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Ducks fly over rough water on the Bay of Green Bay.

About Carl Richter

Carl Richter finds a nest in a wetland.Carl Richter was one of Wisconsin's most skilled and dedicated field naturalists. As a young boy in Oconto, Wisconsin, he developed an intense interest in animals, especially birds. During the 1920's he refined professional skills and obtained a Federal Scientific Collecting Permit while serving as Curator of Zoology at the Chamberlin Museum in Michigan. This allowed Carl to begin his own collection and to legally exchange scientific specimens with other collectors and institutions throughout the world, an avocation which he continued for the next fifty years.

The Great Depression forced Richter's return to Oconto, where Richter worked as a surveyor. In the 1930's he helped start the Oconto Historical Society and was a charter member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. He began working for Wisconsin Public Service in 1941 and continued as Stores Manager until his retirement in 1969. Carl continued to collect and exchange specimens until 1972, when poor health finally curtailed his activities. By the 1970's Richter's extraordinary collections included over 11,000 egg sets and 1,200 scientific study skins of birds and mammals. These, plus smaller collections of amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, mollusks, and Native American artifacts filled two houses in Oconto.

Richter wanted his collection to be kept intact, in Wisconsin, and available for research, teaching, and display. In 1974, he donated his entire collection to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, along with his carefully documented field notes, ledgers, correspondence, photographs, and library. The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Izaak Walton League of America honored him for his lifetime work and generous gift to science. In 1975, Carl Richter received the UW-Green Bay Chancellor's Award of Merit for his achievements.