By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — “During the first couple of months of Leadership Marshfield, all participants were asked to think about a topic or project they might like to work on,” recalled Cathy Lotzer. “Both Dave Wasserburger and I worked at Marshfield Utilities and were interested in an environmental topic and forming a team to work on such a project.”
Members of the 1996-1997 Leadership Marshfield class Arden Rindfleisch, Terry Knoll, Chris Raasch, Lotzer, and Wasserburger would form an environmental group.
“In October 1996, my former manager at Marshfield Utilities, James Trierweiler, came across a brochure from the Groundwater Foundation advertising an environmental education program called Groundwater Guardian,” added Lotzer. “The organization was meeting in Oakbrook, Illinois, in November of 1996 to celebrate communities receiving Groundwater Guardian designation for 1996.
“Jim asked if I was interested in attending to learn more about the program. From the brochure we had, it looked like a great project for us to suggest to our Leadership Marshfield environmental team, … so I attended in November of 1996 and fell in love with the program Groundwater Guardian.”
The Groundwater Guardian program supports, recognizes, and connects communities that are active in protecting their groundwater. Teams in these communities must work with local leaders to develop and implement Result Oriented Activities (ROAs) to annually receive designation and recognition.
“I brought back additional information about the program to share with our team,” recalled Lotzer. “Everyone agreed that it was a perfect fit for us to work on.
“So our team began work in early 1997 applying for entry to the program, recruiting additional team members, and completing ROAs within our community. One of our first activities was the Spencer Water Festival in May of 1997.
“Later that year, in November of 1997, Tom Drendel and I attended that same Groundwater conference in Oakbrook but this time to accept the first Groundwater Guardian Designation for Marshfield.”
Today, Groundwater Guardians for the Marshfield Area celebrates 20 years of implementing and assisting in programs to protect the groundwater, which include local green expos and the community prescription drug take-back program.
On March 24 the Groundwater Guardians for the Marshfield Area held an event at Hotel Marshfield to commemorate the organization’s 20 years and acknowledge local leaders for their work with the program.
Receiving awards recognition were the Milladore Groundwater Guardian Team, which was given the Good Neighbor Award; Marshfield Police Department, Partner Award; Norb Salamonski, Volunteer Award; Jeff and Treva Tisdell, Caring Couple Award; Marshfield Utilities, Champion Award; and Cathy Lotzer, Leadership Award.