From memories of lazy Sundays floating down the Wolf River in an inner tube to tales of toxic chemicals flowing freely into the Fox, the stories we tell about water in Wisconsin shape the ways we understand our most precious natural resource. Two beloved writers share the story of water in Wisconsin and provide some insight into where it has been—and where it is going.

  • Environmental journalist Peter Annin, who is codirector of the Northland College Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation, is well versed in the long history of political maneuvers and water diversion schemes that have proposed sending Great Lakes water everywhere from Akron to Arizona. He will analyze the several noteworthy Great Lakes diversions that already exist, and shed light on potential water diversions of the future, including the controversial water diversion application submitted by Waukesha in 2010.
  • Author and Academy Fellow Jerry Apps writes fiction and non-fiction against the backdrop of agriculture, frac sand mining, and cranberry harvesting—industries that increasingly are shaping Wisconsin’s relationship with water. Apps will examine the issues rural communities face when outside forces make big promises but ultimately challenge the fundamental values of a community, including the right to their own water.

This spring, the Wisconsin Academy is looking at our state through the lens of writing. Under the theme “Writing Wisconsin’s Future,” we are hosting a series of talks and articles in Wisconsin People & Ideas by and about poets, fiction writers, scholars, administrators, and journalists whose writing can help us imagine a brighter future for Wisconsin.

Free with advance registration, this Academy Talk is brought to you by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. If you have any questions about the talk or registration, please contact Aaron Fai at 608-263-1692 ext. 14.

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