You see his name everywhere. He IS everywhere. Treasures of Oz is pleased to name Andrew Struck our incredible Wizard of Oz for February.
Andrew is everywhere that is connected to environment in Ozaukee. He may hold some world record for number of organizational meeting attended, another for number of successful county programs created or maintained, and perhaps another for sus-tained sheer energy to protect and enhance the environment and related outdoor recreation.
Andrew may be best known as the Director of Planning and Parks for Ozaukee County. He is both the inspiration and the force behind our park system - nine parks encompassing 467.3 acres, two golf courses, one disc golf course and trails.
If you think the Interurban Trail is cool. Thank Andrew. He has worked long and hard with a wonderful team of Ozaukee residents, the Interurban Trail Advisory Council, to take this from an idea to a trail that runs the entire length of the county, hooks with adjacent trails as part of a growing statewide network and even has its own bridge across the biggest impediment of all, I-43.
Fond of birds? Andrew is too and puts his ideals into action as president of the Milwaukee Audubon Society, which does everything from educational conferences to land protection to supporting efforts statewide to protect birds and habitat.
Into fishing, or in love with our river and streams? Andrew has been the engine behind the Milwaukee River Watershed Fish Passage Program, which was featured in 2011 at The World Rivers Conference in Vienna Austria. Closer to home, this program is restoring the ecology of our river system by bringing the fish back to their native waters. It has been a huge boon to fishing in Ozaukee.
Like Ozaukee farms and local food? Besides heading up the Farmland Protection Plan for Ozaukee and putting in place a county Working Lands Initiative to preserve our farmland, Andrew has been a key player in working with the Land Conservation Partnership of Ozaukee County working together on public education and support for farmland preservation.
In his position as Director of Ozaukee County Planning and Parks, he is the primary person behind the creation and implementation of the Ozaukee Comprehensive Plan, the Land Evaluation and Assessment Plan for Ozaukee County, the Parks and Open Space Plan, and the Farmland Preservation Plan. (Have you seen these? They are massive, impressive and detailed down to the nth degree.) He takes them through public hearings, county committees, working with all the local towns and municipalities, SEWRPC and the county board to final printing. He also shepherds them to see they are adhered to. No small task.
Andrew also serves with other local organizations to further environmental initiatives in Ozaukee: Ulao Creek Partnership, Wisconsin County Planning Directors, the Ozaukee County Tourism Council, Bird City WI, Milwaukee River Basin Partnership/ SE Wisconsin Watershed Trust, the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology, SEWRPC Regional Land Use Advisory Committee, Wisconsin DNR Beach Act Work Group, and Treasures of Oz.
How does he do all this? Who knows? But he does and it makes a huge difference in quality of life for all of us.
Treasures of Oz is not only proud to have Andrew as our Wizard of Oz for February, but to have him as a major partner and inspiration in making Treasures of Oz happen every year. Even more than that, we recognize how fortunate we are to have him making Ozaukee County a very special place to be.