Greening Milwaukee is a non-profit organization that evolved from the Mayor’s Beautification Committee. It was established in 1996 by Preston D. Cole, City Forester, to promote greening activities that would improve the urban environment, educate and train citizens, and increase community wealth.
History of the Mayor’s Beautification Committee

The Mayor’s Beautification Committee was established in 1964 to enhance the overall quality of life for Milwaukee residents. It was composed of 100 women volunteers, ages 20 to 84, whose goal was to enhance and preserve the natural beauty of Milwaukee.

The committee members completed special tasks assigned by the Mayor and Common Council members. They developed programs for neighborhoods and public green spaces throughout the city along with encouraging people to be environmentally aware.

In 1990, the committee received the Gold Leaf Award from the Wisconsin Arborists Association. Other local and national honors came from a variety of organizations such as Keep America Beautiful (link to the resources section) and the International Society of Arboriculture (link to resources) for the committee’s Arbor Day education programs.

Guided by a Chairman, Executive Committee, Sub-committee chairpersons, and general membership, the committee’s activities became a model for other cities across the country, once ranked among the ten best cities.

Projects associated with the committee were Arbor Day Celebration, Planting & Education Program, Urban Planting, Summerfest Planting, Mayor’s Landscape Awards, and People’s Holiday Trees.

Flowers were planted annually at Urban Park, City Hall, the Pabst Theater, and in several in-ground containers at Milwaukee’s convention center. In 1990, more than1200 volunteers from areas schools planted 100,000 flowers on the Summerfest Festival grounds in a single day.

Greening Milwaukee created

After long-time chair Pat Skiera (wife of Bob Skiera, a former city forester) unofficially resigned, Greening Milwaukee evolved to take its place.

Greening Milwaukee is a 501(c)3 (nonprofit tax status) organization. Its evolution was based on the results of a research study done by American Forest on the impact of Dutch Elm Disease and hazardous tree removal of the urban forest. Greening Milwaukee then absorbed programs associated with the City of Milwaukee’s Mayor’s Beautification Committee.


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