“Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller understood the meaning of teamwork. As Celebrate Water continues to build its team and “make waves”, we showcase our next round of team players. Write On Door County, Door County Maritime Museum, The Door County Library, and The Clearing share their involvement and contribution to making waves.
Executor Director of Write On, Door County, Jerod Santek explains that their mission is to inspire. “We believe that everyone has a story to tell.” Write On offers programs throughout the county at all skill levels with free and tuition-based opportunities. Water influences everything, but for Write On it might best serve as a writer’s muse. Similar to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, it is all about nature’s effect on writers and preservation of the environment. Santek believes there is a huge difference between being told what is happening to our waters and sitting beside the water and experiencing it.
Water has been a theme for the past three years with Write On focusing on the Great Lakes as a setting or a topic in poems, fiction, and non-fiction. Write On took part in the kick-off for Celebrate Water on May 5th at Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay. They will continue the water theme throughout the summer and into the fall. For a complete list of the planned activities and information, visit writeondoorcounty.org.
With the peninsula surrounded by water, the Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc. plays an important role as a Great Lakes guardian. Carrie Dorski, Marketing and Events Coordinator, explains that the Museum, “preserves the Great Lakes maritime history, primarily focusing on Door County, Wisconsin, and provides interpretive and educational opportunities for current and future generations.” Their vision is to provide locals and tourists the best Great Lakes maritime museum encounter possible. The waters surrounding Door County were an important part of developing the land and strongly influenced the original settlers who first landed on the neighboring islands before developing communities on the mainland. Understanding the origins of peninsula life, the influence of the Great Lakes and its waterways, the lives of fishermen, ship captains and lighthouse keepers, all help to preserve the history of the area. The Maritime Museum participates in Celebrate Water to help raise awareness of the value of our surrounding waters and the role they have played in the development of this county. For a current list of events, educational programs, and exhibits visit dcmm.org.
Another important team player of Celebrate Water is the Door County Library. Serving eight branches in the county and working together with over 50 libraries in Northeast Wisconsin, they inform, instruct, and inspire. A Door County library card is the key to downloading audiobooks, movies, music, and resources from anywhere in the world with internet access. Morgan Mann in Community Relations comments, “The waters draw people to them for recreation and relaxation. During the summer months, in particular, we see more people using the library by checking out items and joining in our events and discussions.” Both Write On, Door County and the Door County Library believe the waters bring people together and stimulate written word and conversations.
The library will celebrate water by informing, instructing, and inspiring the community. Two books will be used to inform during the Door County Reads 2019; a book of fiction to be released in December, and the non-fiction, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. Visit DoorCountyLibrary.org/water for more resource links and information. Instruction will come in the form of adult lectures and hands-on activities for younger children which will include a visit from Stella Sturgeon! Each activity and event is aimed to inspire current and future generations to love and respect the fresh waters of Door County.
Danish landscape architect from Chicago, Jens Jensen, believed strongly in the effect of nature on a person’s “clear” thinking. Recognizing that importance, he founded a folk school in 1935, The Clearing in Ellison Bay. Its purpose was to provide a place for people to connect with nature and each other through classes in the arts, humanities, and natural sciences. The Clearing is beautifully situated amidst peaceful woods and bright meadows and includes a third of a mile of shoreline on the Bay of Green Bay with inspiring views of bluffs and water. Mike Schneider, Executive Director, said The Clearing joined the initiative to be good citizens of Door County, not for recognition, but because it is important to support efforts to protect our precious waters.
Since Jensen believed the environment posed such a strong effect on understanding our surroundings and culture, it is natural that The Clearing continues that commitment by its awareness of the waters. For a complete list of classes and information, please visit theclearing.org.
This gift of water is one that is often taken for granted. Celebrate Water Door County hopes to raise awareness of this gift so that we no longer take it for granted, but grow in our appreciation of it and commit to protecting and preserving it, not only for ourselves, but for generations to come. Working together, we can make a difference. We can make waves!
By volunteer writer Lynn Herman. Herman is a retired Gibraltar teacher and former school board member.