Hank Saunders Citizen Advocate

Hank Saunders Citizen Advocate

Anywhere Henrietta “Hank” Saunders goes she is sure to find a long-lost friend. It is her kind spirit, combined with her dedication to the environment and her commitment as an inveterate volunteer, that makes Hank deserving of a Freshwater Hero Award.

As a retired financial services professional, she has shared her skills as an analyst with a number of nonprofits in the Chicago area and even at the national level as the treasurer of the National League of Women Voters. At Freshwater Future, we have had the pleasure of working with Hank in her role as Treasurer of the Lake Michigan Chapter of League of Women Voters and Faith in Place. Hank currently serves as the treasurer for the national League of Women Voters.

Hank’s positive energy and can-do attitude is inspirational. She “walks the talk” of helping the environment by making her home energy efficient and even having her garden certified as native! Hank embodies the League of Women Voters ethos that democracy is not a spectator sport, and she shows it through her work to involve, include, and engage people in so many efforts.

Exercise Your Rights

We always hear about the rights of democracy, but the major responsibility of it is participation. ~Wynton Marsalis

We can all learn from Hank’s example, by getting involved and participating in our democracy. Civic engagement is a fundamental
value of all the work Freshwater Future does. It is at the core of how change happens and our communities improve. There are a
number of ways you can get involved…

GET INFORMED: Just like the “Couch to 5K” running guides, we provide you some easy ways to help transition from the viewer to the player—at least for water resource issues! One of the easiest ways you can up your involvement is to make sure you are signed up to get our emails. Visit us at freshwaterfuture.org to sign up.

EDUCATE: Now is the time to educate our elected officials at every level—local, state, and federal—to provide them with quality information to guide their decision making. What water resource issue are you most concerned about? Wetlands? Asian carp? Climate change? Algae? You can let your elected officials know about your concerns.

LOBBY: What exactly is lobbying? Asking your elected officials to vote on a certain piece of legislation. As a citizen, you have the right to do this. If you believe they should vote a certain way or know how you feel—tell them with a phone call, email, or letter.

On topics related to water, we provide opportunities for you to connect with your elected officials—go to our website for opportunities to take action and make your voice heard.

VOTE: This one may seem like the most obvious. However, it is important to remember that we are fortunate in the US and Canada to have the freedom to vote. It is one of our greatest civil liberties and an important part of the equation of a democracy. Voting is the simplest and easiest way to participate in your community, plus after you vote you can proudly wear your “I Voted” sticker.

VOLUNTEER AND GET INVOLVED IN LOCAL GROUPS: You and your friends and neighbors know what issues are the most important for your community. Is there a local group working on it, do you have a skill you can share to help them address the problem? Lending your time is a powerful to effect change in your community.


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.