environment

Tamara Thomsen / Wisconsin Historical Society

There are thousands of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes - many of which haven’t been seen by human eyes for more than a century. The area off the coast of Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties is home to 37 known wrecks, and researchers say there could be as many as 80 undiscovered shipwrecks.

Where once you had to go to a specialty store to find natural cleaning products, they’re now on shelves in places from supermarkets to Target.  And a Wisconsin-based company is ending up with products on an increasing number of shelves around the country.

Rebel Green launched its first product nine years ago - a spray to wash fruits and vegetables.  Ali Florsheim, co-founder and co-owner of Rebel Green, shares why it is important to use something beyond water to rinse produce:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / Flickr

At last report, more than 21,000 firefighters are deployed around the country, mainly in the west. More than a million and a half acres have been charred by the 62 large fires that are currently burning.

The fire danger is comparatively low in Wisconsin, but the state is not immune from large-scale fires, either. And this time of year, wildland firefighters from the state are dispatched to places like Oregon, Montana and California.

Brittnie Peck

Towering Pines Camp For Boys came to life in 1945. As environmental awareness was on the rise in the 1970s, the northern Wisconsin camp pioneered an environmental immersion program that garnered national attention.

They call it acclimatization.

The campers merge with the natural world – in some unconventional ways. For instance, camp leaders teach the kids what it feels like to navigate the world like a raccoon.

Susan Bence

'Mushroom' Mike Jozwik has been forging in Wisconsin, and beyond, for years. When it comes to foraging, he says there's always something new to learn.

For those looking to get started, Jozwik shares a few tips:

The number one thing on Jozwik's list is to read up on the subject. "As much as people like relying on Facebook forums now, get a good book," he says.

Here are some of his favorites:

Mestic / Facebook

While Wisconsin is known as the Dairy State, perhaps a better moniker would be: the Land of Milk and Manure. With more than 1.2 million dairy cows in Wisconsin, the state is inundated with trillions of pounds of manure every year.

But Wisconsin is not alone. The proliferation of large-scale farming in the United States and throughout the globe has left many communities dealing with a poop predicament.

Dave L, flickr

Today the Milwaukee  Common Council unanimously voted to ban a material called coal tar.  The black, shiny liquid is sprayed or painted on surfaces such as driveways, parking lots and playgrounds.The ban also includes other pavement sealant products that contain more than one percent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs.

Coal tar sealants have been shown to contain dangerous levels of the cancer-causing compound.

Runoff from pavement treated with coal tar is also impacting rivers and streams.

S Bence

Water policy makers, scientists, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs are all together this week in Milwaukee. And while that’s not so unusual, given global discussions around water security and climate change, the Milwaukee-based Water Council is trying something new as it convenes its 9th annual Water Summit.

Instead of the typical breakout session format, the organizers are trying something called “One Room. One Moderator. One Water.”

Favianna Rodriguez

When people and organizations take to the street to protest an event or policy, you often see many homemade signs and banners. However, Milwaukee artist Nicolas Lampert believes that through creating unique and professional signage, a cause can get more attention and validation.

Daniela A Nievergelt / Flickr

The water slides in the Wisconsin Dells today are a strange, accidental metaphor for the area's geological history. 

An ice dam that broke towards the end of the last Ice Age sent water from a glacial lake down the Wisconsin River, carving the fanatical sandstone cliffs that distinguish the Dells today.

That's one of many reasons why geologist Marcia Bjornerus sees beyond the Wisconsin Dells' water parks, tacky shirt shops, and salt water taffy. 

Susan Bence

 

Grand hiking trails of the U.S. include the Appalachian and the Pacific Coast Trails, but if Melissa Scanlan has her way, there will be another one – a Great Lakes Trail, which would span eight states and two Canadian provinces.

Scanlan now teaches environmental law at Vermont Law School, but her roots are in Wisconsin and Lake Michigan. The idea of a Great Lakes Trail came to her as she was hiking the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin.

UW Arboretum

A species of earthworms that is known to "act crazy, jump and thrash" is jumping and thrashing  its way across the state.

The worm goes by many names, including crazy worm, jumping worm and snake worm. It is officially known as the Amynthas agrestis and was identified at the UW Arboretum in Madison in October of 2013. Since then, it has turned up in multiple locations around the state, including Milwaukee.

Carroll University

Public art often gets a bad rap – rightly or wrongly.  Typically an artist is chosen, a piece is created, installed, and the only real public part is whatever reaction you have to it once it’s on display.  Artist Kasia Ozga works differently.

She takes the public part of public art quite literally.  Her latest project is a public art installation based on water at Carroll University in Waukesha, being installed with the public’s help and input at the university.

Eco Film Festival at Marquette Focuses on Filmmaking

May 1, 2015
Great Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Facebook

Around a dozen filmmakers will be in Milwaukee over the weekend as Marquette University hosts the first annual Great Lakes Environmental Film Festival. The three-day long event is the last in a growing number of film festivals with environmental themes around the world.

joshme17/Flickr

You were probably warned as a child to never combine water and electricity. The list of things not to do was impressive – don’t walk outside in a lightning storm, don’t plug in a hair dryer over a sink full of water. Essentially we were told some variation of "keep them far, far apart."

Well, Brooke Mayer didn’t get that message. Or if she did, she ignored it.

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