Freshwater Society launches yearlong exploration of water issues

For Immediate Release


Media Contact:
Patrick Sweeney
Freshwater Society763.219.1261


Noted polar explorer and climate activist Will Steger will keynote launch event Jan. 26, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS – (Jan. 13, 2010) – To educate and inspire people to value, conserve and protect Minnesota’s water resources, the Freshwater Society is launching a yearlong initiative, 2010: The Year of Water, with a free public lecture by Will Steger, noted polar explorer.

“The time is now to make a total cultural shift in how we view our water resources in Minnesota,” said Gene Merriam, president of Freshwater Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness about water issues.

“Our goal over the next year is to help everyone understand that everything we do on the land around us affects the quality of water in lakes, streams and aquifers,” Merriam said. “Ultimately, we want people to make changes in their use of water to protect and conserve this most precious of resources.”

Steger will speak on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at a 2010: The Year of Water kickoff event at the Gray Freshwater Center in Excelsior. A Minnesota native who has led multiple dogsled expeditions to the North Pole, Greenland and Antarctica over the last 20 years, Steger now spends most of his time working to educate people, especially young adults, about the threat of global warming.

Steger will speak about his first-hand observations of global warming in polar regions, the impact of climate change on water resources, the recent Copenhagen conference on climate change and the opportunities he sees for Americans to fight global warming and revitalize their economy by dramatically reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

Steger’s talk is the first of several initiatives planned by Freshwater Society as part of 2010: The Year of Water. Other activities include :

  • A four-part lecture series, co-sponsored by Freshwater and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, in which national and local experts will discuss major water issues.
  • A water conservation curriculum that will encourage many fourth- and fifth-grade students across Minnesota to measure the water they and their families use and consider ways to use less.
  • Community Clean-Ups for Water Quality in which clubs, organizations and youth groups throughout Minnesota will be encouraged to combat phosphorus pollution of lakes and rivers by recycling leaves that, otherwise, would wash into storm sewers in the spring and fall.

The Jan. 26 opening event that features Steger’s talk on global warming begins at 7 p.m. at the Gray Freshwater Center, 2500 Shadywood Road, Excelsior. Minn.

The event is open to the public, but seating is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, go to the Freshwater Society Web site:

About Freshwater Society

The mission of the Freshwater Society is to promote the conservation, protection and restoration of all water resources. Since 1968 – two years before the first Earth Day – the Freshwater Society has been a leading public nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving, restoring, and protecting freshwater resources and their surrounding watersheds. To achieve this goal, our organization:

  • Recognizes the vital role of freshwater to all living things and threats to the sustainability and quality of accessible freshwater.
  • Dedicates its experience and resources to activities that lead to the understanding, protection, enhancement, and restoration of water resources.
  • Invites the participation and support of individuals, associations, business and industry, institutions, educators, and government in these activities

For more information, go to or visit the Freshwater Society on Facebook.



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