Back to Nature Episode

“We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” —-Aldo Leopold, A Sand county Almanac.

We’re getting back to nature in this episode of Discover Wisconsin, and we start at a foundation in Baraboo committed to bringing the environment back to it’s natural roots. Founded by Aldo Leopold’s five children in 1982, The Aldo Leopold Foundation is a conservation organization that works to inspire an ethical relationship between people and nature, and continues to foster this land ethic through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. We get to be a part of just a small number of the many great programs they have at the foundation; including their Learn-to-Hunt programs and an introduction to their Prescribed Burn trainings. Host Mariah Haberman takes a walk through the grounds with Leopold fellow, conservation biologist, historian, and writer Curt Meine, who gives some key insight into Leopold’s work and his final day of protecting the land. And before we leave Baraboo, Mariah goes for a ride out to the foundation’s blind to see the annual Sandhill Crane migration.

Nothing gets you out and into nature like hunting in Wisconsin. The Discover Wisconsin crew goes hunting with a range of hunters who each give their perspective on why they hunt. From deep rooted family traditions and love for venison, to population control and wanting to know exactly where your meat came from, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to the benefits of hunting. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers many excellent programs to teach, instruct and get more people hunting all over the state, as well as cooking up delicious meals. Mariah heads back to Baraboo one last time for a DNR sponsored instructional on how to cook the meat once you’ve harvested it, lead by R3 Coordinator, hunter, writer and cook, John Motoviloff.

When was the last time you took a moment to appreciate your environment in this great state? Well we’ll be giving you more ways than one, as we get back to nature.

Just Off Main Street Episode

A community’s Main Street is the beating heart of its town. It’s the city’s center, it’s full of history, and it’s a gathering spot for residents and visitors alike. In Wisconsin, Main Street communities are known for being friendly, charming and authentic, with unique personalities that set them apart from one another. And sometimes, the best adventures to be had are found ‘Just off Main Street.’ In this episode of Discover Wisconsin, we explore the communities of Osceola, Florence, Whitewater and Omro. Hosts Mariah Haberman and Marie Justice step off the beaten path to discover the beauty, history, and fun that these Main Street communities offer visitors. From a Scenic National Riverway, to remote waterfalls of the Northwoods, there are so many things that will surprise you about these places – and they’re just down the road!

Download Itineraries

Osceola Itinerary

Whitewater Itinerary

Florence County Itinerary

Omro Itinerary

2.4 Million Acres of Wisconsin County Forests are Home to Skiing and Snowmobiling Trails Story

Wisconsin county forests make up an astounding 2.4 million acres of land across the state. Of the 72 counties, 29 have county forests, which provide year-round access to its citizens. When you go snowmobiling on one of the several thousand miles of trails bridging the 29 counties or cross-country skiing on one of the hundreds of public ski trails, chances are you’re on county forest land.

The Wisconsin County Forest Program is the largest public land owner in the state and the Wisconsin County Forest Association (WCFA) works with many user groups to ensure forest sustainability and recreational use. One such use is the American Birkebeiner, North America’s largest cross-country ski race. This annual race spans 30 miles, mostly in Bayfield and Sawyer counties, and brings ski enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy Wisconsin’s beautiful snow-covered county forests.

Wisconsin DOT Uses Cheese Brine for Snow Removal Story

It wouldn’t be a Wisconsin winter without a little snow, and with snow comes snow removal. Wisconsin county highway departments have plowed and provided ice control on all state highways and the interstate system for over 85 years. To meet service goals, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) contracts with the state’s 72 counties and supports them through workforce training, research and testing of new products and methods. One of those methods capitalizes on the state’s best-known asset—cheese.

 

Knowing that Wisconsin’s cheese factories use brine water for their production processes, the DOT explored how that brine water could be used as an anti-icing agent. Showing no environmental impact during testing, the cheese brine has proven to be a great solution for fighting snow in colder temperatures and is a less expensive replacement for the magnesium chloride typically used. It doesn’t get more “Wisconsin” than using cheese brine for snow removal!  

Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation Helps Thousands of Women Across the State Story

While serving as first lady of Wisconsin, Sue Ann Thompson had a vision to provide women in her state information about high-quality health care. After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis herself, Sue Ann felt the need to help women in similar situations and, in her travels around the state, she found there are many diseases that disproportionately affect women.

 

To help women battling these diseases, Sue Ann founded the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation (WWHF). This foundation is a non-profit organization that has provided programming focused on improving Wisconsin women’s health for the past 21 years. Sue Ann’s daughter, Tommi Thompson, has served as the executive director for the foundation since 2008.

 

With over 25 staff members and programming that spans all 72 counties, WWHF provides direct services to roughly 7,000 women each year. The foundation works to address critical challenges affecting women’s health, including mental health, addiction, heart disease and cancer.

Prime Location and Climate Make Wisconsin a Winter Sports Mecca for Olympic Athletes Story

Wisconsinites are known for embracing hearty winters and enjoying all kinds of winter activities, which is what gave the state its reputation as a winter sports mecca. Many Olympic winter athletes come to Wisconsin for training, and some athletes even call the state home.

 

Randy Dean’s passion for Wisconsin sports led to his appointment as Executive Director of the world-renowned Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee County in 2010. The Pettit Center is a training ground for Olympic speedskating and was made into the training ground for the 2018 Winter Olympics. U.S. Olympic speed skaters such as Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen, Chris Witty, Shani Davis and more have all competed or trained at the Pettit Center.

 

In addition, Dane County is the proud home of brother and sister U.S. Olympic curling teammates, Becca and Matt Hamilton. The brother-sister powerhouse competed in the last Winter Olympics held in PeongChang, further solidifying Wisconsin’s reputation as a hub for winter athletes.

Know Your Wisconsin: St. Germain Radar Run Story

Snowmobile enthusiasts can head to St. Germain for another opportunity to show their skills during the 15th annual Radar Run. Held on Feb. 1-2, 2019, the St. Germain Radar Run provides multiple opportunities for participants to get involved. Participants can sign up for fun runs, speed runs, and modified sled events in over 32 classes to test their limits on the event’s 1,000-foot shaved ice track or a 660-foot groomed snow track. Enthusiasts can also get involved outside of the races by joining the nearly 100 volunteers manning the event, or lining the track to cheer on the racers. This year’s Radar Run promises a weekend full of light-hearted fun and adrenaline-filled competition. Participants in the main speed events will race for prizes of over $8,000 and the chance to have their names engraved on the Snow-King Trophy in the St. Germain Snowmobile Hall of Fame Museum.

Wisconsin’s Craft Beverages – Raise a Glass Episode

Here in Wisconsin, there is a rich culture of craft beverages that encompasses a long list of places to check out throughout the state. Hosts Mariah and Eric decide to knock some of those spots off by visiting three major craft hubs of the state, and get a look behind-the-scenes of their beverage production. They begin their travels in La Crosse County, where Mariah gets involved at Lost Island Wine and Skeleton Crew Brew. As a location thats both a winery and brewery, they offer a variety of options for their patrons. And not far away, Eric gets a tour of one of the oldest and more established breweries of the area, Pearl Street Brewery, known for it’s creative flavors.

Next stop is on the other side of the state, not far off the Mascoutin Valley State Trail, near the Ripon Area. Mariah gets too see a harvest in action at Vines and Rushes Winery, while also getting to enjoy some wood-fired pizza and live music in their tasting room. Eric has a very different experience in Ripon, as he heads to a 1962 schoolhouse where Rushford Meadery and Winery have redesigned their tasting and production rooms, providing a fun and unique experience. They’re also one of the few locations in the state for locally harvested and produced mead.

Finally, Eric makes his way north to the Stevens Point Area and gets a taste of some strong, distilled beverages at Great Northern Distillery in Plover, WI. And Mariah takes a look at one of the larger craft brewers in the state, Central Waters Brewing, where they invite her to see their processes and huge barrel-aging room. Mariah doesn’t leave the Stevens Point Area without making an appearance at their Tourism Takeover event, where all their craft beverage producers come together for great music and good times.

So grab a cold one and join us; As we raise-a-glass to some of the best Craft Beverages Wisconsin has to offer.