Love Wisconsin? You'll love Wisconsin Life.
It's your place for engaging stories of the people that make Wisconsin feel like home.

Cluck

Susan Troller Cosgrove really, really likes chickens. And she operates “Cluck”, Paoli’s one-stop-shop for anything fowl. Whether it’s organic feed or chicken knick-knacks, Susan’s got them - along with an infectious enthusiasm for how her feathered friends are raised in a sustainable way. 

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Sheboygan Surfers

Ordinarily, you’d find hardcore surfers in California or Hawaii. But Alex Marks and his friends live to catch waves – and dodge ice chunks – in Lake Michigan. Sheboygan is home to their beaches of choice, winter is their optimum time to surf, and on a good day, they only need a board and a 5mm thick rubber suit to brave the elements. Watch as these Midwestern surfers break Great Lake waves.

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Native Teacher

“It’s not for you. It’s for everybody.” That’s the lesson Menominee Nation member David Turney hopes to convey to young people about their native culture and language. Worried about students losing touch with their cultural heritage, David found that by bringing a Menominee language course into the Green Bay public schools he was able to spark an interest in traditional ways, while helping them find more academic success.

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Death of a Mailbox

Winter has not been kind, especially for mailboxes. Writer Nickolas Butler shares the death of his own mailbox.

Nickolas Butler is the author of Shotgun Lovesongs.

Photo: Caffeine Obsessed

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Paddleboard Yoga

It was a bike accident that first brought Maureen Hebl to yoga, but the peace and serenity that yoga provided was what kept her hooked. Now, she’s a busy instructor holding classes at Madison studios, community centers and giving private lessons. She adds a surprising variation to her traditional practice by doing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard while on water – connecting her and her students more closely to the nature around them. 

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Trilliums: Jewels of a Wisconsin Spring

Trilliums are the jewels of the forest floor. For Gail Folkins, spotting trilliums in Wisconsin reminded her of growing up in Washington State. The flower’s distinctive three petals made her feel right at home.

Gail Folkins is the author of Texas Dance Halls and teaches at UW-Stevens Point.

Photo: monophysite57-zzz 

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Little Shop of Chemistry Glass

When UW-Madison chemists need to outfit their latest research experiment, they don’t turn to a mail order catalog for their lab equipment. They turn to Tracy Drier, a custom chemistry glass instrument blower. Meet Tracy and discover what led him to his unusual profession

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Watch Wisconsin Life Episode 104

Meet a collection of people who share their Wisconsin lives. Stories include the Egg Lady of Egg Harbor, a Door County hockey team that plays under water, a UW-Oshkosh professor who won an international award for being the best of the worst, a youth counselor who helps teens gain confidence through nature photography – plus, the man who leads the UW Marching Band.

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The Best of the Worst

UW-Oshkosh professor Sue Fondrie spends her time in the classroom teaching future teachers to be strong writers.  So imagine her colleagues’ and students’ surprise when Prof. Fondrie was awarded top honors in an international contest that celebrates terrible writing.  As she said, “It takes effort to be bad… although actually I found it to come fairly easily.”

For more bad writing and to learn about other competition winners visit the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest website

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In a New Light

Photographer/counselor Ben Thwaits takes young people from the Northwest Passage treatment center into the wild armed with cameras, as part of a program called “In a New Light.”  Located near Spooner, Ben thought it might be therapeutic for teens to express themselves through nature photography - an idea that the National Parks Service called one of “America’s Best Ideas of 2010”.

For more information on the program and to see some of the incredible photographs produced by Ben and his students visit the Northwest Passage blog

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Director of the 5th Quarter

Many people in Wisconsin are familiar with the leader of the popular UW Marching Band, but do they really know what it takes to live a day in the life of Mike Leckrone… a day when he’s hours away from leading the energetic performance of the band?

Watch to find out, then take a closet tour where you’ll find all of Mike’s costumes - old and new. 

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What it Means to be Midwestern

The South, New York, New England – they all conjure certain images and characteristics. But what does it mean to be Midwestern? Writer John Hildebrand reflects on the values and ideas associated with the Midwest.  

John Hildebrand teaches English at the UW-Eau Claire and is the author of three books, including A Northern Front.  

Photo: Wikimedia

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See the film “Hunting Deer” from The Ways.

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A Cider Revival in Wisconsin

America’s first drink has been enjoying a renaissance in recent years. More artisans are making and more people are drinking hard apple cider. On a windy fall day, Deirdre Birmingham takes us on a walk through her cider orchard near Blanchardville.

Photo: Erika Janik

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Cider pressing at a Wisconsin cider orchard

Photos: Erika Janik

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