four activities on behalf of the environment, but few  have undertaken as wide a range over a sustained period as has Elaine Swanson. She provides an inspiring example for all of us who prize our natural world: our community, state, and society are the better for her efforts. It is because of her life as an environmental steward that the Winnebago Audubon Society has chosen Elaine Swanson to receive the 2012 Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award.


Dr. Quintin Metzig receives 2011 Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award from Winnebago Audubon President, Janet Wissink, and Vice President, Pat Nichols at the annual Spring Banquet on April 9, 2011.



Winnebago Audubon Society presented the Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award to Dr. Quintin Metzig on April 9, 2011 at their annual spring banquet. Society members, friends and family honored Dr. Metzig for his lifetime achievements in the area of environmental stewardship and commitment to instilling his love for the natural world in his family and anyone with whom he comes in contact. He was nominated for the award by a number of people who know of his work and enthusiasm for preservation and restoration of land to return it to viable habitat for wildlife. He has been enthusiastic in sharing this work with his family.


As a local practicing veterinarian in the area for nearly 50 years, Dr. Metzig spent most of his days driving through the countryside attending to sick farm animals. He took his profession very seriously as he did his love of nature. He became passionate about preserving wetlands and upland habitat.


Over his lifetime Dr. Metzig not only reclaimed and maintained the existing wetlands, he created new ones on his 300 acre farm. He created natural habitat for a variety of wildlife, including the establishment of prairie grasslands, wetlands, and planting tens of thousands of conifers and mixed deciduous trees. His projects included upland habitat development, creating large and small ponds, and stream bank protection along the Rat River. In the 1960s he sold 1,000 acres to the State to be used as a preserve in the Wolf River Wildlife Area. Over the years he has also worked with the DNR and planted according to their recommendations. He spent every free hour maintaining and improving the land and habitat. At 94 he has not stopped and his two sons enjoy carrying on the tradition. This spring he will supervise his family in the planting of another 3,000 trees.


In all that he has done, he has taught multiple future generations the importance of preserving nature. The Winnebago Audubon Board of Director’s determined that the award would be a fitting honor to Dr. Quintin Metzig’s lifelong dedication to making our world a better place for generations to come.




     On April 17, 2010 at the Spring Banquet, Winnebago Audubon Society presented the Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award to Paul Fowler. For Paul, like Katherine Rill, being an environmentalist is a lifetime endeavor. It colors the way he looks at the world. It reveals itself in his land ethic, his community activism, and his every day advocacy.

     Land Ethic. Paul is a retired farmer. His farm is located eight miles south of Oshkosh on Highway 45 in the Town of Black Wolf.  As young farmers, in 1967 he and his wife Justine were recognized as Outstanding Farmer of the Year by the Oshkosh JC’s, and in 1973 as Farmer of the Year by the Associated Milk Producers, Inc., a three state dairy marketing cooperative. In those days Paul taught a course in soil conservation and his farm was used for field study by the Oshkosh Technical Institute. Over the years Paul and Justine planted more than 40,000 trees and shrubs and placed more than 100 acres of farmland into conservation protection. Paul also formed the Black Wolf Wildlife Association, a group of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts still dedicated to the preservation of natural habitat and wildlife. Visit Paul’s home today and he will point out dozens of recently planted trees, acres of native vegetative prairie, extensive buffered shorelines, and a few of the close to 100 bluebird and wood duck boxes his Wildlife Association has erected.

     Community Activism. Paul’s contribution to the local community has spanned 50 years. He has chaired numerous farming and civic organizations. He was a founding member of Pheasants Forever and the Winnebago Lakes Council. In 2006 he was recognized as Conservationist of the Year by Pheasants Forever. Currently he chairs the Beautification Committee of Southwest Rotary. In his 15 years as chair, this committee has contributed  thousands of dollars and made over 75 awards to worthy community projects. Among its successes has been initiation and support of  several city programs: Adopt a Flower Bed, Memorial Tree and Releaf Oshkosh. Paul was among several civic leaders asked to help kick-off the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation’s recent $500,000 tree planting program: Taking Root. On a personal level, when Justine died in 2006, Paul chose to establish a grove of 20 trees in Menominee Park near Ames Point as a living memorial to his wife of 45 years and the beautification of city parks.

     At  the state level, Paul has been on the board of Scenic Wisconsin for more than 10 years. In this capacity, he has urged the organization to broaden its activities beyond its mission of billboard control. Scenic Wisconsin now promotes rustic roads, scenic byways, native vegetation along roadsides, preservation of historic barns and proper placement of wind turbines and communication towers to protect wildlife and scenic vistas.

     Environmental Advocacy. Paul’s love of the environment has made him many friends. He is not shy about speaking up. He has a willingness to research and share information to educate others about a variety of environmental topics and often takes a leadership role supporting many state and local initiatives. For the past decade, email has helped expand his advocacy. Rarely a day goes by that he does not forward environmental information to a long list of people he believes will benefit from the knowledge.

     Paul’s outstanding record of land and water conservation, his active promotion of urban forestry and his long history of environmental advocacy made him an ideal candidate for this award.




     On May 2, 2009 at the Spring Banquet, Winnebago Audubon Society presented the Katherine D. Rill Environmental Award to Michael Lizotte for his outstanding work in citizen science, environmental education and habitat protection.

     Dr. Michael Lizotte is one of the leading experts on the Lake Winnebago system.  He has trained citizens to monitor the lakes, brought in over $200,000 for lake protection, and helped several thousands area individuals gain a better understanding of lake ecology and culture. His work and knowledge as a citizen and as a professor at UW Oshkosh is particularly important in our community as it has created positive perceptions and attitudes toward governmental agencies and sound environmental resource management.

     Here are just a few specific examples of why Dr. Lizotte is worthy of this award.

-  He initiated volunteer monitoring programs for lakes, rivers and streams in the Winnebago system. More than 120 area citizens have been trained to use a Secchi disk to test for water clarity on the system’s four lakes. He also extended more more complex training to 40 citizens monitoring the 96 streams entering the Winnebago system. Volunteers test bi-weekly during the boating season and enter data into a DNR website. Previously only three DNR stations monitored the entire system. To cover training expenses, Lizotte tapped into the state’s Citizen Monitoring Network grant program. Over 1000 state lakes actively participate in this program.

-  Lizotte also initiated the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program on our lakes – a joint project of UWO and the Winnebago Lakes Council. This will be the fourth summer interns will be hired and trained to inspect boats and distribute educational literature at busy boat launches to protect our lakes against the spread of aquatic invasive species.

-  He wrote two successful large grants to develop and begin implementation of a regional plan to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Winnebago system. This is a citizen-based effort with a 15 member advisory committee and numerous public meetings. Phase I has been completed and Phase II will extend through 2010.

-  Lizotte conceived the concept of a Lakes Education Center showcasing the Winnebago Lakes. Community response has been positive, including a site offered by the city in Riverside Park, and a small Oshkosh Area Community Foundation grant for promotion. Tough economic times have slowed this effort.

-  He raised the understanding of hundreds of community residents about the importance of the Winnebago lake system. For 2009 he is on course to speak to at least 30 community organizations, possibly reaching several thousand individuals by year end.

Mike Lizotte & Pat Nichols.                       Janet Wissink & Doug Zelmer.

     Doug Zellmer received the Winnebago Audubon Society award for promoting environmental awareness in Winnebago County in 2007.  He has written many articles for the Oshkosh Northwestern to educate readers and recognize people invloved with environmental issues.  Janet Wissink, president of Winnebago Audubon Society, presented the award at the annual potluck supper.

     George Curtis was the 2008 recipient of Winnebago Audubon Society's award for promoting awareness of envirnomental and conservation issues in Winnebago County. Mr. Curtis has hosted the TV program "It's Your Environment" for a number of years covering a variety of topics.  The program which highlighted Winnebago Audubon Society and presentation of the award can be seen on the web:


December 9, 2010:

Winnebago Audubon in partnership with

Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity

receives TogetherGreen Innovation Grant!




TogetherGreen Innovation Grant Press Release

TogetherGreen National Press Release


Project Title:

Landfill Conservation through Wood Waste Recycling

Planning Grant Amount:  $5,000


Organizations involved in project:

Winnebago Audubon Society,

Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity,



 Today, most people in the U.S. understand that products made of paper, glass, and some plastics can be recycled rather than being tossed into the trash (and, ultimately, into a landfill or incinerator). However, despite the progress we’ve made in recycling, landfills still make up a significant part of our landscape. And things like wood, which you might think could be recycled, account for nearly 20 percent of municipal waste.


With their TogetherGreen planning grant, Winnebago Audubon Society is working to change that. Through a partnership with the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Winnebago Audubon Society will work to plan and implement a model community wood waste recycling effort and significantly reduce unnecessary disposal at local landfills. Over the next year, partners will complete a feasibility study with a summary business plan that includes a detailed description of possible funding sources and a list of for profit and nonprofit organizations committed to helping with this project over the long term.


Ultimately, wood waste retrieved from construction and demolition sites could be made into mulch and other products – preventing new trees from being felled to create the same products. And when wood products decompose in landfills, they create methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. So diverting wood from the waste stream has another benefit: reducing our impact on climate. It’s a win:win situation!

TogetherGreen grantees from across the country gathered for a 3 day workshop Nov. 7-10, 2010, at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV.   Janet Wissink attended the training session (second row with the sunglasses).