Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Give Water-Friendly Gifts this Holiday Season

December 12, 2008
Sue Jones, (608) 224-3764
Land & Water Resources

The Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds offers some great suggestions for water-friendly gifts that are not only affordable, unique and fun, but also help improve the quality of our lakes, rivers and streams. Green gifts are not just trendy—they are timeless and ageless, and are meaningful long after the holiday season is over.

"These are the kinds of gifts that actually do keep on giving,” says Sue Jones, Watershed Management Coordinator with the Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds. “Any gift that helps support our waters now will give again in the summer, when we are all ready to enjoy fishing, boating, skiing and swimming on lakes and rivers that are becoming cleaner and clearer.”

The Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds offers the following water-friendly gift ideas, most of them ranging from $5 to $50:

Rain Gardens Combine your time and effort with plants from the Plant Dane! program and you can give the gift of a rain garden. Information on native plants, rain gardens, how to build them and how to get plants can be found at

Rain Barrels Available locally from Sustain Dane ( and the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (437-7707), rain barrels collect rain water for gardens and other plants reducing groundwater demands. Or, make your own using instructions at

Gift of the Outdoors The best way to get folks to care about our lakes and streams is to get them out to see them.

·        Kayak/canoe rental The Paddlin’ Shop, (608) 384-0300; Rutabaga (800) I-Paddle.

·        Dane County Parks permits Lake access permits, a trip through Tenney Locks, bike and ski trail passes

·        Skate or ski rental or ski pass. Madison City Parks Outdoor Ice Skating:; For indoor skating information , call Camp Randall (608) 263-6566 or Madison Ice Arena (608) 246-4512. Madison City Parks Ski Info

·        Fishing license or state park sticker

Other ideas include a new bike helmet or a comprehensive bicycle tune-up at a local shop.

Yahara Waterways Water Trail Guide A fantastic gift, and only $5.00, this beautiful, 44-page color guidebook presents an interpretive view of the history, the culture and the environmental diversity that is found on and along our lakes, the Yahara River, and their environs. The Guide is an educational tool with maps and information for paddle sport enthusiasts, schools, summer camps, youth groups, and other recreational users of the Yahara waterways.

A share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that produces wonderful organic vegetables in a way that’s friendly to our lands and waters.

The gift that fits everyone on your list, give a membership to a local conservation, watershed or “friends” group. These volunteer groups work throughout the year to maintain the health of our natural resources and make significant contributions. Visit for a listing of groups.

Other green gift ideas can be found at EnAct, and at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission focuses public attention on the importance of protecting and improving the quality of our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. For more information, visit or contact Sue Jones, 224-3764,



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