Get Outdoors, Lift Your Spirits
Plus, Celebrating Engineers And Tips On Keeping Deer Healthy Through Winter
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: 2019 Great Waters Photo Contest. / Photo Credit: Michael DeWitt
It doesn’t matter if it’s February or June, snowing or sunny and 85 degrees; it’s always a good idea to get outdoors in Wisconsin.
Sure, we have plenty of beautiful opportunities all across our state. But it’s not just a matter of looking at some pretty scenery. Studies have found a significant link between getting outdoors and improved mental health.
On episode 57 of the Wild Wisconsin – Off The Record podcast, we spoke with Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, a psychologist with UW Health, about the benefits of stepping away from the screen, logging off and getting outdoors.
Listen in to learn more about Nature Deficit Disorder, how even just a few minutes of nature a day can be beneficial and what you can do to reap the benefits, even if you cannot get outside.
Click here to tune in or search for “Wild Wisconsin” wherever you get your podcasts.
Thank You, Engineers!
It’s Engineers Week! At the Wisconsin DNR, we have over 175 engineers on staff in a variety of programs and positions.
In the Waste and Materials Management program, for example, our engineers help protect human health and the environment.
Working closely with our hydrogeologists, they make sure landfills are properly designed, constructed and maintained. Landfills are highly engineered and have features including liners to protect groundwater, monitoring and collection systems that manage liquid and gas from the landfill, and covers after they are filled to capacity. Currently there are over 50 licensed solid waste landfills in the state, and our engineers make sure each one is built to last.
Want to learn more about landfills and how they’re constructed? Watch our “vintage” video: Landfills and Garbology.
Thanks for all you do, engineers!
Don’t Feed The Deer! Tips For Winter Herd Health
Especially during hard winters with bitterly cold temperatures, concerned citizens may turn to feeding to help deer through the winter. While this may have some benefit to individual animals, feeding often occurs on a scale too small to affect the overall condition of the deer herd. Feeding also has negative impacts, including but not limited to:
- Harming deer, as it draws them out of winter range where having forage and cover nearby help deer conserve energy.
- Increasing the risk of disease spread and severe digestive issues.
- Legal implications: Feeding is illegal in some Wisconsin counties; where it is legal, regulations restrict the location and amount of food that may be placed to protect the health and safety of both humans and wildlife.
Rather than feeding deer, you can improve habitat to help deer through tough winters. Creating and improving habitat can give deer and other wildlife the resources they need during summer months and sustain them during the winter.
Maintaining nutritious natural food sources like oak, aspen and crabapple provides summer and fall food, while evergreen stands create winter cover and food for deer. Cutting trees and providing browse is a more natural food source and can also provide better cover in the long run. Good habitat fulfills the needs of many deer, rather than a few individuals.
Want to learn more? A variety of resources are available to help landowners improve their land for wildlife, including the Deer Management Assistance Program, the Young Forest Initiative and the Landowner Incentive Program.
OutWiGo: Southern Wisconsin Winter Exploration Maps
Looking for a new winter activity that gets you out of the house and enjoying the great outdoors? Check out some of the best skiing and snowshoe trails, scenic winter views, wildlife sights, campfire areas, sledding hills and more in our southern Wisconsin winter exploration maps.
Southern Wisconsin OutWiGo Winter Exploration Maps
Please note: The Virtual Birkie runs through Feb. 28. We recommend waiting until after this weekend to explore parks that host Birkie routes, as capacity limits may be reached.
OutWiGo is a statewide initiative encouraging everyone to improve their overall health and wellness by getting out and active in the outdoors. Share your OutWiGo adventures using #OutWiGo.