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Wisconsin Lakes Partnership

2011 Convention Archive

Speakers & Special Events

There will be a variety of speakers joining us for the 2011 Wisconsin Lakes Convention.
Descriptions of their talks, as well as other special events, are listed below.


Speaking for Lakes

Tuesday, April 12
(12:00 - 1:00 pm)

Cathy Stepp
Tuesday, April 12
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Welcome to the 33rd Annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention - Lunch

Cathy Stepp was appointed Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), effective January 2, 2011 by Governor Scott Walker.
Cathy served as Racine’s state senator from 2002 to 2006, but most of her experience has been in the private sector. As a former homebuilder, she became aware of Wisconsin’s regulatory climate and how it affected small business owners. In 1998, Gov. Tommy Thompson asked Cathy to bring this perspective to the Natural Resources Board, and she was on the Board for three years. This experience encouraged her to run for the Legislature where she was chair of the Senate Job Creation Committee and co-chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. She chose not to seek re-election and returned home at the end of the four-year term to rejoin her husband in their family business.
Cathy is an avid outdoorswoman who enjoys Wisconsin’s snowmobile trails each winter and has hunted turkeys in western Wisconsin. She appreciates the tremendous hunting opportunities our state offers to residents and tourists. She strongly believes job creation and environmental protection can be mutually supportive. As a small business owner, she understands the importance of customer-friendly relations. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Paul, and two children, Hannah and Mitchell.  

Speaking for Lakes

Tuesday, April 12
(1:15 - 3:15 pm)

Eric Eckl
Tuesday, April 12
1:15 - 2:45 pm

"The World Outside: What They Say About Why Your Work Matters"

Eric Eckl, founder of Water Words that Work, will be a guest speaker at our opening plenary session on Tuesday afternoon as well as present an in depth workshop earlier that morning. Eric has more than 15 years experience planning and carrying out issue advocacy, fundraising, and behavior change campaigns. He'll share with us ideas and methods to professionalize and modernize our communications on water conservation. He will help us use water words that work in our charge to speak for our lakes.
Eric's presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
Check out his website at
  • The World Outside - What They Say About Why Your Work Matters (presentation pdf)

Celebrate What's Right in the World

DVD by Dewitt Jones
Tuesday, April 12
2:45 - 3:15 pm

Do you have a vision for your organization? More importantly, do you have one for yourself? A vision that gets you excited every morning and keeps you open to possibilities. Celebrate What's Right With The World teaches you what a powerful force having a vision of possibilities can be.


Meet and Greet the Artists and Scientists
Tuesday, April 12
3:30 - 5:30 pm

“Drawing Water: Artists and Scientist Explore Northern Lakes” is an exhibit that invites viewers to enter a realm where abstract thought, imagination and vision come together with scientific findings about lakes. View this exhibit at its debut at the 2011 Wisconsin Lakes Convention and enjoy a chat with the artists and scientists behind this intriguing project. Brought to you by the Northern Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research Program (LTER). The goal of LTEArts is to create new ways to share research and information with the public through the arts. The project will engage arts and humanities with LTER studies of future scenarios and landscape change. We hope to increase public understanding of lake ecology, highlight research results from our LTER lake studies, and encourage people to take an active role in defining and influencing the future of our lakes.

Artist--s: Terry Daulton (Painter and Biologist), John Bates (Naturalist and Poet), Jim Ramsdell (Sculptor), Bonnie Peterson (Fiber Artist), Mindy Schnell (Watercolor Artist)
Scientists: Susan Knight (Research Scientist and Aquatic Biologist)

Special Sessions

Tuesday, April 12
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Invasive Aquatic Plant Management Forum - Are we making a difference?

Tim Asplund, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Over the past several years, there has been increased interest (and available funding) to more aggressively manage aquatic invasive plants (Eurasian water milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed) in lake ecosystems to achieve long term and whole-lake control. At the same time, there are many questions about the potential consequences of this approach for native plants, water quality, fish and wildlife, and human health, in addition to long-term financial costs. Come hear the latest updates on innovative management techniques for large-scale EWM and CLP control, and ongoing evaluations of the long term benefits and risks of these practices. A panel of agency representatives, scientists, consultants, and lake group members will lead a discussion about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with this comprehensive approach.

Protecting Public Access to Lakes

Bruce Neeb, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Boat landings and parks are the most obvious ways that the public gains access to lakes and other navigable waters in Wisconsin.   State subdivision platting laws require establishment of a public access sites at frequencies approximating one for every half mile of shoreline. These are places where you can carry in a canoe or kayak, swim, fish, or access the ice during winter.  Many of these historic access sites have been lost or privatized by adjacent property owners and local officials who reason "no one's using them anyway," or "there's no way you could launch a boat there."  What these property owners, officials, and kids inheriting lakefront properties don't realize is that there is a formal process for vacating a public access to water.  As a result of this lack of understanding, development is encroaching into these public access sites and lake front properties are increasingly showing up with "clouds on title" as they're owners look to sell them.  I'd be happy to explain why, for this and other reasons, the DNR now requires applicants for Lake, River and Aquatic Invasive Species grants to provide maps showing all public access points to the project waterway, and why funding is being made available to help pay for inventories, including the costs associated with records search, access identification and mapping.  This is vital information for lake association leaders who hope to protect the values of their lake front properties and help their associations secure state grant funding. 


Legislative Overview and Intro to the Budget Process

John Keckhaver, Government Relations and Analysis, LLC and  Wisconsin Lakes' Lobbyist
John will describe the current make-up of the legislature, summarize the current legislative session's developments, and also give a brief introduction into the state budget process, which is already underway.
John is a Milwaukee native and graduate of Beloit College and the University of Wisconsin – Madison Law School. John began his work in public policy as a Senate staffer then moved on to the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a public policy think tank where he worked on a wide range of issues, from energy policy to taxation and regional economic development. John then conducted policy research and lobbied with the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families from 2004 to 2009. In July of 2009, John opened a new lobbying and policy analysis firm and currently serves a number of statewide association and coalitions. John’s commitment to our lakes runs deep, having spent much of his time growing up in the Northwoods on Bear Lake near Minocqua. John and his wife now enjoy instilling that same love of the outdoors with their two young children at their cottage on Lake Arnseson in Oneida County. “I am thrilled to join the Wisconsin Association of Lakes team. We have a wonderful core group of highly skilled staff and a committed membership who all care deeply about the health of our lakes. I look forward to working with the new administration and legislature on issues of importance to all of us who appreciate and value our lakes and waterways.”

Our Dying and Threatened Wisconsin Lakes

Dr. Brian Wolf, President, Long Lake District
Scott Froehlke, Lobbyist representing a coalition of Western Waushara County Lakes
Daniel Bach, Lake Beulah Property Owners Association
Dr. George Kraft, PhD Hydrologist, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Extension
No lake in Wisconsin is safe from being dried up by excessive high capacity well pumping. It makes sense to initiate a rational system for regulating high capacity well withdrawals so our lakes and streams will remain environmentally healthy and economic assets to our communities. Our discussion will describe the problem and present three avenues for potential action.

Planning for the Future of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership

Eric Olson, Lakes Outreach Specialist, UWEX Lakes
The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership has been the vehicle for bringing together citizens, state agencies, and the University of Wisconsin since the 1980s. Every ten years, members of the Partnership work to update “The Water Way”, a statewide strategic plan for protecting and improving Wisconsin’s lake resources. This spring, Wisconsin Lakes, UW Extension Lakes, and DNR are working to create the new edition of the Water Way plan. Come to this session to hear some of the preliminary ideas being considered as part of the plan for the next 10 years of the Lakes Partnership and learn how you can take an active role in the planning process.


Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and A Land Ethic For Our Time

Tuesday, April 12
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Join us for one of the premiere showings of the recent Aldo Leopold documentary Green Fire on Tuesday evening.

"We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."

                      ~ Aldo Leopold

Concern about the impact humanity is having on the earth makes Aldo Leopold a relevant voice today. The values exemplified by Leopold's own life have broad appeal: his love of the land, his love of his family, ad love for his country are inseparable. He is an admirable model for any time period, but, in light of the ecological challenges we face today, his example can help us begin new conversations about the relationships between people and land. Green Fire, through Leopold's story and examples of work he initiated or inspired, is able to offer both guidance and hope for the future across cultures and in many different settings.
The Green Fire film explores the joint themes of community and responsibility, both of which are strongly evident in Leopold's writings. It traces the story of Leopold's life, but also visits the places where his legacy can be seen today - from the farming landscapes of Coon Valley, Wisconsin , to park restoration in South Chicago to the wild Gila National Forest in New Mexico, and beyond. On-screen guide and Leopold biographer Dr. Curt Meine ties together these threads, weaving the story of Leopold's life and ongoing legacy to help modern audiences reconnect with the land and think critically about the ecological problems of today.
The Green Fire film is being produced through a partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the US Forest Service. For more information about the project visit:


Wisconsin Lakes Convention Welcome Reception

Tuesday, April 12
8:00 - 11:00 pm

This event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute and Wisconsin Lakes. Everyone is welcome!  Meet Lake Leaders Institute graduates, members of the Wisconsin Lakes Board of Directors, and other convention-goers at this informal networking opportunity.  Free beer, soda and snacks (cash bar).


Sunrise Yoga

Wednesday & Thursday, April 13 & 14
6:45-7:45 am

Instructor Quita Sheehan from Phelps, Wisconsin, will lead participants through basic yoga poses in a mellow and relaxed environment. Participants should bring a yoga mat or bath towel with them. Wearing comfortable clothing is recommended. Free and welcome to all ages and levels of interest.


Blending Arts & Science

Wednesday, April 13
(9:00 - 10:30 am)

"Speaking for Lakes" digital production

Wednesday, April 13
9:00 - 9:10 am

UWEX Lakes and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point music department have teamed up to bring you another presentation blending the arts and science. Sit back and enjoy as the inspirational words of past leaders, beautiful images of our state's watery gems and the original music of UW-Stevens Point students are combined. Whether you lead by example or lead by expression, we hope this piece will ignite a spark to action. 


Artists and scientists including Terry Daulton, John Bates, John Magnuson and/or Emily Stanley
Wednesday, April 13
9:10 - 10:00 am

Drawing Water: Artists and Scientists Explore Northern Lakes

What happens when a group of artists and scientists come together to explore the complexity, beauty and future of northern lakes?  In June of 2010, a group of 6 artists, 7 scientists and a science journalist came together to collaborate on an environmental education project. The goal was to combine the insights of artists and scientists and create something out of the ordinary; to visualize life below the surface, travel back through time, and glimpse possible futures.  The exhibit invites viewers to enter a realm where abstract thought, imagination and vision come together with scientific findings about lakes.  This presentation will share some of the art and science from the exhibit, and will explore why lake associations might consider creating their own art science collaborations.
The focus of Drawing Water is the Long Term Ecological Research study site at Trout Lake.  The project is part of a larger, National Science Foundation funded initiative which includes Andrews Forest in Oregon, Harvard Forest in Massachusetts, and Bonanza Creek in Alaska.   

For more information about the LTEarts project go to 



Eric Engbretson

Wednesday, April 13
10:05 - 10:25 am

"A Fish Eye View of Lake Life"

If you're looking for fish photos, a good place to start is Engbretson Underwater Photography. Eric has been supplying quality stock photos to industry professionals since 1993. Known in the business for his exceptional underwater fish photography, Eric's photos have been widely published in dozens of fishing and outdoor magazines, calendars, books, posters, interpretive displays, and advertising. His specialty is freshwater gamefish native to North America.
Check out Eric's amazing images at


Representative Cory Mason
Wednesday, April 13
12:00 pm - Lunch speaker

Representative Cory Mason represents the 62nd Assembly District in the Wisconsin state Legislature. The 62nd Assembly District includes the south and west sides of the City of Racine, most of the Village of Mount Pleasant, all of Sturtevant, and all of Elmwood Park. The district is an urban/suburban/rural mix composed of racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse communities.
Cory was born in Racine on January 25, 1973. He and his wife Rebecca have two daughters, Eleanor Roosevelt Mason and Amelia Earhart Mason. Representative Mason is a graduate of Case High School. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Philosophy from UW-Madison. He and his family live in West Racine.
Representative Mason was elected to the Wisconsin state Assembly in 2006, and reelected in 2008.
Rep. Mason serves on the following legislative committees and is an active member on various fronts:
  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology
  • Joint Committee Groundwater Workgroup
  • Assembly Committee on Natural Resources
  • Assembly Special Committee on Clean Energy Jobs
  • Board Member of University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority Board of Directors
  • Board member of the River Alliance of Wisconsin
  • Co-Chairperson of I-94 Labor Development Committee
  • Member of Racine Rotary West
  • Board Member of the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention
  • Racine Heritage Museum
  • Member of Root River Council
  • Member of Wisconsin Coastal Management
  • League of Conservation Voters




Regional Leadership Teams' Roundtable
Wednesday, April 13
5:00 - 6:00 pm

This is a roundtable for members of Wisconsin Lakes' Regional Leadership Teams. We want to share with you our tactical plans, our vision of Leadership Team involvement in WI Lakes, and listen to ideas that you bring to the table.

Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Banquet & Awards Ceremony
Wednesday, April 13 - 6:00 pm

Please join us in celebrating the 2011 Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Award winners and new nominees at our banquet and awards ceremony on Wednesday evening. The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership presents the annual Lake Stewardship Awards to recognize the extraordinary volunteer and professional efforts of individuals and groups to protect and improve our lakes. People are nominated for Stewardship Awards by their peers — what a meaningful way to say, “Thank you!” to the people in your community who work so hard to care for our lakes. Winners of these awards join a select group of women, men, students, and organizations whose unmatched dedication, vision, and commitment ensure that Wisconsin’s legacy of lakes will be safe and secure for generations to come. The Stewardship Awards represent our best collective effort to honor and celebrate all the incredible work that goes into securing a bright future for Wisconsin’s lakes. Don’t miss this opportunity to pay tribute to all those who are doing extraordinary things for Wisconsin’s lakes.
Another showing of this year's multi-media production, titled "Speaking for Lakes," will be shown following the awards ceremony.


Thursday, April 14
Lunch (Closing) - (11:45 am - 12:45 pm)

Governor Scott Walker - invited

©1993- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point