It's Personal: How River Alliance Board Members Made the Connection
While the River Alliance's mission most simply stated is, "We Save Rivers," it doesn't describe very precisely what we do. River Alliance board member Tina Van Zile, a member of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, asked her fellow board members to help her out: she reads all the River Alliance stuff, but she wanted something succinct she could take to her tribal chairman to summarize what we do.
The answer from fellow board members: their own personal story about why and how they connect with rivers and the River Alliance.
|"A few years ago I was board president of a small river group in that was on the verge of collapsing. Then someone suggested I call the River Alliance of Wisconsin. That turned out to be one of the best phone calls I've ever made. A little bit of well placed coaching on how to get us back on track made all the difference.
It was gratitude for that lifeline that prompted me to first support the River Alliance, but what has kept me giving year after year is the wisdom and grit I see in the staff working to protect Wisconsin's waters, whether they be the rivers running through the state, or the groundwater beneath our feet. Now, as a board member for River Alliance I've learned more about our rivers and what's needed. I was especially impressed in September when we had a chance to visit Rice Lake and learn of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community's work to hold the highest of standards for water quality for their tribal waters. If it can be done there, surely other parts of the state with more financial resources can do the same. And that's why we need the River Alliance of Wisconsin - to make that happen." Lynn Broaddus, Wauwatosa
|"My husband and I lived in our home on the Yahara River for 18 years while raising our two daughters. Our daughters declared a tiny stream which ran into the river near our property their “little river.” We watched the “little river” dry up and the Yahara River become sludge when the water stopped flowing while the owner of an upstream dam fought with the township and the city of Stoughton. The river eventually flowed again but the “little river” never came back.
When I was asked by River Alliance to be a board member, it was clear to me it was time for me to give back. This is why I am passionate about donating my time and money to a group that works tirelessly so “little rivers” and clean water will be a part of children’s childhoods for generations to come…." Gail Schroeter, Fitchburg
|"As city dwellers, many of us take for granted that there will always be pristine wilderness and untamed waters to visit on our hard-earned weekends and summer vacations. It is too easy for us to forget that even in the north woods of Wisconsin, there are many threats to our precious resources. I am part of the River Alliance because we give a voice to those resources and we have a responsibility to protect the waters of our state for future generations to enjoy."
Cassie Goodwin, Madison
|"My first time in a canoe was as a Boy Scout, at age 11. Today I am 60; people who know me will laugh and tell you I have seldom been out of a canoe since. The very best of those times have been running down the rivers of Wisconsin, in the stern of a canoe, looking at my wife's strong back in the bow. We were asked once where our favorite place to paddle was. She answered, "Around the next bend." It is the River Alliance of Wisconsin that protects those places, the ones we have seen all our lives, the ones we have yet to see and the ones that our children will see for us."
Lindsay Wood Davis, Monona
|"At my business, PEMBAserves, we realized that we were in debt to the environment that fosters not only our lives (we're all active outdoor enthusiasts) but also our business, so we decided to repay that debt. We joined 1% For The Planet and began looking for ways to engage with a local charity. After meeting Lindsay Wood Davis on a canoe trip on the Wisconsin River, we chose to support the River Alliance of Wisconsin. We wanted our money to stay local; we wanted for it to have as much impact as possible; and --where and when available -- we wanted to be able to work directly with the organization so that we were not simply writing a check. The River Alliance of Wisconsin was the only organization in our consideration that had the potential to touch every environment local to us. From sky to sea, from highlands to caves, from dry areas to wetlands, from wilderness to urban areas, and cultures that span from modern to ancient, the only thing that touches all of these things is flowing water. Rivers are sacred, they're metaphors for life and for living. Rivers are the lifeblood of our entire planet. It's for this reason that I support the River Alliance of Wisconsin."
Brad Werntz, Madison
|"River Alliance has gained my support and dedication through their actions regarding two issues that have directly impacted me - one local, one statewide. They both reflect on the effectiveness of the organization, and that is so important. The local issue was through the River Alliance’s local groups program. Fifteen years ago when a group of us were working to remove the remaining dams on the Baraboo River, River Alliance staff provided our group expertise, support and critical information regarding the impact the dams were having on the resource. Next year we celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the removal of the last dam on the Baraboo. We’ll highlight the significant improvements in water quality, a greatly improved fishery and a huge increase in the recreational use of the river.
The second impact on me is through their work in the policy arena. As head of a county department responsible for addressing agricultural pollution of our water resources I’m pleased the River Alliance leads the campaign to adopt strong non-point pollution standards, enforce these standards and provide state funding for staff needed to implement the standards statewide.
River Alliance saves rivers!"
Joe Van Berkel, Baraboo
|"Moving to Wisconsin after living on the east coast I was amazed at the quality and quantity of beautiful Wisconsin rivers. After living here for nearly 30 years it was sad to see the rapid threat to these waters. I was looking for a group that would be solely “local” in their vision and efforts and came across the River Alliance. What a treasure we have in our rivers and River Alliance!"
Bev Stelljes, Fall Creek
|"Each year I have canoed many weekends on Wisconsin rivers, for the past 35-40 years. The rivers have given me a great deal of pleasure even when I tipped whitewater canoeing. River Alliance provides me a opportunity to help protect and restore our state’s rivers that I so love."
Bill Schultheis, Dousman
|"Rivers have been an important part of my life since I was 10 (50 years ago) when I started flyfishing for trout.) I fished the Wausaukee River in Marinette County almost daily, rain or shine every summer. Since then I've fished over 125 Wisconsin trout streams and worked , fished, or paddled on dozens of warmwater streams.
In my 32 year DNR career I led a team that cleaned up the Wisconsin River,reviewed over 100 FERC licensed dams, removed dams, protected groundwater in the Central Sands,and generally improved rivers. River Alliance was part of those efforts from 1993 on, and I'm grateful. All three executive directors and their staffs have always been there for rivers and now it's my turn to give something back to them."
Bob Martini, Rhinelander