By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Apr 04, 2018 at 11:01 AM

It’s been 48 years since the nation rose up in a national effort to bring forth environmental awareness and change. Since that time, environmental consciousness has grown and countless efforts have been launched to take back our air, our water and our land.

In celebration of these accomplishments – and in support of those to come – Clean Wisconsin will host a very special Earth Day Birthday Eco Pop-up on Thursday, April 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Box, 311 E. Wisconsin Ave.

The pop-up style event will feature delicious food from local chefs, expertly prepared cocktails and an opportunity to mingle with other environmentally-minded professionals and influencers.

During this mix and mingle style event, attendees can enjoy dishes from four restaurant and drink stations featuring food from local chefs including Adam Siegel of Lake Park Bistro, Cole Ersel of Engine Company No. 3, Caitlin Cullen of The Tandem, and Dane Baldwin of The Diplomat. Cocktails will be provided by Twisted Path Distillery and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased online. All proceeds from the event will go to support Clean Wisconsin's environmental work. Young professional and group discounts are available. For more information, contact events@cleanwisconsin.org

Come for the food, stay for the cause

The year was 1970, and according to Earth Day's official site, "Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. ‘Environment’ was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news." 

It was a situation that prompted Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to rally the nation to rise against environmental destruction. His efforts birthed a national environmental movement. On that same day, an effort was launched to protect Wisconsin’s cherished yet vulnerable environment, and Clean Wisconsin was born.

In Milwaukee, Clean Wisconsin has been a tireless advocate not only for environmental protection, but also social justice and economic growth. 

For instance, they have been a key partner in green infrastructure installations in the 30th Street Corridor, an area where storm water management challenges have resulted in significant flooding. But, thanks to numerous efforts over the past four years, residents are poised to benefit from the triple bottom line – environmental, social, economic – benefits of green infrastructure, including increased water and air quality, community engagement, increased property values and job training opportunities.

To this end, Clean Wisconsin has worked with partners including the MMSD, the Southeastern Wisconsin Watershed Trust (Sweetwater), Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (NWSCDC), Century City Triangle, Friends of Lincoln Park, 30th Street Industrial Corridor Corp., Sherman Park Neighborhood Association, and Marek Landscaping to install rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement and other technologies that capture storm water runoff. These efforts assist in preventing basement backups, flooded streets, combined sewer overflows, and polluted drinking water sources like Lake Michigan.

Cumulatively, the installation of 361 rain barrels and 40 rain gardens installed at the homes of residents in 32 Milwaukee neighborhoods have captured nearly 25,000 gallons of water per storm and over 1.2 million gallons per year. That’s about 25,000 bathtubs full of water captured from storm events each year.

Clean Wisconsin is also a key player in the Take Back My Meds Milwaukee coalition, which works with health organizations, local law enforcement and community groups to build a network of prescription drop boxes across Milwaukee County, giving residents a safe and secure place to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals, keeping them out of both our drinking water and the hands of our children. For more information, visit cleanwisconsin.org.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.