Manitowoc group of bicyclers

About

 
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.

Join us!

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

 

History

 

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.  

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Staff

 

Susan Gaeddert

SPECIAL PROJECT MANAGER

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.

Susan Gaeddert

Deb Nemeth

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Deb (she, her) has worked in both the public and private sector. She was a small business owner for many years. After finishing her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked for Congressman Les Aspin and then went on to work in the Wisconsin state senate as a policy advisor.

She served as Director of Development and Communications for The Nature Conservancy – Wisconsin Chapter before a short retirement spent traveling.

Deb was a founding board member of 1000 Friends and has served on a number of other non-profit boards. She joined the staff of 1000 Friends as the Development Director after serving as a volunteer for a number of years. In 2017 she took over the reins as Executive Director.

Deb Nemeth

Gregg May

TRANSPORTATION POLICY ANALYST

Gregg (he, him) is an urban planner with experience in long-range comprehensive planning for communities across several states. He has worked on robust public engagement projects ranging from affordable housing developments to bus-rapid transit studies. He has prepared materials, advocated transportation policy, and led coalition meetings to promote walking, biking, and transit across Wisconsin.

 

Gregg sits on the steering committee for Wisconsin’s Coalition for More Responsible Transportation and is also leading efforts within the Wisconsin Climate Table and the REAMP network to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions.

 

Gregg received his M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan in 2015, and has since engaged with non-profit, public, and private clients in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.

Gregg May

Robin Wagner

OPERATIONS MANAGER

Robin (she, her) graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UW Madison and has a master’s certificate in GIS from UW Stevens Point.

Robin started out as a volunteer with 1000 Friends in 2011.  She manages the financials, maintains the websites and social media, and also assists with grant-writing, special projects and events. 

Robin Wagner

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

  • Shawn Koval, Healthy Kids Collaborative, Madison, WI

  • James Longhurst, UW-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI

  • Jon Morgan, Retired DHS employee, Madison, WI

  • Julia Stanley, Healthy Kids Collaborative, Madison, WI

  • Darrin Wasniewski, AARP Wisconsin, Madison, WI