Inside This Issue
Lakeshore Currents - Stewardship
In looking out my window and contemplating spring awhile back, thoughts of stewardship came to mind.
Aldo Leopold championed environmental stewardship based on a land ethic "dealing with man's relation to land and to the animals and plants that grow upon it.” His son Luna expanded it further to describe a water ethic where “the health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” This ethic inspires our sense of place and LNRP’s celebration of the Waters of the Ledge.
Our board of directors recently revisited and rewrote our vision statement to more closely align with our Mission – Cultivating Environmental Stewardship in the Lakeshore Region. And for LNRP, we consider three primary types of environmental stewards: practitioners, donors, and doers. I’ve laid out what I see as each group’s contribution followed by the three elements of our revised vision statement in bold and italics.
Practitioners work on a day-to-day basis to steer governmental agencies, policy makers, scientists and researchers, stakeholder groups, or any other group toward a stewardship outcome. These are our Partners.
Element One: “An environmental stewardship ethic that facilitates cooperative planning, restoration, and responsible management of our air, land and water resources to ensure their long-term health”
A donor is the person, organization, agency or business financially helping the cause. Their assistance can range from donating money, to providing in-kind services, to hosting events or other fundraisers. These are our Supporters.
Element Two: “An environmental stewardship ethic that acknowledges our responsibility to care for our natural resources in ways that ensure our quality of life”
Doers go out and help the cause by taking action. For example, the doers in an oil spill would be the volunteers that go along the beach and help clean up oil to ensure the safety of their community. These are our Friend Groups.
Element Three: “An environmental stewardship ethic as key to economic prosperity, social justice and healthy ecosystems for future generations”
Together these three groups are the pool of environmental stewards that make up the fabric of our community. Anyone can be an environmental steward by being aware and knowledgeable of the world around them and engaging to make the world a better place.
Our recent Sustainable Living Fair in Door County brought together all three stewardship groups expressing a land and water ethic for the event: Stewardship Today for a Better Tomorrow.
Our Purpose: “Through our efforts to cultivate a strong stewardship and water ethic, we hope to leave the Lakeshore better than we found it.”
Yours in service to our waters,
Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership
LNRP Co-Hosting 2014 Chautauqua Barn Dance
Mark your calendars for the 6th Annual Chautauqua Barn Dance Saturday, September 13, 2014 at the Saxon Homestead Farm in Cleveland (Wis.).
This year’s theme will feature Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic. Our keynote speaker will be Curt Meine, Leopold’s biographer and on-screen guide for the film Green Fire. Curt will provide commentary and insight on the film being presented under the Chautauqua Tent beginning at 4:30 p.m. We will then move to the historic Saxon barn by 6:30 p.m. for a resounding rural celebration with a locally sourced harvest buffet followed by music and dancing from the band Buffalo Stomp.
We will also honor one of our partners, the Director of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Farmers Dick Cates. The Cates Family Farm received the 2013 prestigious Leopold Conservation Award announced at the meeting of the Wisconsin Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board meeting last November in Madison. This award honors outstanding Wisconsin landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. Dick and Kim Cates operate Cates Family Farm, a grass-fed beef enterprise near Spring Green in Iowa County. The farm includes 700 acres of managed grazing land and 200 acres of managed forest. They direct-market their pasture-raised steers to grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias and households around southern Wisconsin.
Since 1987, the Cates have worked to make the family farm more environmentally sound and profitable. They adopted rotational grazing practices and created a managed grazing system that included subdivision fencing and stream crossings for livestock. They encouraged the revitalization of a native oak savannah and care for Lowery Creek, a trout stream that runs through their grazing acreage.
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”
“This is the proudest moment of my agricultural career,” Dick Cates said at the award presentation.
The annual Chautauqua Barn Dance celebrates Wisconsin’s rich agricultural heritage, and is the annual fundraiser for Partnering for Progress, an affiliation between the Gathering Waters Conservancy, Cates’ UW-Madison School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, LNRP, and hosted by the Saxon Homestead Farm. Pre-registration is required and limited to 300 people; go to www.wisconsinfarmland.org/barndance to secure your spot today! With increasing corporate sponsorships, we’ve made attendance more affordable for you. This year, the cost of admission is $50/couple, $30/individual, $10/student and includes all presentations, food, beverages and entertainment. In addition, the purchase of a ticket gives you the added benefit of memberships in LNRP and Gathering Waters Conservancy for a year – in other words, become a member and come to the event for free! We hope you can join us at this fun-filled event to celebrate the Cates, our partners, and our rural and urban agricultural heritage.
Partnership Being Launched with June 7 Climate Forum
LNRP will soon become the fiscal agent and program partner with the Climate Change Coalition of Door County beginning with a June 7 forum at the Lodge at Leathem Smith in Sturgeon Bay. This event will help increase awareness of the potential impacts of climate change on Door County and foster discussion among community leaders and interested members of the public on cooperative action to address, adapt to and mitigate those impacts.
Speakers will include Tia Nelson, Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands and daughter of Earth Day founder and former US Senator Gaylord Nelson; Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison; Bob Krumenaker, Superintendent, National Park Service / Apostle Islands; Roy Thilly, former CEO of WPPI Energy; and Jane Elder, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Join us if you can for a lively and topical discussion. For more information, go to http://climatechangedoorcounty.com/.
Climate Science, Deniers, and the Scientific Facts
By Guest Reporter Frank Shaw, Climate Science Outreach Team Leader
Illinois Heartland Local Section, American Chemical Society
The earth's atmosphere and oceans have been warming gradually for two centuries. This winter may seem to negate that claim, but weather is not climate. In fact, 17 major international scientific organizations have confirmed that strong evidence indicates that climate changes are occurring, and that the release of greenhouse gasses by human endeavors contribute to this warming. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of all climate scientists agree that the changes are aggravated by human activities.
Unfortunately, climate change deniers are extremely vocal. Some have religious beliefs that man cannot alter God's creations. Others are likely politically motivated, suspecting that climate change is a US government plot to over-regulate individuals and corporations. A third set are shells funded by fossil-fuel interests that fear reduced income due to alternate sources of energy – that is, clean energy will reduce corporate profits.
Within the last several years, many accurate, scientifically sound sources of information have become available, with six described below. The most readable for students and the general public is a downloadable booklet prepared jointly by the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom) which thoroughly explains the data supporting the nature and causes of global climate change. This URL goes directly to the download site:
Two additional web sites post well-written and nicely illustrated vignettes of climate science: observed changes in geology, weather, ocean & atmospheric temperatures.
Skeptical Science is an excellent resource with graphs, videos, and accurate information:
Another is the Yale Forum on Climate Science and the Media, which examines media coverage and the scientific data:
Two following two sites have a more adversarial approach, but both are data and fact-based. More than the other sites, they emphasize social and political approaches to reducing the carbon footprint of human endeavors. The first is accessible via the "Climate Progress" tab on the Think Progress website:
The Union of Concerned Scientists has long advocated on public issues of science and technology:
The final entry is geared somewhat more for scientists and professionals: the American Chemical Society's Climate Science Toolkit. Guided by then ACS President Prof. Bassam Shakashiri of UW-Madison, it was formulated by a taskforce of scientists under the leadership of Dr. Jerry Bell, a retired chemistry professor and Faculty Associate of the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy for scientists and educators, and accessible to the general public as well:
These resources provide strong arguments for convincing honest skeptics of the facts. For example, despite the recent record for cold winter weather in the Great Plains and along the Atlantic Coast, Alaska has experienced the warmest winter temperatures on record. West of the Rocky Mountains, drought is reaching a crisis stage for farmers and city-dwellers alike. The following Yale Forum posting presents the facts very well:
(Editor’s Note: We welcome the perspectives of our colleagues and hope you find this information useful)
Manitowoc River Group Expands River Awareness with Community Engagements
The active and growing Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed (FMRW) organized two educational community forums this year at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc with a third planned for June 4.
A Wisconsin DNR River Planning and Protection Grant makes the free educational series possible. The first, held on February 1, featured a discussion of the Manitowoc River’s historical significance to our greater regional community. Wisconsin Maritime Museum Educator and FMRW co-founder Wendy Lutzke showed historic photos and short clips from the Wisconsin Public Television documentary, Manitowoc-Two Rivers Hometown Stories, to generate discussion.
‘We All Live on the Water: Manitowoc River’ brought together area residents to share their reflections and memories of activities near or along the shoreline, its history and impact on their lives.
At ‘A Watershed is NOT a Building: Your Part in the Manitowoc River Watershed,’ Wisconsin Sea Grant Fisheries Outreach Specialist Titus Seilheimer helped participants understand what defines a watershed and its significance on March 13.
LNRP’s Executive Director Jim Kettler set the stage with LNRP’s efforts to protect and improve the Manitowoc River watershed in our service area which encompasses 16 sub-watersheds.
Seilheimer said, “A watershed is defined as an area where surface water (from rain, melting snow or ice) converges to a single point at a lower elevation which is usually the exit point of the basin, for example in Lake Michigan. We can consider the Lake Michigan watershed as a whole or its various sub-parts and the rivers and tributaries within those parts, as well as the greater Great Lakes watershed and its parts.” A watershed is often referred to as a ‘drainage basin.’
Participants now understand how all activities on the land and water within these interconnecting watersheds or drainage basins tremendously impact the health of the rivers, lakes and streams that sustain us, and ultimately Lake Michigan.
The upcoming event in this series on June 4, 6:00 p.m., will offer a panel discussion of invasive species in the Manitowoc County area, setting the stage for the June 7 volunteer citizen monitoring program, Project RED, to detect invasive species present in our area’s rivers, streams and creeks. (Project RED stands for ‘Riverine Early Detection.’)
Tom Ward, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Manitowoc County Lakes Association, will address ‘The Worst Invasive Species in Manitowoc County’ based on his extensive experience in land and water management. Jennifer Powell, coordinator of the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area, will discuss LISMA’s efforts in the four-county region of Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Calumet and Kewaunee, partnering with other organizations, businesses and government agencies. Jim Knickelbine, director of Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve in Two Rivers, will present a recent initiative to ‘Restore the Shore’ focused on the role of invasive species management in the extensive initiative to create prime migratory bird habitat along the Lake Michigan Shoreline.
For more information about this educational series, contact Kim Kettner, (920) 242-1993
Lake Michigan Stakeholders Partners with the WDNR Office of the Great Lakes
Diverse members of the Lake Michigan Stakeholders (LMS) work together to ensure that Lake Michigan and the resources of the basin remain environmentally sustainable and economically viable for present and future generations. LMS collaborates with the Wisconsin DNR Office of the Great Lakes in its planning and activities.
Stakeholders represent local, state and federal agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, tribal nations, property owners and private citizens.
LMS will be involved with the new Lake Michigan Day, scheduled for August 14 at UW-Manitowoc, which will highlight significant opportunities for continued restoration and protection of Lake Michigan and the broader Great Lakes basin and recognize ongoing challenges facing the Great Lakes. The day will provide a venue for decision-makers and community leaders to engage with a broad array of Lake Michigan stakeholders on these issues and will include visits to local restoration projects along or near the lakeshore.
Lake Michigan Day 2014 will also feature the newly formed Lakeshore Water Institute, located at UW-Manitowoc to servethe lakeshore region as a tool for educating and engaging youth, and for developing science-based decisions at the local level. Skills and knowledge attained by our students will better prepare them for further education and for the work place in both the public and private sectors.
Recent opinion polls indicate Great Lakes protection and restoration programs are supported by approximately 75% of Wisconsin voters. Great Lakes issues seem to be some of the few that garner bi-partisan support in Washington, D.C. By continuing to demonstrate the value of Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts, we can further solidify support for the Great Lakes among decision-makers and the public.
Based on the success of LNRP’s Champions program, this environmental award program has become the new Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation encompassing the whole Wisconsin Lake Michigan basin to reward outstanding environmental initiatives and promote awareness and appreciation of this vital resource that literally sustains us. Awards will be presented over the noon hour at Lake Michigan Day. LMS hopes that by honoring the basin’s good works and initiatives to encourage additional activities to support Lake Michigan and enhance our quality of life throughout Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan basin.
Two-Dozen Organizations Partner Together to Restore the Shore
By Jennifer Powell, LISMA Coordinator
Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA) is partnering with Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve and Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) on a grand adventure to restore the Lake Michigan shoreline into prime migratory bird habitat. Initial groundbreaking will happen soon in Manitowoc County, and eventually span the entire lakeshore.
Project locations include several sites along the Lake Michigan shoreline, migratory stopover habitat within the Woodland Dunes Preserve in Two Rivers and a neighboring city park, and the shorelines of both the West Twin River and East Twin River, up to the first dam on each. At each location, plans include removing invasive species and planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers to attract birds, butterflies, wildlife, and people.
Already, more than two-dozen organizations have come together to combine resources, labor, and know-how to make this pilot project a success. Current partnerships include funding from the West Foundation, Hooper Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Administration Coastal Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Green Acres Landscaping, Silver Creek Nurseries, Inc., and Manitowoc Landscape, Inc. will donate labor, materials, and/or storage and maintenance of trees and shrubs. Other hands-on partners include Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, City of Two Rivers, City of Manitowoc, Manitowoc County, Friends of Mariners Trail, Denmark High School, Mishicot High School, Manitowoc School District, Friends of Hika Bay, Aurora Medical Center, Friends of the Twin Rivers Watershed, Citizens for a Scenic Lakeside, Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, Little Manitowoc River Partnership, and Woodland Dunes’ invasive species volunteer group, called the Barberryans.
Through the partnership between LISMA and Citizens for a Scenic Lakeside, Manitowoc County came on board this Spring with enthusiastic support. On March 18, the Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring April Restore the Shore Month in Manitowoc County.
Manitowoc County Supervisor Todd Holshbach is one of the volunteers removing invasive species along the shoreline in Manitowoc as part of Citizens for a Scenic Lakeside. On March 26, four volunteers and two staff from Woodland Dunes removed invasive honeysuckle from along the edge of the preserve, to be replanted with native trees and shrubs. We hope to spread this type of enthusiasm and collaboration to neighboring counties in the future as we continue to build on our successes.
If you or your organizations are interested in becoming partners to Restore the Shore, please contact Jennifer Powell at (920)793-4007, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cultivating a Sense of Place
For the last couple of years, we’ve been exploring some of what we consider the jewels of the lakeshore region through guided experiences with our Ledge Tours at these sites, or by sharing personal reflections and stories in our Sense of Place series in our newsletter.
So far, we have delved into Devil’s River, Fischer Creek Park, Fonferek Glen, Logan Creek, Killsnake Wildlife Area, Red Arrow Beach in Manitowoc, the Ahnapee Trail, Bayshore Blufflands, and the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit.
This spring and summer, we will continue to further celebrate the jewels of the lakeshore with our expanded Waters of the Ledge Tours. We’ll begin on May 17 with a cuesta canoe/kayak paddle and exploration of the Killsnake River and Marsh with local nature lover Rock Anderson. Then, on July 26, Marne Kaeske, Stewardship Coordinator at the Ridges Sanctuary and special guests will present Escarpment & Cuesta: Yin & Yang, an exploration of the vast preserve in Bailey’s Harbor, Door County. August 2, we will host an exclusive guided boat tour of Cat and Plum Islands, exploring Plum Island by foot, off the tip of Door County. And, for wine aficionados, this year’s 3rd Annual Celebration of the Wisconsin Ledge AVA will take us to Ledge Stone Winery in Greenleaf on August 16. Watch our website for announcements and registration information.
We invite you to help develop and cultivate a sense of place with these explorations encouraging evolution of a water ethic through experience and knowledge of a particular area. We develop a sense of place by appreciating the special history, the geography and geology, the flora, the fauna. We can then begin to share our own stories as part of that vision of place.
And, with telling these stories comes a realization that we have a responsibility to take care of, to nurture and protect, “our” special place and, in fact, it becomes an obligation. With that caretaking we become the stewards of our place, our watersheds, and thus our waters.
Please join us on one of this year’s Waters of the Ledge Tours and begin to cultivate your own sense of place. Knowing a place can inspire and empower you to take action to preserve it or take part in its restoration. Together we can build a community of local stewards that protect, enhance, and restore our beloved lakeshore.
Snowy Owl at Sunset
By Jim Olson
News from LNRP
Lake Michigan Advocates and Stakeholders Gather For Spring Meetings
Friends of the Branch River Hosts Two Events
Friends of Hika Bay’s Action Plan
Beach Clean Up
Sustainable Lifestyle Advocates Brave Blustery Weather!
"The health of our waters is the principle measure of how we live on the land."
Luna Leopold, son of Aldo Leopold
Luna Leopold in his 50s on the bank of the East Fork River near Boulder, Wyoming, attired in his typical Stetson Silverbelly Rancher, Filson cruiser coat and gloves.
Lake Michigan Advocates and Stakeholders Gather For Spring Meetings
More than 100 advocates visited Washington, D.C. in early March to lobby for Great Lakes protection programs, funding of environmental projects and to discuss strategies for dealing with ongoing challenges such as invasive species. They visited congressional offices in support of continuing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has spent more than $1 billion on priorities such as cleaning up polluted industrial sites and protecting wildlife habitat throughout the region.
The delegation from the eight-state region also attended the Great Lakes Commission's semi-annual meeting and an evening reception at the Canadian Embassy.
Lake Michigan Stakeholders from throughout the lakeshore region and state gathered April 30 to explore ‘Youth & the Environment: Engaging the Next Generation in Conservation’ at the new Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.
Following a short business meeting, participants engaged with representatives of potential funding sources, and learned about the transformation of the area with the Hank Aaron Trail and Urban Ecology Center. Ben Thwaits of Northwest Passage then gave an inspiring and emotionally engaging keynote presentation. Thwaits said, “By helping troubled youth through letting them explore nature-based photography in beautiful places, they can work through mental health issues and behavioral problems.” He offers these photographic experiences from the Apostle Islands to Yellowstone National Park, and inspired our audience to expand the type of work we all do to mentor young people and inspire future stewards– increasing awareness to protect Lake Michigan and cultivate a love for nature. An afternoon tour of the Denis Sullivan schooner docked at Discovery World topped off the successful gathering.
Many enjoyed the following day-long festivities on May 1 with the annual Southeast Wisconsin Watershed Trust’s (Sweet Water) Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference in Milwaukee at the Harley Davidson Museum.
The day program offered three plenary sessions and more than 25 regional and local water quality experts presenting multiple workshops in four tracks.
Conference plenary speakers included U.S. Water Alliance Executive Director Ben Grumbles discussing urban pollution reduction innovations, a look at rural nonpoint pollution solutions from former NRCS Chief David White, a State of the Lakes address by Dean David Garman and Dr. Sandra McLellan from the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, and an expert panel outlining climate change impacts on regional infrastructure. Evening presentations explored the personal history of three families involved in the fishery of Lake Michigan.
Friends of the Branch River Hosts Two Events
Over 100 family members participated in “The FROGS” again this year. Thanks to the generous donation by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans – West Shore Team, Friends of the Branch River were able to bring back the entertaining and educational Randy Korb. Randy’s “Fun with Froggy Friends” offers a live demo that allows kids to handle many of Wisconsin’s frog and salamander species. The program encourages parents and their children to explore the natural wonder of these amphibians found in the Branch River Watershed.
This year’s membership banquet brought restoration ecologist and forester Jim Uhrinak. Attendees were given Jim’s enlivening perspectives on over 5,000 years of the cultural landscape in the Branch River Watershed and how appreciating that landscape can lead to new discoveries, increased enjoyment, and help encourage better conservation and restoration projects.
Friends of Hika Bay’s Action Plan
Plans are underway for a significant focus on the invasive species Phragmites now established on many public and private properties along the lakeshore in and around Cleveland. A demonstration workshop will be held in September followed by treatment on several properties. Please contact LNRP if you are interested in participating in the treatment of Phragmites on your property.
This spring, Hika Park will see the construction of a viewing platform at the recently restored Centerville Creek. The platform will be built with bricks donated by the Ray and Mary Block family. The bricks were made in the Hika Brick Factory and were used to build a silo on the Block farmstead. The platform will be in a half-moon with a rail fitted on top that will hold historic photos and interpretive signage illustrating the restoration project. The Hika Shores property will continue to be developed with additional native plantings, removal of more excavate that makes up one of the berms, and the scraping of a swale that will host wet meadow plants.
Water quality sampling will again take place in collaboration with the UW-Manitowoc Lakeshore Water Institute. Second-year student interns Cody Halvorsen and Mallary Schenian will sample 10 sites on Centerville Creek along with two sites each on Fischer, Point, Pine, and Calvin Creeks. They will sample these sites weekly plus 24 and 48 hours after each rain event greater than 0.5 inches from mid-March through the end of August. Water quality analysis includes water temperature, pH, turbidity, stream flow, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved phosphorus, total phosphate, ammonia nitrate (NH3), ammonia nitrate (NH4), and E. coli (colilert per 100 mL). The interns will also perform weekly macroinvertebrate analysis at the same sampling points to create the biotic index that reflects overall water quality. Public presentation of the data will occur in early November. Watch for an announcement with further details in our fall newsletter.
Beach Clean Up
For the third consecutive year, on April 26th Friends of the Manitowoc Watershed participated in a Beach Clean-Up in honor of Earth Day, part of an Alliance for the Great Lakes multi-state event.
FMRW volunteers targeted beaches at Silver Creek Park, University, Red Arrow Beach (newly renovated), Lincoln High School, Warm Waters, Ferry, YMCA, Maritime Boat Launch, Wayside Memorial South and Wayside Middle Beaches.
“We gather to clean up our area’s beaches each spring and fall,” said FMRW co-founder Kim Kettner. “We want to make a difference in an on-going effort to support water quality issues in our Lake Michigan watershed and enhance people’s recreational enjoyment.”
FMRW co-founder Wendy Lutzke, said “Despite the blustery weather, over 100 volunteers came out on April 26th to help beautify our beaches and make them healthier places for our residents and visitors to enjoy. One troubling trend we’re seeing is an increasing number of needles being found on some of our beaches. Coordinated beach clean-ups help Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed volunteers recognize trends, report them to Alliance for the Great Lakes, and talk with City personnel to find out how we can help keep our beaches safe for all.” The event drew strong media attention as Pauleen Le from Good Day Wisconsin covered the event for Fox 11 News with two segments on Earth Day, and organizers were invited to interview on The Breakfast Club on WCUB radio. This year, the United Way helped sponsor the event, bringing additional volunteers and providing a lunch for all who participated.
Sustainable Lifestyle Advocates Brave Blustery Weather!
The 5th Sustainable Living Fair drew between 100-150 fans of renewable energy and sustainable practices to Martin Park in downtown Sturgeon Bay for lively educational demonstrations, music and camaraderie with like-minded folks despite a cold, blustery day, Saturday, April 26.
Life skill demonstrations covered straw bale construction, greenhouse design and use, solar heating and photovoltaics for electricity, compost tea for soils and landscaping, attracting bees for pollinating, urban gardening, and food prep, canning and beer making. Children were entertained by storytelling and hands-on activities in the afternoon.
This year’s Fair followed a stimulating set of presentations on Friday night at Crossroads at Big Creek. Tracy Hames of the Wisconsin Wetland Association addressed the variety of wetlands in our state and our essential need to preserve them for water quality. River Alliance of Wisconsin director Denny Caneff spoke to the importance of educating policy makers and the public to keep environmental protection at the forefront. And, Mike Strigel of Gathering Waters Conservancy explored how we can expand our message and audience.
Event organizers plan to continue refining and expanding the Fair for next year. The addition of new partners at this year’s event with the regional group of astronomers and Climate Change Coalition enhanced the experience for this year’s Fair goers.
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The Great Thaw of 2014
Wisconsin Farm Field
By Jenn Hansmann