• The Door County Board of Supervisors recently adopted an updated and combined Door County Comprehensive and Farmland Preservation Plan 2035, which went into effect Jan 1. Developed in compliance with requirements of Wisconsin’s comprehensive and farmland preservation planning legislation, this Plan replaces the previously separate comprehensive and farmland preservation plans. Door County is required by state statute to have a comprehensive plan in place in order to guide development in the county. Door County was also required to have an updated farmland preservation plan in place by the end of 2014 in order for agricultural land owners to continue receiving tax credits under the state’s Exclusive Agriculture zoning program. The updated plan incorporates more recent census data, more detailed information regarding agriculture in the county, and new farmland preservation maps. The Resource Report contains a wide variety of objective information about the county and may be helpful to organizations when applying for grant funding. The entire plan and all accompanying maps are posted on the Planning Department’s website at http://map.co.door.wi.us/planning/comp_planning.htm.
• The Department of Health Services and the City of Milwaukee Health Department confirmed that a child in the City of Milwaukee has died from complications related to influenza. In Wisconsin, deaths from influenza are only reportable if they are pediatric deaths (age 18 and below). “Seasonal influenza is not life-threatening for most people; however, this is a serious disease that can be especially dangerous for children, older adults, individuals with compromised immune systems and those with chronic health illnesses,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The flu vaccine helps prevent complications that can be caused by the flu, such as pneumonia or hospitalization. With few exceptions, officials recommend that individuals aged six months and older be immunized. Getting vaccinated against influenza is especially important for people aged 50 and older, and those with underlying health conditions. Getting vaccinated is equally important for those who have frequent contact with young children.
• In collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Game and a number of stakeholder groups, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has finalized an agreement that will help bolster Wisconsin’s elk population. According to DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin elk were first introduced to the Clam Lake area in 1995 as a gift from the State of Michigan, but only as an experimental herd. Since then, the herd has grown to approximately 160 animals. This new effort will add elk to the existing herd, as well as start a new herd in Jackson County. Beginning this month, wild elk will be trapped in Kentucky and tested for disease before being transported to Wisconsin later this spring. In exchange, Wisconsin will assist Kentucky financially in the development of habitat projects in Kentucky that will benefit elk and other wildlife, with a special emphasis placed on ruffed grouse.
• People who are fascinated with nature and eager to share their knowledge and skills with others can enroll in an upcoming course to be certified as a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer. The UW Extension is a major partner in this program with the Department of Natural Resources. The program is a statewide effort to promote awareness, understanding and stewardship of the state’s natural resources. A volunteer training course will be held at the Sanderling Nature Center, Kohler-Andrae State Park, beginning Saturday, May 9, and ending Saturday, June 20. The course fee is $250 and involves 40 hours of training in natural history, interpretation and conservation stewardship. Upon completion of training, the naturalist provides volunteer service in one of three areas: education/interpretation, stewardship or citizen science. Classes will run approximately seven hours each Saturday on May 9, 16 and 30. June classes are scheduled each Saturday on June 6 and 13 and conclude with a five-hour class on June 20. Both indoor and outdoor instruction plus at least two field trips are included in the training. Visit the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program website wimasternaturalist.org and click on the link for “show all” upcoming events for course registration. For additional information, contact the WIMN state office at [email protected]. Registration for the Sheboygan course closes Friday, April 17.
• The Door County Land Trust has a couple of winter hikes coming up. On Saturday, Jan. 17, from 1 to 3 pm, hike the Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve. On Tuesday, Feb. 3, take a moonlight hike at the Gilson-Peterson Preserve. The hikes are free but you have to register in advance. You can do so by visiting doorcountylandtrust.org.
• Professional and amateur photographers have until Feb. 1 to submit their entries in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Office of the Great Lakes seventh annual Great Lakes photo contest. Photos from all seasons are needed and will be accepted in the following categories: natural features and wildlife; cultural and historic features; people enjoying Wisconsin’s great lakes; and lake protection activities. Photos of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior as well as their tributaries, wetlands and harbor towns are eligible. Winning photos will be featured in Wisconsin’s Great Lakes 2015-2016 calendar, which will be distributed at the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair. The Office of the Great Lakes also is accepting short essays, stories, poems and songs about Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Photos and written work may be used in the calendar and other Great Lakes publications as well as on the DNR website and in displays and presentations. For details on how to enter, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for Great Lakes Photo Contest.