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.

Ways to Connect

Susan Bence

Milwaukee is in a reflective mood, days after tragic events unfolded in the city’s Sherman Park neighborhood. Earlier this week, people quietly reflected in Alice’s Garden, a green oasis two miles southeast of the Sherman Park hot spot.

A circle more than 50 people – different sizes, ages and colors – stood together.  And, Monique Inez Liston led a solemn chant.

Susan Bence

Cole Compton is about to begin his senior year at Shorewood High School’s New Horizon Charter School.

WUWM's Susan bence met him a few years ago Weber’s, a greenhouse on Green Bay Ave off Capitol Drive. Compton was the youngest intern in the then fledgling after-school, paid internship program called Teens Grow Greens.

Michelle Maternowski

Sunday afternoon, the Milwaukee Police Department invited faith and community leaders to meet in the aftermath of devastating events in the Sherman Park neighborhood. The hope was that influential residents could help foster calm.

One person at the table was Eric Von. The Washington D.C. native has made Milwaukee his home since 1991.  

WUWM listeners have come to know the veteran journalist as host of the Precious Lives series that focuses on the root causes of gun violence.

Susan Bence

If Milwaukee were not reeling after a weekend of violence and a young man’s death, a peaceful Sunday afternoon soccer game on the city’s south side would have seemed perfectly normal. A group, called Common Ground, gathered at the Kinnickinnic Sports Center too, to push for more recreational opportunities for Milwaukee kids. The group believes the move could help make violent weekends rare.

Susan Bence

At last count, Wisconsin was home to more than 230 different species of birds. Now, 1,000 surveyors are pooling data for across the state to see if those numbers are holding.

In the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II survey, bird experts aren’t counting the ones who simply stop over during migration, rather those that rely on Wisconsin's habitats to multiply.

Susan Bence

Vanessa Tobin has a very specific professional niche. She is Senior Technical Adviser for Water Supply, Sanitation and Water Resources Development for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) based in Baltimore Maryland.

Before joining CRS in 2012, Tobin worked extensively in the field for the United Nations and other organizations in places such as South Sudan and Nepal. Most recently she served as UNICEF’s Chief of Water, Environment and Sanitation.

Susan Bence

The center, in the midst of a major green makeover, resides west of Ashland and south of Bayfield and is nearly twenty years old.

With its sweeping 180 acres before him, US Forest Service program manager Jason Maloney beams as he watches a crew erecting the infrastructure to support four rows of solar panels - 100 kilowatts’ worth.

The work – and the effort to fund it - goes back ten years, to Maloney’s predecessor at the center.

Susan Bence

Special projects leader Tommy Richardson led WUWM's Susan Bence on a tour of Stockton Island. The experience proved to be as much an exploration of a major boardwalk project as it was demonstration of Richardson’s love for his job.

Richardson says he never dreamed he’d be working here. We’re on a Park Service boat, heading from a dock outside Bayfield to Stockton Island.

He grew up “near” but a world away from the Apostle Islands. Richardson's grandfather farmed outside Ashland; his dad worked at the local paper mill for 30 years.

Jodi Parins

Sixteen large dairy operations pepper Kewaunee’s county landscape – so do the fields on which they spread their manure. Today, more than 30% of Kewaunee County residents’ wells are contaminated.

The geology of the county allows manure to seep into the groundwater, and the situation finally resulted in action.

Resident Lynn Utesch served on workgroups, along with representatives from agencies, such as the EPA and state DNR.

The spreading of manure has become a heated issue in Wisconsin. Especially with the emergence of CAFOs - farms with large concentrations of animals. Some residents blame CAFOs for contaminating drinking water.

Today, dozens of people will trek to Ashland, in the far north, where the Natural Resources Board is supposed to decide how the state will proceed.

Andrea Merimee

Wednesday, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center will run its first-ever moth identification night and will add its results to a national database.

Actually, counts are going on this week around the globe! It's National Moth Week.

In Milwaukee, Brooke Gilley has taken on the moth counting mission at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. If anyone can engender warm fuzzy feelings about moths, it’s Gilley.

Bob Bach

The Milwaukee River basin is markedly cleaner than a few decades ago. The heavy industries that used to pour toxins into the water have closed or are now regulated, and the deep tunnel system has dramatically reduced storm water overflows into the river. But challenges remain.

Susan Bence

For decades at this time each summer, Wisconsin farmers have gathered to talk technology. Wisconsin Farm Technology Days began back in 1954 with a simple hay baling contest in Waupaca County.

This week a farmer south of Geneva Lake hosted.

Kyle Scott came to check it out. He works for a crop farmer northeast of here. He and his wife also farm their own five-acre parcel.

Susan Bence

The Milwaukee County Parks system seems to swing between two extremes. On one hand, its green space creates a ring,  some compare to an exquisite emerald necklace. On the other, parks are crippled by deferred maintenance.

One example is Lake Park, where officials closed a 110-year-old footbridge because it is crumbling.

The fate of the bridge that spans a ravine, and a winding roadway below, will be the topic of a public information meeting this evening at Lake Park.

Susan Bence

One week ago, a crew carefully removed the bronze George Washington statue from its pedestal across from Milwaukee's Central Library on West Wisconsin Ave. Erected in 1885, the 10.5 foot tall monument is being cleaned up and repaired by an Illinois-based expert.

Diane Buck watched the painstaking removal. She made a name for herself in Milwaukee’s civic monument world. Buck co-authored a book about Milwaukee’s outdoor sculpture.

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