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Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (Root-Pike WIN) has created a new bee-themed watershed restoration leadership award. The award goes to an individual that practices persistence in improving the Lake Michigan tributaries in southeastern Wisconsin – benefiting bees, other pollinators and beyond. The award recognizes life-long watershed work that improves water quality and increases our sense of place.

This year’s BEE Positive Award goes to Dr. Julie Kinzelman, the Laboratory Director for the City of Racine’s Public Health Department. The award was given to Dr. Kinzelman at Root-Pike WIN’s 25th Anniversary annual member event on Tuesday, November 12th at the Racine Country Club.

“Dr. Kinzelman’s commitment to water quality and watershed restoration is regionally, nationally, and world-renowned,” said Dave Giordano, Executive Director of Root-Pike WIN. “Her work on the ground and in the lab has had profound impacts on our watersheds.”

Dr. Kinzelman has studied the impacts of coastal processes and pollution on urban shorelines and the restoration of coastal wetlands, prairie and dune habitats. Her continuous restoration work on North Beach is the reason why the City of Racine’s beach is open more days than not during the hot summer months. Additionally, Dr. Kinzelman has done significant restoration projects at Samuel Myers Park, Zoo Beach, and Wind Point Beach.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more committed to preserving Lake Michigan’s shoreline and the Root River,” said Mayor Cory Mason. “Dr. Kinzelman is an asset to the region and a source of inspiration to local environmentalists and pollinators alike.”

Dr. Kinzelman has also provided extensive water quality testing for the Root-Pike watersheds, contributing to the five watershed restoration plans that Root-Pike WIN has conducted. Her work helps organizations like Root-Pike WIN make logical, fact-based decisions about where restoration will be the most impactful. Dr. Kinzelman’s work has also provided numerous students with the opportunity to follow in her footsteps.

Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Department Administrator, echoes that sentiment, adding, “Dr. Kinzelman continually seeks and receives funding to address non-point source pollution, coastal resiliency, and biodiversity as well as create opportunities for nature-based education and recreation. Her efforts enhance the quality of life for City of Racine residents.”

“It’s been an honor to support Dr. Kinzelman’s work over the years. From developing cutting-edge approaches for monitoring water quality to restoring public parks and beaches, Dr. Kinzelman is a true visionary and leader,” said Vicki Elkin, Executive Director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. “What is truly remarkable about Dr. Kinzelman is that she is not satisfied by simply understanding the science and sources of pollution in our area. Rather, she has dedicated herself to implementing large-scale, on-the-ground projects at places like North Beach and Sam Myers Park that benefit people and improve water quality.”

Root-Pike WIN is a 501(c)3 non-profit working to restore, protect and sustain the Root-Pike basin watersheds through the funding and facilitation of a regional network of locally initiated projects. For more than 25 years, Root-Pike WIN has promoted and produced projects, programs and public outreach aimed at restoring our broken Lake Michigan watersheds in southeastern Wisconsin.