Water Advocacy


SWAN is a network of adults aged 50 who are advocates for Lake Michigan and Milwaukee’s rivers. We offer training and workshops for those who want to speak out on behalf of area rivers.

Current Format

Currently, we hold seasonal SWAN workshops on timely water-related issues. They are led by local envionmental experts and tend to be held around lunch at a variety of eateries throughout Milwaukee. Below are a few examples of past workshop/discussion topics:

  • Hydraulic Fracking
  • Milwaukee’s Water Infrastructure and its effects on Children’s Health
  • Asian Carp
  • Waukesha’s Water Issues

If you would like to be informed when SWAN events are scheduled sign up for our Riverkeeper News. Or, if you’d like an announcement mailed to you or someone you think might be interested send an e-mail to christina@milwaukeeriverkeeper.org or call 414-287-0207 x5.

Project History

SWAN (the Senior Water Advocates’ Network) was formerly known as the Water Advocacy Institute for Seniors (WAI. The first began August 21, 2007 with a three-day training program attended by 24 participants. Through speakers, tours of water-related facilities and projects, and instruction on becoming water advocates, participants learned about critical water problems and ways to get involved in helping to solve these problems. Each water advocate wrote a “plan of action” indicating what he/she intended to do in the months ahead to work actively on specific issues. A Reunion Meeting was held on March 19, 2008, where participants heard a talk concerning the effects of global warming on water.

The second Water Advocacy Institute for Seniors took place on August 12 – 14, 2008 with 21 participants. A Reunion Meeting was held March 23, 2009 for participants from both 2007 and 2008. Here, Sharon Cook from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, talked about the legislative agenda for the Great Lakes at the federal and state levels.