In May of 2018, Door County began its inaugural Celebrate Water initiative. This year-long program will raise awareness of issues affecting the freshwater systems of Door County, and will conclude with a Water Summit, hosted by the UW-Oshkosh Environmental Research and Innovation Center, in June 2019. Events include water-themed art exhibits, talks and lectures, and a massive community kick-off at Sawyer Park. The mission of the festival is to “draw together the talents, efforts, energy and enthusiasm the county is known for and bolster the appreciation and awareness of our unique waters,” a mission the council will invoke year round by advocating for the freshwater systems that make Door County famous. This campaign was influenced by the affect Dan Egan’s book had on a very special person: his mother, Annie Egan.
Annie Egan has lived around water her entire life, growing up in Green Bay and raising her family in the area. Giving back to the community has always been important to her and her husband, Dick, who were named Door County’s Philanthropists of the Year in 2016. Besides sitting on numerous boards and committees, they are also founders of FUVIRESE USA, Inc. a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing financial and administrative support to FUVIRESE, a charity working with disabled adults and children in Ecuador.
Up until Dan Egan asked her to proofread his manuscript for The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, her efforts focused on local art and people in need. Water was always in the background of life, and she took its presence for granted. As an article states, her son’s book compelled her to use her influence and raise awareness about the issues affecting the water. She reached out to Healthy Water Door County, who responded by giving full support of Celebrate Water. How would the community respond to such a campaign? Annie Egan says the community response, “has been amazing and has really evoked the pride we all have in what makes the Door County peninsula so unique – the water that surrounds us.”
The year long campaign is just starting out, and there are many ways to get involved. Visit celebratewaterdoorcounty.org for more information.