Local Features

Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It’s no longer uncommon to see a bald eagle in the Northwoods. 

Oneida and Vilas counties have the highest number of pairs of bald eagles in Wisconsin, according to the most recent DNR survey in 2013.

After disappearing from most areas of the state in the mid-20th century, there are now more than 1300 pairs of eagles in Wisconsin. 

Ron Eckstein, a retired DNR Wildlife Biologist, worked on eagle conservation efforts for more than 25 years.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Eckstein to hear more about bald eagle success story.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The President of the United States endures a demanding schedule.  But it wasn’t always this way. In today’s History Afield writer Bob Willging tells the story of the summer of 1928 when President Calvin Coolidge moved the center of American politics to the quiet shores of northwest Wisconsin’s most famous of trout waters, the Brule River.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

As many property owners and lake groups know, Eurasian water milfoil is a problem without a great solution.  It’s an invasive plant that grows in dense mats in lakes throughout Wisconsin.  It can be treated with chemicals to keep the growth down, but that comes with side effects as well as a hefty price tag.  But some researchers think there could be a way to use tiny bugs called milfoil weevils as a biocontrol on some lakes.  But the idea is more complicated than it seems. 

Ann Sahlstrom

In the small town of Ewen in the Upper Peninsula, a wilderness art camp is well underway.  

It’s called the Visitors Center Artists Camp.  This week about fifteen artists are gathered for the camp’s first run.  They’ll be firing ceramics and pouring metal using simple and sustainable methods, and having an arts festival at the end of the week.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski sat down with two of the organizers behind the project to hear about how it began.  

  

Mike Morbeck / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green_Bay_Packers_huddle_3.jpg

Jessie Garcia is a veteran Wisconsin sports reporter, known to many from her years as a sideline reporter for the Green Bay packers.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski caught up with Garcia when she stopped in Three Lakes this week to talk about her new book, called “My Life with the Green and Gold.”

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Rhinelander District Library had a day at the races…when more than a hundred kids competed in the 28th annual Worm Race.  As WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski reports, some worms just move faster than others.    

Matthew Rethaber / WXPR News

The emerald ash borer is having a big impact on forest landscapes and some commercial interests, as it continues to wipe out ash trees in Wisconsin and other parts of the U.S.  It also threatens a traditional Native American style of basket weaving. 

It can be easy to forget that a wooden basket comes from a tree.    

Jim Montgomery

An outboard motor hung on the back of a well used fishing boat is an iconic symbol of summer in the Northwoods.  For years in the Northcentral Wisconsin lakes country of Oneida and Vilas counties, if someone had an outboard motor in need of repair, there was no question of where to take it - Duke’s Outboards.  Dukes was a Northwoods institution for more than 60 years. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The deadly bat disease called white nose syndrome was found in Wisconsin earlier this year.  That’s bad news for bats, but it hasn’t stopped the Department of Natural Resources from investing in bat monitoring efforts.  In fact, biologists say collecting data on bats is more important than ever.  

At nightfall on the end of a pier in Eagle River, DNR Biologist Paul White is standing with his arm outstretched, rubbing his fingers together. 

Weinstock via http://pixabay.com/en/piano-keys-music-instrument-old-91048/

Last month a group of jazz musicians from all over the country gathered for a long weekend outside of Rhinelander.  Eight of them were professional musicians, and a dozen of them were students…at Holiday Acres’ annual Northwoods Jazz Camp. 

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski went to talk with some of the teachers and students…and came away with a few tips on how to learn to be a jazz musician.       

 You heard from instructors Kim Richmond, John Harmon, Clay Jenkins and Scott Whitfield.  And students Connie Fellman and Joe Swierczek.  

Mitch Mode

As many of us in the Northwoods are being driven crazy by mosquitoes, loons are being harassed by blackflies. 

High numbers of loons are having trouble staying on their nests this year due to a surge in a certain kind of black fly that only targets loons.  

Walter Piper, a researcher from Chapman University who has been studying loons in the Northwoods for twenty two years, says it’s the most abandoned nests he’s ever seen.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Piper about what that means for the loon population.

Trees for Tomorrow staff

 

The year is 1944. While WWII rages abroad, manufacturers at home strain to keep up the supply of resources. Nine paper and utility companies in northern Wisconsin look at the felled forests around them and decide to form an organization to ensure that there will still be resources for the future.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

This is the story of a special coat that currently resides in the Northwoods.  

It’s a long burgundy, double-breasted coat once worn by both John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.  It’s now owned by Rhinelander resident Ray Quicksilver.

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski sat down with Quicksilver to hear how Hendrix came to give him the coat.  It all started when Quicksilver’s father sent him to live with a relative in California…which landed him right in the middle of the countercultural movement of the 1960s.    

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Maple syrup production in northern Wisconsin is wrapping up for the season.  For small producers a fickle weather pattern meant it wasn’t a great season in terms of syrup quantity.  But for larger producers who use more high-tech systems, it was still an above average year.  And the reasons behind these sap dynamics are still somewhat of a mystery. 

The day I visit Maple Hollow Farm near Merrill Wisconsin is muddy and cool – a typical backdrop for a process that takes place only in spring, when the sap is running. 

NASA / https://flic.kr/p/jXLDrB

Maggie Turnbull lives in Antigo and works as a freelance astrobiologist.  

  It’s the study of the origin and future of life in the universe.  Turnbull has gained international recognition for her work cataloging star systems that could support life, and is now working with NASA on a telescope to better look at those systems.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Turnbull over the phone.  

She says the problem is that stars give out so much light, it’s hard to even see the planets that orbit them. 

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