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GLIN==> Wisconsin Year of Water

Posted on behalf of Shaili Pfeiffer <smpfeiffer@wisc.edu>

Wisconsin's Year of Water 2003

Water is essential to life and at the heart of what makes Wisconsin unique.
The Waters of Wisconsin initiative was launched in 2000 to determine the
status of Wisconsin's waters and develop a strategy for their
sustainability.  One of the principle recommendations of the Waters of
Wisconsin initiative, based on interactions with citizens, water scientists,
and policy makers around the state, was to seek the designation of 2003 as
Wisconsin's "Year of Water."  Such a designation provides opportunities for
citizens and organizations across the state to celebrate our waters, and to
focus on the importance of clean and plentiful water to Wisconsin's aquatic
ecosystems, economy, culture, and quality of life.  Wisconsin's Year of
Water coincides with the International Year of Freshwater - an effort to
encourage individuals, communities, and nations throughout the world to
protect and respect the Earth's precious legacy of freshwater resources.

In October 2002, at the Waters of Wisconsin Forum, 2003 was designated as
the Year of Water in Wisconsin.  Governor James Doyle affirmed this
commitment with the following statement:  "I strongly endorse designating
2003 as the Year of Water in Wisconsin.  With the leadership of the
Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and others, I know we will
take this occasion to build on the tremendous Waters of Wisconsin event,
celebrate water as our most precious natural resource, participate in a
statewide effort to understand and appreciate our waters, and work together
on projects that conserve and sustain our waters for future generations."

At the urging of participants of the Waters of Wisconsin Forum, attended by
more than 700 people, the Wisconsin Academy is committed to seeing the Year
of Water through to fruition, and will convene a Year of Water coordinating
group to support and promote the efforts of public and private organizations
 and individuals around the state.


The Year of Water gives all of Wisconsin's people an opportunity to
celebrate our waters, heighten awareness of the role of water in our lives
and landscapes, encourage broad citizen engagement in water-related
activities, and foster discussion of important water issues.  Rather than
recognize our waters with a single "event," the Year of Water seeks to
provide an umbrella under which a variety of activities can be conducted
which highlights our waters.  Wisconsin's Year of Water is intended to yield
multiple benefits:

The Year of Water will provide an opportunity for Wisconsin citizens to
celebrate and acknowledge water quality improvements since the passage of
the 1972 Clean Water Act.

The Year of Water will engage citizens, governments, and businesses in a
statewide effort to appreciate the essential value of our waters, understand
water quality and quantity issues, and promote local projects that conserve,
restore, and sustain our waters for future generations.

The Year of Water will help meet the educational goals of the Waters of
Wisconsin initiative by increasing public awareness of our aquatic
ecosystems and resources, involving citizens in discussions of the future of
our waters, and celebrating the endowment of water that we in Wisconsin
depend on and enjoy.

The Year of Water will provide a focus for a broad spectrum of non-profit
organizations, federal, tribal, and state agencies, elected officials,
communities, schools, universities, and businesses to highlight their
water-related work and to stimulate creative activities around the theme of
Wisconsin's waters.

Potential Activities

The possibilities for Year of Water activities are limited only by our
imagination. Because water is essential to all that we do, virtually any
organization or group can participate.  We hope that all those who wish to
participate will undertake projects that build on their own strengths,
interests, and talents.  Activities might range from one-day events to
ongoing projects.  We hope and expect that literature, history, sciences,
and the arts will be woven into many of the activities.  Some examples of
possible activities include:

. A high school biology class may begin monitoring a local stream or lake.

. A summer theater company may choose a musical with water themes.

. A water treatment plant may want to hold a community open house.

. A student environmental club may initiate a local water conservation

. Local service organizations may organize a streamside clean-up day.

. A college may sponsor a public lecture series on local aquatic ecosystems
and water resources.

. Nonprofit organizations may hold a workshop on volunteer water monitoring

. An arts board may sponsor a poetry contest focusing on water.

. Native tribes may highlight their water stewardship programs or tribal
water heritage.

. Businesses may want to demonstrate water conservation measures that they
have adopted.

. Elected officials may want to hold special informational meetings on state
or local water use and issues.

. A community may hold a watershed festival.

Planning Activities

Begin planning activities in your community and with your organization,
business, or agency now.  These may be events that are already scheduled
which could benefit from adding a Year of Water component.  Or, there might
be new events or programs designed specifically in recognition of the Year
of Water.

Please let me know what you are planning. A "toolkit" that includes
essential messages, facts about Wisconsin's water, web links for resources,
background information, and inspirational materials are available for use by
all Year of Water participants.  In addition, a Year of Water website, which
will provide an events calendar and electronic access to the toolkit, is
online at www.wisconsinyearofwater.org

Shaili Pfeiffer
Waters of Wisconsin Associate
Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
608-263-1692 x21

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