Yahara Watershed Academy

Learn with us at the Yahara Watershed Academy

About the Academy

Our lakes define the Greater Madison region and support local quality of life. They anchor our sense of place, and represent economic engines that drive property values and help businesses recruit and retain talent. In recognition of their value, the Yahara Watershed Academy is building a new generation of leaders to serve as champions of our lakes.

The Yahara Watershed Academy is a training and leadership-development experience. It aims to build and empower a regional network of informed leaders for our watershed. The Academy does this by supporting and inspiring the creation of locally led projects and initiatives benefitting the Yahara River Watershed.

The course provides students with the knowledge, tools, leadership skills, and resource connections needed to meet today’s land and water conservation challenges effectively and sustainably.

Our Vision

We envision a future where Academy graduates are providing leadership in the workplace and within their neighborhoods, advocating for better watershed health and serving as trusted liaisons.

The Academy supports the types of projects and leadership initiatives that can produce meaningful and measurable outcomes. It is intended for current and aspiring leaders who live or work within the Yahara Watershed.

Yahara Watershed Academy 2 Photos

Ideal candidates

  • Have a passion for learning about our lakes
  • Desire to take action as individuals or through affiliated groups to improve our watershed
  • Will commit to participating in all five classes


Applications for the Yahara Watershed Academy, Class of 2019, will be accepted through Monday, January 14th, 2019.

Five full-day classes will be held at indoor and outdoor venues throughout the watershed. Classes will take place February through June of 2019, on the second Tuesday of each month: 2/12, 3/12, 4/9, 5/14, and 6/11. In addition to attending classes, students will work on individual or group action plans and projects to be completed after the conclusion of the course.

Course Fee

Thanks to the generous support of our Academy underwriters, charter members, grant providers and donors, accepted applicants will pay a nominal course fee of $600. A discounted rate of $375 is offered to any applicant whose fee is being covered through direct payment by a government or nonprofit organization. Payment is due to Clean Lakes Alliance by January 25, 2019, and is non-refundable.


More about the Academy

Course themes:

Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic | Climate Change Impacts | Health & Economic Linkages | Native American Culture & History| Limnology | Leadership | Community Inclusion

Each student will experience 40 education hours with credentialed faculty, topic specialists, and seasoned practitioners serving as course presenters. The curriculum includes a combination of thought-provoking classroom exercises and outdoor field excursions. Students will focus on factors influencing watershed sustainability, participate in problem-solving activities, and apply proven tools for taking action.

Past activities:

Tour of Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District | Waubesa Wetlands field excursion | Explore UW-Arboretum’s stormwater control features | Pontoon classroom on Lake Mendota | Green infrastructure tour | Aldo Leopold Nature Center learning experience

Some past speakers include:

Michael Mucha, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District | Dr. Emily Stanley, UW-Madison | Dr. Chris Kucharik, UW-Madison | David Liebl, UW-Extension | Dr. Ken Potter, UW-Madison | Dr. Stephen Carpenter, UW-Madison | Annette Miller, MG&E | Jeff Endres, Yahara Pride Farms 

Read about the 2019 Yahara Watershed Academy

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