MANITOWISH WATERS - On Saturday, Northwoods birders will be waking up at the crack of dawn to look for cranes. A thousand volunteers across the Midwest will be helping out as part of the annual Midwest Crane Count. The population of these large, long-legged birds has been tracked for decades by the International Crane Foundation.
Friday at the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters, naturalist Annie McDonnell showed volunteers how to participate in the crane survey. She said getting people out in nature is great for volunteers and the cranes.
"We really want to educate people about their habitat, wetlands, wetland ecology and how important this is to our area," said McDonnell. "Citizen science is a wonderful way to contribute their experience to a dataset that increases our knowledge about the place that we live."
McDonnell said the Wisconsin crane population crashed in the early 1930s and has steadily increased since then. Whooping cranes are only in southern Wisconsin but sandhill cranes are present all across the state.
Julie Braid of Lac Du Flambeau will be participating in the survey for the first time.
"I do the usual camping, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, and this is just another way for me to get involved," said Braid.
She's hoping to see the unusual mating habits of cranes, where they throw sticks and dance.
Go to International Crane Foundation website to find out more on how to participate.
RHINELANDER - Donations to members of the military will fill the lobbies of local banks soon as part of a care package donation drive.
Rhinelander's Military Support Group kicked off its 19th donation drive this fall, partnering with People's State Bank for the third year.
"We have vets working for us, we have families of vets, a lot of our base is vets, that's just a strong community base for us," said commercial banking specialist Stacy Timm.
Nearly 7,300 items were donated in 2017 and 8,900 items were collected last year.
A brat fry earlier this month, raised just under 700 dollars to help send those donations to veterans and active duty service members.
Support group member LeRoy Eades said donations mostly go to Wisconsin service members who can't make it home for the holidays.
"A lot of them won't be home for Christmas, so this is just a little piece of Christmas we're giving to them," said Eades.
Peoples State will accept donations until Veterans Day on November 11. Donation drop-offs can be found at bank locations in Rhinelander, Wausau, Rib Mountain, Weston, Eagle River, Minocqua and Marathon.
ST. GERMAIN - Few things can ruin a Friday night fish fry in Wisconsin - except maybe a lack of fish.
"A lot of those Lake Erie perch are ending up on the plates of Wisconsin restaurants and Wisconsin suppliers, so when something happens to Lake Erie … then the restaurants and suppliers can feel that," said DNR Fisheries Supervisor David Boyarski.
Faced with a shortage of yellow lake perch, Cathy Kuske, DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant manager, has found a way to combat the issue.
"When I ask the distributor how much they have, he'll tell me how many cases and I'll order twice as many cases as I normally do, just so we don't run out," said Kuske.
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