Who We Are
Active Wisconsin is a statewide group of multidisciplinary partners and community-based coalitions working together to build an equitable and sustainable active transportation system for all. Active Wisconsin takes great pride in the grassroots nature of our work, which is fueled by local contributors and coalitions. Whether we’re sharing resources, planning new trails, or advocating for more bike, pedestrian, and transit funding, we’re all trying to make it easier for Wisconsinites to walk, bike and be active.
A Program of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
Active Wisconsin is a program of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a statewide land use planning and transportation organization. Transit and active transportation advocacy have been a cornerstone of 1000 Friends' work for more than 20 years. This history of successfully building and mobilizing support for transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure makes 1000 Friends a perfect fit for Active Wisconsin.
Why We Are Committed to This Work
Active Wisconsin is committed to building an equitable active transportation system and to making the link between active transportation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, healthier communities, and the boost it provides to local economies.
Transportation is For Everyone
We recognize that it is not enough simply to build better physical infrastructure, however. A truly equitable active transportation system is one that is accessible to all people and centers the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized residents of our cities and towns. Some barriers to access are more obvious than others. Sidewalks, bike lanes, and wheelchair ramps are just a few examples of infrastructure that is relatively straightforward and easy to implement. However, there are barriers that may be invisible to some but are just as difficult to overcome, such as discrimination due to age or disability, fear of racial profiling and gender-based violence, and cultural stereotypes. Everyone uses transportation, and we are committed to assisting communities and advocates in the work to make sure that active transportation is accessible to everyone.
Whether you’d like to join Active Wisconsin or apply to become a WAT community (or both!), we welcome new members to our grassroots network, to grow our collective impact locally and statewide. If you have any questions about getting involved, go to the “Join” tab.
Map of Active Wisconsin Communities
Active Wisconsin started in 2012 as the Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance (WACA). At that time, local coalition members from around the state decided they needed a statewide active community effort, something that was missing from state government and agencies. WACA’s collaborative and grassroots spirit remains an important part of Active Wisconsin today.
The Wisconsin Active Together (WAT) network was formed in 2017 in response to a major revision of the statewide Complete Streets law and repeal of eminent domain for bike and pedestrian infrastructure. WAT was created to build a grassroots response to these statewide setbacks, by recognizing communities for their efforts to make active living safer and more accessible for community members.
In 2020, the WACA and WAT networks merged under the leadership of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin to form Active Wisconsin. The WAT recognition program continues under new leadership with the same goals - we would be happy to have your community join us!
Active Wisconsin Collaborators
We are a group of diverse partners working to promote healthy, thriving communities where people can easily and safely walk, ride a bike and be physically active.
We recognize and support communities for their commitment to health through growing and promoting their places to walk, bike and be active.
As program manager, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin aims to foster local-level implementation and promote a framework moving communities from program to policy change. At the same time, we will coordinate support to include: advocacy, education, peer networking, and community engagement resources.
COMMUNITY PROGRAMS DIRECTOR
Susan (she, her) graduated from UW-Madison with a Masters of Science in Urban/Regional Planning in 2020, where she specialized in transportation, land use, and recreational trail planning. Susan has experience working in the affordable housing sector, comprehensive plan development, and community engagement.
Susan came to urban planning after a long career in music performance (she studied Piano Performance, Pedagogy, and Collaborative Piano at UW-Madison, where she earned a doctorate in 2007). In her previous career, she toured the state with Opera For The Young, taught classes at Edgewood College, performed with a number of musicians locally and around the country, and worked with students of all ages teaching piano and coaching singers and instrumentalists as a professional accompanist.
If Susan isn’t at work or at the piano, she can be found outside in the garden or exploring local trails. She is a long-time advocate for outdoor education and advanced learning opportunities in schools. Susan is also an avid knitter, and she keeps her hands busy making socks, hats, mittens, and sweaters to keep herself and her loved ones warm all year long.
To learn more about 1000 Friends of Wisconsin staff, visit our website.
Steering Committee Members
Michelle Bachaus, Wisconsin Bike Fed, Appleton, WI
Audrey Boerner, Eau Claire City-County Health Department, Eau Claire, WI
Emily Dieringer, Marshfield Medical Center, Blue Zones Project, Beaver Dam, WI
James Longhurst, UW-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI
Jon Morgan, Retired DHS employee, Madison, WI
Darrin Wasniewski, AARP Wisconsin, Madison, WI