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dc.contributor.advisorLee, Tina
dc.contributor.authorAfolayan, Eniola
dc.descriptionSociology and Anthropology at the University of Mary Washington
dc.description.abstractWhen I was deciding the title of my research project, the song "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie immediately came to mind. I remember singing the feel-good lyrics in elementary school, mindlessly and aimlessly without actually taking the words into account. At first, I misunderstood it as a song in favor of individual right to land; however, it is actually a celebration of everyone's right to enjoy the beautiful land in our country. It is especially fitting for the research I conducted this summer as part of the LAKES REU. Truly, I wonder what elementary-age Eniola would have to say to current day Eniola if she found out that song would someday become part of the thesis of her summer research project. I've had the pleasure of living in the once unpronounceable Menomonie, Wisconsin for two months this summer. Even after the 8 weeks, riding my bike along Lake Menomin has never once become dull. The same freshness that I experienced in my first week still overcame me as I would ride along to the Agricultural Service Center or perhaps on a journey with my peers to find the Northern Lights during midsummer nights. Lake Menomin has truly been the most enjoyable part of my trip, so doing my research project on efforts to clean it up easily became very meaningful to me. The purpose of my research project was to understand policy implementation, specifically looking at the Dunn County Shoreland Protection Ordinance. In studying policy implementation, I was trying to understand how policies are received and understood by landowners, including farmers. To collect data, I used participant observation, which meant attending public meetings such as the Dunn County Board’s Planning Resource and Development Committee and Local Work Group meetings. In these meetings, I was able to better gauge how local government works and how government officials make decisions. In addition to that, I job shadowed policy actors, interviewed both homeowners and policy actors, and partook in farmer surveying efforts with our sociology group. I found that when talking about policy with different landowners and even policy makers, discourses surrounding property rights and land ownership often came up. In some cases such discourses facilitated lake clean-up efforts while others hindered such efforts. When talking about land ownership, three themes stood out to me: the value people attached to their property, anti-regulation views, and conditional support for regulation. I found that in relation to policy, people would often talk about what their property meant to them, such as whether their home had an emotional value and so forth. In the case of anti-regulation, people often talked about how they didn't want government officials telling them what to do on their property. Finally, people who expressed conditional support supported the Shoreland Protection Ordinance but didn't understand it completely or didn't know how to go about complying. Because local government officials lack resources, like time and funding, lake clean-up efforts have to be collective and voluntary. One way to make such efforts more collective is by tapping into people's attachment to their property. A dirty lake affects everyone, including those who don't want to be told what to do on their property, because it effects how people value and enjoy their property. I found that many people want to contribute to better water quality but need more information about why regulations are in place and how they can comply. Drawing on people’s desires for beautiful scenery, clean water for swimming and fishing, and yards they can enjoy can help motivate everyone to chip in once they understand their roles. One shouldn't have to live along the lake to value it; Lake Menomin, from my experience, is a hidden treasure in Menomonie, something that all of its citizens should value and take pride in. Pointing fingers will not solve the problem. Coming together as one to persevere this hidden treasure for the future should instead be the goal.One thing I am taking with me forever from this experience is the reassurance that there is truly power in local government. I am glad I got to see that in action in Menomonie, Wisconsin.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Wisconsin--Stouten_US
dc.titleThis Land Was Made for You and Me: On Property Rights Discourse and Lake Clean-Up Effortsen_US

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  • LAKES Undergraduate Research Experience - LAKES REU
    The LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) aims to better understand the root causes of phosphorus pollution and solutions while offering undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research.

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