Announcing our 2020 Community Awards Winners

2020 Community Awards

On January 13th, 2021, Clean Lakes Alliance honored groups and individuals at a special edition of Clean Lakes 101 Science Café. Clean Lakes 101: Awards, Accomplishments, & Ambitions, included the 2020 Community Awards presentation in which Clean Lakes Alliance recognized the accomplishments of individuals, volunteers, businesses, and other entities working to protect and improve our Yahara lakes.

CleanLakesCommunityAwardWinners 2020

A special thank you to the sponsors of the virtual award ceremony for helping recognize people who are working to maintain a healthy watershed. We would like to recognize the following sponsors:

Hosting Sponsor

The following individuals and groups received 2020 Community Awards:

Individual Lake Leadership Award

Eliza Gepner – Eliza Makes Art

Eliza, though still young, is doing a lot for our community. She turned 14 recently, and loves to make stickers that support local nonprofits. Eliza created a Madison skyline sticker, which is sold to help benefit Clean Lakes Alliance. Over the last two years, her sticker sales have raised $293.38 to benefit the lakes. Visit her website to purchase a sticker in support of clean and healthy lakes.

Eliza Makes Art - Madison Skyline
Madison Skyline stickers created by Eliza Gepner. Sales of these stickers raise funds for Clean Lakes Alliance.
Eliza Gepner Individual Lake Leadership Award, 2020 Community Awards
Eliza Gepner, Eliza Makes Art

Organization Lake Leadership Award

University of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin is “Forever Forward” in its approach to the environment. It has multiple departments working toward sustainability efforts, including improving the Yahara lakes. The institution is a large player in the Yahara CLEAN Compact. It also has engineering students working on a Capstone Projects that could directly benefit the Yahara lakes.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank - Organization Lake Leadership Award 2020
UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank is pictured in her office at Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on July 19, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

The University of Wisconsin has partnered with Clean Lakes Alliance on educational programming and has helped host Clean Lakes Volunteer Days. In addition, the UW has provided a steady stream of quality interns and much more.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Robert Bertera

Robert Bertera is a retired health and safety professional with a passion for photography and the lakes. Chances are, if you’ve read a Clean Lakes Alliance Lake-O-Gram or visited our social media, you have seen his work. He channels his passions into fantastic drone photos from all around the Yahara Watershed.

2020 Robert Bertera Monitoring Lake Farm Co Park
Robert Bertera, 2020 Clean Lakes Alliance Volunteer of the Year

Robert is also a volunteer water quality monitor who enjoys not just testing the water, but also providing important visual documentation of the lakes. His photography provides a record of cyanobacteria blooms on our waters.

New Lake Partner of the Year

Honeybee Cannabis Company – Wade Woods

Honeybee Cannabis Company become a new Lake Partner in 2020. Representatives from the company visited the Clean Lakes Alliance office in early 2020 (when you could still do that type of thing). They asked how they could get involved. Since then, they have gone above and beyond to support healthy lakes.

Honeybee Cannabis Company - New Lake Partner of the Year Award 2020
Wade Woods of Honeybee Cannabis Company

Honeybee Cannabis Company has been active on social media promoting the idea of clean and healthy lakes. They have also donated a percentage of sales from their products back to Clean Lakes Alliance. Their commitment to the lakes and the environment as a certified organic grower makes the company a leader in our community.

Urban Project of the Year

City of Monona

The San Damiano Friary is a 10-acre parcel of land once owned by the Saint Norbert Abbey. The land is located on Lake Monona’s northeast side along Monona Drive. The City of Monona decided to purchase the land in 2020 in an effort to preserve green space, provide community access to Lake Monona, and help control runoff to the lake.

City of Monona Staff - Urban Project of the Year 2020 Community Awards
Alderperson Nancy Moore, Friends of San Damiano President Andrew Kitslaar, and City of Monona Mayor Mary O’Connor

Rural Project of the Year

Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy

The Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy has been a long-time partner of Clean Lakes Alliance. The Friends help maintain and improve land that is important to healthy lakes.

Recently Dane County purchased a 160-acre farm adjacent to Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy have been successfully raising money to conserve and preserve the land through its Seed the Need Campaign. Seed the Need is an initiative to plant native plants on the land and return it to a native prairie.

The creation of a native prairie will produce high quality seed to regenerate other locations and will have high species diversity. By establishing a high-quality prairie at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, we can improve stormwater infiltration and create an aesthetically pleasing landscape that supports a diverse habitat.

Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy - Rural Project of the Year 2020 Community Awards
Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy: Lloyd Eagan (Past President), Hans Hilbert (Co-President), Pam Shannon (Co-President), Lois Sater (Chair of Development and Marketing), Gary Sater (Co-Chair of Restoration and Management)

Founders Award

Roger Bannerman

Roger Bannerman was a pillar of the water quality community. He was a rain garden pioneer. Roger created a rain garden manual for developing and using rain gardens for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

He also worked with his counterparts at the Wisconsin DNR to quantify the impacts of maintaining leaf-free streets on stormwater quality. It is largely because of his work at the Wisconsin DNR and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that qualifying municipalities within the state of Wisconsin can now take credit for fall leaf collection efforts under their stormwater permits.

Roger Bannerman Founders Award 2020

Roger was an instrumental member of the Clean Lakes Alliance Board. He helped our organization advance initiatives that make our lakes better. We lost Roger Bannerman to cancer a few months ago. We are proud to posthumously recognize him with our Founders Award at the 2020 Community Awards.

Recognizing long-time volunteers

The 2020 Clean Lakes Community Awards also recognized several people who have helped the organization through the years. Five-year water quality monitors who were recognized were:

  • Kitty Brussock
  • Ada Hazen
  • Arlene and Jeff Koziol
  • Tim Lechmaier
  • Terri Lefebvre and Joe Campshure
  • Allan Levin

Recognizing past board members

The Clean Lakes Alliance board represents the many government, business, and community partners working to make healthy lakes a reality. Their passion and expertise turns our small staff into one big team for clean lakes!

THANK YOU to our exiting board members for their dedication and passion for our lakes:

  • Mary Elvekrog – Compeer Financial
  • Joseph Ferreri – Lands’ End
  • John Haeckel – Clean Fuel Partners
  • Woody Kneppreth – Lake Waubesa Conservation Association
  • Eric Olson – Yahara Lakes Association
  • Randy Peterson – Russell James Investments
  • Scott Smith – Madison Gas and Electric
  • Russ Tieman – Mad-City Ski Team and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co
  • Bob Weber – First Weber Realtors

Special thanks to our outgoing Executive Board Chair Matt Frank, who led our board for the past two years. 

Congratulations to all of our 2020 Community Awards winners

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

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