Susan Bence

Environmental Reporter

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.

Susan is now WUWM's Environmental Reporter, the station's first. Her work has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Susan worked with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin for 20 years, studied foreign languages at UWM, and loves to travel.

» Twitter: @WUWMenviron

Susan Bence

UPDATE:  Earlier this month, emergency responders told the the city's public works committee that if a rail crisis occurred in downtown Milwaukee up to a half mile area might be evacuated. That topic reverberated again at today's meeting.

It was attended by Canadian Pacific Railway representatives and Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale.

Science writer Michael Timm combined his passion for Great Lakes issues and storytelling to create an 8-minute film about quagga mussels. Then he not only convinced a local movie theater to show his film, Timm convinced three other filmmakers to contribute their work.

The result is the Our Water film event being held at the Avalon Theatre Saturday.

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Most of the world’s rice production occurs oceans away from the United States. In 2011, molecular biologist Michael Schläppi dove into rice research hoping to grow the grain in Wisconsin.

According Schläppi, 80 percent of the rice Americans consume is grown in a handful of states, especially Arkansas and California. “But I think it would be wise to think about, with climate change or the drought in California, maybe they won’t be able to grow rice anymore,” he says.

Bay View resident Jesse Blom wants to be part of the solution. That means a bit of experimentation and a lot of learning.

Blom helped transform an 1898 Queen Anne Style home on Euclid Ave in Bay View to Heart Haus, created to demonstrate sustainable urban community.

Not only do vegetable patches fill its front and backyard, greens are growing off the kitchen.

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A new documentary by historian John Gurda examines the region's history through our waterways.

Gurda first collaborated with Claudia Looze nine years ago on the landmark documentary, The Making of Milwaukee. On Tuesday, their new project, Milwaukee: A City Built On Water, premiered.

Gurda says the idea came out of a lecture he developed back in 2013. UW-Extension staffer, Gail Overholt, gave him some valuable advice: it would be nicer with pictures.

EDDEE DANIEL

Dr. Marc Gorelick didn’t set out to make an environmental statement. He simply wants to set aside a few acres of green space for sick kids to find peace and quiet. 

Those acres just happen to be part of a contested piece of the Milwaukee County Grounds.

People have rallied behind different causes erupting around the public land.

Daniel Lobo, Flickr

Southwest Airlines created the Heart of the Community program to "activate public spaces in the heart of communities." 

nelsonearthday.net

Forty-five years after Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day, Tia Nelson is caught between carrying on her father's legacy and hewing to the guidelines of her state government job.

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The 20th annual cleanup attracted up to 4,000 volunteers, according to Milwaukee Riverkeeper. In the Kinnickinnic River, bagging debris and tire removal was combined with learning the science of the river. 

It has been almost thirteen years since an invasive beetle revealed its metallic-green-shelled self to scientists outside Detroit. Since then, emerald ash borer (or EAB) has killed tens of millions of ash trees in Michigan alone and has moved on to 23 other states and two Canadian provinces.

Wisconsin isn't new to the list. EAB was first reported here back in August 1, 2008.

Over the years, WUWM has been checking in with scientists and foresters in our neck of the woods to learn how they deal with the threat of EAB.

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