Love the lakes? A first-ever Wisconsin Sea Grant Great Lakes Champion Award is in the works

To raise awareness about the importance of the Great Lakes to Wisconsin’s culture and economy, Wisconsin Sea Grant announced today it will confer the first-ever Great Lakes Champion Award in early 2021. A call for nominations is now open.

“I could not be more enamored of the Great Lakes,” Sea Grant Director Jim Hurley said. “I know there are others who share my passion and we hope to see them put forth for this award.”

“I am an East-Coast transplant, first arriving in Wisconsin more than 35 years ago,” said Sea Grant Director Jim Hurley. “I could not be more enamored of the Great Lakes bordering my adopted state. They are the focus of my research on mercury cycling and the object of my appreciation for the beauty, recreation and resources they offer. I know there are potential winners of this award in Wisconsin, and in the wider Great Lakes Basin, who share my passion. We hope to see their names added for consideration for the Wisconsin Sea Grant Great Lakes Champion Award.”

Those eligible for the award are any group, program, organization, or individual that displays:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to the Great Lakes through some or all of these factors: dedicated actions, facilitated education or enacted policies that have resulted in the conservation and sustainable use of lakes Michigan and Superior, and the rest of the basin, if applicable.
  2. Long-term consistent care and concern for the Great Lakes in keeping with the Wisconsin Sea Grant mission—promoting the sustainable use of the Great Lakes through research, education and outreach. As well as in support of the program’s vision statement—thriving coastal communities.
  3. Leadership in some or all of the following areas: cultivating freshwater partnerships; fostering collaborative action on behalf of Great Lakes issues; enhancing environmental justice, diversity and inclusion in the basin, or service built upon trust and transparency.
  4. A contribution to accomplishments in some or all of Sea Grant’s focus areas: healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, resilient communities and economies and/or environmental literacy and workforce development.

The award will be given every two years. This first one will be presented during a virtual ceremony the evening of Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Anyone can nominate worthy recipients, and self-nominations are also invited. Nominations are due at midnight on Jan. 16, 2021.