Monday, September 12, 2016

BLOG: From Festivals to Pharmaceuticals...

by Cathy Lotzer, Marshfield Utilities, Marshfield, Wisconsin

Groundwater Guardians for the Marshfield Area earned their first designation as a Groundwater Guardian Community in 1997.  Fast forward 20 years later and volunteers are still active in their community.

Why did we get involved?
Getting involved with The Groundwater Foundation (and Groundwater Guardian program) has proved to be very successful for our group.  For a very small annual fee to participate, a wealth of information and resources were made available to us.  In addition, we were able to make contact with other communities facing similar groundwater issues.  Rather than reinvent the wheel in our community, we learned what others were doing and mirrored their efforts.  Now, 20 years later, we are paying it forward, sharing our successes with others who are looking to get started in their communities.

The group first became active in our area because Marshfield’s water supply was very vulnerable, sitting on a sole source aquifer with shallow wells (50-90 feet deep).  With no viable options for new supply, protection of the current groundwater source was critical.

What have we done? 
In the early years, our team hosted many Water Festivals at area elementary schools.  Age specific activities were led to teach the concepts of groundwater protection, conservation, and overall water education aimed at teaching students about the value of our precious resource.

In 2001, one of our Water Festivals was filmed for a television production called
Into The Outdoors which aired on statewide TV.

Our group also led the constructed of two Rain Gardens in our community.
In 2006 we began our most successful project, our Rx Round-Up Pharmaceutical Take Back Program.  Marshfield was the first in the state of Wisconsin to collect pharmaceutical products (both controlled and non-controlled substances). For two years our group held multiple one-day collections, until we were able to open a permanent collection site at our local Police Department in February of 2008.  Since 2006 we have collected nearly 10,000 pounds of meds for proper destruction.  
Our group also worked with our local utility to become the first Groundwater Guardian Green Site in Wisconsin.  Marshfield Utilities has continued to earn this award each year since 2008.

Our group has also hosted several community day-long learning events for area youth and adults. Interactive workshops were held that targeted water education.

In 2014, our group hosted our first Girl Scout Let's Keep It Clean event.  Over 90 Girl Scouts attended, all earning their first patch “Ask Me About Groundwater”.
This past summer, we held a second Girl Scout event, with over 50 girls earning their first patch.
Why do we stay involved?
Our water supply hasn’t changed, neither has the need to protect it and sustain it for future generations.  The Groundwater Guardian program is the perfect fit for us!

Cathy Lotzer is the Technical Services Manager for Marshfield Utilities in Marshfield, Wisconsin, and has been the chair of the Marshfield Area Groundwater Guardian team since it was formed in 1997. She also serves as Chair of The Groundwater Foundation's board of directors. She can be reached at

The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the view of The Groundwater Foundation, its board of directors, or individual members.

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