Announcing “Our Waters, Our Future” Writing Contest

Water is essential to our lives and those of future generations, but big changes, like a warming world, are bringing big challenges. Imagining positive futures for our waters and communities and sharing those visions is one way everyone can be part of the conversation to build them.
We are excited to announce the “Our Waters, Our Future” writing contest, which challenges Wisconsinites to imagine what a resilient and desirable future for water and people in the state’s south-central region could look like. The submission deadline is February 1, 2016, and the winning story will be published in Madison Magazine.
AerialThe contest is a spin-off of Yahara 2070, a set of four plausible stories about the future of the Yahara Watershed, the land surrounding Wisconsin’s Yahara lakes. The UW-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) project created the stories using public input to estimate possible futures for the region’s water and people based on different ways to address present-day water, land-use and climate challenges.
The WSC project has teamed up with the UW-Madison Center for Limnology, Madison Magazine, Sustain Dane and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters on this contest to gather additional stories about the region’s future.
“Our stories are just four among the many stories we could tell about our region’s future. This contest is an effort to encourage all of us to think about the future we want to live into and how we could get there,” says Stephen Carpenter, a principal investigator on the WSC project and director of the Center for Limnology.
Stories should be scientifically plausible and reflect a solutions-oriented vision of the future for the Yahara Watershed and/or the affiliated counties of Dane, Rock and Columbia. Anyone 18 years and older who resides or attends school in Wisconsin is eligible to enter.
The winner will be announced at a World Water Day event in March hosted by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Madison Magazine will publish the winning story in their June 2016 issue, and Sustain Dane will provide awards from local businesses to top finalists.
“It’s a privilege for Madison Magazine to be part of this project designed to think creatively and critically about the future of our region,” said Karen Lincoln Michel, editor of Madison Magazine. “The Yahara lakes are an integral part of our community, and they hold deep meaning for us at the magazine.”
For full contest details and rules, and to submit stories, visit