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Badger State, America's Dairyland™


Wisconsin is located near the center of the North American continent and touches two of the five Great Lakes . Wisconsin's capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee.

Since its founding, Wisconsin has been ethnically heterogeneous, with Yankees being among the first to arrive from New York and New England. They dominated the state's heavy industry, finance, politics and education. Large numbers of European immigrants followed them, including Germans, mostly between 1850 and 1900, Scandinavians (the largest group being Norwegian) and smaller groups of Belgians, Dutch, Swiss, Finns, Irish, Poles and others; in the 20th century, large numbers of Mexicans and African Americans came, settling mainly in Milwaukee; and after end of the Vietnam War came a new influx of Hmongs.

Today, 42.6% of the population is of German ancestry, making Wisconsin one of the most German-American states in the United States. Numerous ethnic festivals are held throughout Wisconsin to celebrate its heritage. Such festivals are world renowned, and include Summerfest, Oktoberfest, Festa Italiana, Bastille Days, Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day), Brat(wurst) Days in Sheboygan, Cheese Days in Monroe and Mequon, African World Festival, Indian Summer, Irish Fest and many others.

The state is bordered by the Montreal River; Lake Superior and Michigan to the north; by Lake Michigan to the east; by Illinois to the south; and by Iowa and Minnesota to the west. The state's boundaries include the Mississippi River and St. Croix River in the west, and the Menominee River in the northeast. With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of geographical features. The state is divided into five distinct regions. In the north, the Lake Superior Lowland occupies a belt of land along Lake Superior. Just to the south, the Northern Highland has massive mixed hardwood and coniferous forests including the 1.5 million acre (6,000 km²) Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, as well as thousands of glacial lakes, and the state's highest point, Timms Hill. In the middle of the state, the Central Plain possesses some unique sandstone formations like the Dells of the Wisconsin River in addition to rich farmland. The Eastern Ridges and Lowlands region in the southeast is home to many of Wisconsin's largest cities. In the southwest, the Western Upland is a rugged landscape with a mix of forest and farmland, including many bluffs on the Mississippi River. This region is part of the Driftless Area, which also includes portions of Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. This area was not covered by glaciers during the most recent ice age, the Wisconsin Glaciation.

Overall, 46% of Wisconsin's land area is covered by forest.

The varied landscape of Wisconsin makes the state a vacation destination popular for outdoor recreation. Winter events include skiing, ice fishing and snowmobile derbies. Wisconsin has many lakes of varied size; in fact Wisconsin contains 11,188 square miles (28,977 km²) of water, more than all but three other states (Alaska, Michigan and Florida). The distinctive Door Peninsula, which extends off the eastern coast of the state, contains one of the state's most beautiful tourist destinations, Door County. The area draws thousands of visitors yearly to its quaint villages, seasonal cherry picking, and ever-popular fish boils.

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include the following:
- Apostle Islands National Lakeshore along Lake Superior
- Ice Age National Scenic Trail
- North Country National Scenic Trail
- Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway
- Nicolet National Forest.

Known as "America's Dairyland," Wisconsin is also known for cheese. Citizens of Wisconsin are referred to as Wisconsinites, although a common nickname (sometimes used pejoratively) among non-residents is "Cheeseheads." This is due to the prevalence and quality of cheesemaking in the state, and for the novelty hats made of yellow foam in the shape of a triangular block of cheese. Cheese curds are an extremely popular treat, exported as gifts throughout the country. The state is also known for its alcohol production and consumption, and it is historically home to a large number of breweries and bars per capita. A lesser known, but still significant nickname for Wisconsin is "The Copper State," referring to the copper mines in the northwestern part of the state.

Wisconsin is very popular for outdoor activities especially hunting and fishing. One of the most popular game animals is the Whitetail deer. In 2005, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported the population of Wisconsin's deer herd to be about 1.4-1.5 million. It is common for over 600,000 deer hunting licenses to be sold each year. Visitors to Wisconsin during the Thanksgiving holiday will see many hunters in rural areas wearing blaze orange gear for Wisconsin's gun-deer hunting season.

The Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee is known for its unique architecture. The Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens cover over 200 acres (800,000 m²) of land on the far west side of the city. Madison is home to the Vilas Zoo which is free for all visitors, and the Olbrich Gardens conservatory, as well as the hub of cultural activity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is also known for Monona Terrace, a convention center that was designed by Taliesin Architect Anthony Puttnam, based loosely on a 1930s design by Frank Lloyd Wright, a world-renowned architect and Wisconsin native who was born in Richland Center. Wright's home and studio in the 20th century was at Taliesin, south of Spring Green. Decades after Wright's death, Taliesin remains an architectural office and school for his followers.

Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
Photos courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism

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