Don’t laugh, because Jeremy Holtz is serious when he says he decided to move to Rhinelander to let his family experience “life in the city.”
Holtz, the new wildlife biologist stationed at the Rhinelander DNR service center, moved here from northern Florence County. Holtz said that, while Florence County’s landscape is beautiful, he’s happy to give his children, ages 4, 6 and 8, and his wife, Carol, a little more cultural options.
“We liked living there, but it was somewhat isolated,” said Holtz. “The kids are happy to have neighbors and new people to talk to now.”
Holtz succeeds Ron Eckstein, who retired last year after a long career as a biologist with the DNR. While Eckstein’s focus over the years centered on deer management and bird study, Holtz said his focus would center on educational outreach, including the DNR’s Young Forest Initiative, which encourages private landowners to manage their forest lands sensibly, replanting woodland to create prime habitat for grouse and woodcock.
“Deer management pays the bills, so I will be working in that area too, but there are a lot of other areas I hope to focus on that give other opportunities to outdoor enthusiasts. It’s definitely time for us to reach out to private landowners to help them improve their wildlife habitats.”
And while Eckstein is retired, he’s still in the office several times a week, working on the various side projects he’s grown passionate about over the years. Holtz views Eckstein as the perfect mentor to help him learn about the Northwoods landscape.
“Ron is really the man around here when it comes to wildlife in the Northwoods,” said Holtz. “I’m very happy that he’s made himself available and is working with me. That has really helped in the transition.”
Part of Holtz’s outreach goals include educating the public about wildlife issues and facts through the media. He wrote a wildlife column for several years in the Florence Mining News, and will continue that endeavor with his weekly “The Wild Side” columns appearing in the Outdoors section of the Star Journal.
“Obviously wildlife education is something I’m very passionate about,” said Holtz. “I hope that my writing can create more interest in our natural environment.”
Editor Craig Mandli is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.