Milwaukee Water Commons on WUWM!

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By Susan Bence

Milwaukee Water Commons started up a year and a half ago. And, Melanie Ariens has played a pivotal role in the group's efforts to cultivate people’s desire to connect to and care for water.

As artist in residence, Ariens devised a way to amp up outreach. “I have the lucky job of people the creative, fun art person and I‘m also sort of a bike geek,” she explains.

Ariens set out to create a “rolling kiosk” by attaching a cart to the back of her bike. It’s big enough to hold a rain barrel – in fact it does.

“It made sense to have rain barrel on it, so MMSD donated a rain barrel,” she says.

Ariens scavenged for parts and picked up deals at resale shops. Her father helped build it.

Ariens added a curved door – another resale store find – onto the side of the barrel. That’s where she’ll store outreach supplies - brochures, survey forms, perhaps a bicycle tire repair kit.

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Milwaukee Water Commons is a cross-city network that fosters connection, collaboration and broad community leadership on behalf of our waters. We promote stewardship of, equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters.