One of my greatest pleasures serving WWOA is speaking with woodland owners from all across Wisconsin. There is so much difference among them– from political views to professional experience and hobbies. And yet there are many commonalities in the WWOA membership as well, including an ethical respect for the land, a deep seeded desire to leave the land better than they found it, and a passion to help fellow woodland owners. We shall continue our profile of WWOA members with Carl and Doris Mueller of Onalaska, WI. I recently had an entertaining phone conversation with Doris which I would like to share with you (Carl was out on their tree farm attempting to get a stubborn wood splitter working again.)
The Muellers first acquired their 160 acre tree farm in Trempealeau County after (and this is when I was introduced to Doris’s amazing chuckle) haha! Well, Carl came home one day and told me about it – hehehe! She clarified that one of Carl’s former students-turned real-estate-agent informed them about the property. At the time the farm consisted of a few tillable acres, two active lime quarries, and the rest woodlands. In between her laughter (I believe half of our conversation took this form) Doris mentioned that over the years they worked hard to plant “thousands and thousands of trees.”
When I asked what they enjoy about their woodlands Doris related,“We enjoy being outdoors and in the fresh air. I suppose Carl likes the work too-hehe! Whether Carl enjoys the work or not I couldn’t verify, but I do know he benefits from it, hunting both turkey and deer in their woods. He is also able to share the workload with two other families that have been hunting with him for over 30 years now. Today Doris enjoys seeing their grandson bring his young daughter to four-wheel on the property, “Its nice to see the next generation enjoying the land.”
Doris and Carl were introduced to WWOA “about 20 or so years ago at an Annual Meeting in Madison.” She added further that they’ve “only missed a few Annual Meetings since then. We love the camaraderie.” When I asked her what she enjoyed the most about the event she quickly replied, “I always enjoy the Silent Auction. All year long I keep an eye out for items that I think will go well for it, which reminds me – hehehe! And what does Carl enjoy? Doris explained, “He learns lots of new ideas. WWOA events are great for exchanging ideas. Visiting other members land and learning what they do helps with our vision for our woods.”
Though Doris admits that managing the land is “more of Carl’s thing, that didn’t stop her from finding her own niche in WWOA. Doris has been the Chippewa Valley Chapter’s Treasurer for so long no one is exactly sure when she first took on the responsibility. “I enjoy that kind of stuff and we have made so many good friendships over the years. Doris was quick to explain why their Chapter is so successful (after a hearty laugh of course), “Planning, we do most of it way ahead of time, usually meeting sometime in the fall to plan out our events for the next year.”
After our conversation I realized that WWOA membership takes on many different forms. Carl enjoys more of the educational aspect, allowing him to learn and share sustainable forestry practices. Doris enjoys more of the social opportunities, making friendships and sharing her bottomless draught of laughter (as well as keeping the Chippewa Valley Chapter in sound financial condition). Visit our website, www.wisconsinwoodlands.org to view our Calendar of Events and learn what fun and educational WWOA events are in your area. Come to learn, stay to laugh, and serve to share your passion.