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

S Bence

In the spring of 2013, Milwaukee joined some 70 cities around the U.S. and Canada  that tout local “Edible” publications. They’re part of an “Edible Communities, Inc.” movement – grounded in a mission they describe as transforming the way people shop for, cook and eat local food.

Lake Effect’s Susan Bence sat down with Edible Milwaukee publisher and editor Jen Ede at a Walker’s Point café.

Northland College

For decades, Reicks View Farms has been raising lots and lots of hogs in Iowa. Reicks hopes to expand into northern Wisconsin and raise 26,000 hogs in Bayfield County.

The number of hogs qualifies the proposed farm, called Badgerfood, as a CAFO, or a confined animal feeding operation. It would be the first in the Lake Superior basin.

After a groundswell of concern, the Wisconsin DNR is conducting a comprehensive environmental impact study into the proposed operation.

D Ehlen

The United States is hosting Wetskills Water Challenges, an international student competition focused on global water issues, for the first time. And it’s happening here in Milwaukee.

Today, the students will pitch their ideas to professionals at the 8th Annual Water Summit at the Pfister Hotel.

Johan Oost, from the Netherlands, helped create Wetskills five years ago.

Michael Perry


Michael Perry has been known  for his non-fiction work about his life in rural Western Wisconsin. He has accumulated a mass of fans around the world drawn to stories touching on topics from raising poultry to parenting.

After writing his first children's book, Perry is making his first attempt at a novel geared towards adults with his latest book, The Jesus Cow.

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Among faith groups, a ground swell of environmental concern has been building. This includes within the Muslim community, which begins Ramadan – their sacred month of fasting – today.

In Milwaukee, a group called the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin has been at work for a decade. It will be honored next week by a national interfaith environmental group, GreenFaith, for its programs.

Today, Pope Francis took the unprecedented step of issuing a formal opinion on the environment

His encyclical, titled On Care of Our Common Home, states humankind has a moral obligation to radically change its behavior, in order to protect the planet for future generations.

S Bence

For the last half dozen years, a group of dedicated conservation advocates have showcased preserved parcels scattered around Ozaukee County.

This Saturday, June 20, scientists and naturalists will be on hand to guide visitors at seven designated "Treasures of Oz."

Ulao Creek is a 9-mile-long tributary of the Milwaukee River.  It headwaters in the city of Port Washington and the town of Grafton and flows south into Mequon.

S Bence

Milwaukee’s Harbor District is only a short walk from the trendy Third Ward, but it might as well be in a different state. But momentum is building to reinvigorate the district.

A few months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the city $200,000 to push revitalization forward. And recently, a nonprofit, called Harbor District, Inc., officially formed to help coordinate the process.

Twelve million private wells dot the U.S. landscape. Every year, about a million of them fail. The problems can catch owners by surprise and can be expensive.

Marian Singer and her partner, Nick Hayes, think their state-of-the-art sensor will prevent those pricey crises by alerting people when their well is at risk.

“Nick and I found out that unless you were drilling a well or repairing a well, no one knew what was happening with ground water,” Singer says.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

The Legislature's joint finance committee voted in support of Gov. Walker's plan to eliminate 18.4 researchers within the Bureau of Science Services. The DNR says that amounts to 31.5 percent of the authorized positions within the team.

Todd Ambs is one of the people upset about the cuts.

He heads the Healing Our Waters -  Great Lakes Coalition and served as as Water Division Administrator at the Wisconsin DNR from 2003 to 2010,