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Thousands Volunteer to Cleanup Our Waterways!

Garbage shouldn’t be one of the signs of spring. But after the snow melts, trash and debris are often left behind.

In northeast Wisconsin we use our waterways to run businesses, irrigate farms and gardens, and to enjoy hiking, boating, and fishing. It’s a real problem when the water is threatened by garbage.

That’s why every spring, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance organizes the largest volunteer trash cleanup in northeast Wisconsin. Over 1,700 volunteers show up at parks, trails, and boat launches to restore the health and beauty of these public spaces. This year’s 12th Annual Fox-Wolf Watershed Cleanup happened on Saturday, May 4.

“Our watershed covers all or part of 18 counties, stretching from Crandon to Fond du Lac, and from Portage to the Bay of Green Bay,” says Sharon Cook, organizer of the event. “We are thrilled that we can get volunteers and supplies to 70 different sites.”

“We are grateful for the incredible community of people who help make this event possible,” says Jessica Schultz, executive director. “From the volunteers to the Site Leaders, to the donors and sponsors, it’s incredible to see the outpouring of support for our mission to protect and restore our waters.”

Although the annual Fox-Wolf Watershed Cleanup is the most visible project this organization does, they are working year-round with farmers, property owners, and municipalities to make a difference for our waters.

“No one can do this work alone,” says Cook, “and it’s too easy for people to get stuck in their own perspective.” Fox-Wolf builds community across typical boundaries, bringing together partners who might otherwise not work together. “We end up truly as an alliance of like-minded people. It includes our volunteers and members, sponsors and funders, business partners and government agencies.”

The Community Foundation is one of many supporters who make the work of Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance possible.

We received several grants from within the Community Foundation: a $1,500 grant from the SECURA Insurance Companies Charitable Fund, $1,000 from Jewelers Mutual Charitable Giving Fund, $500 from Water-Right Charitable Fund, and $500 from the Daniel K. Hedtke Fund designated to New London area cleanup.  

In addition, a $275 grant from the Environmental Stewardship Fund supported a live raptor presentation at the volunteer cleanup picnic, and a $60,000 grant over two years from the Community Vision Fund supported hiring a development director to bolster the organization’s capacity-building efforts. 

So far in 2024, we’ve received an additional $500 grants from within the Community Foundation from the Appleton Rotary Foundation Community Service Fund.

Thank you to all for your generous support to help make our waterways flourish!

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