RECRUITING, RETAINING AND REWARDING YOUR LAKE VOLUNTEERS
Jim Brakken, Past President, Wisconsin Association of Lakes & Cable Lakes Association
This and other articles and photos by Jim Brakken can be found at www.JimBrakken.FreeWebSpace.com
It could be argued that most of the positive strides toward the protection and preservation of Wisconsin’s lakes have been due to the work of volunteers. Folks from across and even beyond Wisconsin have been working to protect our lakes. This volunteerism comes in many forms. Here are a few examples:
Lake volunteers construct fish cribs and nesting platforms, Some maintain lakeside parks. Across Wisconsin more volunteers labor to educate others about the needs of our waters by hosting conferences, workshops, and meetings. Others attend these events and then share information learned with folks on their lakes. Volunteers are working to strengthen county shoreland zoning regulations. Some focus on educating young people. In fact, many of our volunteers are young people! We have lake-loving volunteers successfully influencing local, county, state and national politics by writing op-ed letters, lobbying, attending meetings and supporting environmentally friendly candidates. Many Lake Planning Grants have been awarded to volunteer groups intent on doing research to help lakes. Most of Wisconsin’s boat landings have been improved by volunteer work. Thousands have taken on leadership roles in lake districts, associations and similar organizations on the local and countywide levels. Because our volunteers monitor clarity and test water samples, Wisconsin can boast the strongest self-help lake monitoring program on the planet! Our volunteer list must also include the many folks who work behind the scenes on behalf of our lakes through your statewide organization, the Wisconsin Association of Lakes. If we add in all those who labor for our lakes in ways not mentioned above, we may begin to see the immense size of our legion of volunteers protecting and preserving Wisconsin’s waters.