Dane County Office of Lakes & Watersheds
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Give Water-friendly Gifts this Holiday Season

Tired of the annual holiday shopping scramble for stuff nobody needs? Here's the perfect alternative that's convenient, meaningful and socially beneficial: water-friendly gifts.

"Celebrate the holidays using waste-reducing practices and giving 'green' gifts that can help keep our waters blue," says Sue Jones, Watershed Management Coordinator with the Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds.

"Consumption is highest during the winter holidays, a good time to focus on simplifying and saving money, reducing consumption and educating people about all the energy impacts," says Rebecca Grossberg, Environmental Action Teams (EnAct) program manager for Madison Environmental Group. "Green holidays are part of setting an example and living an environmentally responsible lifestyle." The EnAct program brings neighbors together to support each other in taking practical steps to reduce their environmental footprint.

Green holidays are creative and affordable. They celebrate the natural world, reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and encourage environmental awareness.

The Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds offers the following water-friendly gift ideas:

  • For a thoughtful last-minute gift for the person who needs nothing, give a membership to their local conservation or "friends" group. These volunteer groups work throughout the year to maintain the health of our natural resources and make significant contributions. Visit http://www.danewaters.com/resource/WatershedMap.aspx and click on "watershed locator tool" to learn what watershed in Dane County your gift recipient lives in. Then click on "watershed associations, friends groups and other natural resource groups" to find organizations that work in that area.
  • Gifts to help people experience the outdoors (the best way to get them to care about our lands and waters), such as a new bike helmet or a certificate for a comprehensive bicycle tune-up at the local shop; gift coupon for ice skates or ski rental; gift certificate for a kayak or canoe rental from your favorite paddle shop; or a voucher for a guided hike or wilderness trip.
  • Gift certificate to a native plant nursery, or for plants to start a rain garden.
  • Rain barrel to collect rainwater for your garden (available locally from the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association at 437-7707).
  • A share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that produces wonderful organic vegetables in a way that's friendly to our lands and waters.

An extensive list of other green gift ideas and information on EnAct teams are available at www.enactwi.org.

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Yahara Waterways Trail Guide The Yahara Waterways Water Trail Guide is a great resource for exploring our area waters.