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 at the end of this post or find one in our brochure.  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.

Membership form for 2020

2023 Maple Program Recap

Despite some less-than-ideal weather which forced us to make the tough decision to cancel Maple Fest in 2023, we still had a successful maple program.  From the end of February through the end of March, we welcomed over 1000 students (mainly 4th graders) as well as numerous teachers, parents, and other chaperones to learn about all aspects of maple — identifying and tapping trees, the history of making maple sugar and maple syrup (focusing on indigenous peoples and European settlers), and some related biological and ecological concepts.  Groups got to try their hand at tapping a tree and everyone had a chance to taste our delicious MacKenzie Gold maple syrup at the end of their tour.  Many volunteers are needed to make this program successful.  If you haven’t helped in the past, you might want to consider it next season!

Raptor Presentation by Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center

On Sunday, April 16, 2023, Friends of MacKenzie Center members were able to learn a great deal about raptors and got to see four live birds at a presentation by Dianne Moller, director of Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center in Milton, WI. The center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of raptor species (eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures) founded in 1998. It also focuses on education and uses birds which are unable to be returned to the wild (usually due to injuries) as teaching ambassadors.  We got to see a Saw Whet Owl, Broadwinged Hawk, Snowy Owl and Bald Eagle.  The program was originally scheduled as part of our Friends of MacKenzie annual meeting in January, but had to be postponed due to weather.  Programs like these are a great reason to join the Friends of MacKenzie!

Diane with SawWhet OwlBroadwinged HawkSnowy OwlBald Eagle

Meet the current Friends of MacKenzie Board members

At the Friends of MacKenzie annual meeting held on January 19, 2023, board members were elected and then at the February meeting of the board, officers were elected.  Here’s the great group we have reprenting us.  The end date of their term is in parentheses.  President, Joanne Johnson (2024); Vice-President, Carl Bujanowski (2026); Treasurer, Don Jackson (2025); Secretary, Susan Hill (2024); and remaining members Paul Alexander (2025), Don Lucke (2025), Tony Schwarz (2026), Judy Smith (2024), Kim Sperry Frazier (2024), Wayne Tourdot (2025), and Lila Waldman (2026).  Thanks to this dedicated and hard working group of volunteers.

Proposed Work Days June through September, 2022

The following are tentative work days:

June 17 wood cutting / splitting need saws and splitters
July 22 power washing enclosures At least 6 volunteers
July 29 finish power washing enclosures / staining At least 6 volunteers
August 6 wood cutting / splitting need saws and splitters
August 19 cleaning / clearing trail
September 23 maple area pruning 4 – 6 volunteers

Please save these dates and let Carl Bujanowski ([email protected]) know if you would like to volunteer and equipment/ tools

Carl will confirm with responding volunteers as we near each date.

2022 Maple Program Recap

This letter is for maple program volunteers, but the information about how the program went in 2022 may be of interest to others.


Dear Maple Volunteers,

Maple season has come to a close, and we cannot thank you enough for all of your time, energy, enthusiasm, and guidance through the first Maple Education season since COVID. For most of our staff, this was our first Maple Season, and we could not have put this together without the guidance and leadership of the Friends of MacKenzie and our dedicated volunteers. So, from all of us, THANK YOU!!! We had so much fun putting this together, and are so glad that we got to be a part of this program.

To show our appreciation, we are excited to announce a Volunteer Thank You Barbecue, on Saturday, May 21st, 2022.  We did not get the chance to thank you with food on clean-up day, but we’d love to see you in May for a day of fun and food! This event is possible thanks to the Friends of MacKenzie’s hard work and funds!

This year’s Maple Program exceeded our expectations in every way. With the bussing troubles, new variants, and general hesitation for field trips this year, we were not sure what to expect! But, after calling all of you, and on our Maple Call-In Day, we were blown away, and the season continued to surprise us. Maple 2022 brought in more students than many of our staff have seen since starting here! We also met so many people who care so much for MacKenzie and about Environmental Education, and are so grateful to everyone who made Maple so amazing. For those of you who like to see numbers, here are our stats from Maple 2022:

  • 1,013 students came to Maple this year!
  • Maple Fest drew 838 people!
  • 54 Volunteers came together to make this happen!
  • Those 54 Volunteers gave 2,095 hours total to the maple program, for an average of 38 hours per person!
  • The volunteer with the most time, volunteered 99.25 hours of their time this year!
  • In total, our students and guides tapped 102 trees, and a total of 113 trees were tapped this year!
  • Over the season, over 1,800 gallons of sap were collected!
  • The average sugar content of the sap was 4.0 % Brix, with a high of 4.7% on March 30th!
  • 337 Pints of MacKenzie Gold, in total, were produced.


Again, thank you all for such a wonderful season. Please save the date for May 21st, when we will host our Volunteer Thank You Breakfast!



The MacKenzie Center Staff and the Friends of MacKenzie

Reminders to Volunteers for Maple Fest 2022

Reminders for the week of Maple Fest

Set up for the fest will be Friday, April 1 at 9:00.  Meet by the Finishing House to plan out jobs.

Maple Fest   Saturday, April 2    8:00 – 200

  • Volunteers should report about 7:30. (Or, about 20 minutes before your afternoon shift)
  • Parking for volunteers will be behind the fence beyond the Administration Building.
  • Sign in near the Finishing House.  Get your name tag, donut, and coffee or hot chocolate.

If you are bringing cookies for the bake sale, they can be taken to the Finishing House on Friday from 9-1 or to the bake sale table on Saturday after 7:30.

Clean up will be on Tuesday, April 5 at 9:00. All the buckets and spiles have to be washed, all the tents put away, and everything from Maple Fest tucked away for another year. Then the syrup will be passed out to those who have earned it.

Again, Thank you all so much for your dedication to the Maple Program, and we cannot wait to see everyone this weekend!


MacKenzie Staff and the Friends of MacKenzie

Call for Maple Festival Volunteers

It takes many volunteers to help make Maple Festival a success.  You can help out with things like concessions, greeting, parking, guiding, selling raffle tickets, and more.  Shifts for most positions are 8 am – 11 am or 11 am – 2 pm on Saturday, April 2, 2022.  If this sounds like something you might like to do, contact Austyn Long of the MacKenzie Center education staff at [email protected]  Thanks!

Volunteers and Bakers needed for Maple Festival on April 2, 2022

Maple Fest is coming up soon — Saturday, April 2, 2022.  We are in need of bakers and volunteers.  We will be having a baked goods table with individually wrapped items to sell for $1.00.  If you could help out by baking cookies, bars or cake, we would really appreciate it.  Items need to be in a zip lock bag or wrapped.  Several small cookies, one large brownie or bar, or a piece of cake would be perfect. You can drop off your baked goods on Friday, April 1, or on the morning of Maple Fest (April 2).  We are also looking for volunteers to work on the day of Maple Fest.  If you are interested, please email or call Sue Brockel at [email protected] or (608)846-4145.  Thanks so much!

2022 MacKenzie Quilt Raffle

This beautiful handmade quilt (49.75″ x 64″) named “On Eagle Wings” will be raffled on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at noon as part of Maple Festival as a benefit for the Friends of MacKenzie.  Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.

“On Eagle Wings”

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