Wisconsin DNR Partners with Operation Fresh Start

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is partnering with the Madison-based nonprofit Operation Fresh Start ( for hands-on job training at properties across Wisconsin.

Launched in October 2021, the Conservation Academy with Operation Fresh Start provides a pathway for graduates to enter forestry and land-conservation careers. This past spring, crew members worked side by side with DNR parks and recreation staff members on stewardship and restoration projects and will join staff again this fall to work with the DNR’s Wildlife Management and Natural Heritage Conservation programs.

The Conservation Academy is a full-time, $15-per-hour conservation training program for people ages 18-24. Members work and train with industry professionals and gain hands-on experience in parks, natural areas and neighborhoods throughout south-central Wisconsin. Successful program completion includes placement in a green-industry trade career.