STEVENS POINT- On Friday, October 8, Rep. Katrina Shankland (D- Stevens Point) was recognized by DNR Assistant Secretary Todd Ambs, UW-Madison Division of Extension Dean Karl Martin, and Wisconsin Lakes Board Vice President Derek Kavanaugh for completing her training and joining the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute’s 13th class of graduates at the institute’s 2021 graduation ceremony at the Aldo Leopold Shack near Baraboo.

The Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute, organized by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, draws participants from across the state to take part in a series of in-person seminars and online meetings to gain a better understanding of lake ecology and how to work with state and local governments to ensure lakes receive the attention they need. The program combines readings, discussions, activities, and field experiences to highlight lake management, local and state government, and leadership skills. Participants demonstrate their commitment to protecting the integrity of the lakes in Wisconsin with an investment of their time and a modest registration cost to cover meals and lodging.

“The individuals that participate in this program are true leaders who have stepped forward to protect our lakes for future generations,” explained Sara Windjue, Leadership and Capacity Development Specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Extension Lakes Program.  “They are committed to developing partnerships and facilitating the learning of others in order to build capacity which will ensure the protection and restoration of thousands of lakes across Wisconsin”.

Rep. Shankland shared the following statement about her experience: “Participating in the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute has been inspiring and motivating. It was delightful to come together with people from across the state who are committed to protecting our lakes. Our state is well-known for its incredible water resources, and we must do all we can to protect and preserve that legacy with thoughtful management of our lakes. I’m committed to continuing that work in the Legislature as a member of the Assembly Committee on Environment. I truly appreciate the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership’s role in educating and empowering me and other Lake Leaders and look forward to working with them more.”

The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership is made up of the Extension Lakes Program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the citizen advocacy organization Wisconsin Lakes. Together, they created the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute in 1996 to respond to the need for new and on-going leadership in the management of our lakes. The Institute’s mission is to assist citizen lake leaders to develop both their technical and people skills, ultimately enriching their communities and the waters within them.

Since its inception, over 300 participants have graduated from the Institute and have made significant contributions in addressing a host of diverse water management challenges. The program has also received national attention as an effective strategy to enhance lake stewardship and protection. Recruitment for the 14th “crew” of Lake Leader Institute participants will begin this winter. For more information about the program, reach out to the Extension Lakes program staff at (715)-346-2116, [email protected], or online at the following link: http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/UWEXLakes/Pages/programs/lakeleaders/default.aspx

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