Respect Our Waters to Participate in August 11 Farmers Market
On Saturday, August 11 from 8 a.m. to noon, Respect Our Waters will be at Wauwatosa’s Farmers Market at the City Parking Lot, across from the Historic Little Red Store, to educate residents on individual actions they can take to help improve area rivers and Lake Michigan. The first 100 people to visit the Respect Our Waters table will receive free pet waste bags.
In addition, the group will answer questions, provide information and give away Sparkles the Water Spaniel buttons. Residents can also register to win a rain garden, rain barrel or Milorganite. The winner of the 100-square-foot rain garden will receive water-loving, deep-rooted plants, mulch and instructions for building a garden.
“We want everyone to know that they play an important role in keeping our rivers and lakes clean and healthy,” says Jeff Martinka, co-chair of Respect Our Waters and executive director of Sweet Water. “There are some simple and easy actions that can greatly help our waterways.”
According to Martinka, residents should:
- Pick up pet waste.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn.
- Use lawn fertilizer and chemicals sparingly. In fact, he recommends testing the soil to make sure the yard really needs the extra nutrients before applying fertilizer.
- Inspect vehicles to make sure they’re not leaking oil or other fluids.
- Plant a rain garden and trees.
- Direct downspouts into rain barrels, the yard or garden instead of the sewer or driveway.
- Use a carwash or wash cars on the lawn.
TV ads, which feature Sparkles the Water Spaniel dog puppet, emphasize bad and good human behavior. Jeff Cesario, a Kenosha-born stand-up comedian who is nationally known, voices Sparkles.
In four, 30-second spots, Sparkles focuses his attention on the importance of picking up yard debris, cleaning up dog poop, using lawn fertilizer and chemicals responsibly and preventing oil and fluids from leaking from cars. The spots catch Sparkles as he drops in on area homeowners and trains the humans by:
- whacking a man with a newspaper who’s sweeping grass clippings and other debris into the street
- rewarding a woman with a treat for picking up her dog’s poop
- squirting a guy with water as he liberally applies chemicals to his lawn, after over fertilizing the week before
- shaking a noisy can at a man whose car is leaking oil onto the street
“What many residents don’t understand is that anything that washes into storm sewers goes directly into our area rivers and then into Lake Michigan,” explains Martinka. “That means, whenever it rains, dog poop, lawn fertilizer, grass, leaves, car fluids and any other debris on sidewalks, streets and parking lots flow into the waterways.”
For more information, visit www.respectourwaters.com, rootpikewin.org or swwtwater.org.
The Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust (Sweet Water) is a partnership established in 2008 to achieve healthy and sustainable water resources throughout the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds through the coordinated, collaborative efforts of its members. Root-Pike WIN, established in 2000, is a nonprofit organization focused on the protection, restoration and sustainability of the Root River and Pike River watersheds.