‘The Swiss Army knife of organizations’
Magazine honors Superior Watershed Partnership with achievement award
MARQUETTE — It’s fitting that an organization with “Lake Superior” in its name receives an award from a magazine with the same moniker.
The Superior Watershed Partnership on Thursday morning received Lake Superior Magazine’s 2020 Achievement Award during a ceremony at the Pavilion at Presque Isle Park overlooking — what else? — Lake Superior.
The award has been given annually since 1994 to individuals or organizations that have contributed significantly to the well-being of Lake Superior and its peoples.
Konnie LeMay, editor of the Duluth, Minnesota-based Lake Superior Magazine, presented the award.
“They’re the Swiss Army knife of organizations because they’re able to handle so many different areas, and handle it well, and with practical functionality,” LeMay said of the SWP.
The SWP has benefited the Marquette community, she noted, but it’s also helped the Lake Superior community, continuing to broaden its scope to other Great Lakes.
The 22-year-old SWP cooperates on projects on all four Lake Superior shores as well as on Lakes Michigan and Huron. Its projects have focused on habitat protection and restoration such as planting beach grass and common milkweed near the lakeshore, community pollution protection, climate change adaptation planning and implementation, invasive species removal and prevention, water quality and stormwater management.
It has assisted low-income families with energy bills and is undertaking a fundraising effort to restore the Stannard Rock Lighthouse, among other activities.
Maura Davenport, board chair of the SWP, reiterated that the organization is expanding its mission to assisting communities and helping people, realizing that ecology, watersheds and people along the Great Lakes are “intrinsically” connected.
“We’ve been able to respond to crises and needs in our communities because of what we do,” Davenport said.
SWP Director Carl Lindquist said he loves the Swiss Army knife analogy.
“Can we use that?” he asked LeMay.
Lindquist acknowledged that although the SWP has expanded to communities along Lake Michigan and Huron, Lake Supe
“We’ve done more with Marquette than any community ever, and we’re really proud of that partnership,” Lindquist said.
The city of Marquette’s new city manager, Karen Kovacs, spoke at Thursday’s ceremony, calling Lake Superior the “gem” of the community. “It’s the people, but it is also the people of the Superior Watershed Partnership that takes such a pride in their work,” Kovacs said.
Marquette City Commissioner Fred Stonehouse, also a maritime historian and author, said Lake Superior’s ecology, biology, fisheries, culture and its residents all become part of the story that Lake Superior Magazine tells.
“That magazine is regional, of course, but it has international clout,” said Stonehouse, who pointed out that people around the world have an interest in the “Big Lake.”
Dennis Stachewicz, director of community development for the city of Marquette, said the city has had great partnerships with the SWP and other groups, with community trust being an important component of city projects.
“As a municipal planner, being involved with this stuff, 90 percent of this stuff never turns out, right?” Stachewicz said. “And when it does, it’s remarkable the sense of accomplishment that you get, but not for yourself, but for the community as a whole because everybody came together.”
He commended the SWP for its work toward earning the achievement award.
“It is an achievement over many, many years,” he said.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is email@example.com.