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

D Schlabowske

Wisconsin was one of the first states in the country to adopt Complete Streets, a program that factors bicyclists and pedestrians into road projects. Under Gov. Walker’s budget, it would be eliminated.

 The Wisconsin Bike Fed, or WBF, says the move would take the state in the wrong direction.

Gene Cox

The idea to create a tiny house community for homeless people in Madison grew out of the “Occupy” movement.

Back in 2011 when people took to the streets of Madison to rally against economic inequality, Occupy Madison organizers protested, ate and camped together. And over its nearly 600 day odyssey, the makeshift tribe moved thirty times – from parking lot to slushy park.

In the end, people went home, except the homeless who had nowhere to go. A core group decided to attack the problem.

Like the rest of the globe, the Midwest is expected to warm, but thus far scientists cannot clearly predict if the region will become wetter or drier. Even more perplexing, is the fact that temperatures in the Midwest have not yet significantly increased.

The puzzle is the subject of a study led by Dartmouth College assistant professor of geography Jonathan Winter.

He started digging into the Midwest while working on his PhD.

S Bence

MeterHero rewards users for using less water and electricity. McGee Young came up with the idea with his students at Marquette University.

The story starts a few years ago, when McGee Young was teaching a course on innovation and sustainability. He and his students wanted to find a way to help people realize how much water they use.

S Bence

Friday marks day seven of the 15-day urban garden blitz in the Milwaukee area.

Several hundred volunteers are ferrying wooden planks and trucking mound upon mound of soil to build, and fill 4x8 raised garden beds. The effort is in its 7th season and is the brainchild of the Victory Garden Initiative, or VGI.

S Bence

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation awarded $350,000 to M-WERC, the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, to launch a 12-week, mentor-driven program.

WERCBench Labs is designed to support startups in the fields of energy, power and controls.

S Bence

For most of us, our knowledge of the philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau begins and ends with his meditation Walden. But that’s not true of local cardiologist Dr. James Mathew.

Growing up in India, Mathew remembers reading quotes in the local Sunday newspaper. “And I remember Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson being most often quoted American writers,” he says.

When Mathew moved to the United States, a friend lent him a copy of Walden. “I took advantage of that offer. That was 30 years ago, and I’m still reading Walden,” he says.

S Bence

With the motto “move grass – grow food,” the Blitz is a 15-day, volunteer-driven event.  Organizers expect to create more than 400 raised beds this month.

The Victory Garden Initiative, or VGI, created the program seven years ago, during which approximately 2,200 "above ground" gardens have been constructed across the Milwaukee area.

S Bence

A few years ago, The Park People spearheaded a “passport” to entice people to explore the Oak Leaf Trail. It covers more than 100 miles of diverse terrain. At first, the passport highlighted 14 park stops. This year, it includes 26 and a full-size map.

Cheri Briscoe is a hardcore volunteer. She’s advocated for the Oak Leaf Trail even before it acquired the name.

"I love biking and so I decided that’s what I want to focus on in my later life," she says.

S Bence

Most of the Kinnickinnic River looks like a giant drainage ditch. However, work is underway to restore the river to it's natural flow.

Back in the 1960s, the KK was channelized with concrete slopes. At the time, the technique was considered to be a state-of-the-art storm water management system. Instead, the channels led to devastating flooding.

By 2007, the river was named one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the United States.

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