Illinois Water Day 2015


On April 10th, International Water Resources Association (IWRA) Student Chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) organized the 2nd annual Illinois Water Day (IWD). More than 100 people, including but not limited to professors, researchers, students and concerned individuals, participated in different parts of the event and created a unique environment to learn, teach and discuss local water issues. IWD 2015 was organized as a “Let’s Talk about Water” (LTAW) event. LTAW program, supported by CUAHSI, promotes using films for water science education. Considering the importance of agriculture in the Midwest and its impacts on the freshwater resources, we decided to show the documentary “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” which explores the detrimental impacts of animal agriculture on the environment, and criticizes the policies and perspectives of environmental organizations on this issue. A panel discussion followed the screening of the documentary with four experts from different local organizations with different backgrounds. The panel discussion was moderated by Linda Lilienfield, who is the creator and project coordinator of LTAW. The audience also engaged in the discussion by sharing their own takes on the movie and their stories. The last part of the IWD 2015 was a poster session that was focused on the theme of Water and Sustainability. More than 25 posters being presented by graduate and undergraduate students, local non-profits and state organizations together with live and interactive discussions created a unique experience for participants with different backgrounds to discuss about local water challenges.

Learn more about the movie here

See our fact sheet for statistics mentioned in the movie.



Stacy James

Stacy is a water resources scientist at Prairie Rivers Network (PRN). Stacy’s primary focus is policy reform to reduce pollution caused by farming Illinois’ incredibly productive land. Polluted runoff from our farmland is the biggest statewide pollution problem and also is a major contributor to the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. Stacy also leads PRN workshops on how to build rain gardens.


Wesley M. Jarrell

Wes is a Professor Emeritus of Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources at UIUC. He is also the Co-Owner of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC, established in 2003, where the farming philosophy is based on core principles of sustainability including environmental stewardship, economic viability and social responsibility. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery strives to educate the community about organic and sustainable agriculture and the connections between food production and consumption.


Megan Konar

Megan is an Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UIUC. She conducts policy-relevant research that focuses on the intersection of water, food, and trade. Her research is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from hydrology, environmental science, and economics. Her research is motivated by questions such as: How will climate and socio-economic shocks impact global food trade and its associated embodied water resources? What policy options will best improve water and food security?


Teresa Steckler

Teresa is an Extension Specialist and Educator for Commercial Agriculture at University of Illinois. She has a PhD in Reproductive Physiology from UIUC. She is an expert in many facets of commercial livestock agriculture, including: reproductive physiology, infertility and estrus synchronization in cattle, prenatal programming, large and small ruminant production, integrative pest management, and small ruminant parasitology. She is also the author of The Cattle Blog and The Small Ruminant Blog.

Meet Our Moderator


Linda Lilienfeld

Linda is the creator and project coordinator of Let’s Talk About Water. Linda has thirty-five years of experience as a film and picture researcher, specializing in science and history. She has been a member of the steering committee and pre-screening committee for the International Water and Film Events.
In 1992, Linda was inspired to create the LTAW project while working on an exhibit on global warming at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. She realized that efforts to solve environmental crises such as global warming were hindered by a lack of clarity in the science and a need to communicate the subject to the public. For Linda, “water knits it all together” and as an advocate of the power of film to communicate, she created a “water and film” library of over 300 films. Linda is the moderator for Illinois Water Day 2015 Panel Discussion.


About 2015 Illinois Water Day

2015 Illinois Water Day Panel Discussion