365 Days a Year

365 Days a Year

About Take a Stake

Take A Stake In The Lake Logo
Take a Stake in Our Waters is a program by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission and the Office of Lakes and Watersheds.

For almost 30 years, Take a Stake volunteers have been working to protect and improve the lakes, streams and wetlands of Dane County. Since its creation in 1988, Take a Stake has been expanded by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission and Office of Lakes and Watersheds from two days of shoreline clean-ups, to a two-week series of countywide special events, and now year-round activities that help people celebrate, learn about, protect and improve Dane County waters, recognizing that care for Dane County’s lakes, streams and wetlands doesn’t happen only a couple weeks out of the year.

During Take a Stake in Our Waters events, groups, clubs, individuals and families adopt beaches, shorelines, streams and more to collect litter, remove invasive species, plant native plants, mark storm drains, as well as a number of other activities. Thousands of volunteers have participated in these events and made a huge impact in Dane County over the decades.


Interested in volunteering?
Click here to request more information



Fall Prairie Seed Collection

Volunteers are needed to help collect native plant seeds. This is a great way to experience the beauty of the prairie up close, learn the species, and help collect for future prairie plantings. Please arrive early and be ready to volunteer by 9:00 am. All tools and training will be provided. No previous experience necessary. We may drive or walk from the meeting location to a different area in the park. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, and closed-toe shoes. Bring drinking water, work gloves, …

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Help Friends of Cherokee Marsh Combat Invasive Reed Grass

Help Friends of Cherokee Marsh as they work to stop the spread of phragmites (giant reed grass) that is threatening to choke out the diverse native sedges, grasses, and flowers in the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area. They need volunteers to help bundle and cut the stalks of phragmites.  No experience needed; they will provide tools and supplies and train you on site. In addition to help combat the spread of phragmites, you will also likely see fringed gentians and other special wetland p …

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Arboretum Work Party

Help improve native habitat and help native plants thrive by removing invasive plant species in the Lake Wingra watershed. The UW-Madison Arboretum maintains one the oldest prairie restorations in the world.

Groups interested in volunteering should contact Marian Farrior in advance to coordinate.

Time and Place: 9am – noon, Contact Marian for the location

Contact: Marian Farrior,; see for more information


UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve Volunteer Work Party

Join other volunteers to help care for the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Activities include removing invasive plants, planting native plugs, seed collecting, maintaining trails, and collecting trash. Tools and gloves provided. Dress to work outdoors; long pants and closed-toe shoes required. Groups and minors require advance notice. Cancelled in case of steady precipitation or severe weather--high winds, thunder/lightning, or temperatures above 100F with heat index or below 0 degrees with wind chi …

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Restoration Team Leader Training

Do you enjoy working with others while taking care of the Earth? If so, we encourage you to become a Restoration Team Leader. You will develop professional ecological skills, practice the land ethic, and give back to your community. Team leaders play a critical role in restoring Arboretum prairies and savannas by supervising other volunteers at Saturday morning ecological restoration work parties. They also gain invaluable personal and professional experience as they learn about native ecosyste …

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Aquatic Debris Collection

Shoreline Residents:

The annual Take a Stake in Our Waters shoreline trash and aquatic debris collection by Dane County Lakes Management barges begins on:

Lakes Mendota & Kegonsa
Monday, July 24, 2017

Lakes Monona & Waubesa
Monday, July 31, 2017

YES: Aquatic vegetation (lake weeds, algae), debris washed up on shore (trash, dead fish, etc.)

NO: Yard waste or brush (grass clippings, leaves, tree limbs), household waste (garbage, pet waste, etc.)

Barges will make ONE pass around the lake. Have debris on your pier by 6 am Monday so you don’t miss the collection. It may be a few days until they get to your pier. If the water adjacent to your pier is too shallow to allow our access from the water, we may not be able to pick up debris from your pier.

Questions about this shoreline cleanup? Call John Reimer at (608) 224-3612. For all other questions about Dane County waters, visit

If you don't currently reside at your lakefront property, please make sure that those who live there are aware of this shoreline debris collection.