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Inaugural Lake Michigan Day in Milwaukee

Event organizer Linda Reid and her dog Tadhg - Discovery World in the background. That's where today's Lake Michigan Day is being held until 4 pm.

Not everyone in Wisconsin feels its pull, or takes full advantage of Lake Michigan. So last year, a coalition of Wisconsin professionals including scientists, environmentalists and others launched the first Lake Michigan Day to change that and foster more connections to the Great Lake.

The inaugural event took place in Manitowoc. This year, Milwaukee is joining.

Linda Reid spearheaded the event that's taking place today at Discovery World.

She’s the newly-hired executive director of Sweet Water – the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust. Reid studied law - and before joining Sweet Water, she worked with Milwaukee’s Water Council to create UW-Whitewater’s Water Business Program.

Reid says she was drawn to the natural environment and protecting early life.

“Yeah, especially the water. We did family vacations in Door County and it was just the best place to be playing in the water and picking up Lake Michigan glass and fishing, floating and swimming. So the water has always been really important to me,” Reid says.

She says Lake Michigan Day provides an opportunity to install that love in others. Professionals whose career’s are connected to water will talk about their work.

“And hopefully their share with the kids and their parents ideas about what kids can do when they grow up and still have a connection to the lake in their careers and in their lives,” Reid says.

Environmental engineers are part of the lineup.

“One of the firms represented is Stormwater Solutions Engineering. They’ve done lots of work that affects stormwater runoff and recent work at Summerfest to improve both the beauty of the grounds and also stormwater management there,” Reid says.

She says the captain of the Neeskay will be there “which is the beautiful vessel from the School of Freshwater Sciences. So he’ll talk about his job using that boat as a research vessel. And some students from UWM will talk about the research they’re doing,” Reid says.

She says Lake Michigan Day is more than sparking interest in water-related jobs.

“It’s about celebrating what we have, this beautiful resource. And it’s about reaching people who might not be connected to the lake.”

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.