The first annual membership meeting of Wisconsin’s Green Fire was Sept. 8-9, 2017, at the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. With nearly 70 attending, and perfect fall weather, we elected our Board of Directors, discussed priority issues and signed up for issue-based working groups. It wasn’t all business – we toured
the Leopold shack and shared stories – how we came to natural resources work, and why we continue our dedication into retirement. Dr. Stan Temple shared the results of member surveys. Green Fire members have over 25 centuries of collective experience! About half are retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the rest come from universities, federal and other agencies and organizations. Clearly, WGF members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in natural resources. We are passionate about supporting Wisconsin’s conservation legacy and the science that supports it.
Participants engaged in good discussions about the formation of WGF and its purpose, role and operations. We are all volunteers. Green Fire started with a good idea and a winter retreat at Kemp Station in February 2017. An interim board started to set up the organization. We began offering memberships in August 2017. Workgroups are organizing to work on issues. Green Fire is independent, nonpartisan, and membership-based. We’re working on our 501(c)(3) status. In the meantime, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation serves as our fiscal agent.
We discussed the importance of stories – members’ stories, the stories of our natural resources and their benefits to
everyone in Wisconsin. Our keynote speaker, Tia Nelson reminded us that sound science leads to sound public policy. She advised “Don’t become disillusioned, good ideas can take a long time.” Wrapping up the meeting, Curt Meine said “You are adding your own lines to the land ethic,” and hearkened to the leaders of Wisconsin’s conservation heritage. “This meeting is historic.” George Meyer added we must write the next chapter in Wisconsin’s conservation story, suggesting we’ve been called up, like the reserves, to put science to service.
Consider becoming a member of Wisconsin’s Green Fire. We’re an organization made up of retired and actively employed professionals in natural resources management, scientific research, and the associated fields of communications, education, law, and economics. We welcome the support of those who support our mission.