ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - You might not want to go out in the cold this weekend. But the DNR hopes you help them out. It's as simple as sitting at your window.
Today is the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count. It is a survey that takes place across the country. The count helps researchers at Cornell University track bird populations.
"You go to the Great Backyard Bird Count Website. And you download a form, and you keep track of how many birds you see at your feeder and you fill out the form and submit it," says Jeremy Holtz, DNR Wildlife Biologist.
Anyone can take part. All you need to know is the common birds that come to your yard. That information is easy to find.
"There are all sorts of resources available. The local library has bird guides. You can find all sorts of bird species information on the internet as well," says Holtz.
You can find a link to the Great Backyard Bird Count below.
Big bucks to expand nutrition, physical education in Wisconsin schools
WISCONSIN - Seven Wisconsin school districts have been awarded a total of $3.2 million in federal grants to help them expand their nutrition and physical-education programs.
To qualify, the districts have to implement programs that teach students healthy eating habits and good nutrition. They also have to make sure kids have access to certain physical fitness activities, which could include fitness assessments or developing certain team skills.
The largest grant is going to the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, which will receive about $850,000. The Mukwonago Area School District and Pittsville School District will each get about $445,000.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Winter can be hard on everything, but you might not think it's hard on fish. They're protected under a layer of ice from the weather. But that layer of ice can create problems if it lasts too long.
"You don't get enough light penetration that goes down into the water. So there's no photosynthesis by the algae in the water so there's no oxygen that's produced," says Jim Kreitlow, DNR Lakes Biologist
WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.
That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.
That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.
The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.
An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.
For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.
"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."
The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.
A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.
"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."
The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.
Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.
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