View from the Sky!

Michael Snowden flies Reflo’s drone and photographs Milwaukee sites that could be transformed with green infrastructure.

Michael Snowden flies Reflo’s drone and photographs Milwaukee sites that could be transformed with green infrastructure.

Reflo’s Michael Snowden and Justin Hegarty took our drone to the sky over Milwaukee to survey some potentially exciting sites that could be collaboratively developed with green stormwater infrastructure as part of our Innovative Placemaking program.

First stop: 29th and Melvina to take stock of some city-owned parcels just off the 30th Street Corridor. There is an opportunity to capture stormwater from the surrounding neighborhood and integrate it into new park and play features. The area was formerly occupied by A.O. Smith.

Then we flew above Fondy Park, just northeast of Fond du Lac and North Avenue, already a sterling example of innovative placemaking. Here there is the opportunity to capture even more stormwater from another roof over the popular farmers market. With the prospect of a new hotel across the street, we are also excited about the whole area.

Running Rebels’ headquarters, just north of Fond du Lac and Walnut, is also in an interesting area from a green stormwater management perspective. Stormwater from the street drains down toward the cul-du-sac just south of Running Rebels HQ and just north of the busy intersection. It’s worth exploring how that whole area could be modified to create a space meaningful for the public and able to capture stormwater. And imagine if the rooftop deployed solar panels!

Learn more about Reflo’s Innovative Placemaking program here.

MPS press conference

The ceremonial shovel photo-op welcomed students to “dig in” alongside Longfellow Principal Rosa Cerda-Castañeda, MPS Sustainability Coordinator Angeline Koch, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Fund for Lake Michigan executive director Vicki Elkin, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith Posley, MPS Foundation executive director Wendell Willis, and other partners not pictured: City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works Stormwater Manager Nader Jaber, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District executive director Kevin Shafer, MPS Foundation Board Chair John Kersey, and Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions executive director Justin Hegarty. Photo: Michael Timm

The ceremonial shovel photo-op welcomed students to “dig in” alongside Longfellow Principal Rosa Cerda-Castañeda, MPS Sustainability Coordinator Angeline Koch, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Fund for Lake Michigan executive director Vicki Elkin, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith Posley, MPS Foundation executive director Wendell Willis, and other partners not pictured: City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works Stormwater Manager Nader Jaber, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District executive director Kevin Shafer, MPS Foundation Board Chair John Kersey, and Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions executive director Justin Hegarty. Photo: Michael Timm

Dozens gathered on the sun-drenched asphalt south of Longfellow School and Journey House in Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood on July 9, 2019 to mark the public announcement of investment in green schoolyard redevelopment projects at Milwaukee Public Schools properties.

Speaking dignitaries included Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District executive director Kevin Shafer, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith Posley, Longfellow Principal Rosa Cerda-Castañeda, and MPS Foundation Board Chair John Kersey.

Current and former students also shared their perspective in both English and Spanish.

Longfellow’s asphalt will be removed and replaced with green infrastructure along with schoolyards at three other MPS schools in this year’s cohort: Burdick, Hawley, and Starms. Fundraising is underway to support next year’s cohort of five schools: Anna Doerfler, Clement, Golda Meir, Vincent, and Westside.

Mayor Barrett framed the moment by quoting Joni Mitchell’s famous lyrics from “Big Yellow Taxi”—”They paved paradise; put up a parking lot”—and related how it is now an intergenerational undertaking to remove the asphalt because his own kids recognized the lyrics from the Counting Crows’ 2002 cover of the iconic 1970 song.

Read the MPS news summary here.

Click here to explore the schoolyard redevelopment program to learn more.

New digs

Reflo is now headquartered in the newly renovated Arts @ Large Community building at 1100 S. Fifth St. in Walker’s Point. We have an office suite on the second floor. The team is looking forward to the evolution of this space, which will feature a public cafe on the ground floor as well as flexible exhibition space.

The move comes on top of several years of collaboration with fellow nonprofit Arts @ Large, which occupies the building’s third floor.

The dust hasn’t yet settled and the paint is still wet, but Reflo is excited to finally have a place to call its own.

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Update: we’re in (like Flynn?). Here’s a sneak peek of the hectic feng shui within the second-floor space.

Conference is Aug. 1

Brown Street Academy, just south of Alice’s Garden in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood, is the site for the next Green Schools Conference.

Brown Street Academy, just south of Alice’s Garden in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood, is the site for the next Green Schools Conference.

Save the Date for the fourth annual Green Schools Conference: Thursday, Aug. 1 at Brown Street Academy, 2029 N. 20th St. in Milwaukee.

More details will be announced.

Welcome Lisa!

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Say hello to Lisa Neeb, the newest member of the Reflo team! She serves as our Green & Healthy Schools project manager and will help transform urban schoolyards into sustainable green spaces full of opportunities to discover and experience nature in our cities. A Milwaukee native and passionate science educator, Lisa will support schools as they develop conceptual plans for their new outdoor spaces, assist the fundraising efforts needed to support these projects, and develop curriculum to get the community outside to play and explore. We are excited to have Lisa join the Reflo team!

Annual Advisory Dinner

Board members Denice Niebuhr and Barbara Ricahrds hold the Reflo puzzle-piece banner after the annual advisory council dinner held at Arts @ Large on March 21. Notes and feedback from seven break-out groups was written on the back of each piece of the puzzle.

Board members Denice Niebuhr and Barbara Ricahrds hold the Reflo puzzle-piece banner after the annual advisory council dinner held at Arts @ Large on March 21. Notes and feedback from seven break-out groups was written on the back of each piece of the puzzle.

About 50 invited guests reviewed programming and activities, brainstormed opportunities, shared perspectives, and enjoyed food prepared by Vincent High School’s culinary arts students.

Hegarty recognized for leadership

photo by Sean Kiebzak

photo by Sean Kiebzak

The Greater Milwaukee Chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network awarded Reflo's executive director Justin Hegarty for its Distinguished Leader Award at its annual membership kickoff event, To the Moon and Back, on Feb. 21 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

YNPN credited Justin with "exceptional leadership qualities and contributions towards not only your organization but the community as a whole. We [were] especially impressed by the impact you have had on the growth of your organization and your ability to bring people together."

Congratulations, Justin!