Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Convention
April 1, 2020 - April 3, 2020
The Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Convention, formerly the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention and Water Action Volunteers Symposium brings together hundreds of waterfront property owners, citizens concerned with clean, healthy lakes and rivers, academics, agency staff, and government officials to learn, network, and enjoy three days of powerful topics about the management and care of Wiscosnin’s waters. In 2020 we celebrate the theme of “resilience.”
This past summer, the world lost a visionary ecologist who inspired people to explore how complex natural systems persist and thrive in the face of unanticipated change. Crawford Stanley “Buzz” Holling is credited with popularizing the study of resiliency in a range of places, from small lakes to prairie landscapes. The resiliency concept would help explain competing “stable states” of shallow lakes: clear water with rooted plants versus turbid water with algae. Each stable state can persist for years until a disturbance “pushes” the lake to an alternative state; the difficulty of changing from one state to another is an indicator of resiliency. Later in his career, Buzz and colleagues focused on coupled human-nature systems to examine how the resiliency concept might apply to our communities.
This exciting direction has opened up a new realm of coupled social and ecological studies. Findings have caused researchers and managers to better appreciate the nuanced contradiction found in such complex systems: they are dynamic and changing, but also stable and persistent. That same contradiction applies to our vibrant community of lake and river lovers and our annual spring gathering. We experience cycles of small transformations when volunteers and staff retire and new faces take on leadership roles. Yet, the core function of our gatherings holds steady over many years and even decades: we assemble to learn from each other, to share stories of success and failure, and to acquaint ourselves with the faces and voices behind the emails and reports.