The Wisconsin region was first explored by the French who landed in 1634. Great Britain obtained the region in settlement of the French and Indian Wars in 1763. The U.S. acquired it in 1783 after the Revolutionary War. However, Great Britain retained actual control until after the War of 1812. The region was successfully governed as part of the territories of Indiana, Illinois and Michigan between 1800 and 1836, when it became a separate territory. Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848.
Common trees of Wisconsin include red, white and black oaks, black cherry, hickory, red and white pine, yellow birch, eastern hemlock, mountain maple, moosewood, leatherwood, black spruce, black ash, balsam fir, sugar maple, basswood, white elm, ironwood, silver maple, silver birch, black willow, cottonwood, white pine and varieties of orchid fill the state’s flora.
White-tailed deer, black bear, woodchuck, snowshoe hare, chipmunk, porcupine, striped skunk, red and gray foxes, muskrat, mink, river otter and water shrew inhabit various parts of the land.
9 animal species are now listed as threatened or endangered in Wisconsin, including the bald eagle, Karner blue butterfly, Hine’s emerald dragonfly, Higgins’ eye pearlymussel, piping plover and gray wolf. The Bureau of Endangered Resources in the Department of Natural Resources develops programs designed to aid the recovery of threatened or endangered flora and fauna.
Program initiatives in green building, business environmental performance, and sustainable tourism, by the state, present forward thinking, innovative ways to create competitive market advantage and to help keep the region of Wisconsin ‘green and growing’. The state has already achieved excellent standards in protecting the air, water and land.
The Sustainability Plan offers dozens of ideas. They range from the easily-embraced clean-up plans to exploring electronically monitored toll zones with the goal of reducing traffic and emissions. But the plan goes far beyond renewable energy and efficiency. It proposes work on issues to having green facilities, supports state-wide plan to diversify neighborhoods with low-cost housing, supports storm water management, prioritizing all transportation modes, retrofitting buildings, moving to green products (those made from recycled materials, with low toxicity or that can be recycled), and using at least 20% renewable energy by 2012.
Resorts and the hotel industry continue to lead in energy conservation and reduction of carbon footprint with innovative initiatives that include: installing rooftop solar panels; having an AquaRecycle system in place for resort laundry that conserve 26 million gallons of water each year; having energy control systems in place which control energy use based on guest presence; use of low-flow showerheads in bathrooms, reducing water consumption again by 2.46 million gallons per year; having most advanced lighting control systems installed; transition to energy saving fluorescent light bulbs; motion sensor lights in public areas; low-flow dishwasher spray heads in kitchens; upgrading to digital thermostats in guest rooms; low energy consumption water pumps in parks; and installation of massive fans to lower heating costs by pushing warm air near the ceiling to floor level.
Green Built Home is another Wisconsin green building initiative that reviews and certifies new homes and remodeling projects that meet sustainable building and energy standards.