2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards

2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards - awards

Announcing our 2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards Winners

On December 3rd, 2019 Clean Lakes Alliance honored seven outstanding individuals and groups at the Clean Lakes Community Awards. This event, presented by Town Bank, recognizes the accomplishments of individuals, volunteers, businesses, farmers, and other entities working to protect our Yahara lakes.

This year, the following individuals and groups received awards:

New Lake Partner of the Year

Edward Jones – Patrick Ellestad

In addition to becoming a new Lake Partner in 2019, Patrick Ellestad joined our force of volunteer water quality monitors to collect data near his Edward Jones office on Lake Monona. Since he operates an office of two, Patrick took it upon himself to help at several Renew the Blue volunteer days with other businesses throughout the summer and participated in lakeshore cleanup across the watershed.

Patrick Ellestad, 2019 New Lake Partner of the Year
Patrick Ellestad of Edward Jones
2019 New Lake Partner of the Year

“Clean Lakes Alliance makes it easy to get involved in a variety of activities. Each action or volunteer opportunity has a direct impact on the community we live in.”

Patrick Ellestad, Edward Jones

Volunteer of the Year

MSCR Pontoon Program

This group of volunteers logged nearly 4,000 hours in the 2019 season and provided lake access to more than 5,000 participants in the program! The MSCR Pontoon Program has been operating for more than 25 years to provide lake access to individuals with disabilities, low-income communities, and others who have limited access opportunities to enjoy our lakes. Volunteers provide their time, energy, and enthusiasm to make this program possible.

“Protection of the lakes is a job for the entire community. We hope that the recreational opportunities we provide on the lakes allow people to see the connection that the lakes have to each and every one of us.”

Emily Peffer, MSCR Pontoon Program
MSCR Pontoon Program, 2019 Volunteer of the Year
MSCR Pontoon Program
2019 Volunteer of the Year

Individual Lake Leadership Award

Jackie Hering

Jackie is a world-class triathlete, coach, event director, and lake lover who inspires others to be their best. Her family-owned company, Rooster Events, operates annual events including the Big Swell Swim series. In 2018, Jackie approached Clean Lakes Alliance to form a partnership to operate and expand our summer swim event on Lake Monona. She is passionate about raising water quality awareness in the swimming community here in Madison and across the region.

Jackie Hering, 2019 Lake Leadership Award
Jackie Hering, Rooster Events
2019 Lake Leadership Award Recipient

“As a swimmer and triathlete, the lakes are a vital part of my training and racing. We need clean, safe water to be able to enjoy the amazing training opportunities we have here in Madison.”

Jackie Hering, Rooster Events

Business Lake Leadership Award

Highland Spring Farm

Highland Spring Farm pasture-raises cattle to produce sustainable beef. The farm is located in the Lake Waubesa Watershed and incorporates practices that produce little to no runoff. You may have seen this business at a few local farmers markets in Dane County—and if you haven’t, you should look for them at Monona, Fitchburg, or Westside Community Farmers’ Markets.

“Support of pasture-based farms providing food directly to the consumer is one of the best ways to promote farms that protect the lakes.”

Kevin Opperman, Highland Spring Farm
Kevin Opperman, 2019 Lake Leadership Award

Urban Project of the Year

Trash Talkers

This group started cleaning up trash along the shoreline of Lake Monona. The idea was that individuals can make a difference every single day by just picking up some trash. They later started a Facebook group and eventually inspired people around the globe to join the cause. The Facebook group now has more than 600 members who engage daily on projects and trash removal.

“The lakes belong to all of us. They define our city’s geography and they reflect our city’s character. This means it’s our collective responsibility to care for them.”

Jen Lynch, Trash Talkers
Trash Talkers Before photo - 2019 Urban Project of the Year
Photo showing trash on the ground before a recent trash walk at Picnic Point
Trash Talkers After photo - 2019 Urban Project of the Year
Photo showing what the ground looked like after the Trash Talkers had taken a trash walk at Picnic Point

Rural Project of the Year

Yahara Pride Farms

Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led nonprofit working across the watershed to improve soil and water quality while balancing farm profitability. Their composting initiative is just one example of farmers using innovative strategies to reduce the impact of agriculture on our lakes. A study on manure composting by Yahara Pride Farms showed that the initiative could reduce up to two pounds of phosphorus per acre, per year. It could also increase nutrient density of compost to support crop output.

“In Dane County, we are fortunate to have both desirable communities and thriving agriculture. Clean water plays a huge role in this. As multi-generational business owners, we live and work in the watershed and are committed to water quality success for the long-term.”

Yahara Pride Farms
Manure Composting
Yahara Pride Farms demonstrates manure composting

Founders Award

Greg Dombrowski

Greg was one of the first people to meet with Clean Lakes Alliance’s Founder and Executive Director James Tye when the organization was being formed. Since then, Greg was foundational in the involvement of Johnson Financial Group. This group is one of Clean Lakes Alliance’s largest and continued supporters. Whether it’s sponsoring an event, funding an education program, or providing volunteers, Johnson Financial Group has set a strong example of what a Lake Partner can look like in our community under Greg’s leadership.

“When recruiting talent to come to the Madison region, it is the lakes and surrounding parks that are key selling points of our community, and that very few others can replicate. Investing in Clean Lakes Alliance just makes business sense. Clean Lakes Alliance has mastered the art of leveraging donations to reap results far above the level of support they have received, providing a great return on your investment.“

Greg Dombrowski
Greg Dombrowski, 2019 Founders Award

Recognizing long-time volunteers

At the 2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards, we also recognized several people who have helped the organization through the years. Five-year water quality monitors who were recognized were:

  • Jill Storms Ball
  • George Benton
  • Mark Jung
  • Zak Redding
  • Kim Sprecher
  • Janet Van Vleck
  • Ken Walz

Lake Champion

Joanna Burish

Since 2012, Joanna Burish has played an integral role in making Clean Lakes Alliance what it is today. She came on board to help plan the second Frozen Assets and has helped steer every Frozen Assets since then.

Joanna has been a Friend Board member, helping us to raise money. She also helped us as a consultant for strategy and fundraising. In late 2019, Joanna will be stepping back as a consultant, but will continue to be a shining star and a lake champion!

James Tye (Founder and Executive Director of Clean Lakes Alliance) with Joanna Burish, recipient of the Lake Champion honor. 2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards at The Edgewater in Madison, WI.

Read more about the Clean Lakes Community Awards and see past award recipients.

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