Tag: Traverse City

BAYLIFE North: For Love of Water FLOW

Frankfort Lighthouse with Surfer - John Russell

Click here to read the article in BAYLIFE North Magazine (page 40)

By Allison Voglesong

The vast Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the whole world’s fresh surface water, but they are not infinite. That’s one reason why James Olson helped found FLOW, a Traverse City-based nonprofit. FLOW’s acronym means “For Love of Water,” and FLOW’s policy and education programs protect the Great Lakes.

It started when veteran attorney Olson represented a community group battling a Nestle water bottling plant lowering a nearby stream. Since the beginning, FLOW has worked to protect this limited fresh water supply.

How did FLOW go from protecting one stream in Michigan to protecting 90 percent of the nation’s freshwater supply? “The water cycle connects it all,” explains Olson, “whether it’s your backyard creek or rain watering your garden. And it needs to be protected at every point in this water cycle.”

The water cycle doesn’t just connect the Great Lakes to the pond at the park; it connects the people who use it. Fresh water for drinking and sanitation is a human right, and Executive Director Liz Kirkwood points out that FLOW’s programs safeguarding certain public protected uses that rely on clean and abundant Great Lakes water, like fishing, swimming, boating, navigation, and commerce.

FLOW Staff Allison Voglesong Eric Olson Jim Olson Liz Kirkwood

FLOW Team: Allison Voglesong, Communications Designer, Eric Olson, Communications Director, Jim Olson, Founder, President and Advisor, Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director

“These protected uses are all special for health, for happiness, for our jobs and economy. And because water is a common resource that is shared, we have to make sure that what we do with the water protects it for everyone,” says Kirkwood.

That’s a lot to think about when watching the sun’s opalescent reflection across the lake horizon. It’s also a tough pill to swallow realizing that your neighbor’s loud motorboat has the same right to use the waters as the quietude of your fly rod.

Above all, Olson and Kirkwood hope that the idea of protecting our common waters empowers citizens who live, play, and visit in the Great Lakes. “Once you realize these uses are legally protected, you’ve got a starting point for taking action,” says Kirkwood. That’s why FLOW’s offer legal strategies for people to address the issues that hit close to home. Between climate change, invasive species, algal blooms, pollution, and thirsty communities looking to tap our water, there has never been a better time to act than now.

As the tourist season in the Grand Traverse area simmers through spring and summer boils it to a fever pitch, we might forget that we should want to share our common waters when all we really want is a place to unfurl our beach towel, undisturbed. Yet our capacity and willingness to share our beautiful waters is what defines the culture of Grand Traverse just as much as the contour of the bay shores defines our remarkable landscape. The mission of FLOW’s Great Lakes Society citizen contingency captures this trait in four words: “Common waters, common purpose.”

Frankfort Lighthouse with Surfer - John Russell

For more about FLOW’s programs, the Great Lakes Society, and to follow their updates, please visit www.flowforwater.org.

Signs Now Traverse City 2013 Recycling Program Recipient: FLOW

Click here to view the press release as a PDF

For Immediate Release
Media Inquiries:
Sarah Malpeli
PR Manager
(941) 993-5037
sarahm@allegranetwork.com

Signs Now Traverse City Announces 2013 Recycling Program Recipient

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Aug. 9, 2013)
Andrew and Amy Kohlmann, owners of Signs Now Traverse City, recently selected FLOW (For Love of Water) as the recipient of their 2013 recycling program proceeds. The team at Signs Now Traverse City, located at 1702 Barlow St., recycles returned signage materials throughout the year and will donate a percentage of the original product sale to the non-profit. FLOW is a Great Lakes water policy and education non-profit based in Traverse City. FLOW works to ensure that the waters of the Great Lakes are protected now and for future generations by recognizing the Great Lakes as a commons, building deep public awareness, engaging decision-makers about the threats and abuses facing the Great Lakes, and advancing public trust solutions to protect the rights of the people and waters of the Great Lakes Basin.

“After running our recycling program for several years, we have donated over $2,400 to local organizations dedicated to preserving and improving our region’s natural habitats,” explains Kohlmann.

The Signs Now Traverse City service base includes business solutions for outdoor and indoor signage, banners, window and vehicle graphics, exhibit and trade show graphics, ADA signage, dimensional letters, directional systems and other visual communications tools.

For more information on Signs Now, call (231) 933-7446 or visit the company’s website at <a href=”http://www.signsnowtc.com” target=”_blank”>http://www.signsnowtc.com</a>.
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FLOW Featured on UpNorth TV’s Volunteer Northwest Michigan Program in July

Click here to view and download the full press release PDF

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 27, 2013

Flow Featured on UpNorth TV’s Volunteer Northwest Michigan Program in July

Volunteer NW MITRAVERSE CITY, MI – FLOW, the Great Lakes Basin’s only public trust policy and education center, will be featured on UpNorth TV, channel 2, throughout the month of July, every Sunday and Wednesday evening from 8pm-9pm, and every Friday morning from 9am-10am. Hosted by United Way of Northwest Michigan, the Volunteer Northwest Michigan show highlights FLOW’s innovative programs to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes are protected now and for future generations. UpNorth TV’s feature on FLOW will also be available online.

Steven Wade, United Way’s Executive Director of Northwest Michigan, interviews FLOW’s Chair and President, Jim Olson, Executive Director, Liz Kirkwood, and Communications Designer, Allison Voglesong, about how locals can volunteer with FLOW and take part in protecting our beloved Great Lakes.

FLOW has several upcoming volunteer opportunities. On July 5th, FLOW will participate in DTE Energy’s Green Day during Cherry Festival. Volunteers will assist members of the FLOW staff educate the community about threats to the Great Lakes with a fun and interactive game. Additionally, volunteer positions are available for Blissfest on July 12, 13, and 14; Friday Night Live on August 9; and our Annual Celebration on August 17. Sign up here to volunteer.

Additionally, this TV segment discusses FLOW’s programs, including the public trust education program, water levels program, local government “fracking” ordinance program, and water-energy-food-climate change nexus program. Additionally, Jim Olson, environmental attorney, who has been practicing environmental and water law for more than 40 years, gives an in depth history of water law in Michigan and tells the story of how FLOW evolved from a coalition to a policy and education center.

FLOW’s approach to policy and education for preserving and protecting the Great Lakes centers on the ancient principle of the public trust. The public trust is a key principle that enables citizens and governments to protect our waters as a commons, owned and shared by the public for the use and enjoyment of all. The public trust doctrine is the legal foundation for protecting and maintaining resources such as beaches, navigable waterways and harbors, wetlands and wildlife, tributary streams, and groundwater. Additionally, it protects public uses including navigation, commerce, fishing, boating, swimming, other recreational purposes, and drinking water.

Fishers, boaters, swimmers, beach-goers, and other water-lovers of all ages should tune in to UpNorth TV in July to learn more about how they can work with FLOW to ensure that the Great Lakes are protected for our favorite activities now and for future generations.

The segment will air on Charter Cable’s analog channel, 97, and digital channels, 2 and 992, throughout Northwestern Lower Michigan from Manistee to Cheboygan.

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FLOW is the Great Lakes Basin’s only 501(c)(3) nonprofit public trust policy and education center. Our mission is to deeply educate communities and leaders about the public trust as a solution for sharing and preserving our common waters.