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'Habitat Handout Day' helps wildlife

Property owners in Pierce and St. Croix counties have another chance to make their lands welcoming to wildlife as the popular "Habitat Handout Day" makes its annual appearance in Baldwin.

Interested landowners who attend the event receive free spruce trees, wildlife friendly shrubs and seed for wildlife food plots. The distribution takes place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 28, at the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) field station at 890 Spruce St., Baldwin.

Plants and seed will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Landowners are asked to bring their own bags to carry seed and buckets for the seedling plants.

DNR Wildlife Technician Mike Soergel said the wildlife shrubs, spruce trees and the wildlife food plot seed were donated by the Kinnickinnic Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Indianhead Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Pierce/St. Croix Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and BioDiagnostics Inc. of River Falls.

There will be habitat agreements to be signed, ensuring these materials will be used for wildlife habitat and not for residential or commercial purposes. Volunteers from Pheasants Forever and the NWTF do much for area wildlife populations, both by raising funds and donating their time and skills to projects, Soergel said.

The distribution process has worked well in past years, with ample seed and plants for everyone. Each landowner will be limited to seed for three acres, about 50 pounds, and to 150 wildlife shrubs and trees.

"Private landowners are key partners with DNR in our efforts to conserve and enhance wildlife populations," Soergel said.