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Great Lakes Conference 2022

We’re back! The Great Lakes Conference 2022 will be held from Tuesday, October 18 to Wednesday, October 19 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Since we haven’t been able to meet in-person for a few years now, we want this year’s conference to be about coming together as a Great Lakes community. The first day will include afternoon field trips and an evening reception, whereas the second day will be more conference-like with a full day of plenaries and breakout sessions. After such a long period of limited interactions, we want this to be a space for building connections and sharing ideas.

Registration for the conference is now open!

We are offering an early bird rate until September 19, so sign up soon!

This year, the HOW Coalition is providing a limited number of first-come, first-served scholarships to cover travel costs associated with attending the conference. Scholarships will be up to $400 and provided in the form of expense reimbursement for travel or hotel costs. If you would like to be considered for this scholarship, please select this option during registration and someone will contact you with further information.  


Through September 19, 2022

After September 19, 2022

Standard Registration



Student Rate





We have reserved a limited block of rooms at The Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, located at 333 W. Kilbourn Ave. from Monday, October 17 through Thursday, October 20.  This hotel is conveniently located across the street from the conference venue.

You are required to make your own hotel reservations for the conference. Please do so as soon as possible! Reservations can be made online or by calling The Hyatt Regency Milwaukee: (402) 592-6464 / (888) 421-1442.

  • When calling for reservations, please indicate that you are with the HOW Great Lakes Conference.
  • Our guest block will be held until September 20, 2022 or until all rooms in the block have been filled. Any subsequent reservations are subject to availability.

  • The hotel guarantees the rate of $179 per night for either a single or double occupancy room.

The Hyatt Regency, Milwaukee, WI

General Information

Driving directions from General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)


We will be following the latest COVID safety recommendations at the local, state, and federal levels and will adjust the event, as needed, to keep attendees as safe as possible. This may include requiring vaccinations, negative tests, and masks.

For everyone’s safety, the Coalition requests that attendees please stay home if they are experiencing any COVID-related symptoms at the time of the conference.  A full refund will be offered to any attendee who is not able to attend for this reason.


All field trips are scheduled for Tuesday, October 18, from 1-4. Field trips cost $10 in addition to the registration fee.

Field trips for this year include:

Equitably Turning Asphalt Covered Schoolyards into Social, Environmental, and Economic Community Assets

Milwaukee schools and partners are systematically replacing acres of asphalt covered urban schoolyards with publicly accessible, equitable, green spaces complete with stormwater green infrastructure, outdoor classrooms, recreational improvements, arts opportunities, and other community supporting features.  There are 31 Milwaukee Public School projects in the redevelopment process with 5 constructed each summer.  The projects are an excellent example of long-term strategic partnerships engaging local, state, and national governmental agencies, private funders, nonprofits, and community voices.

Boat Tour of the Milwaukee Area of Concern

Ahoy Maties! Participants will board a boat and take a guided tour of the Milwaukee waterways and will learn all about the efforts in Milwaukee to delist the Area of Concern. A panel of key stakeholders will highlight past, present and future projects that will help move the needle on clean water and healthy communities and tell the great story of how Milwaukee’s rich industrial past brought us here and how a determined coalition of diverse stakeholders is leading the charge to cleanup the area in a priority fashion.

Breweries and BMPs

Participants will tour a selection of Milwaukee’s stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that have been implemented at or near local breweries, while also getting to sample some of Milwaukee’s finest brews! The tour will be by bus with some light walking required. Along the way, local speakers will point out BMP and sustainability features, while also highlighting cultural and historic sites and stories.

Bikes, Barriers, and Beer: Sturgeon Rehabilitation on the Milwaukee River

This 4.5 mile bike tour along the Oak Leaf Trail will include stops at past and current dam removal, fish passage and monitoring project locations. Participants will hear about the history of the river, impacts of those past uses, and the work being done to restore the river and sturgeon populations. The tour will conclude at Estabrook Park where participants are encouraged to purchase refreshments at the Beer Garden and will be bussed back to the trailhead.

Once Lost, Now Found: The Revitalization of the Kinnickinnic River

The Kinnickinnic (KK) River is undergoing a historic revitalization by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). Confined to a concrete ditch since the 1960s, the river is beginning to be renaturalized and widened with riffles, pools and healthy riparian habitat. Join representatives from Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers’ Department of Environmental Health and MMSD as you tour Milwaukee’s Lost River located within the most urbanized watershed in the state of Wisconsin and learn about the incredible changes taking place. Visit the new section of river within Pulaski Park, a community space nicknamed the KK River Plaza, and Jackson Park, soon to be revitalized; see how an urban river is being returned to a more natural state, increasing public safety, access to the river, and habitat for our precious plants, birds and aquatic species. Participants will also learn how this revitalization has truly been a community-wide and community-led effort with many diverse and passionate partners. Participants will tour from location to location on the bus, but a significant amount of walking on asphalt paths will also take place.


We will be having a reception at the fabulous Nō Studios on Tuesday evening. The cost of attending the reception is included in your conference registration, but if you would like to bring a guest, it is an additional $50.


We are no longer accepting proposals for presentations/workshops, but thank you to everyone who applied!

We are currently solidifying presentations and we will send an update when the eight presentation topics are ready to be shared. Broadly, they’ll be covering issues like community partnership building, coastal resilience, conservation agriculture, water infrastructure, and clean water rights.