local features

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Did you know that Earth Day has its roots in Wisconsin? The Masked Biologist takes a glimpse back at the origins and early years after the original Earth Day in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Scott Bowe

In this month's installment of Field Notes, Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses how maple trees produce sap for real maple syrup.

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Have you had the opportunity to get outside? The Masked Biologist gives us some ideas for nearby outdoor activity destinations in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Yelp

When we think of the Northwoods, one thing that comes to mind is the Supper Club. These iconic restaurants, along with all nonessential business, have been closed to in-person business as a result of the COVID-19 virus. These closures have supper club owners wondering about their future. They also have concerns about their laid off workers, the companies that supply them with food and beverages, and their patrons who are unable to enjoy the establishments that are part of their lives.

Madeline Magee

By the middle of the century, the climate, the waters, and the species of northern Wisconsin could look like today’s southern Wisconsin.

That’s according to projections presented at a scientific conference last week.

In turn, climate change could force southern Wisconsin to look like states including Kansas and Virginia.

Jim Skibo

Each spring the hardwood forests of the Northwoods come alive with activity as the process of collecting maple sap begins. The people doing this work range from large commercial operations to single individuals tapping a few trees. As part of WXPR’s We Live Up Here series, we visited two very different operations before social distancing guidelines went into effect.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Are the Northwoods walleye you catch safe to eat, or do they have too much mercury?

The answer is tied to several factors, but new research shows a surprising variable might have the biggest effect.

The water level of the lake where you caught the fish could tell you more about its safety than anything else.

The realization of the connection started years ago, when lakes researcher Dr. Carl Watras found an interesting trend.

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When you hear the name Samson, what springs to mind – possibly a religious story, or maybe the name of a larger-than-life animal? The Masked Biologist says all of the above, and explores the humanization of animals in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Stormy Kromer Facebook

Instead of making its iconic Stormy Kromer hats, Ironwood-based Jacquart Fabrics is now making hospital masks and gowns.  Near Antigo, wildlife rehabilitators don’t have the luxury of staying away from work.  In this edition of We Live Up Here, we explore how COVID-19 has changed the landscape of businesses in our area.

State of Michigan

A month ago, in a ballroom at a hotel conference center in a Madison suburb, social distancing wasn’t even in the vocabulary of most people.

The coronavirus wasn’t yet a threat to Wisconsin.  Hundreds of people packed into a convention to talk about, and hear about, a different threat to health--PFAS.

“It is the hot ticket issue right now,” conceded Bridget Kelly, the Wisconsin DNR’s Program Coordinator for Emerging Contaminants.

The topic is only growing hotter.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The issue of contaminated water is an ongoing topic of concern in the city of Rhinelander, but it isn’t a new problem. Historian Gary Entz tells the story of contamination issues in the past and how Rhinelander came to get its water from wells.

Jim Skibo

Badger Minerals, a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, wants to begin exploratory testing in eastern Oneida County near the headwaters of the Wolf River. The area sits on an ancient volcanic deposit that often contains high concentrations of zinc, lead, copper, gold, and silver. Recently, a group met in Mole Lake, which sits a few miles from the site, to express their concerns over the proposed mining.

Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Member Nick Shepard began his speech by saying, “I’m here today in support of protecting the Wolf River, again.”

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As winter turns to spring, the Masked Biologist ties together constellations, spring, and the restoration of a wildlife species almost lost in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

At Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in Rhinelander last Sunday, pianos and voices paired for the song “Down to the River to Pray.”

It was the final hymn at Mass, and songs about prayers at the river were just one of the many references to faith and water at Catholic Masses across the country.

The Sunday Gospel, taken from John, Chapter 4, told of Jesus and a woman at a well.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The issue of nuclear waste generated by power plants in the United States always seems to be somebody else’s problem.  In this week’s Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz reminds us how it wasn’t so long ago that it could have been a problem for the Northwoods and could be again in the future.

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