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Keeping Wisconsin Families Safe Online

Technology allows us to be constantly connected, and no age group knows this better than our children and teenagers. In fact, a recent Pew Research study showed that 95% of U.S. teens have access to smartphones and 45% are online almost constantly! It can seem overwhelming to think about how to manage the devices, the safety, the screen time, as well as all the other things happening in life. Start with the basics! We’ve put together a few ideas and resources below that can help you set a solid foundation for online safety in your home.
Set rules, and stick to them.

Maybe this looks like a contract whenever there’s a new device or at certain intervals, like starting a new grade. Discuss appropriate screen time limits (school vs personal), appropriate consequences for breaking rules, and stick to those limits and rules. The rules apply to us, too – make sure you are setting a good example and following screen-time limits yourself, as well! If you can’t, explain the reason: “I’m expecting an important work call this evening, so I need to be keeping an eye on my phone during dinner.”

Utilize built in (FREE) safety options!

We mentioned screen time limits above. Great news! Your phone has built in options for screen time limits, limits on certain apps, and even the option to approve the apps your child downloads. Set up parental approvals with Family Link for Androids and Family Sharing for Apple devices. On the devices themselves, you can set parental controls to help create appropriate boundaries.
How do you know if an app is appropriate to approve? There are great resources out there to help you learn about popular apps and games! One of our favorites is; they provide parent and kid reviews of popular apps, as well as summaries and talking points for discussion.

Teach them what to do.

We teach our kids what is appropriate and inappropriate activity; this is no different. Set the standard for appropriate online interaction and activity and teach them what to do if something makes them feel uncomfortable or “funny.” It could be as simple as having them tell you, but you may want to teach them how to report abuse through the app or game, depending on age and understanding of your child.
In addition to reporting abuse through the app or platform, you can also report incidents involving technology-facilitated crimes against children through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline at

Remember, technology is very beneficial, and we can even use technology to help us manage technology! Also, remember that our kids are not doing anything new…they’re exploring and learning. They’re just doing it on wider-reaching platforms, with potential for a wider audience. Check out resources, like our biweekly Protect Kids Online podcast and our interactive parent/child e-module to learn more about safety info on the go, and when it works for your schedule:
In the end, the biggest influence on a child’s online behavior is frequent discussions with their parent or guardian about their online lives.  Technology isn’t going away, so start asking your kids to teach you about their tech – who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new app or game that you can’t put down. Stay safe!

Dana Miller is an Advanced Program & Policy Analyst with the Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation in the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  Dana holds a B.S. in both Criminal Justice and Biology and a M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin -Platteville, and has worked extensively in education and harm prevention surrounding technology throughout the state of Wisconsin.
The post Keeping Wisconsin Families Safe Online appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Keeping Wisconsin Families Safe Online

GHT Learn

Why Lifestyle Matters to Our Long Term Health

Have you heard of Pottenger’s Cats? If you haven’t, prepare yourself for a paradigm shift in how you view food, nutrition, and generational heredity.
Pottenger’s Cats is a reference to a scientific study conducted by Francis M. Pottenger from 1932 to 1942.  Pottenger, a scientist studying adrenal hormones on cats, accidentally stumbled upon a finding so profound, so important to overall health, that it is at the core of any natural healthcare provider’s mission. He found that, when eating a diet inconsistent with optimal health, cats were developing degenerative diseases and became quite lazy in the first generation of exposure and developed disease earlier in life in the second generation, coupled with a noticeable loss in coordination. And by the third generation, cats were experiencing elevated infertility, blindness, weakness, had a much shorter lifespan, and allergy rates were skyrocketing.
Why is this relevant? IT’S HAPPENING TO HUMANS! A cat’s life cycle is much shorter than ours, so the study serves as a premonition. We are in the second and even third generation of this happening to humans. Allergies and food sensitivities saw a hike of 377% between 2007 and 2016, autism is at an all-time high at 1 in 57, and we all know someone struggling with an unexplainable, mystery illness.
The ramifications of this study go beyond nutrition and into the toxicity of the world we live in. That’s why natural health exists.  Natural health’s mission is to return to the ways that mother nature provided.  It’s not just about removing disease but enhancing life.  And we choose to do that without drugs, without chemicals, and without side effects.  In natural health, we believe that you don’t put drugs in and get health out.  You can’t be healthier than the food you eat.  You can’t be healthier than the thoughts you think.
So, what’s the underpinning of natural health?
There’s a surprisingly simple answer. And the answer is epigenetics. Epigenetics is another way of explaining our genes. Epigenetics suggests that it’s genetic expression, not simply your genes, that dictates your risk of disease. In simpler forms, if you have a bad gene, but it doesn’t ‘express’, it’s as if you don’t have it.
So how do you avoid expressing your ‘bad genes’? Well, that’s the million-dollar question isn’t it? It comes down to our lifestyle. We all know that when we eat better or exercise regularly, we feel better. When you do those things, you’re leverage your epigenetics through your lifestyle decisions. And that’s the key. Lifestyle.
True health is not an answer, but a process. And that process is achieved through lifestyle. One of the best quotes about epigenetics is: your genes load the gun, but your lifestyle pulls the trigger.
As natural healthcare providers, we are experts at leveraging epigenetic factors in our clients’ favor. We have the most advanced tools in the world that are rooted in quantum physics to identify, at a bio-individual level, the needs of an individual client.
We start with nutrition, but we don’t stop there. We help our clients energetically clear their emotions. We help our clients identify exposures to toxins that are diminishing their healing power. We help clients grow and balance their energy fields so that they are resilient to the stress in our lives.
And we’ve done it thousands of times with astonishing results.  We don’t treat, cure, prevent, diagnose or prescribe. We don’t need to. We simply support our clients’ bodies and sit back while our clients’ innate intelligence is activated.
If you want to leverage epigenetics so that your genes express favorably, you wouldn’t believe what we have in store for you!
Tom Frazier, co-founder of Symmetry Natural Healthy, has a background in both corporate finance and health coaching. Since he was diagnosed with diabetes at 15, he’s been enthusiastic about natural wellness. The technique and approach to natural health employed at his wellness center has changed his life for the better. Tom began Symmetry to share a new paradigm of holistic healthcare with patients in the Madison area.
The post Why Lifestyle Matters to Our Long Term Health appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Why Lifestyle Matters to Our Long Term Health

GHT Group Health Trust Learn Wisconsin Health

How to Find the Right Amount of Screen Time for Your Family

Everywhere you turn, there’s a screen, many directly in your child’s line of sight.  And everywhere you turn, there’s also a list of warnings about the dangers of screen time for kids. Physical inactivity. Obesity. Digital eyestrain. Disrupted sleep. Heightened stress hormones. Impaired social skills. Developmental delays. Brain damage. It’s a frightening prospect since a child is a child only once.  There’s no do-over with child development.
The potentially grave consequences have led both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization to publish guidelines on screen time limits, based on the age of the child.  The recommended limits, which include just 1 hour of high-quality screen time per day for children ages 2 to 5 years old, are far lower than most families’ actual usage.
On the flip side, dissenting opinions question the growing moral panic over screen time use and point out the benefits of screen-based technology.  What about face-time with far-away relatives? What about educational apps and programs? Is the real problem the quantity or the quality of kids’ screen use.
What’s a parent to do?
Here are three suggestions to find a realistic, reasonable solution for screen-time concerns:
First, read the actual policy statements from the AAP. There’s one for children ages 0 to 5 and one for children and adolescents ages 5 to 18. The full policy statements provide much more thoughtful discussions than simple hour-limits, with helpful considerations for concerned parents. They even provide guidance about specific brands of educational apps that may be beneficial.
Second, check out the AAP’s Family Media Plan, a nifty online tool to help you customize individual screen time limits for each child in your home.  The tool provides a 24-hour ruler that includes all the categories of time-use in a child’s day, such as sleep, school, homework, chores, and screen time.  It’s a great interactive visual to get a complete picture of the child’s day, which can help parents make better decisions about kids’ screen time and other activities.
Finally, look in the mirror and double-check the example you’re setting.  Parent media use is a strong predictor of child media habits.  Research also shows that parents’ use of both TV and mobile devices is associated with less parent-child interaction.  Decades of research confirm that those parent-child interactions are some of the very best supports for kids’ learning, communication and social-emotional development. Parents, never let screens get in way of the most effective parenting tool of all – YOU.
Dr. Pam Lano is a developmental psychologist who directs staff and family training at FamilyPath Autism Services. Pam’s two decades of experience working with families with autism has always emphasized educating and equipping parents so they can effectively support their children.  As a parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum, her parenting experiences always keep her humble and grounded in the reality that parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love. For additional reading, see CNN’s recent article on the relationship between screen time and brain development.

The post How to Find the Right Amount of Screen Time for Your Family appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
How to Find the Right Amount of Screen Time for Your Family


How Keeping Active is the Key to Staying Young in Body and Mind

Growing older is something we can’t control, however, we do have control over “how” we grow older. Gaining weight, losing muscle mass and becoming weak and sedentary is not mandatory but is a choice, just as is remaining active, involved and a viable part of one’s community.
The body was meant to move and as Newton’s Law of Inertia states: “A Body in Motion, Stays in Motion; A Body at Rest, Stays at Rest”.  It doesn’t matter what age you are, we were all meant to move and when that rule is adhered to, one will stay in motion or one will stay at rest; it’s a choice.
As a personal trainer, I am continually impressed by my clients who have increased their ability to lift heavier weights, improved cardio/respiratory endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination. It basically is “one step and one rep” at a time.  Exercise and movement spills over into every other area of life; it’s so much more than just burning fat and calories but builds self-esteem, confidence and improves one’s quality of life from the inside out!
One of my main “go to” pieces of fitness equipment is the TRX Suspension Trainer. At first, I thought it was a fad, but quickly became a devoted fan of how two nylon straps with a handle at each end, uses the power of one’s own body weight to provide a total body workout in a short amount of time. This one piece of equipment is light, portable and is “Fitness Anywhere”. All you need is a doorframe, hook or pole to wrap the strap and extender around.  My clients are usually skeptical but immediately “sold” on how powerful this unique fitness tool is in creating a total body workout that results in building muscle, increasing flexibility, range of motion and improving balance and coordination. The TRX Suspension Trainer focuses on working the body in various planes of motion as well as incorporating functional movement exercises that include: lunging, hinging, planking, pushing/pulling. The TRX Suspension Trainer helps straighten and strengthen the body at the same time. It’s an incredible piece of fitness equipment that benefits people of various fitness levels from the person just getting into fitness or the elite fitness enthusiast or athlete as well as those coming back from a serious injury or chronic illness such as a cancer diagnosis. The TRX Suspension Trainer is a beautiful piece of fitness equipment that is sure to be around for a long time!
My personal training business has recently evolved into mobile training where I bring the fitness to you. I work with individuals, semi-private (2 people) or small groups (max 8). I am available to provide corporate fitness training and recently became a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist.
Karen Bluhm, B.S, ACE-CPT is the owner and operator of Commit 2B Fit LLC and is a Certified Functional Aging Specialist and Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist. To contact Karen, email [email protected] For more information on life-long health, watch our video on preventative health.
The post How Keeping Active is the Key to Staying Young in Body and Mind appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
How Keeping Active is the Key to Staying Young in Body and Mind

Clutch Learn

Three of the DW Crew’s Favorite Wisconsin Heroes

Wisconsin is home to all kinds of heroes: first responders, family members, athletes, musicians, actors, and everyday people who inspire us to tackle life’s toughest challenges. We’ve partnered with Clutch Energy Drink to share three Wisconsin heroes that inspire us with their strength, creativity, and persistence to live everyday to the fullest.
For Discover Wisconsin co-host, Mariah Haberman, her Wisconsin hero is her late grandmother, Marian Tomlin. She said, “Despite getting polio at age 20, Marian went on to have 10 children, raised them basically single-handedly and actually won a “World’s Greatest Mom” contest in 1992 by the National Enquirer. My family used to tease her that nothing that tabloid wrote was true. ;)”
Eric Paulsen, another co-host of Discover Wisconsin, is inspired by Wisconsin-born music legend, Les Paul. He explains in his own words: “One of my Wisconsin heroes is a guy named Lester Polsfuss, better known as Les Paul. This music legend started his career in Waukesha playing roadhouses and drive-ins. He went on to play with big stars in St. Louis, Chicago, and New York, and in 1940 he created a new electric guitar, eventually working with Gibson guitars to create a true electric guitar with his name on it in 1952.
His contributions to music and music production are legendary; almost all of the popular music we’ve enjoyed over the past 60 years has drawn from Les Paul’s inventions. He’s a Wisconsin hero for his influence on the world of music, musicians, producers, and all of us who love music and entertainment.”
Another inspiring Wisconsinite (although many of you might not know it) is actor and activist, Mark Ruffalo. Born in Kenosha in 1967 he spent his formative years here before moving to Virginia. Since then he has achieved significant success on the big screen, but outside of that he has also made great contributions giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of others. He is the founder of Water Defense, a non-profit dedicated to clean water. Water Defense’s mission is to use technology and public engagement to keep water ways and drinking water sources from contamination and industrial degradation.

Ruffalo is also an advocate for renewable energy and is currently on the board of directors for The Solutions Project, an initiative that focuses on accelerating the transition to 100% clean energy and making it accessible to all people.
Maddie Brady and Ellen Fallon are members of the Discover Wisconsin Marketing Team. You can watch Discover Wisconsin online at and learn more about Clutch Energy Drink at

The post Three of the DW Crew’s Favorite Wisconsin Heroes appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Three of the DW Crew’s Favorite Wisconsin Heroes

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Bullying Prevention Starts with Student Action

As parents, we are both fortunate to be able to work in the same district where our children attend school. It’s a blessing that not all teachers are afforded. Teachers, as a whole, want a safe, nurturing, and rigorous educational environment for their students, and this is doubly true in our case. We want a place where we feel safe and excited to send our children, and we want that place to be Adams-Friendship High School.
Four years ago, thanks to the AWARE grant, our district invested in the social-emotional and mental health of our students. One of the ways they did this was by implementing Safe School Ambassadors (SSA).
Our students participate in an anonymous Youth Risk Behavior Survey to analyze the changes in student culture. The district uses this data to drive the direction for upcoming years. It focuses on a range of things from bullying, to attendance, and more. Not all of our data over the past few years has shown improvement in these areas, but we do have bright spots, including the fact that the percentage of students who report that bullying and harassment is a problem on school property has decreased by 10% since 2015. This is something to celebrate and, in part, is due to our SSA.
Watch this video to learn ways to give students the tools they need to prevent bullying and spread positivity in schools.
Students are a powerful force for change
However, the work isn’t done. Although we saw an 11% increase in students reporting a sense of belonging in their school from 2015-2017, in 2018 we saw a 7% decrease. This means that our ambassadors are making changes, but need more help. Our goal is to train more students in the upcoming years so that our reach is larger.
What most people don’t realize is that students are the biggest and most powerful force for change in our schools. And yet, we often make them the most underutilized resource. They see, hear, and know things that teachers and other adults in schools do not. They can intervene in ways adults can not. Kids decide what’s cool in school, so why not train them with strategies to make being kind cool again.
Kids are the future; SSA gives them the power to make positive cultural change in their school and it does it in a safe way. Kids might be reluctant to step in and stop an aggressor if they don’t know them well, but SSA allows kids to start first with themselves and next with their social group.
Strategies to empower action
The beauty of SSA is the training process. It’s an intense, interactive, two day training. Students and staff reflect upon personal experiences and participate in collaborative learning activities that build trust. We train the adults to become family group facilitators with the students as they become ambassadors.
During the training, students develop skills in observing, negotiating, interviewing, and reporting while staff learn to facilitate small family group meetings of 8-12 students. Throughout, we continually circle back to the seven strategies our ambassadors will use to intervene in student altercations. The power behind the strategies is that of the seven, only one requires adult intervention. The students use these simple strategies to tackle the different types of mistreatment: put downs, unwanted physical contact, acts against campus, exclusions, and intimidation. Many students who start SSA aren’t even sure what they’re getting into during training, but by the time they leave they’re ready to make the change they want to see in our school.
Ambassador Dallas King said, “I had no clue what SSA was until I was asked to join, and I am so glad I am able to have the opportunity to make a difference in my school and work with a great group of people on some amazing projects.”
Working from the inside out
With the rise of school violence (emotional and physical), schools have taken an outside-in approach. Since Columbine, schools have spent nearly a billion dollars to keep schools safe from outside threats. These are all important things, but we also need to work from the inside out.
Rick Phillips, the founder of Community Matters said, “Here’s what we’ve learned. You can most often keep the guns out, but you can’t keep the student out, and they bring in other types of weapons that get past adults and machines. Those are weapons of prejudice, stereotypes, and grudges from their neighborhood and values from home. And, it is these weapons that contribute to the many incidents that [teachers] have to deal with everyday.” We need to work with our students to change the climate. If we change the climate, we can directly impact other things like attendance, graduation rates, and academic success. Students who feel safe and welcome in a school come ready to learn.
Building a positive school culture
We make this a reality by running the meetings, but also by implementing projects for the school. We’ve started projects to help welcome our students; one of them is the “Sticky Note Project.” Ambassadors write positive affirmations on sticky notes such as “you’re wonderful.” Then, we anonymously cover the school with these notes, placing them on every locker. Students are greeted with a positive message just for them. It’s just one small thing to make our school a better place.
This process of building a positive school culture is a journey. There are no perfect systems and no perfect people. Our ambassadors aren’t perfect and aren’t disciplinarians. They’re just kids, stepping in to diffuse tension and trying to make their school better.
We know we have a long way to go, but we know that we’ve made progress. We see it in our ambassadors who step into situations they might have once just ignored. We see it in students who might walk away from a fight because their friend reminded them of the consequences. We see it in sticky notes on lockers instead of on the floor. We see it in teachers who facilitate family groups and share positive stories from their groups. And finally, we see it in the future of our school our own kids will attend.
Watch this video to learn ways to give students the tools they need to prevent bullying and spread positivity in schools.
Kimberly Etter is an English Teacher, Spectrum Academy Teacher, and yearbook advisor at Adams-Friendship High School. She earned her English BSE from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2007.  She enjoys working with high school students and helping them reach their potential and become critical thinkers who want to change the world. Mrs. Etter enjoys spending time her her husband and three children.  She co-manages Safe School Ambassadors with Mrs. Tissen. 
Emily Tissen is a Special Education Teacher of students with Intellectual Disabilities at Adams-Friendship High School and co-manages the Safe School Ambassador program with Mrs. Etter as a Trainer of Trainers. She has earned a Master of Arts in special education cross-categorical ages 5-21 from Rockford College in Rockford, IL, and a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education, from Rockford College. She enjoys working with high school students and helping them to achieve their individual goals to become compassionate, honest and productive members of society. She is the proud mother of two high school students, Andy who is a sophomore and Jayme who is a freshman, both at AFHS.
The post Bullying Prevention Starts with Student Action appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Bullying Prevention Starts with Student Action


Mental Health Activist Gets Wisconsin Communities Talking

The suicide prevention field found me like it finds most others, through a personal connection. I lost my friend, Arie, to suicide in 2010. I later lost my neighbor, Loretta, and my co-worker, Bruce, to suicide. I didn’t know much about mental health or suicide then—only that no one really knew how to talk about either.
So, I started talking about it.
After Arie died, I brought a mental health fundraiser to my high school called The Storytellers, a program started by the nonprofit, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). The goal was to get my community talking about mental health and figure out better ways to help one another make it through tough times. It was clear that people wanted to share their experiences; The Storytellers campaign simply gave these conversations a platform. We held bake sales and coin wars, received donations from teachers, and led skits at our district’s elementary school about kindness and asking for help. Eventually we won the campaign in our bracket, which brought the national TWLOHA team to our school the following year for a mini concert and presentation. We did some pretty big things in my small town, but what I remember most are the letters.
We underestimate the power of connection.
Friends wrote me saying they were so grateful we were shedding light on things like depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicide. People were eager to learn about mental illness and ways to be there for friends. So often we are left struggling in silence with these issues. People were finally feeling understood and seen.
Watch this video to hear more from Leah about the ways mental health impacts our interactions with others.
I knew, at least in my life, these conversations couldn’t stop there.
When I got to college, some friends and I started a university chapter of TWLOHA, the same nonprofit that introduced The Storytellers campaign. Again, the platform gave voice to stories of struggle but, more importantly, stories of resilience, recovery, and finding help. We were talking about mental health boldly and doing our best to reframe the conversation to one of hope and healing.
There are many things we’ve learned about how to help someone in crisis.
Most people who attempt suicide don’t want to die. When someone is thinking about suicide, they typically feel alone and burdensome to others; they might feel like there’s no other way to end the pain they’re in. It’s easy to think we need expert-led large-scale interventions when people are in crisis, but sometimes it’s simple. There is power in listening without rushing to judgement or solutions. You can tell someone they matter and that you see their pain. Be patient and persistent. Tell them you won’t give up on them. Most importantly, be there.
One way to educate yourself about suicide warning signs is to become trained as a “gatekeeper.”
QPR is one type of gatekeeper training. It stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer and there are already thousands in Wisconsin trained through this program. The training is not intended to be a form of counseling or to make you an expert; however, it is an educational experience to learn how to offer hope through positive action. It is a potentially lifesaving tool in the same way CPR is for cardiac events. Often, the biggest takeaway from a training like this is the relief people feel knowing that it’s okay to talk about these things. This is one way to break down stigma.
We all have mental health and can take steps towards our own wellness.
However, living with a mental illness shapes the way we achieve wellness. Mental health concerns, challenges, diagnoses, or whatever label we apply to our experiences, show up differently for everyone and it does take more than just talking about them to be well. I’m all for elevating the conversation and ending the stigma, but in a way that is honest about the intersectionality of mental health and the identities we hold. We need to be sure that, when we tell folks to get help, “help” is there in the form of relevant and accessible services.
I’m for reframing the narrative about mental wellness and suicide prevention.
Every day in America, 22 veterans die by suicide. We know that the rate of suicide is four times greater for LGB youth and two times greater for questioning youth compared to straight youth. We know that People of color, both adults and children, are less likely than their white counterparts to receive needed mental health care. We also know that the historical trauma suffered by Native Americans and Alaska Natives contributes to a high suicide rate among this community.
Again, experiences with mental health don’t look the same for everyone.
The most important thing I’ve learned through the collective mental health conversation is that we must listen to the voices of people with lived experience if we truly want to know how to help. By taking steps to continue this conversation, we are ensuring that our communities are brave spaces for people to speak their truth when it comes to sharing their experiences with suicide and mental health. Nothing ever gets better in silence. We have a responsibility to break that silence.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Crisis Text Line: Text “HOPELINE” to 741741 OR search
TrevorLifeline (LGBTQ+): call 1-866-488-7386 OR text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)

Leah Rolando is the Suicide Prevention Specialist with Mental Health America of Wisconsin. In this role, she coordinates Prevent Suicide Wisconsin, a statewide collaboration of partners in various organizations helping to present hope and strengthen the safety net in Wisconsin for folks who live with suicidal ideation. In addition to her statewide work, she serves on the Steering Committee for Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee, provides trainings as a QPR Instructor, and volunteers as a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line. Watch this video to hear more from Leah about the ways mental health impacts our interactions with others.
The post Mental Health Activist Gets Wisconsin Communities Talking appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Mental Health Activist Gets Wisconsin Communities Talking


Do You Know Wisconsin’s Conservation Legend?

Aldo Leopold is one of the most respected conservationists of the 20th century. He was one of the first foresters trained in the United States and a wildlife ecologist. He was a writer, especially later in his life, and a philosopher who thought through the big questions of conservation. He was a teacher who influenced generations of his own students and he was a devoted family man.
There’s plenty of resources out there to learn more about Aldo’s influence in Wisconsin, but if you really want to know Aldo Leopold, take some time to walk in his shadow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, WI.

Built on the ground where Aldo once lived and worked, this 10,000 acre area along the Wisconsin River has developed into a beautiful piece of land full of native plants and animals, thanks to the long time land stewardship of the Leopold family and the foundation that continues this good work. You can visit the grounds to see for yourself, as well as get a tour of a national historic landmark, the Leopold shack.
This is the very shack Aldo and his family once lived in back in 1935, and the foundation has continued to preserve this home and everything it represents for conservation. The foundation’s center itself was recognized as the greenest building in the world when it was built, with their energy efficiencies on full display in and around the buildings.

If you want to dig deeper into Aldo Leopold’s legacy, get engaged in one of the many programs that are designed to help people learn about nature, connect to nature, and figure out how to take care of nature. No training gets to the heart of Aldo’s teachings more than the Prescribed Burns and Land Stewardship workshop, which teaches how to bring the land back to what it once was and treat the environment as a part of your community. Aldo knew it, and his foundation knows it; these are vital ecological skills and knowledge to have in order for our natural world to continue to coexist.
And a success story from their wildlife and conservation efforts can be celebrated and found here every Fall. The Sandhill Cranes from throughout Central Wisconsin will spend a couple of months getting ready for their long distance migration, roosting along the islands and sandbars very close to the Aldo Leopold shack. For a bird that Aldo believed was headed for extinction, it’s incredible to realize that they’ve gone from just a few dozen cranes to over 10,000 cranes just using this section of the river. The foundation leads tour groups out to a blind that safely overlooks this area, where you can witness a true comeback story you’ll never forget.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation is the best place to get to know Aldo. However, did you know Aldo also taught in Wisconsin? He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, teaching about wildlife and land management, and the ideas of what we now call ecological restoration. He also played an integral part in starting the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and helped create the first restored prairies anywhere in North America. You can still find his name at a few different spots on campus, including the Leopold Residence Hall. They even teach courses on his work and research.

But Aldo Leopold is probably most well-known for his published collection of essays, The Sand County Almanac. And before you assume this is an outdated text that has no relevance today, what you have to remember is that, not only was Aldo Leopold ahead of his time when it came to environmental thought, but the ecological issues of the past are the same, if not worsened, issues of the present and future. And no one recognized that first hand better than Aldo Leopold when he was writing this body of text. He was convinced that we would find ourselves in a dangerous position if we continued treating the land merely as an economic entity. If we are not willing to be more conscious of the wildlife and the value in the nature around us, beyond what can be taken for ourselves, how will we begin to value life in general?
As a community, we must continue to talk about the importance of caring for nature and this world we take for granted, and sharing ideas on how to save it, in order for this land ethic to evolve into action and reality for our whole society. “We shall never achieve harmony with the land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.”
To learn more about Aldo Leopold and how you can get involved in conservation efforts, check out the foundation’s many resources for further learning. And watch the full Back To Nature episode on
(Photos courtesy of the Leopold Archive.)
Brian Mohsenian is a producer of Discover Wisconsin. Watch the show on Fox Sports Wisconsin every Saturday at 10am or on Roku, Chromecast, Smart TV, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV.
The post Do You Know Wisconsin’s Conservation Legend? appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Do You Know Wisconsin’s Conservation Legend?

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Four Tips to Quit Smoking from Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation

It’s hard to quit smoking – no doubt about it! But it is possible, and a good support system can make all the difference. Just ask the thousands of pregnant and postpartum women who have worked with Quit Coaches through the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation’s First Breath program:
“[My Quit Coach] was the friendship I needed in order to make me quit smoking. I feel that I would not have stopped smoking if it wasn’t for [her].”
“She makes me feel accountable. I get stuff done when I know someone’s depending on me.”
“Working with the Quit Coach, I felt better. I felt good when she would come visit and make me feel like she was proud of me that I didn’t smoke.”
Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation Quit Coaches
When working on a task as difficult as quitting smoking, success is more likely when people have someone there they know and trust – someone they can call when they have questions, who knows their situation, and who can help them with their quit plan. For the women of First Breath, that’s their Quit Coach—a trained Tobacco Treatment Specialist who does home visits, makes phone calls, and sends text messages—but it could also be a good friend or a family member who cheers you on and keeps you accountable!
“’Everything’s fine. You can do this. I got your back.’” Having someone there that’s willing to drop everything and go, ‘Hey listen, it’s alright. I’m here for you. Do you need to talk?’ Having that access is great.”
Having that access and being able to successfully cut back or quit tobacco use has some pretty awesome benefits too:
“We saved a lot of money from me not smoking.”
“My son doesn’t get the bad side effects of second-hand smoke.”
“I can sing really hard in the car now, and I have a lot more energy at the gym.”
“My kids are proud of me, and that I know I’m making my family proud.”
What else can you do to quit smoking?:
Write down what motivates you to quit
Why do you want to quit smoking? How will your life improve after you quit? Write your answers and post them somewhere you will see and be reminded of them often (e.g. bathroom mirror, refrigerator, etc.).
Make it harder to smoke
Throw away all your cigarettes (even your “emergency pack”), but also remember to throw out your lighters and ash trays. If you take steps now to make it harder to light up, you are more likely to make it through that next big craving when it hits.
Change how you respond to your smoking triggers
Every smoker has unique triggers (activities which are associated with smoking a cigarette), and it’s probably not realistic to completely avoid them. However, research has shown that replacing smoking with another habit when faced with triggers leads to greater success. So, instead of lighting up after a meal, try going for a short walk or calling a friend.
Try a practice run
Does the idea of quitting smoking altogether make you feel overwhelmed? Why not ‘practice’ quitting smoking instead? Treat it as an experiment or a challenge and give yourself a deadline. Try to make it through a day, a weekend or even a full week without lighting up. Make note of challenges that you encounter and need to figure out before you quit for good. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make it a week and feel like you want to keep going!
Beyond these ideas, remember that you are more likely to succeed when you have a plan, as well as the support to make this change. Pregnant women in Wisconsin can contact the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation to participate in the First Breath program, and all Wisconsin residents can get help from the WI Tobacco Quitline. Both services are completely free!
Watch this video to learn more about the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation and its various programs, or visit
The post Four Tips to Quit Smoking from Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Four Tips to Quit Smoking from Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation

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Retired Wisconsin Police Officer Talks Openly About Suicide Prevention

My husband tells me we would be invited to more parties if I was content to tell people that I retired after 26 years of being a police officer. But, instead I feel compelled to tell people that, in my retirement, I am working hard and fast on suicide prevention; and would they like to talk about firearms, suicide, hopelessness and what can be done about it all?  I believe that suicides are preventable, that lives can be saved and that what is needed is neither high tech nor particularly hard.
Watch this video to learn what gun retailer, Chuck Lovelace, is doing to help reduce the risk of people committing self-harm during times of crisis.
Collecting data on violent deaths like suicide, homicide and overdoses isn’t morbid, it’s a public health roadmap of what contributes to a significant number of deaths, and we need to know these risk factors. To shrug and say there’s nothing that can be done to stop these deaths denies the known risk factors and clouds suicide in mystery. In reality, suicide isn’t a mystery. It is often the result of treatable mental health disorders, like depression, addiction and substance abuse disorders.
However, if we look squarely at the most common method people use to kill themselves, it’s firearms. Of the over 47,000 people in the US who die by suicide, about half use a firearm.
If I told you that keeping a firearm away from someone who was in a temporary suicide crisis could save their life, you might argue that person would still find another means to die. The truth is, if the method they planned to use—in this case a firearm—isn’t available, they will likely retreat. Even if they substitute another method, let’s say an overdose of medication, it still takes more time to prepare and execute the plan, is far less lethal and it allows time for an intervention or for the person to change their mind.
Gun retailer, Chuck Lovelace, reveals interior of the safe where he keeps his customers’ firearms on request.
Let’s say a person has too much to drink, and a friend takes away their car keys, we don’t taunt that friend as being anti-car. At that moment in time, the car was more dangerous to the drunk owner than it was helpful. If you knew someone was facing known risk factors for suicide (a relationship crisis, depression, financial or job problems, addiction, feeling like a burden, facing a medical crisis, etc.) why not step in and tell that friend you would be willing to safely store all of their firearms until they were better? At that moment in time, firearms are more of a risk than helpful.
Temporary safe storage it isn’t anti-gun, it’s anti-suicide. If you’re not sure you know enough to recognize suicide risk, attend suicide prevention training or go online to learn more. The crisis line, 1-800-273-TALK, is there to help you help a friend. Next, reach out to someone in a crisis and tell them you care about them. Make it clear to them that you can’t solve all of their problems, but you can help them find safe storage for their firearms. If you can’t be that safe storage, ask a local gun shop for assistance. Let the individuals at that shop help you find a way to safely store a firearm.
Openly talking about suicide and finding a safe temporary storage of a firearm can save a life.
Author: Jean Papalia, Suicide Prevention Trainer for Safe Communities Madison-Dane County. Watch this video to learn more about ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of people committing self-harm. 
The post Retired Wisconsin Police Officer Talks Openly About Suicide Prevention appeared first on The Bobber.
Source: The Bobber – Discover Wisconsin
Retired Wisconsin Police Officer Talks Openly About Suicide Prevention