As a former GLAHNF Hub who has watched the network grow and change over the last few years, I am excited to introduce the Lake Michigan Federation (Federation) as one of GLAHNF’s new Lake Advisors. In 1970, citizens stood on the lakeshore and issued a powerful proclamation: We do not have to wait for governments or anyone else to protect Lake Michigan.We can take steps together to restore the lake we love. Since that point forward, the Federation has been your place to go to help Lake Michigan, and to find out what assistance is available for your local group.
Since our founding, the Federation has been working with people from around the region to promote site-specific restoration in the Lake Michigan watershed. Of course, policy reforms that impact Lake Michigan often occur on a Great Lakes-wide scale, necessitating the Federation’s involvement at the federal and state level as well.The Federation’s mission is to take care of the fish, wildlife, air, land, and water that make the Lake Michigan region a national treasure and help citizens understand how they can help too. To that end, we draw on many resources, working with teachers, scientists, economists, legal specialists, government representatives, communities, and individuals. And, year-by-year, individual-by-individual, we are getting back a healthy Lake Michigan environment.
To get the job done effectively we support two offices in the Basin – one in the booming Great Lakes metropolis of Chicago, Illinois, and another in Grand Haven, Michigan, a community that typifies the coastal vacation experience for many Great Lakes citizens.We also maintain staff in Milwaukee,Wisconsin, so we have you covered! With in-house legal capabilities, long experience working with communities to eliminate contaminated sediment problems, professional educators on staff, on-the-ground habitat restoration projects, and a strong network of volunteers, the Federation is well-positioned to provide solutions to Great Lakes problems by working through strategic partnerships.
A prime example of how the Federation works with local groups in our area is the Lake Michigan Partner Network. This partnership of more than 100 grassroots and regional organizations from around Lake Michigan is focused on restoring and maintaining the land and waters that feed into the Lake. In addition to providing networking support throughout the year, Partner Network members can apply for small amounts of Federation funding, and are invited to the annual fall Lakewide Summit for two days of information exchange and grassroots camaraderie. You can read more about the Partner Network at www.lakemichigan.org/lmf _partner_network/default.asp
GLAHNF’s new basin-wide focus means positive changes for the Federation’s work. For six years our involvement with GLAHNF has been focused on our efforts as Illinois Hub, and on the largely urbanized ecosystems that form the backbone of advocacy activities in the Chicago area.With the move towards lake-wide networking, we have a chance to apply our urban expertise to assist groups in the communities of northwest Indiana and southeastWisconsin, but also to work on some of the most ecologically valuable Great Lakes habitats in the Basin in northern Lake Michigan. Whether you live near an industrial center or a pristine coastal wetland, give us a call (or email) soon to let us know how we can help.
For more information about the Federation’s wide array of environmental programs besides GLAHNF, see the website at www.lakemichigan.org.