Kent and Jeanette Makela

WWOA members, Kent and Jeanette Makela of Maple, say WP_20131008_002their family history has influenced how they manage their woodlands.  As Kent says, “Being a somewhat stoic Finnlander, getting passionate about anything can be a stretch . . .that said, I do fantasize about returning the land to what it must have looked like before the great cut-over.  WWOA has caused me to focus on this sort of goal, as well as meeting others who, while we may have different goals, share the same passions.”

The Makelas have randomly planted white pine, white spruce and yellow birch to create a seed-tree stocking base, three species that Kent is sure were present on the landscape and are now absent.  Kent states, “So, I guess you could say I am passionate about historical restoration of our forest.  I have looked at the original survey notes of George Stuntz and picture him making notes on the section corner just down from our house.”

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Dean and Kay Mehlberg

2104K&DAs a new member of the WWOA community I have observed a common trait among the members I’ve met thus far, passion; passion for their woodlands, passion to learn, and passion to give back. With spring approaching and the field season near I want to encourage all our members to share their passion. Talk to community members, neighbors, family, and friends about WWOA. Take the time to give back in your Chapters, help plan a field day, join a committee, and find a way to get involved. You never know the influence your passion will have on others.

Dean and Kay Mehlberg do know. Kay’s father, Pete Kucksdorf, was a big inspiration in their lives and helped lead them to WWOA. In Kay’s words, “When I think of him trees automatically come to mind. I remember planting trees every single year. It was a big part of him. The woods became a family recreational and learning activity.” Pete managed 150 acres in Shawano County. The woods strengthened the family bonds. Dean reinforced that message, “He was big in managing hundreds of acres and a consummate reader and learner. He would encourage all his kids to participate in logging activities and plant trees.” Dean and Kay followed Pete’s advice and joined WWOA, the passion was passed on.

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Jim and Jackie Wagener

Perhaps you met WWOA members Jim and Jackie Wagener of Central Sands & Wolf River Ch 9.29.12 041Madison, while they volunteered at the WWOA Gift Shop during our 2012 Annual Meeting in Middleton. When asked about his woodland passions, Jim Wagener says “Since we purchased our woodlands in 2005, my wife, Jackie, and I have been committed to rescuing the property from being taken over by the invasion of black locust. We have attacked, cleared and fought back the invasive species on about eight acres. It is now a joy to see the oaks and pines emerge.

The Wagener’s passion for their land is obvious when you hear them describe the numerous weekends of cutting and treating black locust on their land. Their hard work and persistence has produced native seedlings where only black locust grew before.

“The greatest gift our WWOA membership provides for us is information. The combination of exposure to forestry experts and the ability to learn from our fellow WWOA members has been invaluable to us,” the Wageners said.

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