Wildife Ecology and Management - Extension

David Drake

Title: Associate Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist
Phone: 608-890-0445
Email: ddrake2@wisc.edu

Expertise: birds, urban/suburban wildlife, wildlife on private lands, human dimensions, wildlife damage management.

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Jamie Nack

Title: Senior Wildlife Outreach Specialist
Phone: 608-265-8264
Email: jlnack@wisc.edu

Expertise: wildlife management on private lands, youth education, wildlife damage management, and general backyard wildlife. Wisconsin Coverts Project coordinator.


Wildlife Extension programs conducted by specialists in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology serve and advise Wisconsin citizens on matters relating to the sustainable use, management, and appreciation of wildlife resources. Educational programs are conducted statewide. Requests for programs may be made through county Extension offices or directly with the specialists. Programs and information are disseminated either on-site or through distance education technologies, publications and other media.

Program Objectives

  • Promote and enhance the importance of the wildlife resource on Wisconsin’s quality of life, economy and outdoor recreational opportunities.
  • Empower private landowners to manage their land in an ecologically sound manner.
  • Provide information, technology and training to reduce the negative impact of wild animals on crops, structures, and human health and safety.
  • Collaborate with natural resource management agencies and conservation organizations to further sound resource stewardship.
  • Provide youth and teacher education programs to improve public awareness of wildlife resources and their management.

Sample Programs

Our programs are as diverse as the wildlife on which they focus. Here is a sampling of programs we’re involved in.

Wisconsin Coverts Project

The Wisconsin Coverts Project is a three-day woodland wildlife management program for private landowners who are interested in managing their woodlands for wildlife.  Attendees receive training from forestry and wildlife professionals in the classroom and in the field.  At the completion of the program, attendees become “Coverts Cooperators.”   They agree to develop a written wildlife management plan for their land and to share what they learned with other landowners in their communities.

Master Gardener

Specialists provide training via onsite and distance-education instruction on topics like backyard habitat enhancement and coping with wildlife damage and nuisance problems in the home landscape.

Pesticide Applicator Training

Specialists provide training in rodent and pest bird management for pest control operators seeking pesticide applicator certification.

Farm Technology Days

The Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation. The three-day outdoor event showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, including many practical applications of recent research findings and technological developments. Each year it is held in a different Wisconsin county on a different host family farm.  Extension Wildlife Specialists staff the “Wildlife on Your Farm” exhibit in the Progress Pavilion.  Information and consultations are available on land management for wildlife, wildlife damage control, wildlife-related income opportunities and wildlife-based recreation.

Grandparents University (GPU)

An award-winning, two-day workshop for children (ages 7-14) and their grandparents to come together and learn from each other in a dynamic atmosphere on the UW – Madison campus.  GPU is a program of the Wisconsin Alumni Association.  Wildlife specialist(s) serve as “Dean” of the Wildlife Ecology major.

School and Youth Groups

Wildlife specialists provide programs on Wisconsin’s wildlife diversity, the ecology of a specific wildlife species, habitat management, etc. to elementary schools, 4-H clubs, Boy and Girl Scout troops and other youth groups.