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Legendary black bear now teaching tool in MarshfieldSubmitted: 04/22/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MARSHFIELD - People in Marshfield got used to seeing a black bear wandering through town over the past few years.

Now they can see it any time - in a more stationary place.

This black bear became a local legend in Marshfield.

It would make its home in the backyards of people on the city's southern side.

"They tried chasing him away, they tried numerous things, they tried trapping him, he got spooked by the trap. Through the couple years, people had been harassing him, and he was getting a little belligerent," says taxidermist Alan Jonett.

Last April, the DNR killed the bear.
Now, Marshfield High School is its home, for use as an educational tool.

Jonett has worked with wildlife management students on taxidermy at the school for years.

He stuffed and mounted the bear for display.

"I like it. There were a few bad injuries that I just didn't want to pull the skin together to close them up, so that's the way it was. It's a scarred animal, he had a hard life, although it was fairly easy in town. It's part of the history of the bear," he says.

A bobcat and wolf could be the next additions to the Marshfield High School display.

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ANTIGO - You can spot plenty of wildlife in orthern Wisconsin. However, you don't typically see a black belly barbado sheep or a royal palm turkey.

You can go check them out at the new It's All Good Farmstand and Petting Zoo right off Highway 45 in Antigo.

The It's All Good Farmstand and Petting Zoo has a simple goal. It wants people to see interesting animals.
"We decided, what the heck, we should open something to the public to so that everybody that does not have farm critters and enjoy them like we do, can come in and pet the critters and learn a lot of stuff," said owner Cheryl Wirz.

Wirz decided to have her family be part of her staff. It's something she really enjoys.

"I love the fact that my kids are here and they're getting a hands on experience," said Wirz.

"I mostly help load and unload the animals from home to here. Also, I fill up all the water when we get here, and I run the food booth," said staff member and son Aiden Wirz.

That all adds up to work for their kids and there are some perks to working for your parents.

"Mostly, they can't fire me," said Aiden, laughing.

Most animals look familiar to the guests when they come right up to them, but what about the specific breeds?

"We try to promote rare and critically endangered breeds of farm animals. Most people don't even know what they are," said Cheryl Wirz.

The Wirz family is also passionate about the quality of food for their animals.

"We do all organic produce and all of our critters eat all organic. In fact, we grow most of their food," said Cheryl Wirz.

Some young kids might be a litte nervous of the animals at first, but the friendly staff is there to help.

"Little ones will be really nervous and scared, but after awhile they're calmed down and they really love it," said staff member Natasha Lewer.

Even with all the hard work that goes into owning a farm, the happy visitors make it all worth it.

"They light up when they're in there. We had a gentleman that was in a wheelchair and all the animals surrounded him and he was just smiling from ear to ear," said Cheryl Wirz.

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