2018 Annual Friends Social

Steve Marking was the featured speaker at the Friends’ annual social held February 25 at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Visitors’ Center. Marking, who grew up learning to hunt and fish on the banks of the Mississippi, works with his wife as entertainers on a Mississippi riverboat that carries passengers down the river on extended cruises. At the social, Markings showed and discussed portions of the Power Point presentation of the Mississippi that Marking shows on the riverboat. The Friends were treated to stunning footage and amazing photographs of the river’s natural beauty and the various wildlife found along its way as well as listen to several of Marking’s show tunes.

 

Educating others to appreciate the beauty and importance of the refuge has been a part of Marking’s life on and off the riverboat. He and his wife currently live on Lake Onalaska and Marking continually films what he sees out his front window as well as up and down the refuge. Marking incorporates these local images as part of his riverboat’s Mississippi River presentation which he punctuates with music and song. The Markings have donated CDs of their music for purchase in the Refuge’s Visitor Center’s bookstore.

FOR 78

Friends of the Refuge - Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8 (FOR78) is an official Friends group for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge - La Crosse District

1st Annual 5th Grade Writing Contest

This spring, fifth graders at Sand Lake Elementary were invited to participate in a FOR78 Pilot Nature Writing Contest to share their experiences of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge. They wrote poems and personal narratives and on June 2nd, awards were presented at the school assembly by Refuge Manger Tim Miller and FOR78 Board member Ruth Davis. 

On June 17th, the first prize winners, Autumn (personal narrative) and Emma (poetry), and their parents enjoyed a 2-hour interpretive cruise with Ranger Katie on beautiful Lake Onalaska aboard the S.S. Squirrel, a pontoon board owned and operated by the North American Squirrel Association (N.A.S.A.). Other prizes included Ranger Rick subscriptions and gift certificates for the nature store. The student writings were inspiring and will be posted on the Prairie Wind Nature Store bulletin board in the Visitor Center – please come take a look after July 15.

 A special thank you to the teachers of Sand Lake Elementary – Mrs. Hoscheit, Mr. O'Neill, and Mr. Schollmeier for engaging the students; Captain Penny Becker for piloting the boat, Kwik Trip for providing the fuel, and N.A.S.A. for providing the boat free of charge. 

FOR 78

Friends of the Refuge - Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8 (FOR78) is an official Friends group for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge - La Crosse District