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

Comment on DNR Master Plan now through Nov 2, 2023

This is a news release from the DNR.  We urge all interested to read the Master Plan (especially as it relates to the MacKenzie Center) and comment as you see fit either online or by attending one of the public comment meetings.

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking comments on the next phase of the Central Sand Hills Regional Master Plan process.

Among the more than 60 properties included in the plan are Devil’s Lake and Hartman Creek state parks, the MacKenzie Center, Mecan River, Caves Creek and Pine River fishery areas, White River Marsh, Grand River Marsh, Lawrence Creek wildlife areas, Lunch Creek Wetlands, Observatory Hill and Plainfield Tunnel Channel Lakes natural areas.

The DNR has developed a draft vision and goals for the properties along with management objectives for each property. For some properties, alternative approaches to reach the objectives have been developed. These draft plan elements are now available for review in the Central Sand Hills Draft Vision, Goals, Objectives and Management Alternatives document.

The department is seeking public comments on the document from now through Nov. 2, 2023. The document, and information on how to provide input, is available on the department’s Central Sand Hills Region webpage.

The department encourages the public to submit comments using the online public input form located on the project webpage. Additionally, two public open house meetings will be held in Prairie du Sac (Sept. 27) and Wautoma (Oct. 3).

Both meetings will run from 4 to 7 p.m., and department staff will give a presentation starting at 5:30 p.m. Staff will be available to answer questions and discuss this next phase of the planning process before and after the presentation.

Hard copies of the document are also available at the Devil’s Lake and Hartman Creek park offices and at the Baraboo, Portage and Wautoma public libraries.

Please submit questions or comments on the master plan by Nov. 2, 2023 to:

John Pohlman, DNR Property Planner
PO Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707
[email protected] or 608-264-6263



What: Public meetings on the Central Sand Hills Regional Master Plan

When and Where:

4-7 p.m. Sept. 27
River Arts Center at the Sauk Prairie High School
105 Ninth St.
Prairie du Sac, WI

4-7 p.m. Oct. 3
Waushara WWII Veterans Memorial Building
440 W. Main St.
Wautoma, WI

Save the dates –events in the next few months!

In the next few months, There will be a few MacKenzie events you won’t want to miss:

August 20, 2023, beginning about noon — Annual members picnic and meeting.  Usually we have grilled brats, burgers, and chicken plus lots of sides provided by members, pot luck style.  More info to come.

September 30, 2023, 5:30 pm — Friends Fundraiser Banquet at the lodge.  Reservations required.  Many great raffle items and good food and beverages.  Have fun while you help out the Friends of MacKenzie!

October 21, 2023, 9 am – 2 pm — Fall Festival.  A wide variety of fall themed activities, food for purchase, a great way to celebrate a beautiful season! Per vehicle admission charged.

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.

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