Green Angel: Advocating for environmentally sustainable practices.
John Hutchinson and Fontana Sports have been an integral part of Madison's outdoor conservation scene for more than four decades.
A little history: Hutchinson grew up in Fontana, Wis., where he worked in his father's military surplus store, spending as much time as possible outdoors, skiing and fishing. After receiving a degree in marketing from the UW-Madison, "along with environmental science courses," he opened Fontana Army Navy on the 100 block of State Street in 1972, where he outfitted many a shivering college student in surplus pea coats and parkas. As the outdoor sports retail scene boomed, he moved to a larger building at 251 State St. in 1975 and changed the name to Fontana Sports. (That store has since relocated to 216 N. Henry St., and a second store resides at 231 Junction Rd.)
Hutchinson has always had a commitment to the environment. After all, he points out, "I was an Eagle Scout."
"When I started my business, the recycling movement was just starting to take hold, so I was an early adopter of recycling practices. When we moved to our current location five years ago, we recycled over 90% of the materials." He's also joined with other businesses and environmental groups to support efforts to fight climate change.
About that conservation cred: Hutchinson's a founding member of the Token Creek Watershed Association. He partners with the Wisconsin River Alliance (he received their River Champion award in 2011), the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Sierra Club, among many others. Fontana's "Shoe the Zoo" showshoe events raise funds for the Vilas Zoo's Arctic Passage exhibit. And the annual Cinco de Fido run/walk contributes to the Dane County Humane Society.
Hutchinson couldn't run Fontana without his co-owners, wife Judith and daughter Elizabeth; they are as active in community, conservation and the environment as he is, taking leading roles in outreach initiatives. We tactfully suggest he share his Green Angel award with them.