Annual Meeting

Here is a summary of our 2023 Annual Meeting schedule.  The 2024 Annual Meeting information will be posted as it becomes available.

WWOA 2023 Annual Meeting

Join us at WWOA’s 2023 Annual Meeting on September 21-24 at the Chula Vista Resort (Hotel front desk at 2501 River Road or Resort at 1000 Chula Vista Parkway) in the Wisconsin Dells. The Resort is located just north of the Wisconsin Dells along the Wisconsin River on WI Highway 13.  Chula Vista has a convention center, hotel rooms, condos, waterpark, golf course, spa, scenic riverwalk, and a variety of restaurant options.  View a map of the resort.

We are excited to announce our 1st Annual Meeting to be held in the Dells! This special WWOA members only (see the Join tab if you aren’t a WWOA member yet) gathering will help you see the Wisconsin Dells area through new eyes with a more natural environment focus, meet like-minded woodland owners, and learn more about keeping your woods healthy! Mark your calendar to attend a tour, a day, or stay for the whole weekend. A variety of registration options will be available.

Book your hotel room and mark your calendar NOW!
Make your hotel room reservation by calling Chula Vista Resort at 855-674-6140 and mention J00458 WI Woodland Owners Assn for WWOA member’s special rate. Two room types are available. The first room type, the Tower Jr. Suite or Fairway Villa rooms, are $109.00/per night plus taxes and include 2 queen beds, a pull out sofa sleeper, microwave, coffee pot, and mini refrigerator. The second room type is the El Grande 2 Bedroom rooms which are $239.00/night plus taxes and include 2 queen beds, 1 King bed, a pull out sofa, living room, full kitchen, 2 full bathrooms, and a hot tub. All registered guests will receive waterpark passes for the duration of their stay. Breakfast is not included with your room but “grab n go” and sit-down restaurants are open for breakfast. If you are concerned about the distance from your hotel room to the Convention Center, ask about this when booking your hotel room. Check in time is 4 pm.

All reservations require a one-night deposit plus taxes at the time the reservation is made. The daily resort fee has been waived. Reservations cancelled 72 hours or more in advance of arrival will receive a refund less the $30 cancellation fee.  Cancellations inside the 72 hours period will forfeit the full deposit.

Thursday 

On Thursday, September 21, the WWOA Board of Directors will hold their quarterly meeting at the Resort.

Thursday offers 2 group tours, one full day and one half day, during the daytime.
Members will drive (round trip approximately 22 miles) to Board member, Ralph Heiser’s place, and then spend the day bicycle riding and touring nearby. The group will ride on town and Rustic Roads, which are relatively flat with the exception of one incline for a total of about 12 miles.  First stop will be the International Crane Foundation for a walking guided tour with in depth information about the cranes of the world covering about a 1/2 mile in 2 hours.  Then enjoy a bag lunch on the grounds of the Foundation.  After lunch, ride approximately 5 miles to the Aldo Leopold Foundation property for a guided walking tour of The Shack made famous in Leopold’s book “A Sand County Almanac” then ride back to the Heiser property.

The second tour will start with bus pick up at Chula Vista just after lunchtime (lunch on your own) followed by a boat tour of the Upper Dells. The Upper Dells tour travels the Wisconsin River above the dam in Wisconsin Dells. You’ll cruise a channel cut by ancient glaciers, passing under pine-crowned cliffs, through the Narrows and past iconic sandstone formations. Your adventure includes two exclusive shore landings: Witches Gulch — a dramatic and spooky walk through a passage carved by wind and water — and Stand Rock — a towering pillar of sandstone that’s home to the famous dog leap to the top of the tall rock. Relax and enjoy the view while learning more about the area.

Thursday evening we will gather for our Sharing Experiences presentations with fellow WWOA members sharing their personal experiences in caring for their woodlands. Past President Randy Cooper will share the Cooper’s woodland story of the 2019 derecho damage, resulting timber salvage, and reforestation.  Member John DeBaun will talk about their aging pine plantation, upcoming final harvest, and what comes after.  A special Women Working in Natural Resources professional panel will end the evening. Panel members will share their personal career paths with insights on how WWOA members may influence the next generation to consider a career in natural resources. Panel members are WWOA Past President Marcia Frost Vahradian of V’s Forestry Consulting LLC, Violet Thielke, past WWOA AmeriCorps member and WI DNR forester, Sarah Ward, WI DNR forester, Jamie Nack, UW-Madison Extension Senior Wildlife Outreach Specialist, and Olivia Kovacs, UW-Madison Extension Regional Natural Resources Educator.

Friday

Four tours will be offered on Friday, September 22. Unfortunately, due to the school bus driver shortage we are unable to offer bus transportation for these tours.  Members are encouraged to meet in the meeting registration area at the time listed if they are interested in carpooling to the various tour stops.

Tour 1 – Forest Industry Tour with lunch
Want to know more about how your wood becomes a forest product? Then join us for an industry tour! This full day tour will visit Meister Log and Lumber in Reedsburg in the morning where our guided tour will take you from the log yard through a state-of-art sawmill specializing in black walnut, northern red oak, white oak, hickory, hard maple and cherry. After a buffet lunch at Pizza Ranch, it is off to Hack-Away Forest Products to learn about their logging and firewood services including commercial oak firewood sales. This tour is not handicapped accessible. This tour is a 57 miles round trip.

Tour 2 – Kingsley Bend Mound Group Tour
We will offer a tour to learn more about the culture of the local area. Visit the Kingsley Bend Indian Mounds with Bill Quackenbush, Cultural Resources Division Manager of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. This morning only tour will cover native burial mounds management and maintenance protocols for these sites. The Ho-Chunk view these mounds, as all mounds, as an important cultural and sacred place but welcome respectful visitation. After this visit, you can travel to other nearby mounds such as the Man Mound or those found at Devil’s Lake State Park on your own. Restrooms are not available at this site visit. Bring a folding chair. This tour is 13 miles round trip.

Tour 3 – Jodarski Family Tree Farm Tour with lunch
Spend the day at the Jodarski Family Tree Farm with hosts Tom and Mary Jodarski. On the edge of the Driftless area at the end of Lake Wisconsin, they are tucked into a beautiful little valley between the bluffs. This will be a walking tour, with limited handicapped accessible transportation available. Bring your hat, a walking stick, and a folding chair for lunch! Tour their pollinator plot and learn about the NRCS, Conservation Stewardship Program. Take a walk up to the top of the bluff with a stop along the way to learn how to measure a forest plot and how this information is used to determine when you need a harvest. See how spongy moth has impacted the oak stands this year. Learn about this property’s unique history as you take in the beautiful view from the top of the bluff. Discuss chainsaw safety, bore cutting, and safety issues when harvesting on slopes, all while strolling through stands of beautiful oaks.  A box lunch is included. Tour is 39 miles round trip.

Tour 4 – Restoring Fire and Managing for Oak in the Baraboo Hills – It’s for the Birds Tour with lunch
WWOA is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to host a morning tour on Restoring Fire and Managing for Oak in the Baraboo Hills – it’s for the Birds! The group will meet at the Hemlock Draw Preserve to learn more about their work with oak management and ecosystem restoration, utilizing prescribed fire, and monitoring effects of their management and bird community response. This tour is not handicapped accessible, since the group will be hiking approximately two miles off trail, with a few steep inclines, firebreaks and rocks. The tour will not go to the “Hemlock Draw” area of the Preserve but the trail is nearby and members could do this on their own in the afternoon.  The guided tour will end with a discussion and bag lunch. Tour is 60 miles round trip.

Late afternoon on Friday, join us for the Friends and Exhibitors Social with time to visit with fellow members and our exhibitors, bid on silent auction items or purchase some Friday evening raffle tickets while enjoying tasty snacks and a cash bar.  WWOA’s Marshfield Clinic Health System AmeriCorps member serving WWOA in 2023, Häven Epstein, will give a short presentation about her 9 months with WWOA after a delicious Friday dinner and special raffle drawings.

Saturday 

Saturday, September 23, starts bright and early with the opening of the exhibit hall.  Saturday includes WWOA’s Annual Business meeting, our Keynote speaker, the Landowner Cafe (tables staffed by experts to answer your questions), afternoon concurrent sessions on a variety of topics, and possibly a craft session.

WWOA’s 44th Year Annual Business Meeting will be chaired by President Tom Kempen.  It will highlight WWOA’s achievements for 2022-23 and some of our goals for 2023-24. We will recognize retiring WWOA Board members and present Memorial plaques to families that have chosen to donate to WWOA in their loved one’s name.

USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wisconsin State Forester, Allan Braun will present an overview of new cost-share opportunities from NRCS from the Inflation Reduction Act and Joint Chief’s project. This will be preceded by a short overview of NRCS programs and how to find field office contact information.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Secretary designee, Adam Payne, will present our keynote address on Private Woodlands and Partnerships: Vital to Wisconsin.

Saturday afternoon concurrent sessions offer something for everyone!  In the first set of concurrent sessions choose from estate planning or marketing your timber.

  • Attorney Andrew Schmidt of Schmidt & Schmidt S.C. will speak on Options for Transferring Your Land to the Next Generation. His fictional family, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty are married with four adult children. They inherit 120 acres of land on Big St. Germain Lake in Vilas County.  110 acres of the land is enrolled in the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program. “What could possibly go wrong in passing my land to my children?”
  • Perspectives on Marketing Your Timber will be presented by procurement forester John Withers of Meister Log and Lumber in Reedsburg and consulting forester Tom Hill of Tom Hill Forestry LLC, Dodgeville. What should private woodland owners know about marketing their timber?

The second set of concurrent sessions offer mapping applications for woodland owners or forestry for birds.

  • WWOA member, Jake Schuh, will cover Mapping Applications for Woodland Owners. The main presentation will be on how to use OnX on the phone app and on the website, how to draw in polygons and placemarkers while organizing everything to make it more useable.  He will walk participants through how to use Web Soil Survey, WDNR Wetland Maps, and Google Earth as tools to help accomplish various management practices.  Google Earth is helpful as a free option and very versatile tool.
  • Forestry for Birds: Maximizing Diversity and Health in Your Woods will be presented by Jordan Winkenbach of American Bird Conservancy.  Precipitous declines in bird populations have been noted for decades, with 2.9 billion birds lost in just the last 50 years. One of several driving factors of these declines is habitat loss and fragmentation.  In Wisconsin, sixty-eight percent of forested land is privately owned, making active management by private woodland owners critical for reversing these losses. Managing for forest bird conservation hinges on the importance of diversity across the landscape, benefitting the sustainability of your forest and the many critters who depend on it. This presentation aims to help identify what habitats are present in your woods, techniques and strategies to improve and diversify existing habitat, and how to tailor management to best suit some of our native Wisconsin bird species.

Saturday evening’s Awards Banquet kicks off with a cash bar, delicious dinner, and time to visit with friends.  After dinner, tickets will be drawn for the Annual Fundraiser prizes and the Chapter Basket Raffle. Then help us recognize the WWOA’s Forestry Leader Scholarship recipient, Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee award winners and fellow WWOA members (submit your nomination) who have given so much of their time and energy to WWOA and our mission.

Sunday

WWOA’s Sunday Field Day event will be hosted by Steve and Sandy Berg at their southwestern Marquette County woodland. Their woodland is enrolled in the Managed Forest Law program. In 2018, their property experienced a significant blowdown taking down all of their pine.  The Wisconsin Forest Landowner Grant Program cost-sharing was used to assist with the clean up.  Join us to learn more about their recovery and various programs that are available to assist.

WWOA’s 2023 Annual Meeting will offer a variety of registration options. Come for a tour, a day, or the whole weekend. The 2023 Annual Meeting packets will be emailed out to members in July. Please make sure WWOA has your current email address on file. If you do not have an email address, you will receive a packet in the mail. If you prefer a packet mailed to you, contact the WWOA office or call the office at 715-346-4798 and let us know.

WWOA values the health and safety of our members, guests, and staff.  If you are feeling sick or have COVID-19 symptoms, please cancel your meeting registration and stay home for everyone’s safety.

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Annual Meeting Fun!

Why should you consider attending if you’ve never come before? Hear what our members said on the 2022 Annual Meeting evaluations:

  • “You meet new people, and this group of people are involved in current events, they ask great questions, they want to learn as much as they can, I’m so impressed!”
  • “Appreciation for the bigger WWOA enterprise and membership expertise.”
  • We can learn so much from other’s successes, and even more from what did not work.
  • “It is a well-informed group of very passionate people willing to help and support any woodland owner.”
  • “I always learn something new, great tours, friendly people, nice locations, WWOA has done great things to build awareness of woodlands.”