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The 11th Annual
Thursday, March 16th, 2023
More Speakers and Summit Agenda Coming Soon!
2023 Featured Speakers

Mike Miller

Bureau of Water Quality

Risks Posed by Neonicotinoid Insecticides to Wisconsin’s Streams and Rivers

Neonicotinoids (“neonics”) are the most widely used class of insecticides globally. In the Midwest, the primary use of neonics are as seed coatings for many crops including corn, soybeans, and other grains. There is an increasing number of studies reporting environmental harm caused by neonics to both terrestrial and aquatic insect populations. In 2022, with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in collaboration with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the River Alliance of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources initiated a study to collect water column grab samples at randomly-selected and fixed-station sites, to characterize neonic contamination in Wisconsin’s wadeable streams. Preliminary study finding will be presented reporting the spatial extent and levels of neonic contamination in Wisconsin.

Mike is a stream ecologist for WI DNR, a lecturer at UW-Madison, and co-author of Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams. When not thinking, studying, or writing about streams, he can often be found getting out-witted by animals with pea-sized brains while fly fishing in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area.

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Jenni Kempf Schiavone

Friends of the Fox River

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Full-Length Fox River Trippin'

Jenni had always wanted to paddle the entire length of the Fox River, and in celebration of It's Our Fox River Day 2022, she did just that. Growing up on its banks in Algonquin Shores, the river was foundational in her upbringing. Now it is her job to lead joyous experiences to help children understand and value the river and their role in protecting it. From portaging around the Fox River’s 16 dams, crossing one of the most heavily used powerboat recreation areas at the Chain O’Lakes, and guerrilla camping when necessary, the 200 mile paddling trip was no easy feat for Jenni and the friends that accompanied her. But challenges were balanced by majesty and firsthand Fox River education that she will carry with her in her role as Director of Education Programs Operations with the Friends of the Fox River. Hear all about it and bring your nostalgic Fox River stories for a presentation and talk about this impactful voyage.

Jenni has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Northland College in Ashland, WI and a Masters of Public Health from U.W. Madison. After 22 years of involvement with Friends of the Fox River, she currently directs watershed education for the organization. Previously she worked as an environmental toxicologist at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, education coordinator at the Wisconsin Energy Institute and in ecological restoration. She is the proud mother of two young environmental protectors and cultivators of joy, Greta (11) and Scarlet (5).  

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Gary Swick

Friends of the Fox River

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Where were you for It’s Our Fox River Day 2022?

To effectively protect and restore a watershed, we must act on a watershed scale. The Fox River Summit and Our Fox River Day (IOFRD) are two events that embrace that concept.


IOFRD is designed to be a unifying watershed-wide event to provide awareness and action in celebration of the Fox River. Born as a clean-up, it has morphed into a diverse celebration. IOFRD 2022 was significantly larger than in the past. Learn what happened, lessons learned, and get ready to celebrate IOFRD 2023 on Saturday September 16th.

Gary Swick used his BS in Natural Resource Mgt. from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a MSEd in Outdoor Teacher Education as the foundation for developing a field-based High School Environmental Science suite of eight courses. Under his direction, students planted thousands of trees, restored acres of natural areas, generated files of research, and accomplished many other acts of environmental stewardship that have become local history. Many of those students are now professionals in the environmental field.  In addition, he also invested 10 years at Northern Illinois University as an instructor, and 18 summers as a raft guide on the Snake River in Wyoming.

Gary serves as the President of the Friends of the Fox River and is a board member on several other non-profit conservation groups. He is an avid outdoor recreationist.

Ted Kratschmer

Northwater Consulting


Joe Keller

Fox Waterway Agency

Fox Chain O’Lakes Watershed Plan Update

The Fox Waterway Agency, along with a volunteer, citizen-led committee is leading creation of a new watershed plan for the Fox Chain O’ Lakes. Technical aspects and plan compilation are being led by Northwater Consulting. We will give an overview of the plan’s purpose, issues that the plan will address and progress to date. We will share opportunities to be involved throughout the planning process and ways learn about the issues and their potential solutions.

The Agency News  ....  Fox Waterway Agency 2023 Publication

Ted Kratschmer works with diverse clients across the Midwest helping to monitor and understand water quality conditions and issues. Much of the past 10+ years of his career has been spent working on understanding nutrients in the Mississippi River Watershed and he has worked closely with state and federal agencies in support of the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. Ted is a lifelong outdoorsman, spending much of his free time recreating on and around rivers. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and daughter, making frequent trips to northern Illinois to visit family who live along the Fox River in McHenry County. Ted has a BS in Environmental science from the University of Notre Dame and a MS in Environmental Management from Webster University.

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Karen Ann Miller

Kane County



Marketing Fabulous Fox! Water Trail

Kim Gilmore

GMCI Creative, Inc

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The Kane County Board recognizes the economic development potential of the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail (FF!WT).  In 2022, the Kane County Development Department contracted with Gilmore Marketing Concepts, Inc. (gmci) to develop a marketing plan for the FF!WT in Kane County with hopes it could become a model for the other counties along the Fox River. Kim Gilmore, President of gmci, and Karen Ann Miller, Executive Planner with the Kane County Development Department and Illinois Co-Chair of the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail, will walk attendees through the process and what implementation may look like.

Respect and love for nature inspires and motivates Karen Ann Miller to regularly explore local open spaces and plan longer trips that include hiking and paddling while learning about local culture.  She has been fortunate to be employed as a Land Use Planner by Kane County, a county that values its natural resources, for over 22 years.  Karen is the Illinois Co-Chair of the team developing the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail.  She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a commissioner for the Brookfield Plan Commission and active in the Brookfield Historical Society.  Master of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago; Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Northern Illinois University

Kim is a dynamic, highly motivated artist and creative business owner with a strong record of achievement combining skills in diverse areas of advertising design, customer service, organizational development, vendor/staff leadership, market analysis, information systems, and project management, while building partnerships and community relations. Kim is experienced in the operation of a successful small business, GMCI Creative, Inc. since 1991. Plus the creation and management of capillary small businesses and corporations. Plus, she administers several non-profit organizations, including the inception, proposal, writing and winning of National & State grants. She is highly motivated and intuitive, effective at human relations, and able to manage both time and resources to maximize productivity. She founded Gilmore Marketing Concepts in 1991 as a creative, energetic design house and advertising, marketing firm. Her corporation employs freelance and full-time writers, designers, advertising and marketing professionals, digital and contemporary ad placement specialists and a PPC expert. Ms. Gilmore oversees all aspects of operations, billing, purchasing, training, design, copywriting, publishing, sales, comprehensive marketing campaigns and daily business. Kim Gilmore got her first degree, an Associates of Applied Sciences in Graphic Design from Elgin Community College. She went on to get her BFA in Graphic Design and a BA in Marketing at Northern Illinois University. Kim then was awarded her Master of Business Administration from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management. Kim is Google Ad Words Certified, an Adobe Certified Expert, (ACE) a QuarkXpert and a Facebook Authorized Ads Certification Holder. Her company is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

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Jim Stute

Watershed Protection Committee of Racine County

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Overcoming barriers to cover crop adoption: carrots, sticks and many little hammers

Cover crop use lags in Southeast Wisconsin despite demonstrated agroecological benefits and ample cost-share support. Major barriers to adoption include economic/ financial drivers, both real and perceived as well as farm operational and managerial challenges. This session will examine the barriers, provide example on-farm performance data which counter economic arguments, and offer some programmatic suggestions for improved cover crop advocacy.

Stute is a farmer-member of the WPCRC and an independent research agronomist. His research and outreach focuses on developing best practice recommendations for Climate-Smart agricultural systems to maximize financial returns, encouraging adoption by farmers. This work is conducted entirely with cooperating farmers in Southeast Wisconsin and focuses on the Climate-Smart cornerstone practices of no-till and cover cropping. Past affiliations include UW-Extension and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and he’s spent the last 30 years working to increase cover crop use.


Joshua Kapfer

UW - Whitewater

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in Wisconsin: Case Examples

Joshua M. Kapfer (Professor and Certified Wildlife Biologist ®) has lived most of his life in southern Wisconsin. He was born in Stoughton, just south of Madison. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (1999, 2002) in Biology and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (2007) in Ecology and Evolution. His doctoral research investigated numerous aspects of Gophersnake ecology and conservation in Sauk County. After earning his doctoral degree, Josh worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, NRC Environmental Consulting (now Stantec), and Elon University in North Carolina. Since 2011, Josh has been with the Biology Department at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where he teaches various lecture and field-based ecology courses and conducts research with undergraduate students. He is broadly interested in vertebrate ecology and conservation, with publications centered on amphibians, reptiles, fish, and mammals (although he will admit to a particular fondness for Wisconsin’s reptiles). He currently lives in Walworth County with his family.


'23 Summit Sponsors


Lucas King

Thank you for your support!

'23 Summit Partner Organizations

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