The National Water Dance Project

A movement choir of bodies in motion and voices in unison across the United States of America.

Water is the Lifeblood of the Earth

We are blessed with a beautiful network of lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands in our area, but the health of our waters is increasingly compromised. Join us in a nation-wide project using simultaneous site-specific community dance to bring attention to the fragility of our waters, encouraging a local and national water ethic. (

On Saturday, April 12, 3:00pm at Olbrich Park we will join a volunteer recruitment effort coordinated by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission. (They will provide information and opportunities to sign up for various projects improving our area water resources) We will perform our water dance as a flash mob on the shore of Lake Monona.

No particular dance training or ability is required! This is a community arts activism experience!

Public Rehearsals: (join as many as you can, but all are not required!)

  • Sat, Mar 29, 11am-noon, Tapit Studio, 1957 Winnebago St. (enter using back door, off of Russell Street)
  • Wed, Apr 2, 7-8pm, James Reeb Unitarian Bldg, 2146 E. Johnson St.
  • Mon, Apr 7, 6-7pm, James Reeb Unitarian Bldg, 2146 E. Johnson St.
  • Wed, Apr 9, 7-8pm, Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa, Bolz Rm A

Please share this information far and wide, and let’s join together in this intersection of community arts, environmental education and civic engagement!

Sponsored by Moving from Within

Contact Dianne at for more information

National Groundwater Awareness Week

This last week was National Groundwater Awareness Week put on by the National Ground Water Association. The NGWA website is a wealth of educational information and links to local resources.

The City of Madison also has a great write up of information on our local groundwater initiatives.

What is groundwater, and why should we care about it? Groundwater makes up approximately 95 percent of the fresh water resources of the planet. This valuable resource is created when rain and melted snow soaks into the soil and filters through openings in beds of rock and sand creating underground reservoirs of fresh water. Forty-four percent of the U.S. population relies on groundwater for its supply of drinking water; while the rest rely on surface water sources such as lakes and rivers. Here in Wisconsin, we are water wealthy to the point of taking our riches for granted, unlike much of the American Southwest, where supplies are scarce and threatened by drought conditions.

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Permaculture and Water

When: Thursday, December 5, 6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Join Madison Area Permaculture Guild Founder Kate Heiber-Cobb and learn how to construct swales and berms, rain gardens, and other water catchment devices in your landscape. These holding methodologies help our community deal with water issues and can be used for growing plants. She will discuss why you want to hold water where it falls, how this practice relates to healthy soil, how it refills our aquifers, and much more. Bring drawing/sketch paper, pencil, and eraser for beginning to create a plan for your landscape with guidance from the instructor. Limited space; register early. To register, call Olbrich at (608)246-4550.

Keep leaves out of the streets!

Great information from our friends the Clean Lakes Alliance.

What do leaves in the streets have to do with algae in the lakes? Rainfall and stormwater that run through streets and gutters leach phosphorus from fallen leaves and carry the nutrient-rich “tea” down the storm drains and straight to the lakes. Phosphorus is the nutrient that drives algae growth; so let’s do our part to stop leaf litter leaching!

Find out what you can do to help!


Also this Thursday the 14th Yahara Lakes 101 will be feature Bill Selbig of the USGS presenting “Leaves and Lakes: Urban Phosphorus Runoff”.

When: Thursday, November 14th
7:30 am – Coffee & Breakfast
8:00 am – Presentation
9:00 am – Q & A

Where: Bluephie’s Café at Verex Building (150 E. Gilman St.)
Sign up to attend!

Wisconsin’s Water: Valuable, Vulnerable, Vanishing?


Green Thursday Presentation on Wisconsin’s Water: Valuable, Vulnerable, Vanishing?

Thursday, October 3,
Willy Street Co-op West

Melissa Malott, environmental advocate and attorney will speak about how we as a community and as individuals can protect and promote clean, safe water here in Dane County and throughout Wisconsin. Melissa was previously the Water Program Director at Clean Wisconsin, and now serves as Executive Assistant to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, specializing in environmental issues. Sponsored by the City of Middleton Sustainability Committee and Willy West. Presentation to be held at Willy Street Co-op West. Free refreshments provided.

Water and the City

A powerful way to stop wasting money and help support nature doing what nature was designed to do.


Andy Lipkis of Los Angeles TreePeople demonstrates using a multi-screen animation how rainwater can be redirected to save millions for our cities and provide the water we need for our sustainable survival.

Lakes & Watershed Commission’s 25th Anniversary Photo Contest

“Beyond the Water’s Edge” Photography Contest Announced Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission

A collaboration of artists, poets and water resource experts invite Dane County photographers to participate in “Beyond the Water’s Edge,” a creative investigation of Dane County lakes, rivers and wetlands to celebrate 25 years of service from the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission.

The contest is open from July 22 to August 22. This is a juried photography contest with selected poetry to accompany the contest winners in five categories: beauty and (re-)vision, recreation and tourism, caring for our waters, troubled waters, and water and daily life. Contest details are available at the contest website:

Photographers are asked to consider a list of 25 special water-related places in Dane County in their contest entries. A map and brief description of those places is linked from the contest web site (

County Executive and Honorary Contest Co-Chair Joe Parisi said: “For 25 years the county’s Lakes and Watershed Commission has worked to protect our waterways and connect residents and visitors to all that they offer. I encourage photographers to enter the contest, and for everyone to explore the county’s 25 special water-related places. There are some high profile spots we all know and enjoy, and some little-known gems and restoration stories that can inspire us.”

“Loving our waters is the first step to preserving and enhancing our waters,” said County Board Chair and Honorary Contest Co-Chair John Hendrick. “I look forward to some beautiful and inspiring images.”

“This year, the Lakes and Watershed Commission marks the 25th year that it has been working for Dane County residents and the waters on which they depend,” said Melissa Malott, Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair and Contest Honorary Co-Chair. “Inviting photographers and poets to help us celebrate the good work done by so many to protect and improve our waters seemed a perfect way to honor this milestone.”

An exhibition of winning photographs and accompanying poetry is planned for November and December 2013 at the Goodman South Madison Branch of the Madison Public Library. The Lakes and Watershed Commission will rotate the exhibition around the county in 2014.

Contest Sponsors and Steering Committee Representatives – Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission (Rebecca Power and Sue Jones), Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission (Kelly Parks Snider and Pam Andros), Center for Photography at Madison (Bill Pielsticker), and Verse Wisconsin (Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman).

Photography Jurors – Bill Pielsticker (President, Center for Photography at Madison) and Pat Dillon (accomplished artist and author)

Poetry Curators – Wendy Vardaman and Sarah Busse, Madison Poets Laureate

Visioning a Sustainable Wingra Watershed

You are invited to participate in shaping a sustainability vision for the Wingra Watershed, sponsored by Edgewood College’s Sustainability Leadership Program in partnership with Friends of Lake Wingra.

Wingra Watershed Design Charrette: Visioning a Sustainable Wingra Watershed
When: Tuesday, July 30, 3:30-5:00 pm
Where: Washburn Heritage Room, Regina Hall, Edgewood College

This participatory workshop will build on past and current visioning & planning initiatives and work toward a Wingra Watershed comprehensive sustainability plan, with goals of:

  • Integrating place-based design ideas (including specific ideas already generated by landscape architect and urban planning students and professionals) into watershed planning effort of the City of Madison, Strand Engineering, and Friends of Lake Wingra
  • Generating new ideas for land use, green infrastructure, policy and practices, etc., to move the Wingra Watershed toward sustainability visions of the City of Madison and the Capital Region Sustainable Communities
  • Creating and supporting a community of experts and learners interested in advancing green infrastructure and sustainable watershed management in the Madison area generally, and the Wingra Watershed in particular

Clean Lakes Festival 2013

Looking for fun ways to show your support for the lakes? Check out this year’s Clean Lakes Festival! All proceeds raised the Festival help advance the mission and vision of the Clean Lakes Alliance. Hope to see you there

Saturday, July 27th, 2013
9:00am to 9:00pm
Law Park by Monona Terrace

More details on the Clean Lakes Festival website!

9:00am – 12:00pm Water Ski Lessons*
Learn to ski with instructors from the Mad-City Ski Team.
*Advanced reservation required.

10:00am – Noon Lake Monona Heritage Boat Tour*
Get a lakeside look at the intriguing landscape and development (sponsored by Ho Chunk Gaming)
*Advanced reservation required.

10:00am Loop the Lake Bike Ride
Hop on your bike for a ride around Lake Monona

11:00am – 3:00pm Crazy4Lakes Discovery Center
Check out exhibits from local environmental organizations

11:00am – 6:00pm Rentals from Wingra Boats
Free canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals

2010 Natty Nation on the Entertainment StageNoon – 9:00pm Live Music
Watch the bands perform on the floating stage

11am – 6:00pm Kids’ Actvities Area
Games, Slip & Slide & more!

1:00pm – 4:00pm Betty Lou cruises
Relax and listen to the sound of lapping waves while enjoying a free Betty Lou Cruise on Lake Monona.

6:00pm Mad-City Water Ski Show
Enjoy a free water ski show from one of the nation’s top show ski teams