For “contributing significantly to the well-being of Lake Superior and its peoples,” Lake Superior Magazine awarded its 2021 Achievement Award to Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Magazine Editor Konnie LeMay writes in the November 2021 issue, “The Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore provides a can-do role model for others, and even more, it has connected a national treasure to its local community in a way that energizes commitments and communication.”
The award comes as the Friends wraps up the 50th Anniversary celebration for the National Lakeshore, at a time when the group also reached some other very significant milestones.
Among those milestones, reaching a half-million dollars in fundraising for the park, hiring the first paid staff, co-Executive Directors Jeff and Jill Rennicke and joining the National Park Service in funding and dedicating the new accessible amphitheater on Stockton Island. The Friends also paid for the new flagpole outside of the Little Sand Bay Visitor Center where the flag of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa now flies.
Leaders of the Friends appreciate the award and recognize that much more work remains to be done in the areas of accessibility, stewardship, education and service.
Jeff Rennicke said, “The way I always put it, the Friends group helps people help the park. That’s the core of what we do; we help people stay in touch with the place that they love.”
Board Chair Erica Peterson said, “Working with a community of people … it preserves something that I hold special about this park.”
Park Superintendent Lynne Dominy said in the article, “I’ve been fortunate to work with ‘friends’ for over 30 years. People have deep connections to these national parks that motivates them to give their time or money or their hearts to care for these places. Becoming a ‘friend’ helps people to combine their efforts together to have a lasting impact.”
Next year, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will begin its 20th year as the official non-profit partner for the park. We have some very ambitious plans and we’re counting on our friends and supporters to help us make good things happen.
Jeff Rennicke sums it up this way. “This award is recognition of all the hard work that Friends and its members have put into the 50th anniversary year for the park and helps set the stage for the future.” “There is much left to do but with this kind of support, we are well on our way. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this success.”
The list of past Lake Superior Magazine Achievement Award winners includes the Superior Watershed Partnership & Land Conservancy, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, The Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society, the Bad River Watershed Association and individuals including Senator Gaylord Nelson, Bayfield Mayor Larry Macdonald and Fred Stonehouse, maritime historian and author. Friends is honored to be included in the prestigious lineup of award winners. Read more about it in Lake Superior Magazine.