October 2022 Project Spotlight | River Trails School

November 1, 2022

The Milwaukee Public Schools School District partnered with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to turn a barren parcel of land on the River Trail School’s property into a sustainable production forest.

The baren parcel formerly collected rainwater and run-off with little to no drainage causing damage the land and flooding to the adjacent streets. The River Trail School saw this as an opportunity to turn the land into an educational source and solve the flooding issue.

The forest consists of nine berms and corresponding swales, each creating a drainage subarea. Runoff from the drainage area uphill of each swale will be captured, stored, and infiltrated, providing a source of water for the trees and shrubs planted along each berm. The runoff will support more than 100 trees and shrubs including hazelnuts, Asian pears, and chestnut varieties. The forest is designed to capture more than 176,000 gallons of stormwater.

The project has many inherit benefits. It will reduce the urban heat zone and solve the flooding issue by capturing the stormwater. It not only serves as a hands-on experience for students in the agriculture program but will help inspire those students to pursue careers in agriculture and green infrastructure. The plants were also specifically chosen because of the annual production of fruits and nuts. The annual production also serves as an educational source for business and marketing.  The students will harvest, package, and market their products to prospective customers through the eventual sale of each individual product. Since the fruit and nuts grow back every year, this will be an annual source of education for the students.

Greenfire is proud to serve as the construction manager on this experiential and purposeful project for the River Trails School and Milwaukee Public Schools. We would like to thank Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Corvias, and Black & Veatch for selecting Greenfire as their trusted construction partner. The project team includes John Fleischman, Jeff Stanisch and Paul Hackbarth.

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