Category Archives: News

Sustainable Atwood’s new office and tool library space!

Sustainable Atwood has a new home!

2014_SustainableAtwoodNewOffice03We are very excited to announce that our office is now located at Zion Church at 2165 Linden Ave. in  Madison (mailing address: 2018 Helena St., Madison 53704).  The new office and library space is great; we couldn’t be happier with the move or the people we share the building with–especially Pastor Pat Siegler and the people of ZC, piano and yoga teachers, and artists.  Keep an eye on our Atwood Tool Libraryopening soon!

Check it out!

Home, Sweet Home. Thank you Zion Church.


ATL Makeover 7
The beautiful bones of our Atwood Tool Library.

Zion Church - Sustainable Atwood New Office
Sustainable Atwood’s new office is located at Zion Lutheran Church on Linden Ave.


Urban Forest Fest | July 26, 2014

urbanForestFestJoin Sustainable Atwood and  Wisconsin Urban Wood as we host the Urban Forest Fest! Its happening during the AtwoodFest in Madison on July 26.

Event details:

Date: July 26, 2014

Time: 10am-4pm

Location: 1904 Winnebago St, Madison WI 53704 – Trinity Lutheran Church parking lot

Questions? Email

Dead trees are wood, not waste.

The Atwood Tool Library – First meeting and workshop! April 14th and 21st

Ever had plans to do weekend home repairs but didn’t know how or have the tools you needed? Or didn’t want to pay for a tool you’d only use once? That’s just what a tool library is for.

Join us April 14th to discuss creating a Tool Library in the Atwood neighborhood! Talk to others who are interested in starting a tool library, learn how other cities have done it, help organize and find others to include in the planning.
Exploring an Atwood Tool Library

April 14th, 2014

Absolutely Art – 2322 Atwood Ave., Madison 53704
RSVP: Email  

Please note: RSVP is not required, but it will help us determine how we set up the room and run the meeting, so please let us know if you can.

*Attend the meeting on the 14th and be entered into a drawing for a free window screen repair at the Martin Glass Workshop on the 21st!*

Then … 
Join us the following week for a sample workshop demonstration!
Learn how to repair single pane windows and mend screens from our neighborhood experts at Martin Glass.
Spring Window & Screen Repair Demo
April 21st, 2014
6:00-7:15 p.m.

Martin Glass – 2323 Atwood Ave., Madison 53704
Suggested donation: $5.00 OR donation of a working tool (non-gas powered) to start our library collection. 

Hope to see you there!

– Sustainable Atwood

PS- Check out the North Portland Tool Library as a great example of our vision for the neighborhood!

News Article in Madison Commons by Sean Kirkby

Urban Wood projects showcased at Atwood Urban Forest Fest

Members of Boy Scouts Troop 34 build a bench out of urban wood that will sit outside Trinity Lutheran Church (Sean Kirkby/Madison Commons)
PHOTO: Members of Boy Scouts Troop 34 build a bench out of urban wood that will sit outside Trinity Lutheran Church (Sean Kirkby/Madison Commons)


By Sean Kirkby    |  Mon, 06/24/2013 – 1:12pm

Despite rain that canceled many of the Atwood Urban Forest Fests events, a small group of neighbors, churchgoers and environmental advocates showcased objects made from urban wood Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church on Winnebago Street.

Urban wood comes from trees that are not harvested for their timber value, such as those that are damaged or diseased, according to Twink Jan-McMahon, executive director of Sustainable Atwood, which hosted the event.

She said the Atwood neighborhood has more than 8,000 private and public trees that comprise its urban forest.

“When those trees come down, they turn to chips and firewood,” Jan-McMahon said. “We want to change that because there are many, many more things we can make out of the exact same trees.”

For instance, Jordan Henkel, a participant in a woodworking program at Madison College, used locally-donated urban wood to build a bicycle, according to Jan-McMahon.

Sean Gere, owner of Gere Tree Inc., also brought other items made from urban wood to the event, including a bat made from a black locust tree, a platter made from butternut and a bowl made of amur corktree from Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

“Im awed every single time I see the amazing things that can be done with wood,” Gere said. “You can extrapolate out to so many other things we waste that can be re-used.”

The festival also included the dedication of a Little Free Library made from urban wood and containing stained glass windows, which will be placed outside of the church. During the event, a group of Troop 34 Boy Scouts used urban wood to build a bench that will be placed next to the library.

“I am absolutely thrilled to see both the library and the beautiful bench in front of our church,” said Sheldon Elleston, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. “Its going to be a grace to our church and a beacon of joy to our members and hopefully to our whole community.”

Jan-McMahon said the missing link between urban forest resources and supporting the forest is getting the public to buy local wood or locally-produced products from urban wood.

“Its more expensive dollar-wise but not economy-wise,” Jan-McMahon said. “It really supports the local economy and local jobs.”

Jen Voichick, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County ReStore director, said the ReStore is working with The Wood Cycle of Wisconsin to sell urban wood at its West Side location. She said they are offering “Dane County Blend Flooring,” which consists of urban wood from throughout the Madison area.

Voichick said the location has only sold urban wood for the last three weeks and is planning to launch a publicity campaign to let the public know about the product.

“Its the first partnership weve ever had with a local entity outside of the ReStore, so its a nice thing to start because it has to do with re-using trees,” Voichick said.

The wood is kiln-dried, killing any potential infestations. Voichick said those interested in purchasing urban wood or in finding out more can visit

Sustainable Atwood, supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, also offers other services to the community such as “Green Tuesdays,” where the organization shows free movies that focus on sustainability efforts, Jan-McMahon said.

The organization also runs a community solar program, the first of its kind in Wisconsin, in which neighbors loan the organization money to build solar panels, according to Jan-McMahon. Sustainable Atwood pays them back at low interest rates. Urban forestry also goes hand in hand with spreading solar energy, Jan-McMahon said. Neighbors who want solar energy but have trees shadowing their roofs can partner with other neighbors who have sunny roofs to receive green energy without having to cut down trees.

The organization also focuses on other programs too, such as working with Madison Metro Transit to encourage people to ride the bus by offering Sustainable Atwood Commute Cards.

“One of our goals is to be a zero carbon community, and so were trying to get as many people on alternative forms of transportation as possible other than fuel-oriented,” Jan-McMahon said.

Sustainable Atwood plans to host the event again next year, and Jan-McMahon said they hope to make it a model for other Madison neighborhoods and other cities to follow.

Link to original article:

The Clean Bin Project

November 20, 2012

5:30 – 7:30 pm

Hawthorne Library

2707 E Washington Ave Madison, WI 53704

“The Clean Bin Project is about a regular couple and their quest to answer the question ‘Is it possible to live completely waste free?’ Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a comedic battle to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least amount of garbage in an entire year. Their light-hearted competition is set against a compelling examination of the sobering problem of waste in our ‘throw-away’ society. Featuring interviews with renowned artist and TED lecturer Chris Jordan, and marine pollution expert Captain Charles Moore, The Clean Bin Project presents the serious topic of waste reduction with optimism, humor, and inspiration for individual action.”

Summary from

Growing food in small spaces with Mary Eberle

Who needs an acre of land to grow food?

(Be a small space farmer!)

Brought to you by Sustainable Atwood and Madison Public Library.

Growing food in small spaces 
with Mary Eberle

~Dinner and conversation afterward~
Friday August 17, 2012 — 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Hawthorne Branch Library 2707 E Washington Ave. Madison, WI 53704
Metro lines: 3, 4, 10

What you’ll learn

You can grow food–even if you dont have a lot of room.  This talk will provide an overview on growing vegetables and herbs in containers and in square-foot gardens.  Growing sprouts in jars and mushrooms on coffee grounds will also be discussed.  In addition, this talk will also provide tips on vertical gardening, community gardening, and urban fruit foraging/gleaning.

Our presenter: Mary Eberle
Mary Eberle is a regular presenter of workshops at the energy fairs of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and the Illinois Renewable Energy Association. Mary recently started First Step Renew, LLC, a business providing classes on sustainability topics, such as gardening, cooking, growing gourmet mushrooms, and permaculture. She has a Bachelors degree in biology, a law degree, and a Permaculture Design Certificate.  Mary is a member of Madison Area Permaculture Guild and also studies herbalism.

Mary has volunteered with local food groups in Madison since 1994.  She contributed to the first edition of “From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.”  She also hosted a CSA drop off site for Harmony Valley Farm.

Join us for dinner and conversation afterward
Lao Laan Xang
7:30 pm
2098 Atwood Ave. Madison WI 53704 (608) 819-0140
Dinners range from $7.25-$15.99 (you buy your dinner, we’ll share conversation–and who knows? Maybe sweet sticky rice and fresh mango dessert or squash custard!)

Madison SOUP serves up another winning project

Madison SOUP’s 2nd event was a success!

SOUP’s organizer Heather Wentler reports:
There were 25 attendees and 4 pitch presentations for the evening. Which was fantastic because before the event began we had 9 people signed up to attend and no ideas being pitched! Thank you to all the participants who pitched without preparing and were very responsive towards crowd questions and comments.

The 4 projects that were pitched were:
1. Correspondence Writing-a group of people coming together to dedicate time to the lost art of handwritten letters/documents.
2. Product Sharing-an organized community of sharing unwanted supplies that is more organized and functional than Craigslist or Freecycle
3. Apollo67-A team of Sector67 members are trying to create a Hydrogen Balloon with an attached camera to take pictures from space. The project is being created at a very low cost and with everyday items to be appealing to schools, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs, or just about anybody around the world. Click the link to find out more about this project.
4. Project Sheet Cake-Transforms one of the CNC Milling Machine at Sector67 to attach a Fourth Axis on to be used as a 3D printing platform. Click the link to find out more about this project.

The winning Project was Project Sheet Cake! They won $180 towards buying the parts and setting up the CNC Mill. Congratulations to Scott Hasse for his winning project and we look forward to hearing an update at the January event as to how the project is coming.

Remember that all projects can pitch again at future events if they have not already won.

The next Madison SOUP event will be held on Sunday, January 15th from 6-8pm at Sector67-2100 Winnebago St.

I’m still trying to figure out what the best way is to get people to commit to attending the event so I know how much food to prepare-more food equals more money taken away from the winning project so I’d like to have a pretty close headcount prior to the start of events so I know how much to prepare. If you have any ideas as to this problem or any other suggestions on how to make future events better please send them my way and I will take them into consideration!

Keep checking the Website, Facebook, and Twitter handle: madisonsoup for updates on pitched projects, local events, and information about Madison SOUP and the Sunday Soup Network!

Hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe Holiday Season!

Thank you for your time,

Heather Wentler
Organizer of Madison SOUP