Category Archives: Sustainability

Dead Trees | All is not lost | You can help

The emerald ash borer is certain to certain to kill ash trees in our neighborhood forest–on both public and private property. EAB is not the only threat to our trees. Many other species are taken from the urban forest for other reasons every day.

All is not lost.

Dead and dying trees are one of the neighborhood’s oldest natural resources--their wood can live on in our homes and lives if they get into the right hands at the right time.  Otherwise, they are likely to be entirely turned to chips and firewood.

You can help.
We created the “The Sustainable Atwood Neighborhood Guide to the Urban Forest” to explain what can be done to ensure timely and best uses of our dead and dying trees.
Help deliver our short guide to every home in the Atwood neighborhood so everyone will know what they can do.
  • We need 10 teams of 2-4 people. (Please create your team)
    • Saturday, April 26 (or any day convenient for your team thereafter) 
    • Team’s choice of two hour time slots between 8am-7 pm
Will you help? Reply to this message to sign up your team.
Thank you so much,
Yours for a sustainable urban forest,
~Sustainable Atwood

P.S. We are looking for a local sponsor to supply refreshments for our teams. We’d love to hear from you.

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!

SASY Neighborhood Annual Meeting

Join us this Thursday at the SASY Annual Meeting. Sustainable Atwood will be there with a table of info to share about our current projects: Urban Wood, Solar, Metro Commute Card, and a new project, the Atwood Tool Library!

SASY Annual Meeting
Thurs, April 3, 2014
Goodman Community Center

Here’s more info on SASY meeting:

SASY Streets: Public Meeting About Our Neighborhood Streets 2/20/2014

Cover Photo
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Trinity Lutheran Church, 1904 Winnebago Street in Fellowship Hall (basement). Enter through the back door on Atwood Ave. Handicap accessible entrance in front on Winnebago St.

This meeting is to identify current problems and potential solutions for improved pedestrian, bicycle, bus and car movements around our neighborhood.Driving in Madison and nationwide has been in decline for over nine years, while bicycles, pedestrians and metro use have been increasing and the bicycle path is occasionally at over-capacity. Is it time to rethink how we use our streets?

Streets and parking use half of most cities land base. How can we make the most of these shared spaces in our neighborhood? Do you have concerns about traffic speeds or children’s safety in front of your home? What do you like about traffic flow within our Schenk-Atwood neighborhood streets and what would you like to see changed?

The Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara (SASY) Neighborhood Association is holding a public meeting to collect your ideas for enhancing the public spaces comprising our neighborhood streets. We will present visual samples of innovative solutions other communities have used to solve transportation issues and collect your ideas for our neighborhood solutions.

The cover photo is a NYC street makeover using only paint and planters. Many cities around the world are employing such tactics. They are cheap, fast and effective. We will be showcasing such outside-the-box solutions other communities have utilized for brainstorming purposes — to get us opened up to be thinking a little differently and wider about what is possible and what we might want to do here. We are a neighborhood — along with Wil-Mar and other surrounding neighborhoods — with the most creatives and innovators in one place in the entire state. Let’s utilize that. We all have thoughts and ideas on how to make things better.

Please add your ideas, drawings and photos to this Facebook event page and come to the meeting to tell and show us all.

For more information, visit or contact Donna Magdalina, SASYNA Transportation Committee Chair:

Green Tuesday Film: Detropia, Sept 17 6pm at Hawthorn Library

Green Tuesdays

FREE movies on Tuesday nights at Hawthorne Library

Presented by Sustainable Atwood and The Natural Step Monona

Upcoming film:

September 17, 2013

DetropiaFilm: Detropia

Guest Speaker: Dane County TimeBank

6:00 – 8:00 pm

Join us for a brief discussion before the film at 6pm. Movie begins at 6:25pm.

Hawthorne Library

2707 E Washington Ave Madison, WI 53704

Movie Info: “Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.”  — Synopsis from

Guest speaker info: Dane County TimeBank —  We are a caring and interconnected community of people who help each other by sharing our abilities, talents, and experiences. By both giving and receiving, we learn to appreciate the value of each and every member and also come to believe in the value of our own contributions. Instead of separating our community into those who need and those who provide, we recognize that we all have needs and gifts to share. When you provide a service for another member, you earn one TimeBank Hour for each hour you spent providing the service – everyones time and talents are valued equally. You can exchange each TimeBank Hour you earn for an hour of service from someone else.



These free film screenings are part of Sustainable Atwoods Green Thursdays film series. Green Tuesdays & Thursdays are brought to you at various locations in Dane County by The Natural Step Monona, and supported by the Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, the Dane County Environmental Council, and Richard and Judy Fritz.

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: