Happy New Year Lake Wingra Friend!

Happy New Year, Lake Wingra Friend!

The winter is a great time to enjoy the treasures of Lake Wingra. As you’ll see in this newsletter, there are lots of interesting things happening below the ice, and above. I hope you get an opportunity to get out in the watershed or on the Lake this winter to enjoy our natural communities.

Looking back at the past year, I can remember numerous great experi­ences on Lake Wingra- including Grilling for Peace, the field trip led by Friends of Lake Wingra for the Natural Resources Federation, Jazz in the Park, fishing, canoeing, bike rides along the Park and Pleasure Drive, walks on the Edgewood Boardwalk and in the Arboretum, picnics in the park, and ice skating on the glass-like surface of the lake following the early freeze last fall. What a wonderful place!

Friends of Lake Wingra is dedicated to protecting the Lake, and enhanc­ing the surrounding watershed community. Admittedly, there are numerous challenges and threats to the health of the Lake, and to the human enjoyment of the Lake. Hopefully we can all work together to best these challenges.

We also believe that it is essential to focus on our successes, and common goals- and as an Organization and a community we have some amaz­ing successes to celebrate in 2018. Water quality sampling in Lake Wingra showed continued normal variations. We now have a natural­ized and protected shoreline with a dedicated paddlesport launch­ing area at Wingra Park. The reconstruction of Monroe Street includes special water quality treatment devices, rain gardens, and decorative features- as well as measures to improve pedestrian safety. After continued major damage following this summer’s flooding- Glenwood Children’s Park has been partially repaired. Volunteers noted healthy amphibian activity at Vilas Lagoon (from newly reconstructed bridges!). Less phosphorus is reaching our lake due to improved leaf collection practices in small areas- which will hopefully be expanding soon. Less salt is being spread on our roadways and sidewalks due to messaging and programs by the City and County. Hundreds of students visited and learned about the lake, and literally thousands more witnessed the wonder of the monarch life cycle.

All of these successes included direct participation and engagement by the Friends of Lake Wingra. As we finalize our organizational strategic planning efforts, it is essential that we continue the momentum that made 2018 an incredible year. We are poised to do so with increased internal focus; and the spectacular opportunity to participate in the development of a Masterplan for Vilas Park. How­ever, more than ever, we need support in these projects. Please consider learning more about joining our Board of Directors, the Advisory Committee for the Vilas Park Masterplan, or through a financial contribution.

Ben Yahr

Chairman of FoLW