Friends of Central Sands
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About Us

Friends of the Central Sands is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit Wisconsin based organization. We work to promote a healthy Central Sands landscape through natural resource stewardship, community involvement, scientific knowledge and advocacy.

Friends of the Central Sands is active in many regional projects and initiatives and is a current member of the Central Sands Water Action Coalition and the Water Protection Network (


Friends of the Central Sands
PO Box 56
Coloma, WI

Board of Directors

Bob Clarke - A part-time resident of the Central Sands for nearly 30 years, Bob has a strong passion for the environment. He has been an active supporter in the preservation of the environmental resources in many pristine places including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. On a local level he was stirred to action when the Richfield Dairy, a large CAFO, was proposed near his home on Pleasant Lake near Coloma, WI. Bob also serves on the Board of Directors for Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network, the Steering Committee for the Central Wisconsin Water Action Coalition, the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Lakes, and is a founding member of the Friends of the Central Sands.

Bill Vance – As a teacher (retired) for nearly 30 years, Bill taught life sciences among other subjects while promoting and sustaining a resident outdoor education program for his students.  During this time he also began a lifelong passion for farming which he has now done for over 20 years growing wheat, soybeans and corn in rotation.  He is passionate about our natural environment and sustainable resources and makes his own diesel fuel from used cooking oil.  He has long been a champion of and advocate for Pleasant Lake near Coloma, WI where he and his wife Mary have owned a home for over 30 years.  He served as President of the Pleasant Lake Improvement Corporation during which time the attention began to focus on water quality.  Bill was a motivating force behind the creation of the Pleasant Lake Management District.  He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a BS of Education and a MS of Education with continuing education in agriculture.

Nick ClarkeNick is a graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in natural resources management and recently earned a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana where he focused on natural resources policy and lands conservation. His experiences include serving as an environmental science educator and ecological monitor at Colorado State University’s Environmental Learning Center as well as fostering private lands conservation with the Legacy Land Trust in Fort Collins, Co. He has worked in both Namibia and Kenya assisting local communities to best manage their natural resources. Nick has also been an active member of several organizations working to protect the country's last remaining wilderness areas. He is currently a natural resources professional in the Northern Rockies. He has been fortunate enough to be a lifelong part time resident of Pleasant Lake near Coloma, Wisconsin where he has hiked, paddled, and snow shoed every corner of the Central Sands. As a founding member of the Friends of the Central Sands, Nick draws from years of engagement in natural resource issues and is passionate about protecting the resources that make this part of Wisconsin so special.

Alistair Stewart - Alistair is President of Galapagos Advisors, an advisory and consulting firm dedicated to improving the global competitiveness of private and public sector organizations throughout the Midwest. He also serves as a Senior Advisor to The Chicago Corporation, an investment banking and business advisory firm.   An alumnus of Plymouth (U.K.) and Northwestern Universities, Alistair has served on Advisory Boards in the health care and IT sectors, is currently an Advisor to a socially responsible farm-to-fork food business, and is the treasurer of the Anglers’ Club of Chicago. Alistair is very active in Trout Unlimited (TU); he is a member of the Board of the Directors of the Central Wisconsin chapter, serves as the Conservation Co-Chair of the Elliott Donnelly chapter, and is a member of the Illinois State Council of TU.

Advisory Board Members

Ray White - Ray is a former WDNR trout stream biologist.  His professional work on trout streams has continued elsewhere in the form of university teaching and research, as well as in consultant services nationally and internationally.  Further insights come from having been an angler of the involved several-county area since 1946.  Ray is also an Associate Professor of Fishery Science (Retired), Montana State University.

George Kraft - George Kraft is a Professor of Water Resources, Director of the Center for Watershed Science and Education, and Director of the Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center.  His outreach involvement includes policy development reforming Wisconsin’s groundwater pumping laws, assisting stewardship groups organize and manage their water resources, and promoting sound water management policy.  Dr. Kraft’s research interests revolve about questions of water resource sustainability, particularly about questions about profitable agriculture and water impacts.

Elward Engle - Elward, who began an impressive career with the Wisconsin DNR as a Real Estate Specialist in the 1950s, is credited by landowners, farmers, DNR board members, land trusts, and agency colleagues as one of the most hard-working and humble of land champions.  During his career with DNR and continuing through today, he has been an invaluable part of protecting some of northeast Wisconsin’s most significant natural treasures.
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