UW-Stevens Point: Environmental Station at UWSP taking the lead on sustainability initiatives

The Central Wisconsin Environmental Station (CWES) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) is setting the bar high for the rest of the university by creating a more sustainable business model.

According to CWES Director Scott Johnson, over the past few years he and his staff have made a concerted effort to keep CWES and its operations green from top to bottom.

“As a proud alumnus and a CNR graduate, helping to make CWES a more sustainable operation is putting into practice many of the lessons I learned as a forestry/natural resource student at Point,” said Johnson. “We’ve made great progress on many sustainability initiatives with more in the works.”

Johnson said there has been an ongoing concerted sustainability effort since 2007 when CWES began using only shade-grown organic coffee from Café Bean, an organic coffee supplier based in Costa Rica. In 2008 CWES contracted for local beef through Pine Grove Meats in Scandinavia, and this year CWES began purchasing soda in returnable bottles from Twig Beverage of Shawano and buying recycled plastic garbage bags manufactured by Wisconsin Film and Bag in Shawano. Johnson is looking into lighting upgrades to help reduce electricity usage throughout CWES.

Earlier this year, two composting initiatives were launched through a UW System solid waste student research grant. A dual, rotating composter was purchased for $500 for vermicomposting and the health lodge was retrofitted with a composting toilet.

CWES staff surveyed visiting school children about their interest in composting based on different levels of composting education given before or during their visit to the station. During this past summer, CNR graduate student Elena Krieger surveyed summer campers and their parents on their level of interest in sustainability at home.

Approximately 8,300 people visited CWES this past year. The environmental station is open year-round and located 19 miles east of Stevens Point on Sunset Lake. To learn more about CWES and its many programs, visit http://www.uwsp.edu/cwes.