Local Woman Working to Clean the Lakes That Inspired Her Career

Everyone has a dream job that inspired them down a career path. For Heather Allen, her dream became reality when she received the “dynamic and exciting” opportunity to work with the Clean Lakes Alliance. As a student at the UW–Madison, her studies in biology conservation and work at the United States Geological Survey led to her sampling the streams feeding into Yahara River. Allen acknowledges this as the starting point of her career.

            Now as outreach manager for a thriving new clean lakes effort, Allen sees her job as more than an immediate way to make an impact on water quality. She views her work at CLA as “vital to the future of the community.” She mentions the vast experiences and activities the lakes provide to Madison residents and visitors alike, as well as how their geographic prominence has defined who we are as a city since its inception. “They enhance our lives with scenic vistas and tremendous recreational opportunities,” she says. Allen wants to keep the lakes supported by the Yahara Watershed—Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra—healthy and accessible as they will be “an important legacy for generations.”

            Specifically, Allen wants to use her position at the Clean Lakes Alliance to “reach the people of Madison to engage them in fundraising and activities” to protect the lakes. CLA events include the upcoming Save Our Lakes Summit, Take a Stake in the Lakes Days in June and World Water Week, happening now.

            Beginning Monday, March 19 and running through Sunday, March 26, Allen and the Clean Lakes Alliance will work with local restaurants to “raise awareness and financial support for clean water at home and around the world,” she says. While dining out, servers will encourage patrons to donate $1 for the tap water they normally would receive for free. Allen says the donation will help raise awareness, and that contributing “is a great way to help provide lifesaving water and sanitation to kids around the world and to help the Clean Lakes Alliance protect the water quality of our lakes.”

            Allen encourages everyone to participate in World Water Week, as well as volunteering or becoming a member of the Clean Lakes Alliance.

The nonprofit, a unique public-private partnership that builds on the research and action in the community over the last few decades, provides ways for anyone and everyone to enjoy “a variety of fun and educational activities while working to protect and preserve the Yahara watershed lakes,” Allen says.

World Water Week, sponsored by Clean Lakes Alliance, runs from March 19-26.  To find out if your favorite restaurant is participating, visit www.cleanlakesalliance.com/worldwaterweek

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