The Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership (WYFP) recently announced the hiring of Randee Smith as the partnership’s coordinator.
A graduate of Michigan Technological University, Smith has participated in numerous conservation and research projects, including a study of golden-winged warbler genetics in Michigan and a reforestation project in the rainforests of Australia. She began work with the WYFP in August.
Wisconsin's forests support a robust timber industry and vibrant and diverse populations of game and nongame wildlife, and provide scenic beauty and outdoor recreation to the state’s citizens and visitors.
Established in 2011, the WYFP brings together 15 conservation and industry organizations to work to give public land managers and private landowners the knowledge and tools they need to sustain the health and diversity of the state's forests.
Said Jeremy Holtz, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologist who serves as WYFP facilitator: "Randee brings a wealth of experience in forest wildlife management, and she has a driving passion for forest management and wildlife conservation. She will help lead our WYFP team and ensure that northern Wisconsin landowners receive outstanding service as they engage in management of their forested acres."
"I'm excited to become a part of the WYFP team," said Smith. "I’ve had a lifelong association with the wildlife of our northern forests, and being able to work with the WYFP and landowners across northern Wisconsin to enhance their habitat is a dream come true."
Smith added, "Young forest conservation is a critical and pressing issue, and we absolutely need landowners to understand how they can contribute to our conservation efforts. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together."
Noted Holtz about the WYFP: "Our goal is to ensure that land managers understand the critical role of disturbance in maintaining a diverse and functional forest ecosystem."
Owing to a lack of natural and manmade disturbances in recent decades, said Holtz, "We have seen major declines among many species of wildlife – from American woodcock to golden-winged warblers – that are adapted to dense, young forest habitats." Those habitats arise following disturbance caused by floods, fires, storms, and management activities like timber harvesting. The WYFP, Holtz said, "works diligently to promote active forest management that addresses this critical conservation issue."
WYFP partners include federal and state agencies, wildlife and forestry organizations, timber companies, and private landowners. The group provides outreach, education, and advice for landowners interested in enhancing forest wildlife habitat on properties they own or manage.
Over the past five years, hundreds of northern Wisconsin landowners have benefited from WYFP efforts, and habitat on thousands of forested acres has been created and improved.
The WYFP coordinator position receives funding from the Ruffed Grouse Society, Wildlife Management Institute, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
For more information on the WYFP, contact Randee Smith, WYFP Coordinator, 315 S. Oneida Ave., Suite 206,(715) 966-5160, WIyoungforest@gmail.com.
Additional media contacts:
Jeremy Holtz, WYFP Facilitator Phone: (715) 365-8999 E-Mail: Jeremy.Holtz@Wisconsin.gov
Dan Eklund, WYFP Steering Committee Vice-Chairman Phone: (715) 762-5194 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org