Volunteer Spotlight: Bringing the Boundary Waters to Madison

Sep 7, 2022
Amanda Hefner
A photo of Dylan Duerre, the Madison ambassador for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, posing in front of the table he operates at the Madison Farmers Market.

Dylan Duerre is a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and a highly engaged volunteer with Save the Boundary Waters. Inspired by his love for Northern Minnesota, Dylan first started volunteering with Save the Boundary Waters at Canoecopia in March 2022. Since then, he has taken his passion for the Boundary Waters and turned it into another level of activism with the Campaign.

In between his busy school schedule during the summer, Dylan organized his own Save the Boundary Waters tabling event in the community. On three different weekends in July and August, Dylan and a group of friends had a booth at the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, WI — the largest producer-only farmer's market in the country. The Dane County Farmers Market attracts thousands of people every Saturday morning to the Wisconsin State Capitol square in downtown and offers hundreds of vendors, delicious food, and art. Dylan says it is an excellent space to connect with friends, neighbors, and small businesses in the community. 

While Madison may be over 400 miles away from the Boundary Waters, there is no shortage of outdoor recreation and paddling enthusiasts in the lakefront city, making it a great place to engage with new BWCA supporters. So what motivated Dylan to become a highly engaged volunteer with Save the Boundary Waters? Not just a love for Northern Minnesota, but also the desire to protect one of the state’s most incredible areas. 

“Northern Minnesota has been one of my favorite places since I was a child,” Dylan says. “I was somewhat familiar with mining proposals… but I never really thought much about the issue until my first trip into the BWCA. Ever since, I spend a significant amount of time daydreaming about the wilderness. That occupation of headspace has led me to learn more about the history of the region and the BWCA, including its struggle for protection and survival.”

After just three weekends tabling at the Dane County Farmers Market, Dylan shares that his presence is already making a difference in the community. “It was really rewarding to introduce so many people to the Campaign. There have been a few instances where I've seen stickers on laptops, water bottles and cars around town, which has been super exciting and gratifying.” Dylan says. “My favorite moments while tabling were spotting people wearing BWCA related T-shirts and hats and knowing that they would come up to talk about their trips. It was fun to share stories, pictures, plans for upcoming trips… and I also had great conversations about the status of the campaign.”

When asked if he would recommend for others to get involved volunteering with the campaign, Dylan says, “I would absolutely encourage others to get involved and volunteer. Tabling has been so much fun, and I have learned so much from talking with others and hearing their experiences… It has reinforced my adoration for the wilderness and its value. Talking about routes, recipes, gear, and trip stories never gets old.  The organizing and outreach team has been amazing to work with. They have enabled me to have a blast while helping to make a difference in something I am passionate about.”

Dylan is looking to secure additional tabling permits in the fall, so stay tuned on when you will be able to find him at future Farmers Markets!

And if you are interested in volunteering with Save the Boundary Waters, please reach out to amanda@savetheboundarywaters.org for more information on how to get started.