Volunteer Opportunities in July

Dear Friends and Volunteers of the MacKenzie Center,

We have four unique volunteer opportunities coming up at the MacKenzie Center.

  1. This coming Sunday, July 9th we will be having An Afternoon with Wildlife event from 1pm-3pm. Visitors will have the chance to chat with wildlife staff about the animals, touch furs and skulls, and participate in some wildlife related crafts.  We are looking for a few volunteers to work some tables and activities. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Hayley at Hayley.Parsons@wisconsin.gov. We would need volunteers from about 12:30pm-3:00pm.
  2. For our next volunteer opportunity we are looking for volunteers who love to fish. During the week of July 17th-20th the MacKenzie Center is running an Outdoor Skills Day Camp for 4th-6th graders. On Tuesday July 18th, we will be teaching the kids how to fish and could use some volunteers from 12:15pm-2:15pm when we head to Lake Wisconsin to test out their skills. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Hayley at Hayley.Parsons@wisconsin.gov.
  3. On July 22nd, the Friends of MacKenzie is hosting a 3D Archery Competition. We are looking for volunteers to work in the food booth from 10am-2pm, registration booth from 8:00am-1:00pm, and youth activities from 9:30am-1:00pm. The youth activities will be an archery clinic, shed hunt, aerial archery, and arts and crafts. If interested in volunteering please contact Jason Murray and Jason.Murray@wiscon.gov.
  4. Lastly we are looking for a volunteer or two to help us recycle a metal pile we have at the MacKenzie Center. It will need to be delivered to a recycling center in Portage . If interested please contact Steven Kaylor at (608) 635-5083.

Upcoming Events:

July 9th: An Afternoon with Wildlife; 1pm-3pm

July 17th-20th: Outdoor Skills Day Camp; 8:00am-3:00pm daily (still two spots left, call 608-635-8105 to register)

July 22nd: Friends of MacKenzie 3-D Archery Competition; 8am-4pm with kid’s activities and clinics running from 10am-1pm

July 26th: Story Time with Animals; 10:00am-11:30am

Thanks again for all your hard work!

Volunteer Picnic August 20, 2017

Each year we meet at the picnic shelter at the MacKenzie Center to thank everyone who helps to make this such a great place.  This year’s picnic will be Sunday, August 20.   We’ll gather at noon for conversation and refreshments.  Lunch begins at 12:30.  The Friends will provide brats, burgers, chicken, beverages, plates and eating utensils.  Please bring a dish to pass, based on your last name:  A-G salad, H-M appetizers, N-Z dessert.   Please RSVP to Sue Brockel (608-846-4145 or rbrockel@centurytel.net) by August 14 to make planning easier.  This is a great time to come together and have fun as we celebrate all the hard work the staff and volunteers do throughout the year!

Updated List of Items Needed for Wildlife Enrichment

Dear MacKenzie Center Friends and Volunteers,

On behalf of the wildlife team and the wildlife we would like to thank all of you whom, in the past two weeks, have donated an enormous amount of enrichment material for the captive wildlife we care for.  We have never received so many enrichment donations in such a short time!  We are thoroughly excited to ramp up our enrichment program and dive into all the new and fun experiences we can give the animals to better their daily lives.  We have already started using some of the material!

We will be continually open to donations from the original donation list.  We are pleased to say, however, that we will not be needing any more magazines, phone books, newspaper, shoes, or fire hoses for some time.  If you are still interested in donating we are especially looking for these items from our list:


Empty Wooden Spools

Large Seashells

Milk Crates

Bottles of Scents

Decoys (ex: duck)

Feather Dusters

A Large Mirror

Snake Sheds

Kiddie Pools

Dog Toy Kongs

Small Child Plastic Slide

Pool Diving Sticks and Rings

We have also added; kitty litter boxes (to be used as bath pans), or gallon sized freezer bags (for food storage)!

Thank you all so much,

The Wildlife Team

(Kyle, Kate, and Hayley)

Items needed for wildlife enrichment

Dear Friends and Volunteers,

The MacKenzie Center wildlife staff is looking to expand their enrichment items for the animals in the wildlife area. Enrichment allows animals to perform natural behaviors, permits them to be more active and increases the animals’ control over their environment. Enrichment helps satisfy both the physical and psychological needs of animals and allows them to make choices. We are looking to collect items to create new enrichment materials. Included is a list of items we are looking for. If you have any of these items please drop them off at the lodge anytime MondayFriday from 8am-4pm. If you have any questions please call (608) 635-8105. Also if anyone is able to plant extra pumpkins in their garden this year, the Fall Festival organizers would love your help. Pumpkin painting is one of the activities held at the fall festival and we are hoping to increase the amount of pumpkins we have for kids to paint this year.  Thank you for your continued support of the MacKenzie Center.

Here is a list of the items we are looking for:

Egg Cartons (no styrofoam please)

Hollowed Out Gourds

Large Pine Cones

Toilet Paper Tubes

Paper Towel Tubes


Large Balls

Bird Toys

Dog Toys

Cat Toys

Burlap Bags

Empty Wooden Spools (especially large ones)

Leather Footballs


Noise Maker/Rattles

Phone Books

Large Seashells


Bird Baths

Milk Crates

Natural Hides

Broom Heads



Fresh Herbs

Bottles of Scents/Spices

Scented Wood Chips

Sun Catchers

Old CD’s

Wind Chimes


Feather Dusters



Nature CD’s

Snake Sheds

Butcher Paper

Fire hoses

Kiddie Pools


Bags of Sand

Scratch pad or posts

Horse hair

Pool Diving Sticks and Rings

Old Bath Towels

Old Hand Towels

Wooden Ladders

Laundry Baskets


Volunteers needed for MOHEE May 17-18

The Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo (MOHEE) is being held on Wed, May 17 and Thur, May 18 at the MacKenzie Center.  It is sponsored and organized by the Outdoor Heritage Education Center, but the Friends of MacKenzie provide support and also will be having a gift shop tent and a tent to raise awareness about our wildlife project.  The organizers expect over 2700 youth to attend.  Kids get a chance to try a huge variety of outdoor activities including archery, forestry, wildlife tracking and game calling, fisheries and angler education, hounds and bird dog demos, historic fur trade and trapping, outdoor safety, shooting sports, and Safari Club’s “Sensory Safari” touch wildlife of the world exhibit.  Emphasis is on hands-on learning experiences where students will participate in these outdoor skills activities.  If you’ve never been before, it’s really amazing to see all the things kids can try and how excited they are about it.  If you have been before, you’ll want to come back!  
If you are interested in helping, there are several opportunities.  The first is set-up day, Tuesday, May 16.  Meet at the Finishing House at 10 am.  We’ll set up tents, put out water jugs, and do anything else that needs to be done to get ready.  We should be done by noon (or earlier).  We also need people to help on Wed, May 17 and Thur, May 18 from about 8am – 2 pm.  We need help driving vans, delivering food to volunteers, keeping our water stations “stocked”, “policing” the grounds,  and in our Friends’ gift shop tent and information area.  If you can help on any of these days, please contact Don Lucke (920-992-3999 or heartshare@centurytel.net).  Let him know what day(s) you’re available and what “job” you’d like to do.  He’ll get more specific info to you.  Thanks for your help with this event and with all of MacKenzie’s projects!

Earth Day Event at MacKenzie Saturday, April 22

Dear MacKenzie Center Friends and Volunteers,

This coming Saturday, April 22nd from 9am-1pm, the MacKenzie Center is holding an Earth Day volunteer event.  We could use your help to remove invasive species, paint picnic tables, pick up trash, and help out with other activities. If you are able to attend please bring work gloves, any paint brushes you might have, and wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint or dirt on. Please meet in the morning at the Badger Den parking lot and lunch will be provided! For more information please call 608-635-8105.

Hope to see you Saturday!

The MacKenzie Center Staff

Maple Festival this Saturday, April 1!

Just a reminder that Maple Festival is this Saturday, April 1, from 8 am – 2 pm.  Learn about tapping trees and making maple sugar and maple syrup, take a horse drawn wagon ride, try some home-made ice cream churned using an old stream engine for power, visit the animals in our wildlife exhibit and much more.  There’s also a pancake breakfast at the lodge from 8 am – noon ($7 for ages 12 and up, $5 for ages 3-11) and a beautiful hand-made quilt will be raffled (drawing at noon).  We still have a few openings for volunteers to help out.  Please contact Chris Tall at Christopher.Tall@wisconsin.gov or call 608-635-8105.

Maple Festival Set for April 1, 2017

The Maple Syrup Festival, a fun-filled, educational event for families, is scheduled for Saturday, April 1, from 8 am – 2 pm at the MacKenzie Center near Poynette. Maple Syrup Festival is hosted by the Friends of MacKenzie and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The event features free guided tours of the sugar bush, demonstrations of how to tap a maple tree for sap and how to make syrup, interpretative talks about how Native Americans and pioneers made maple sugar and syrup as well as current methods used in our own MacKenzie sugar bush.

Participants will have the opportunity to watch home-made ice cream being churned with an antique engine and listen to live music. In addition, the wildlife area, which includes animals native to Wisconsin, and the historic exhibits on property will be open.

A pancake breakfast, sponsored by Friends of MacKenzie will be served from 8 am until noon at the Main Lodge. The cost is $7 for those 12 years old and older, and $5 for ages 3 – 11. Refreshments, maple products, and souvenirs will be sold by the Friends of MacKenzie. The Friends will also draw the winners for their quilt raffle at 12 noon.

The MacKenzie Center is located two miles east of Poynette on County Road CS/Q.  Besides this website, you can find us online at dnr.wi.gov and search “MacKenzie” or visit the Friends of MacKenzie Facebook page.

Quilt Raffle at Maple Fest on April 1

early Jan 2017 025This is the quilt that will be raffled at the MacKenzie Maple Fest on April 1, 2017.  It was created by Carol Buckmaster and she calls it “Woodland Serenity”.  Here’s what she has to say about it:

The woodland fabric with the deer inspired me to create Woodland Serenity.  I live in a semi-rural area and deer are frequent visitors to the property where I reside.  It is a calming and relaxing feeling to watch nature, especially with a fresh coating of snow. This quilt is 60” wide by 80” long.  This quilt will provide years of comfort and hopefully a peaceful feeling to the new owner.

Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Friends of MacKenzie at Maple Fest on April 1.  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 friendsofmackenzie@gmail.com or 920-992-5403.  You can return ticket stubs and cash to Deb (or Don Jackson) or bring them to Maple Fest on April 1.  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.

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