Grassroots Symposium Success!

Grassroots Symposium Success!

This October 70 Great Lakes advocates gathered on the southernmost Lake Erie shore in a little town called Lakeside, the “Chautauqua on Lake Erie” for the 2005 Grassroots Symposium. It was an empowering experience to be meeting on the shore of Lake Erie, once the most polluted and desecrated Great Lake. People enjoyed break-out sessions and visits on the Lake, a visual reminder of the very resource we strive to protect.

Our communications theme was the focus of the Symposium. We kicked off the weekend with sessions to introduce us to Lake Erie.We dove into our theme with Jeffrey Potter’s Values Based Messaging workshop.

People spoke about how grateful they were to practice drafting effective messages. Kelly Dardzinski energized the group with her introduction to our 2006 theme, Stormwater: From Runoff to Renewal.

For many, the most important and useful piece of the 2005 Grassroots Symposium was networking with other people struggling to protect the same resources, fighting on behalf of the earth and future generations. This was accomplished through conversations over meals, walks on the shore and |strategy sessions helping each other develop messages. There was also time to network specifically with others from one’s basin.

The Symposium ended on a perfect note Saturday evening. We were privileged to present the first two Grassroots Citizen Advocate Awards. Then we were entertained by a Great Lakes Advocate of another sort, the author and storyteller Jerry Dennis regaling us with stories from his book “The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas.” In closing, Jill Ryan asked that we each take our water glasses, and ponder a moment the wonderful and invaluable resource to which we are so intricately attached. The group of advocates, who fight passionately for a resource that is so utterly important and literally joins all of our lives, all raising their glasses in appreciation,was truly inspiring.We hope you’ll join us next year!

2005 Grassroots Symposium Materials Available

– Great Lakes: Connecting Communities Communications Toolbox CD-ROM, a project of the Biodiversity Project and GLAHNF. The Toolbox includes:

  • communications training,
  • audience research,
  • Great Lakes images,
  • media lists and more.

Visit for your online version.

– Waterways At Risk: How Low-Impact Development Can Reduce Pollution Run-off in Michigan, a report by the Public Research Interest Group in Michigan and American Rivers Contact Kelly Dardzinski at kelly@pirgim.orgto request a copy of the Report.

– 2005 Grassroots Symposium Workbook, a self-guided tour through the Symposium’s major topics and workshops. Contact Emily at to request a copy of the Workbook.




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