Archived entries for Lake Michigan Shorelands Alliance

2014: An Exciting, New Year

Hopefully your 2014 is off to an excellent start…. We at Gathering Waters are definitely looking forward to all that this new year has to offer— we’re launching our new and improved three-year strategic plan and it’s our 20th anniversary!

Here’s an overview of the great things we have planned this year:

In the public policy & advocacy arena:

  • Education, education, education! With the state budget coming up a year from now and the Gubernatorial election set for this fall, we’ll be working hard to make sure legislators know exactly how important it is that the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program remains strong and that the Gubernatorial candidates are keenly aware of the important role land conservation and land trusts play in their communities.
  • Partnerships. The Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition  is accomplishing such great things, we’ll definitely continue working with them to ensure that local, state and federal officials continue to make Great Lakes restoration a priority.
14 Lulu Lake

We’ll be working hard to ensure the best interests of our land trusts are being represented in the political arena.

Providing direct services & technical assistance:

  • Staying true. True to our core objective that is- to strengthen Wisconsin’s land trusts, ensuring that they have the resources, tools, and know-how to meet community needs and protect the places that make Wisconsin so special.
  • More partnerships. We will we bring land trusts together to create efficiencies through shared staff, pooled resources, and joint funding opportunities. We’ll also continue our work with the Lake Michigan Shorelands Alliance to help identify, protect, restore and manage lands that protect the water quality, wildlife habitats, and the scenic integrity of Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Basin.
  • Retreat! Our annual Land Trust Retreat this October will offer an unparalleled opportunity for learning, networking, and fun among land trust peers and conservation experts from around the state.
Topic Tables 1

We’ll be doing all we can to ensure our land trusts have what they need, to meet community needs and protect the places that make Wisconsin special.

Spreading the good word:

  • Turn up the volume. You may not realize the extent of the value your local land trust brings to you and your loved ones. We’re going to do a better job of making sure you know.
  • Put it in writing. This fall, in honor of the twenty years we have been working to strengthen land trusts, we will be publishing a collection of stories, highlighting the many ways land trusts benefit Wisconsin’s collective health, economy and education.
  • Let’s Party! Our annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration is happening September 26th. It’s definitely the place to be if you’re interested in Wisconsin land conservation. And on May 3rd, we’ll be honoring you and others who make it possible for us to continue Wisconsin’s incredible land legacy, at our annual Land Legacy Gathering. Better save the dates and grab your party shoes.
Table Bluff - July by Kate

We’ll be spreading the word of our land trusts’ successes and of the countless opportunities and benefits they provide.

As you can see, it’s going to be an incredible, busy year.  We’re looking forward to it and appreciate all of the feedback and help we can get. Feel free to shoot us an email with your thoughts or support the work we’re doing with a tax-deductible gift.  Cheers, to this wonderful new year!

Three Cheers for Three Creeks Conservancy!

Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust has added its largest conservancy ever, Three Creeks Conservancy, to it’s fold of protected land. Three Creeks Conservancy consists of 600 acres, nearly one square mile of land which will remain intact and wild for future generations to enjoy. Not only is this its largest conservancy, it is one of the most beautiful, comprised of 560 acres of private forested land and undeveloped shoreline in Marinette County.

This is one of the last few private wilderness areas in northeast Wisconsin. Besides being habitat for bear, bobcat, and deer, the creeks have their own wolf pack. Numerous migratory and nesting song and game birds have made this place their home as well.

A trout stream in Three Creeks Conservancy

The only development that exists is a few rustic cabins overlooking a series of cascading falls unique for a property this size. “Standing at the creek’s edge, I saw fish flickering in the water and could feel the warmth of the sun emanating from the huge rocks beneath me. The roaring of the rushing water drowned out the sound of the wind blowing through the pines above. It feels good to know that this place will always remain this way,” notes Julie Hawkins Tyriver, Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Land Trust.

She adds, “The Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust is excited by the opportunity to protect such an expansive, beautiful area and cannot stress enough the importance of protecting large tracts of land like this.” The extensive habitat and the ecosystem services which we rely on are just a few of the benefits of this gift.

Telling Our Stories

Saving land is a critical tool for conservation that often carries high price tags and emotional connections with it.  We live to tell these unique and engaging stories and applaud the land trusts that do this so well.  We’ve noticed recently that Wisconsin land trusts are telling their stories in many different venues.  We’re so impressed!

Glacial Lakes Conservancy is the local non-profit land trust for Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Calumet and Fond du Lac Counties – a big territory spearheaded by one very dedicated executive director.  For Glacial Lakes, online communications tools are essential for success.

Glacial Lakes Conservancy’s new website offers the land trust an opportunity to make their stories front and center.  “GLC’s refreshed website features our Grasshopper Hill Preserve project as well as our partnership in the the Lake Michigan Shorelands Alliance as one of the land trusts of the Lake Michigan Basin,” notes the Conservancy’s executive director, Vickie Hall.  She adds, “This project is exciting for us because it represents GLC’s first campaign to purchase, own and manage land.”

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust has also recently invested in its events calendar to engage its donors and supporters in their fun and challenging work on-the-ground.  We have also eagerly followed the Facebook news from Ice Age Trail Alliance, Bayfield Regional Conservancy, Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust, Tall Pines Conservancy, and River Revitalization Foundation, among many others.  Mississippi Valley Conservancy has created its own YouTube channel where it posts videos about its work protecting the blufflands, prairies, wetlands, and streams in southwestern Wisconsin.

Stay connected with the excellent work being done by Wisconsin’s land trusts by checking in on these great outreach efforts!

Gathering Waters Welcomes Public Ally, Marisa Hernández!

Gathering Waters Conservancy welcomes it’s newest member, Public Ally Marisa Hernández!  Marisa joins us as a part of the AmeriCorps program, Public Allies.  After a strong interview and selection process she was paired with us.

Marisa will be our Lake Michigan Shoreland Alliance Program Assistant.  She will be based in Milwaukee, working out of the offices of the River Revitalization Foundation.  She will be communicating with and helping WI land trusts build stronger ties, and traveling around the Lake Michigan basin to actively assist and gain knowledge to assist this coalition.

Marisa was born and raised in Milwaukee where she attended and graduated from Milwaukee High School of the Arts with a specialty in Creative Writing/Journalism.  While in high school she was involved with many youth leadership programs including the ACLU of WI and the Urban Ecology Center.  Through her work with UEC she traveled to Wyoming and spent time in the Tetons researching the ecosystem and creating a bond with the outdoors.

She also started volunteering every summer at a youth diversity camp administered by the Youth and Womens Center of America, Camp Everytown, where she is now head camp counselor.  After graduating she traveled and studied abroad in Argentina for one year where she developed a passion for speaking Spanish and discovering new paths and cultures.

Marisa says, “I am very excited and hopeful about starting my year as an ally with Gathering Waters familiarizing myself with all the natural and scenic wilderness we have here in WI and I will strive to achieve the goals we set and hope to grow and learn all that I can from everyone I encounter. Public Allies is a program that I have been waiting to get involved with and now that I am apart of such a movement I am glad with the outcome so far! I know it will be nothing but hard work and passion that will help lead to me the path of being a committed community builder and leader here in Milwaukee and Wisconsin and I am ready.”

Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation.  Public Allies is changing the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together.

Marisa will be working with us until June of 2012 and we are glad to welcome her!

Serving the Land Trust Community, Collaboratively

In the non-profit world there is always lots of talk of partnerships.  To do them right, however, takes patience, experience, and an understanding of motivations.  Success is measured when collective objectives outweigh what could be accomplished individually.

Recently, we featured a video on our homepage about the Lake Michigan Shorelands Alliance.  This partnership of ten land trusts that operate in the Lake Michigan basin and that have been collaborating for nearly a decade, represent an incredible amount of regional expertise and opportunity for learning.  One recent collective success was the completion of regional critical resource evaluation maps.

Staff at GWC have also recently begun work with the Blufflands Alliance, a collaboration of six land trusts that operate in the upper Mississippi river basin across four Midwest states.  This Alliance is a model for collaboration nationwide and it is an exciting challenge to strategize and plan with such a gifted group of conservation leaders.

As these two entities look at opportunities in the future we are challenged with defining the value of collaboration.  A sustainable partnership demands mutual benefits and defined leadership.  We’ve learned from these two models and continue to study the best ways to make our work more efficient while also adding resources for conservation in Wisconsin.

It is here that we see more opportunities for LEAP.  Through the Land Trust Excellence & Advancement Program we will unveil a peer mentoring network in the coming year.  It is our hope that we can continue to facilitate successful partnerships that benefit of the land trust community.  Stay tuned for more information on this and other universally-available services to help land trusts achieve excellence through LEAP.

GWC is grateful for support from the Joyce Foundation, the Brico Fund, Sustain Our Great Lakes, and Wisconsin DNR to work with LMSA and the McKnight Foundation to work with the Blufflands Alliance.



Gathering Waters • 211 S. Paterson St. Suite 270 • Madison, WI 53703 • PH 608-251-9131 • FX 608-663-5971 • info@gatheringwaters.org