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​​2015 Convention Keynote/Special Speakers

Agenda subject to change.

Friday Kickoff Plenary Panel & Digital Production

Friday, April 24
9:00 - 10:45 am

Reflecting on the Past for Future Lake Health

Our Friday plenary panel will feature three people who collectively have shaped Wisconsin’s lake programs over the last forty years. Stephen Born, William O’Connor, and Jim Holperin will share the stage to reflect on the origins of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, its challenges over time, and the prospects for its future. We are convening these three leaders as a tribute to Lowell Klessig, who passed away last summer. Lowell’s career as an Extension educator and community organizer was centered on the lakes partnership, and he touched as many people as he did lakes. 

Professor Born was Lowell’s graduate school advisor and was a lead researcher on the Inland Lake Demonstration Project, the multi-faceted research project in the 1960s and 70s that set the stage for Wisconsin’s lake law (Chapter 33) and our partnership approach. In addition to serving as professor of water resources and land use planning at UW-Madison, Steve was the one (and only) State Planning Director for Wisconsin and has recently served on the national board of Trout Unlimited.

Bill O’Connor worked closely with Lowell and others in the early days of Chapter 33, Wisconsin’s Lake Law, to help foster and nurture lake districts. Bill is an attorney who has been helping lake districts in Wisconsin since the early 1980s and also was instrumental in creating the Water Resources Account. In addition to his work with lake districts, Bill has worked with land trusts (including national Land Trust Alliance) and is currently a curator of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Jim Holperin is a retired lawmaker from northern Wisconsin who also served as Wisconsin Tourism Secretary and was a long-time legislative aide who helped create the Water Resource Account within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (which funds grants, DNR staff, and UW-Extension Lakes, and has also helped fund the non-profit Wisconsin Lakes). In addition to stints in both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, Jim is a small business owner in Eagle River

Their collective wisdom will help all of us to reflect on what the Partnership has accomplished and what we need to do in the coming years to ensure lake health for future generations! There will be time at the end of the discussion for questions from the audience.

Moderator: Eric Olson, UWEX Lakes

Watch video of the panel discussion here.

Digital Production

As part of Friday's plenary panel, we will be showing a video of the awesome aerial view of our state's most precious natural resources. Wisconsin Public Television will share a portion of its production "Wisconsin From The Air." View a preview here.​

Friday Lunch Speaker - Cal Potter

Friday, April 24
12:15 - 1:30 pm

Cal Potter was born and raised in Sheboygan, received his Bachelor’s Degree from Lakeland College and did his graduate work through the University of Wisconsin. From 1968-1975 Cal taught Social Studies at Plymouth High School, after which he served eight terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly (1975-1990) and two terms in the State Senate (1990-1998). While in the legislature, he was chair of the Assembly Education Committee and Senate Education Committee, as well as chair of and a member of numerous standing and special study committees. During his legislative career, he received more than 50 awards, primarily for his work in the area of education, libraries, and environmental protection. During his time as a lawmaker, Cal was a regular presenter at Wisconsin Lake conventions and helped champion updates to the state lake district law (Chapter 33 of State Statutes) and funding for lake rehabilitation and protection. Cal was appointed Assistant State Superintendent for Wisconsin beginning in 1998, wherein he administered the Department’s Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning. Cal is now retired from state service but remains a member of numerous state and local boards and councils, including Common Cause in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Potter, a former instructor at Silver Lake College, reside in the Town of Sheboygan Falls.

Watch video of Cal's lunch talk here.

Saturday Keynote Speaker - Marion Stoddart

Saturday, April 25
8:50 - 9:50 am

The Work of 1000 Civic Engagement Program

Did you know rivers can get better with age? The Nashua River, one of the ten most polluted rivers in the country during the 1960s, is on its way to becoming a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System this year! The woman who helped catalyze and maintain this amazing transformation is Marion Stoddart, a citizen leader committed to a lifetime of grassroots organizing. Marion is a true testament in mobilizing a community to action and showing people that change is possible even when it seems impossible. Marion has received many awards including the United Nations Environmental Programme’s Global 500 Award. She also founded a worldwide adventure business that joins women from diverse backgrounds around the world to learn from one another. 

Join Marion at the 2015 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention and get inspired! She simply states, “What I wanted to do was to make a difference in the world – which is what we all want to do – and can do.” 

Click here to learn more about Marion Stoddart and her work. 

The Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act was just passed on January 12, 2015! Read more about it here.

Video from 2015 Saturday Keynote Marion Stoddart - Lessons Learned and Q&A (click here​).

Saturday Closing Lunch Speaker - Karl Martin

Saturday, April 25
11:45 am - 1:15 pm

Karl Martin, PhD, Program Director, UW-Extension Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development 

Karl Martin oversees the statewide Extension effort to enhance community vitality and natural resource health in Wisconsin. Through county educators, state specialists, and events like the Lakes Partnership Convention, UW Extension carries out the Wisconsin Idea- extending the benefits of the university to all corners of the state. Before starting as the program director in 2014, Karl was chief of the Wisconsin DNR’s Wildlife and Forestry Research Section.

Watch the video of Karl's lunch talk here​.

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