Wallschlaeger Award

June 24, 2011

Minnesota Waters Volunteer of the Year Award

Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger —long-time WAPOA volunteers

Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger winners of Volunteer of the YearThe prestigious Minnesota Waters, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting and improving the lakes and rivers of Minnesota has awarded the team of Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger the Volunteer of the Year distinction.

Each year Minnesota Waters makes this award to citizens who have made exceptional committments to protecting their local lake or river.

The award will be presented at the Minnesota Waters River Night, Lake Night, Great Night! at the Bay View Event Center on Lake Minnetonka on September 14, 2011.

Each winner will receive a plaque, tickets to the gala event, and a  gift of $1,000 to continue their good work.


SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 UPDATE:  Award Ceremony Held September 14, 2011

Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger received the Minnesota 2011 Volunteer of the Year award, sponsored by Barr Engineering at Minnesota Waters Night of Celebration in Excelsior.

Over 100 lake and river friends attended the dinner, awards ceremony, and cruise.

Steve Klein, Vice-president of Barr Engineering presented the award after Molly Zins of Minnesota Waters highlighted the Wallschlaeger achievements.

of Wall Engineering presents 2011 Volunteer of the Year award to Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger of Whitefish Area Property Owners Associaition (WAPOA)d

Steve Klein of Barr Engineering presents the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award to Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger of WAPOA.

(l-r) Molly Zins, MN Waters, Steve Klein, Lois Lindquist, MN Waters, Judy Wallschlaeger, Jack Wallschlaeger

Molly Zins of MN Waters highlights the Wallschlaeger contributions to the environmentPlacque awarded to Wallschlaeger

Molly Zins highlights Wallschlaeger contributions

Plaque given to Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger

Judy Wallschlaeger of WAPOAJack and Judy Wallschlaeger
Judy Wallschlaeger at awards ceremonyJack and Judy Wallschlaeger at awards ceremony   photos by Dave Fischer
What the Lake Country Echo said about this award CLICK HERE


Editors note: Below is the letter nominating the Wallschlaegers. Editors like brevity, but this is long simply because the Wallschlaegers do so much.

The nominators also note that they have included only part of the Wallschlaegers’ volunteer activities.

The Letter of Nomination

We are nominating Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger for the Volunteer of the Year Award as a couple, because whenever one volunteers for an activity, you get the “Wallschlaeger team”, or “two for the price of one.”

The Wallschlaeger roots run deep in the Whitefish Chain area, with Judy’s memories dating back to childhood. Their volunteer activities are also longstanding, with membership in WAPOA dating back over 30 years.

Not only have they been involved in leadership positions in a number of organizations, but for years they have been doing the nitty-gritty work of water testing, public access monitoring for possible AIS violations, or developing extensive reports on everything from failing septic systems to water quality analysis.

Jack’s passion has been focused on water quality.

He has developed a voluminous record of testing results and has authored multiple papers and reports on water quality trends and findings for the Whitefish Chain and the Pine River Watershed.

When Jack determined that a tributary of the Pine River was major source of phosphorus coming into the Whitefish Chain, he obtained grants and led a multi-location mechanized water testing effort to further identify the source.

With these additional results, Jack obtained a $105,000 Clean Water Partnership grant to fund a University of Minnesota study of Bungo Creek in Cass County. This study is currently underway and results are expected by year-end.

Judy has utilized her organizational skills and extensive knowledge to benefit not only WAPOA but other environmental organizations.

If a door needs to be opened, or a chain needs to be pulled with a local governmental unit or another organization, Judy will either make the call, or know whom to contact.

She has been an active advocate on Planning and Zoning issues in the County, often providing testimony to Planning & Zoning/Board of Adjustment or the County Board.

A good example of Judy’s advocacy with like-minded groups was the adoption of an ordinance in Crow Wing County which limits cell phone towers to a maximum height of 200 feet.

When the DNR needed a dock size survey as part of the 2007 Dock Rulemaking Study, Jack and Judy responded by measuring every dock along four miles of shoreline.

A desire by the Pine River Watershed to get the Farmers and Lake People together to work on watershed issues was becoming a difficult task, Judy responded by organizing a “local foods” dinner in conjunction with the Cass and Crow Wing County Farm Bureaus.

When WAPOA was looking for ways to promote shoreline restoration, Judy developed the idea of a contest which provides planning expertise, materials and labor to association members with the best plan. This contest is now in its third year.

A partial listing Jack and Judy’s volunteer activities include:

Board of Directors, WAPOA


♠ Jack, 1996-1998

♠ Judy, 2007-2010

Treasurer (Judy)

Vice President (Jack and Judy)

Nominating Committee (Jack)

Directed Survey of 2,500 Septic Systems on Whitefish Chain (Jack)

Board of Directors and Vice President, Crow Wing Environmental Protection Association


Board of Directors, Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers Association (Jack)

Board of Directors, Crow Wing County Water Planning Advisory Board (Jack)

Charter Members, Pine River Watershed Protection Foundation (Jack and Judy)

Board of Directors, Pine River Watershed Alliance (Jack and Judy)

Treasurer (Judy)

Pine River Watershed Alliance representative, Cass County Forage Basin (Judy)

Founder of the Lakes and Farm Harvest Dinner (Judy)

Chair, Crow Wing County Board of Adjustment (Jack)

North Central Lakes Area Shoreline Management Rules Project Committee (Jack)

DNR Shoreline Rules Update Advisory Committee (Jack)

First Responders, Ideal Township (Jack & Judy)

North Central Minnesota Lakes Project “2006 Water Protection Award” (Jack and Judy)

Crow Wing County Lakes and River Alliance “2008 Water Warrior Award” (Jack)


We have not listed the positions and responsibilities that Jack and Judy have assumed for Minnesota Waters and its predecessor organization. We trust you can add their many leadership contributions to the list.

Their activities are best highlighted in the October, 2005 article that appeared in the Minnesota Lakes Association Newsletter:


Judy Wallschlaeger“What got you started with your commitment to volunteer work?”

Judy thoughtfully replied with a grin, “I’m such a fool, I never say no.”

This unassuming approach permeates through all of Jack and Judy Wallschlaeger’s volunteer work with the MLA, the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA), the Shoreland Advisory Committee, the Board of Adjustment, the Crow Wing Environmental Protection Association, and a list so long there simply isn’t room enough for it here.


On the average summer weekend their home is filled with the energy of four beautiful grandchildren playing in the preserved wooded lakeshore setting.

The “darling adorables,” as they’re called when there’s a toad loose in the house, are about the same age now as Judy was when she first started splashing in the waters of the Whitefish Chain in northern Crow Wing County.

Enjoying summers up north with her family, she naturally introduced her husband, Jack, and eventually their children, Steve and Julie, to the Whitefish shores.

Today, avid volunteers for several organizations, visionaries for improved natural resource management and tireless in all of their efforts, these actions make perfect sense in light of their family history.

But, perhaps more prevalent in their thoughts today is the protected lake legacy they’ll be giving the “darling adorables.”


About 30 years ago Jack and Judy became involved with the WAPOA and during the past 15 years one of the two has been on the board at any given point.

Judy first became a board member, while Jack started on the water quality committee, helping organize water quality monitoring throughout the Chain.

From 97-98 Jack served as president for the WAPOA and it was during that time the Wallschlaegers formulated the idea to establish a Foundation with some of the WAPOA’s designated funds, a project they continue leading and developing today.

In addition, both Jack and Judy have played active roles in promoting the Chain-wide septic survey, which eventually brought all but two properties into compliance; the Sustainable Lakes project which developed a tremendous digitized databank, that now assists with the development of a sanitary sewer district or a self-policing septic management system; and the WAPOA Run for the Walleye, a summer road race which raises money to restore walleye habitat in the Chain; again citing only a handful of the efforts in which they’ve played a major part.


During his presidency with the WAPOA Jack also became involved with the MLA, serving initially as the vice president of internal affairs, managing the budget and finances for the organization.

Shortly thereafter Judy also become actively involved in both the MLA board and in managing MLA’s accounting.

Espousing several hours of work each week, Judy has diligently supervised all MLA finances over the last few years.

Still avidly engaged in her MLA duties, Judy jokingly mused about the wishful day when the MLA might hire someone to take over her accounting responsibilities.


At the MLA Annual Meeting this past May, Jack was honored for six years of service in the roles of vice president and board member during his time with the Association.

Jack Wallschlaeger explaining water qualityJack became involved and took on a leadership role when the MLA was a fledgling organization, struggling to hire its first employee and beginning a major transition.

Together and individually, Jack and Judy’s foresight, guidance and commitment have been invaluable assets to the MLA and to natural resource protection statewide.

What makes Jack and Judy different from so many? Although they’d never say it, like many they

have a clear vision, but like very few, they possess an extraordinary commitment to making it happen. Indeed a coupling perfectly poised for Minnesota’s lake legacy.


In 2006 Jack and Judy were recognized by the North Central Minnesota Lakes Project for their ongoing efforts in the protection of Minnesota’s Lakes.

In presenting the award, Paula West of Minnesota Waters stated “The Wallschlaegers are noteworthy examples of the many Minnesota citizens in the North Central Lakes area that get a love of the lakes in their blood, and work hard to save our lake and water resources.

They have an extraordinary commitment to making things happen.”


Perhaps the best testimony of Jack and Judy’s dedication to volunteer activities is best characterized by Judy’s Column in the Spring, 2008 WAPOA Newsletter. Titled “Volunteer – it’s what we do,”

Judy stated “I’ve been involved in some sort of volunteerism since I was 15. Much as I have liked my professional life, volunteering has been second only to my family as the cornerstone of my life, a personal motivator that has kept me busy, healthy and involved.”

The record is not only lengthy, but with each task Jack and Judy have undertaken, the impact of their dedication to the environment can be measured with solid achievements.

For this longstanding dedication and countless hours of volunteer activities, we nominate Jack and Judy as the 2011 Minnesota Waters Volunteer(s) of the Year.