Hidden Water’s Journey by Megan Strautmann

Hidden Water’s Journey 

Pastel and charcoal on colored paper 

Megan Strautmann, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

In collaboration with Whitney Prestby, Natural Resource Educator (NRE), University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension 

Hidden Water’s Journey depicts a groundwater well and geological cross-section of Brown County, Wisconsin, to bring awareness to well testing. The artwork goes through the geological layers from top to bottom: the grass and topsoil, the bedrock compositions of dolostone, limestone, and shale, and the underlying water table where groundwater is stored and extracted. A well travels through these layers of soil and bedrock to access the groundwater below, allowing the use of the readily available water hidden under the surface. As water is absorbed into the ground, the water travels through cracks and fractures of the bedrock layers, carrying minerals and sediments with it into the water table. With these minerals and sediments, bacteria and nitrates can be brought into the water table from the surface above, potentially contaminating and harming the water supply and the water used from these wells. This collaboration works to depict and bring awareness to regular well testing to ensure safe and clean water for residents of Brown County. 


Megan Strautmann is a college student born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, studying Art and Geosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. A passion for art at a young age sparked the creative and artistic journey that she pursues in her studies. In her art, Megan focuses on two-dimensional mediums such as charcoals and pastels, with love for impressionistic and realistic art styles. She aspires to connect her passion for geosciences and the environment in her art. More of her artwork can be found on her profile @megstraut_art on Instagram.

ABOUT THE Water Partner

Whitney Prestby is a Natural Resources Educator with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension. She works as the Outreach Specialist for the Fox Demo Farms project, which is a collaborative effort designed to identify and implement conservation practices that reduce phosphorus and sediment loading into the Fox River and bay of Green Bay. Over the last year, Whitney began working on a private well testing program with a graduate student from UW-Green Bay and a limited-term employee (LTE) of Brown County Land & Water Conservation Department. The student led the testing efforts and Whitney designed a survey to better understand how homeowners approach private well testing and maintenance. The results from the survey will inform outreach and education for this audience. Through her work, Whitney creates opportunities for people to learn from each other, so that together, we can develop lasting solutions that benefit our shared water resources.