Author: Deb Wearne-Neurohr

Fall Festival Rescheduled to Sunday, Oct. 6!

Due to a forecast of rain and windy conditions, we have decided to postpone the MacKenzie Fall Festival to Sunday, Oct. 6.  The time and activities remain the same.  10 am – 3 pm, $15/vehicle, cash only.  This family friendly event will give you a chance to participate in some of the many activities available at MacKenzie including archery, compass skills, wildlife tours, fire building, hiking, and studying the plant and critter life in our pond.  In addition, you can learn about (and touch) real furs and skulls, cut a “wood cookie” using a two-person crosscut saw, make leaf and wildlife track pressings and try other crafts.  You can also participate in some of our seasonal activities — pumpkin painting, a hay bale maze, gunny sack races, face painting, scarecrow making, hayrides and more!  There will be musical entertainment starting at 11 am.  For more information contact or call the MacKenzie Center 608-635-8105.  You can also check out our website  or visit our Face Book page.

Entertainment set for Fall Festival

We’ve got a great entertainment line-up for Fall Festival this year.  Terry Schraufnagel (11:00 am – 12:30 pm) is back with karaoke and as a DJ.  With his extensive collection of songs for karaoke, you can give just about anything a try and he’s willing to sing along, too, or just play some of your favorites.  Then from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm singer/songwriter Ken Lonnquist takes the stage.  He has performed extensively throughout Wisconsin and beyond and his songs are just as entertaining for adults as for kids.  Check out his website for more info.  Whether taking a break for lunch or just listening while you take part in some of the other activities at Fall Festival, these entertainers are sure to make your experience at the MacKenzie Center even better!

Volunteers Needed for Maple Festival on April 6, 2019

Friends  and Volunteers,

   The maple trees are being tapped, the students are learning about the making of maple syrup, the sugar shack is in operation, and the finishing house is canning the syrup. 

  Maple Festival is on the horizon.  It will take place April 6. We are in need of volunteers to work that day.  Your help for a half day shift or an all-day shift would be greatly appreciated.  If you are available, please call Sue Brockel at 846-4145 or send an e-mail to

We could use your help at the:

  • Popcorn stand
  • Kettles as an interpreter
  • Cook shack
  • Horse drawn wagon
  • Gift shop
  • Crossing guard stations
  • Badger den as guides (P.M.)
  • Ticket booths (storage building and log cabin)
  • Concession stand

Thank you!


Time to Renew Your Friends of MacKenzie Membership

Memberships in the Friends of MacKenzie come up for renewal each January, so now is a great time to take care of that.  You can use the form in the membership part of this website or pick up our brochure when you’re visiting the MacKenzie Center.  Even though many of you contribute many volunteer hours (which makes a huge difference in keeping the Center running and enabling the Friends to do so many things), you might also wish to become a member.  The dues help fund scholarships for schools and other groups when they come to MacKenzie for day and over night trips (often used for transportation costs).  It also is used directly for materials for projects like replacing the roof on the log cabin museum, safety improvements for our hay wagon, purchasing bird feeding supplies, improvements to the wildlife area, and so much more.  Please consider renewing or becoming a new member today!  Additional donations to the Wildlife Project or for general needs of the Center are always welcome, too.

MacKenzie Center Natural Resources Education Summer Internship

The MacKenzie Center is looking for a hardworking, energetic, and flexible intern to assist with environmental education and outdoor skills programs for schools and groups visiting the Center. Training will be provided for all areas of responsibility. In addition to leading environmental education and outdoor skills programs, the intern will actively participate in special events and projects, and help to develop new programs as part of the MacKenzie Center team.

The MacKenzie Center, just 25 miles north of Madison, is a diverse environmental education and outdoor skills center with a remarkable conservation history.  With interpretive trails, exhibits, museums and programming available for school and youth groups, MacKenzie is a wonderful place to visit and learn about the natural world.

Description of the internship and application instructions:

Application deadline is April 15, 2018

Please share with your networks. This position may be of particular interest to college students in the following areas:  natural resources management, conservation, environmental education, interpretation, wildlife education, wildlife ecology, animal care, park management, recreation, camp and recreation, youth programming, camp management, and more.

The MacKenzie Center is located 25 miles north of Madison in Poynette, WI.  Learn more about our programs by searching “MacKenzie”

Quilt to be Raffled at Maple Fest, April 7, 2018

This beautiful quilt will be raffled at the MacKenzie Maple Fest on April 7, 2018.  It was created by Carol Buckmaster and she calls it “Sounds of the Owl”.  The quilt is twin sized (69″ X 83″) and features owls on a woodland fabric.  Here’s what she had to say about the quilt:  “My inspiration for this quilt was actually the fabric.  I saw this and knew that I needed to do a quilt for MacKenzie.  I live in a semi-rural area and quite often I hear the owls – I have not seen them.  Earlier last fall we had a owl in the neighborhood and it kept hooting all night – actually kept me awake.  Mother nature is the best designer of all and this fabric and the accompanying coordinating fabric just spoke ‘Sounds of the Owl’.”

Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Friends of MacKenzie Maple Fest on April 7.  In addition, members of the Friends and volunteers will have tickets for sale.  If you are interested in buying or selling tickets (or both) please let Deb Wearne-Neurohr know at or 920-992-5403.  You can return ticket stubs and cash to Deb (or Don Jackson), mail them by March 31 to Friends of MacKenzie, W7303 County Hwy CS & Q, Poynette, WI 53955, or bring them to Maple Fest on April 7.  The drawing is at noon, so be sure they’re back before then.  All proceeds will be used to support the MacKenzie Center and its programs.


Friends of MacKenzie Celebrate 40th Anniversary in 2018!

The Friends of MacKenzie Environmental Center, Inc. is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Founded in 1978 by Ingeborg “Ingie” Lothe, after Genevieve Bancroft, the director of the MacKenzie Center at that time, convinced the Department of Natural Resources that creating a support group for the MacKenzie Center was a good idea. Although they knew that there were no other Friends groups associated with DNR facilities at the time, neither Gen or Ingie realized that the Friends of MacKenzie Environmental Center, Inc. would become a model for over 80 similar Friends groups supporting state parks, forests, and trails statewide.

In recognition of this anniversary, the Friends group is planning to incorporate this celebration into events all year long. Continue to check this website for an updated events calendar or find the group on Facebook! There are a lot of exciting events planned all year long, starting with our Annual Meeting on January 18 and including the anticipated ground breaking of phase 1 of our wildlife area renovation!

Steve Siegler, Friends group President, would like to express on behalf of the organization sincere appreciation and thanks to all members, volunteers, and MacKenzie staff over the past 40 years. “We hope that everyone can find time to visit the Center and help us celebrate and be a part of moving forward in 2018.”

Volunteers Needed for Night Hike on Nov. 4

Dear MacKenzie Friends and Volunteers,

On Saturday, November 4th from 5:30pm-8:30pm we will be having a self-guided Night Hike and Campfire at the MacKenzie Center. The lit path will begin at the MacKenzie Center lodge and will continue up through one of the south trails. There will also be a campfire with s’mores available to make!  We are looking for a few volunteers to help with different activity areas.

We need:

3-4 parkers and directional people (we have flashlights and reflective vests)

1-2 people to help keep the campfire going outside

2 people to help hand out s’mores

1-2 people to make and hand out hot chocolate

2 greeters

If you are able to help out please email You can also call at 608-635-8112.  Please come at 5:00pm, park in the lodge parking lot, and dress for the weather!

We are also looking for donations of campfire skewers. If you have any that you would like to donate please drop them off at the MacKenzie Center lodge, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm.

Please help us spread the word for the event by sharing it on facebook or letting your friends and family know!

Thanks and hope to see you all there!




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