Author: Deb Wearne-Neurohr

Earth Day Work Day

Earth Day – Tree Planting
Monday, April 22, 2024
1 – 3 p.m.

Join us in continuing the legacy of Harley Mackenzie and planting trees to educate current and future generations!

The MacKenzie Center is excited to have a Work Play Earth Day volunteer event at the Lodge building area. We need your help to plant trees along the walk that groups pass as they stay at our Lodge and dorm facilities.

We will have some essential equipment available, but please bring any safety equipment you might want and dress appropriately for the weather.

Contact the MacKenzie Center office at 608-635-8112 with any questions.

Meet in the Lodge parking lot.

Maple Fest April 6, 2024

Friends of MacKenzie Maple Fest
Saturday, April 6, 2024
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Ever wonder how maple syrup goes from inside a maple tree to your pancakes and waffles? Join us at the Friends of MacKenzie Maple Fest to learn about the past and present of maple sugaring practices.

This sweet event will offer all things maple syrup, including various drop-in activities, guided tours of our sugarbush, demonstrations on how to tap a tree and interpretive talks about the historical methods and cultural importance of maple sugaring in Wisconsin. Gift shop, concessions and local Wisconsin maple syrup will be available.  Quilt raffle drawing at noon.

This event is free and open to the public, and you do not need a state park sticker to attend.

Note: There will not be a pancake breakfast this year.

Quilt Raffle to Benefit Friends of the MacKenzie Center

This lovely handmade quilt will be raffled at Maple Fest (April 6, 2024) at noon.  It is 68″ x 76″ and named “A Cardinal’s Spiritual Meaning”.  Raffle tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00 and can be obtained from a member of the Friends of MacKenzie or at Maple Fest.  It might be yours and you can’t really lose since you’ll be supporting the MacKenzie Center!

Friends Annual Meeting, January 18, 2024

To all members and those who have an interest in the MacKenzie Center,

Greetings and Happy New Year!

We will hold our annual membership meeting on Thursday, January 18, 2024
Location of meeting–the Lodge at the MacKenzie Center, W7303 County CS and Q, Poynette, WI 53955
4:45-6:15 registration and bison dinner for $15.00
6:15 business meeting
7:00 program on outdoor education
RSVP to Sue Brockel by Jan. 12, 2024: [email protected] or 608-846-4145
We will also have a Zoom virtual meeting option available for the business portion of the meeting. Please send an email to [email protected] if you would like a Zoom invitation.
Hope to see you there!
Friends of MacKenzie Board

Maple Education at MacKenzie — Volunteers needed

Maple Education At MacKenzie

Maple syrup season is almost here, so our Maple Education Program will soon be in full swing. If you’re interested in volunteering to help with the Maple Program, please email Abigail Janey at [email protected] or call 608-635-8112.

All volunteers must register in advance, attend volunteer training and pass a background check. Volunteers may also be asked to submit additional required paperwork.

Indoor-only shifts are available but limited; most shifts are partially or entirely outdoors in Wisconsin winter conditions.

Here are some important dates to keep in mind if you are interested in volunteering for the Maple Education Program:

Maple Volunteer Registration Closes
Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, at 4 p.m.

This is the last day to register as a volunteer for our Maple Program.

Maple Program Call-in Day
Monday, Jan. 29, 2024
Opens at 7 a.m.

Maple Set-up Day
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

We may finish our set-up early, depending on the number of volunteers available.

Maple Volunteer Training
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024                          
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Required volunteer training is from 9 a.m. to noon in the MacKenzie Lodge, with an optional Maple Program walk-through from 1 to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided for all attendees.

Maple Volunteer Guide Training – In-person
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
10 a.m. – noon

Required training for Maple Program volunteers who wish to be program guides. Please meet our MacKenzie Center educators at the Badger Den.

Maple Volunteer Guide Training – Online                        
Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024                          
10 a.m. – noon

If volunteers cannot attend the in-person training on Tuesday, Feb. 27, they must attend this online Zoom training to participate in the Maple Education Program.

Maple Education Program
Tuesday, March 5 – Thursday, April 4, 2024

The MacKenzie Center’s Maple Education Program welcomes students to learn the process and history of making maple syrup in Wisconsin. Maple education runs Tuesdays through Thursdays twice daily during March and the first week of April. Each field trip is 2 hours and 15 minutes, from 9 – 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. – 2 p.m. Volunteers will be needed from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. on those days.

February Events at MacKenzie

Candlelight Snowshoe & Hike
Friday, Feb. 2, 2024
4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Join us at the MacKenzie Center for a fun Friday night of hiking and snowshoeing on our illuminated path. A limited number of snowshoes will be available to borrow, so bring your own if you have them!

Park in the Lodge parking lot. This night hike has low light conditions, so please plan accordingly.

Winter Wonders Learn To Ski
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024
10 a.m. – noon

Join us for a winter wonders ski on our south trails! We will discover and learn about skiing in the beautiful snow-covered prairie and forest. A limited number of skis will be available, so feel free to bring your own if you have them.

Meet our naturalists at the MacKenzie Lodge at 10 a.m. and dress for cold weather.

Christmas Trees for Wildlife

Before you discard your Christmas tree to the curb, please consider donating it to the animals at the MacKenzie Center.  Christmas trees are a favorite enrichment item for most of the animals here at MacKenzie. It gives them an opportunity to explore new smells, observe a new item, play with them, or use them as a shelter where they can hide next to or under.

If you do decide to donate your Christmas tree, please make sure that all of your ornaments and their hanging wire hooks, and strings are off to prevent any injury to the animals. Also, some of our animals may consider tasting the trees, so please no trees that have being sprayed with fire retardant chemicals or any other hazardous materials.

You can drop off the trees by the back entrance of the wildlife area and our wildlife technicians will pick them up and bring them up to the animals.

Thank you!

Attached a few photos of our two foxes playing around a donated Christmas from previous years.

If you have any questions, you can also contact Alder Villegas, Wildlife Technician, at [email protected]

Upcoming Events in December and January (updated)

Winter Wonders Learn To Ski
Saturday, Dec. 16
10 a.m. – noon

Join us for a winter wonders ski on our South Trails! We will discover and learn about skiing in the wonderful snow-covered prairie and forest. Please dress for the weather and meet MacKenzie naturalists at the South Trails parking lot.

First Day Hike
Monday, Jan. 1, 2024
1 – 2:30 p.m.

Celebrate the first day of 2024 with a hike on the south trails alongside MacKenzie naturalists. Please bring your own hiking gear and meet naturalists at the South Trails parking lot. Snow will not be removed from the trails.

Wolf Moon Hike
Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Experience the natural world under the glow of the first full moon of the year, called the “Wolf Moon.” We will hike through restored prairies, practice observation skills, and warm ourselves by the campfire. Bring your own hot beverage and dress for the weather. Please park in the Badger Den parking lot and meet a MacKenzie naturalist there promptly at 5:30 p.m.

Public Events for December and January

Greenery Workshop

Friday, December 1st                      1 – 4pm

Come spend a festive winter day crafting around the fireplace here at the MacKenzie Lodge. We encourage participants to bring their own greenery supplies, although we will have a small amount of greenery and other materials available. Participants are also welcome to bring their own warm beverage to enjoy! Please register for this event as there is a $10 fee for supplies by contacting 608-635-8112 or [email protected]


Winter Wonders Learn to Ski                                                                                                                           

Saturday, December 16th              10 – Noon

Join us for a winter wonders ski on our South Trails! We will discover and learn about skiing in the wonderful snow-covered prairie and forest. Please dress for the weather and meet naturalists at the South Trails Parking lot at 10am.


First Day Hike 

Monday, January 1st, 2024                               1-2:30 p.m.

Celebrate the first day of 2024 with us in the snow! We’ll be trekking along the south trails to explore the forest and prairies on the first day of the year! Meet naturalists at the South Trails Parking Lot and please bring your own hiking gear, trails will not be removed of snow.


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