Friends of Mackenzie Art Contest

The Friends of MacKenzie, a group of over 200 members and volunteers supporting the environmental education efforts of the Wisconsin DNR’s MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, announces an art contest for Wisconsin students in grades Pre-K through 12.

We ask students to submit original works of art promoting and emphasizing our state’s wildlife and landscapes. Artwork may be submitted in three different mediums – paint, pencil, and photography. Photographs should be taken with a standard camera or a phone; no trail camera photos will be accepted.

All submitted work will be judged by a group of active and retired art teachers. First, second, and third place winners will be determined for each medium in three different age categories: elementary school level (grades Pre-K through 5), middle school level (grades 6-8), and high school level (grades 9-12).

Elementary Level (Grades Pre-K – 5) Middle School Level (Grades 6-8)

Paint – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Paint – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
Pencil – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Pencil – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
Photography – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Photography -1st, 2nd, and 3rd place

High School (Grades 9-12)

Paint – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
Pencil – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
Photography – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place

First place winners in each age group and each category will be awarded ‘Artist of the Year’ designation and have their artwork displayed on the Friends of MacKenzie website. A list of the winning artists will be posted at the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center located outside of Poynette, Wisconsin.

Please submit all artwork by email to Artwork should be submitted in jpeg format and be received by December 20, 2018. Include the student’s name, address, phone number, school name, grade level, and email address (if appropriate).

Each student should submit only one piece of artwork. Artwork can be viewed on the Friends of MacKenzie website:

Any additional information may be acquired by contacting the Friends of MacKenzie at the email address listed above.

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!




Fall Festival is Fast Approaching (Oct. 7)!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Fall Festival at the MacKenzie Center on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10 am to 3 pm.  Hayrides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow making, lots of seasonal activities and a chance to try some of the many outdoor activities MacKenzie has to offer — archery, air guns, fish casting, pond study, fire making, compass skills and much more.  We’ve got a DJ/karaoke at 11 am and a ukulele band at 1 pm.  The $15/vehicle entry fee covers all of these things and concessions are available for an additional charge.  A wonderful way to enjoy the fall season with family and friends!

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