Our story

The beginning

On a summer evening nearly 50 years ago, a handful of people gathered on a front lawn in southern Wisconsin with a vision to create an independent, science-based voice for Wisconsin’s wetlands at a time when no one else seemed to care. Out of this initial meeting grew the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, now a statewide organization of thousands of passionate individuals working together to protect and restore our wetlands so that everyone can enjoy them.

With the help of our members over the years, we have protected wetlands when they have been threatened, helped create some of the strongest wetlands policies and laws in the nation, and raised awareness of the role that wetlands play in maintaining the ecological, economic, and societal health of Wisconsin.


The passion that found a voice on that front lawn so many years ago remains as strong today as ever. We are a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization, recognized across the state and the globe for our commitment to science-based work. In 2012, we became the first U.S. organization to be awarded the Wetland Conservation Award for Education by the international Ramsar Conventions on Wetlands.

We’re collaborative and non-partisan, working with anyone who needs help caring for wetlands. Our membership of over 1,700 is a diverse community of wetland supporters statewide and beyond. We are scientists, landowners, hunters, nature enthusiasts, zoning board members, farmers, paddlers, restoration specialists, and more.

Through collaborative, science-based work, we will continue to help people and communities protect, care for, and enjoy Wisconsin’s wetlands. We envision a state where our wetlands are healthy and plentiful and support ecological and societal needs, and where citizens care for, appreciate, and interact with these natural resources. Join us in making this vision a reality

Read more about our organization in this special StoryMap celebrating 50 years of Wisconsin Wetlands Association.