Transforming Our Landscape

Transforming Our Landscape


By: Rebecca Grazulis

Last summer (2015) MMS said good-bye to one of its beloved old playground hickory trees. With summer students and teachers looking on, professionals from Hoppe’s Tree Service cut down the venerable hickory.

Keeping in line with MMS’s sustainable and eco-friendly philosophy, the grand hickory has been repurposed and continues to play a part on the school grounds. MMS sought the help of Wisconsin Urban Wood, a company with the mission to recycle urban trees back into the social and economic lives of the community.

In fact, Wisconsin Urban Wood only uses and processes wood from local trees due to insect, disease, or circumstance. They strongly believe that the highest use for a tree is for it to grow healthy and strong. When it can no longer serve in this way, Wisconsin Urban Wood ensures that best practices are used to turn the wood into fine lumber or longterm locally produced goods, like furniture and flooring.

Professionals from Wisconsin Urban Wood milled the wood from MMS’s hickory into chips that currently fill the island in our parking lot, and soon Dan Barsch of Poetree Woodworks will design a piece of furniture for the building using the wood.

Dan Barsch even gave a presentation to Mrs. Loder’s class, speaking to them about Wisconsin Urban Wood’s motto, “100% Highest Uses for Trees 100% of the Time.” Dan also taught students about the uses, types, and characteristics of trees. Students sanded wood and worked to calculate the age of the tree. Check out the collection of photos below to see the tree coming down, the class visit, and other stages of this project.

Well over a hundred years old, it’s hard to imagine just how many children the hickory shaded with its branches. Now MMS is pleased that it will continue to be part of our present and future!



Milwaukee Montessori School

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