Activists Will Gather to Protect Wisconsin Water, Public Lands
MADISON, Wis. – Each year in early spring, scores of conservationists, hunters, fishers and public-health officials gather in Madison for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters' annual Lobby Day. This year, the gathering is next Wed., Mar. 29.
Kerry Schumann, executive director of the sponsoring organization, says one of the main points this year is a public-health crisis in Wisconsin.
"We actually have a higher percentage of children with lead poisoning in parts of Wisconsin than they have in Flint," she said. "We know we have a problem with lead poisoning. We know there are a couple of different sources of lead, but water is one of them. And so, it is a public health crisis, but it's also a fixable one."
Schumann said manure and lead pollution are hurting Wisconsin families every day, all across the state. This annual gathering gives concerned citizens a chance to interact directly with members of the state Legislature, and to learn about conservation issues in every part of the state.
In the past, Conservation Lobby Day has resulted in tangible action in the state Legislature. That's the sort of thing Schumann said they're trying to accomplish again this year.
"We're hoping that we can make a difference in the governor's budget, that we can get some funding put back in the budget for state parks, and for county conservationists, who are the key people who are working to keep manure out of our water; and we're hoping to come out of Lobby Day with the passage of some bills to protect drinking water from lead," she added.
According to Schumann, issues such as protecting drinking water and public lands are not partisan political issues, but problems that affect all Wisconsinites. She says that's why Lobby Day is so well-attended.
"There will be people from every Senate district in the state of Wisconsin, and it's a pretty broad mix of people - some who are hunters and anglers and that's why they're there; they care about being able to have access to land to hunt and fish. Other people come because they're health professionals and they know that these drinking-water problems are a big concern," explained Schumann.