Celebrate Your Mother-Earth, that is
Celebrate Your Mother—Earth, that is
10 Ideas for Active and Eco-Friendly Travelers
MILWAUKEE– Apr. 20, 2010 – When it comes down to protecting the planet, Wisconsin’s got some serious lineage. The “father” of Earth Day, Wisconsin native and former U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, led the way in establishing the first Earth Day 40 years ago on April 22, 1970. Famous environmentalists John Muir and Aldo Leopold both called Wisconsin home. Even in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, active and eco-friendly travelers will find plenty of ways to travel green and celebrate Earth Day EVERY day.
1. Bottoms Up!
A celebration in Milwaukee just wouldn’t be the same without a nod to our legendary brewing heritage. Lakefront Brewery is the country’s oldest certified organic brewery. Every Friday, brewery owner Russ Klisch takes eco-conscious, beer-loving enthusiasts on a special “Environmental Tour” of this green facility. Saving the planet is easy – and tasty, when it comes by way of Organic ESB, one of the few beers in the world made from 100 percent organic hops and grains.
2. Green Acres
Where can you find 350 chickens, 50 Muskovy ducks, 20 goats, more Red Wriggler worms than we can count and Carl the Turkey? At the only farm left within the city limits of Milwaukee. Growing Power, Inc., a two-acre farm and Milwaukee-based non-profit organization, provides healthy, organic, nutrient-rich produce to inner-city markets and restaurants throughout the Midwest. Every week, Lakefront Brewery donates approximately 15,000 pounds of spent grain to make into a nutrient-rich super soil and Milwaukee-based coffee company, Alterra Coffee Roasters, donates 300 pounds of used coffee grounds for its vermicomposting (worm composting) bins. Interested in observing vermicomposting firsthand? Or want to try a tomato grown in the aquaponics system? You can do all this and more on a tour of Growing Power’s Community Food Center and Urban Farm available seven days a week.
3. Two Wheels, Good.
All the cool kids are leaving their green footprint in the city with a Brew City bike tour. Experience the city on two wheels instead of four. Brew City Bikes Tours has several themed tours, including a “Pub Spin,” with stops at several of the area microbreweries, and the “Bite ‘n Bike,” featuring samples of Milwaukee’s culinary traditions.
4. Au Natural
Take a walk on the wild side just minutes from downtown. Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (SANC) provides six miles of nature trails spread over 185 acres. Hike through a variety of indigenous habitats, stroll along a pristine beach, take in a live raptor presentation or try your hand at geocaching. A stellar, birds-eye view that reaches for miles waits from the top of the Center’s 60-foot-tall observation tower. SANC’s Welcome Center is one of the most environmentally-sensitive buildings in the nation and winner of a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award.
5. Make a Few Waves
How much of Milwaukee can you really see from inside a car? Travel through the 25-mile “liquid parkway” that runs through the urban portions of the city’s three rivers: the Milwaukee, the Menomonee and the Kinnickinnic. Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals are available from Laacke & Joys, Milwaukee’s oldest outdoors store. With ten access sites along the waterway, it’s a different and convenient way to see Milwaukee.
6. Happy Trails
Run, rollerblade or bike on the Oak Leaf Trail—a 100-mile paved bike trail that loops throughout parks and neighborhoods in Milwaukee County, and provides spectacular views of Lake Michigan. The Hank Aaron State Trail is a seven-mile bike trail that stretches along the Menomonee River through the Menomonee River Valley, historically a wild rice marsh used extensively by Native Americans for travel, fishing, hunting and agriculture. Both ends of the Hank Aaron State Trail link up with the Oak Leaf Trail to add up to 100+ miles of two-wheel fun.
7. The Wind Beneath Your Wings
Capture Milwaukee’s renewable wind energy by buying or renting a kite from Gift of Wings. The spirit of aviation and the art of kite flying are celebrated at this specialty shop with a breezy Lake Michigan location that provides the perfect conditions for year-round kite flying. Gift of Wings sponsors several large kite festivals throughout the year, including an annual family kite fest featuring an opening launch of more than 500 kites and a Fourth of July Fireworks kite festival!
8. Don’t Panic, It’s Organic
Be a socially responsible shopper at Future Green, a store offering a wide array of organic clothing, woven fabrics and organic cleaning supplies. Connected to the store is Café Tarragon where everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients. The creative chefs grow their own herbs and produce in their rooftop garden. Try the raw cheesecake, homemade chocolate pudding or build-your-own panini. Dine-in for lunch, or take your food to go—even the takeout containers, made from recycled materials or corn, are eco-friendly!
9. Great Place on a Great Lake
Did you know the Great Lakes contain 90 percent of the U.S.’s freshwater supply? Learn about the importance of water in nature with Discovery World’s “Great Lakes Future” exhibit, the world’s largest model of the Great Lakes built to scale. “The Challenge” exhibit features a life-size re-creation of the 1852 schooner built specifically for the Great Lakes. Explore the “City of Freshwater” exhibit to learn how the city’s abundance of freshwater is used to create visionary economic opportunities.
10. Park It!
Get your earth on at Milwaukee County Parks with nearly 15,000 acres of recreational enjoyment in and around the heart of the city. With five swimming beaches, 16 golf courses, two mountain bike trails, miles of running and hiking paths, a striking botanical garden and more, there is something for every active and eco-friendly traveler. In 2009, the Parks Department won the National Gold Medal for Excellence in the Park and Recreation Management Program, the most prestigious and highly esteemed award a park and recreation agency can receive.
While You’re Here:
Stay green in one of Milwaukee’s Travel Green certified hotels. Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary program that reviews, certifies and recognizes tourism businesses and organizations that have made a commitment to reducing their environmental impact. Hotel Metro, a European-style boutique hotel, The Pfister, a Victorian jewel box and Milwaukee’s most historic hotel, the chic Intercontinental Milwaukee, airport-friendly Staybridge Suites and cosmopolitan Hilton Milwaukee City Center have all earned this prestigious designation.
Get on the Bus
All Milwaukee County Transit System buses are now equipped with an easy to use bike rack, making it easy for green travelers to explore Milwaukee County Parks and bike trails. Each rack holds two bikes and use is free with bus fare!
Are you an eco-friendly eater? Besides using the best fresh ingredients, Sobelman’s Tall Grass Grill www.milwaukeeshealthiestburgers.com uses only grass-fed beef to make tasty, yet healthy burgers. Roots Restaurant and Cellar www.rootsmilwaukee.com was featured as one of America’s top 20 green restaurants in Organic Style Magazine. Using locally-grown vegetables and naturally-raised meats, delicious menu items like “Banana Dusted Mahi Mahi” and “Truffle Seared Tenderloin” are mouth-watering organic options.
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally and is dedicated to ensuring our guests are warmly welcomed and enjoy an enriching experience in this jewel of the Great Lakes. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 600 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Tourism generated $2.7 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2008 and supported about 66,000 local jobs. The City of Wauwatosa, Midwest Airlines, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, the Spirit of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Center District are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit www.visitmilwaukee.org.
# # #