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

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.

S Bence

If a rain drop were human, a human who liked to hang out in Lake Michigan, it would love to fall on the big parking lot north of Milwaukee County’s War Memorial Center.

“In this situation, all of the stormwater flows directly into the lake,” says Phil Schultz. He's chair of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee's environment and ecology committee.

The club rents space in the War Memorial and holds meetings there.

Susan Bence

The Urban Ecology Center specializes in introducing people to the urban environment. Over the last 25 years, the education-based organization has created three branches.

Below its flagship facility near Riverside University High School, UEC  joined forces with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee joined to create a 40-acre arboretum above the Milwaukee River.

Susan Bence

For people familiar with the Urban Ecology Center, the name Ken Leinbach is often mentioned in the same breathe.

Today, the center shines bright as a model of environmental education and stewardship. However, a quarter century ago, the Urban Ecology Center, or UEC, began humbly in a trailer plunked above the Milwaukee River near Riverside High School.

Leinbach is credited with building its super-green flagship complex, as well as additional centers in Washington Park and the Menomonee Valley.

S Bence

The country continues to reel after devastating shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas. Milwaukee is no stranger to violence.

Sunday, the first service was about to begin at All Peoples Church at 2nd and Clarke.

A cool hush fills the wood-beamed interior. Light spills in through massive stained glass windows. But a palpable sense of sadness hangs in the air.

Two days earlier Vicar Christine Roe provided support at the funeral of Jay L. Anderson, Jr. - the 25 year old recently killed by Wauwatosa police.

S Bence

The Calatrava has become a landmark on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Its soaring wings welcome people into the Milwaukee Art Museum. Perhaps less obvious is a large bed of white roses outside. 

Jule Groh  is one of the people who tends the flowers every Wednesday during the growing season. and shares its story.

Groh is member of the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club, and says it's the oldest and largest in Wisconsin, dating back to 1921.

Today, members tend one special plant.

S Bence

Nine small boathouses stand sandwiched on a slip of land that juts out into Chequamegon Bay, just beyond downtown Ashland, Wisconsin.

Gene Brinker says growing up he and friends spent hours exploring the peninsula, which locals strangely call “an island”

“This peninsula here is called Gilligan’s Island and there’s some makeshift areas where kids can hang out and the waters always warm in the inside of here so it’s a great place for people to come and that’s been the case for long before I was here,” Brinker said.

Susan Bence

Tuesday all eight Great Lake states said “yes” to Waukesha's request to draw water from Lake Michigan. It was a historic moment because it was the first test of the Great Lakes Compact, which restricts diversions outside the basin.

The city's underground water supply is dwindling and increasingly contaminated with cancer-causing radium, so Waukesha spent years building its case that the Great Lakes are its only sustainable source for clean drinking water.

Neumann Companies

Renewable energy, and the movement to make it more widespread, was partially pioneered in Central Wisconsin in the 1960s and 1970s. And from those first forays into that new technology the Midwest Renewable Energy Association – or MREA - was born.

This weekend the organization is staging its 27th annual Energy Fair – a tradition that attracts thousands of people from around the country.

Ahead of the fair’s kickoff today, we talked with three Milwaukee-based renewable energy proponents.

Titus Wamai

The Pabst Theater was packed to the rafters last night as the voices behind WUWM’s collaborative series Precious Lives came to life. Two dozen students and adults from the Milwaukee area used song and words to express how gun violence has touched their lives.

Before Precious Lives: The Live Show, Ben Duke shared why he had come.  He has decades of experience working with high school students.  

Duke is part of Milwaukee Public School’s division of school safety.

Pages