Wisconsin Life #511: “Budding Talents”

December 29, 2017


Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald heads to Madison in this episode to get the dirt on the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. This botanical beauty has 16 acres of outdoor garden space to discover as well as an indoor tropical conservatory. Fitzgerald talks with the Director of Horticulture Jeff Epping to discuss the sustainable methods used to care for these spectacular garden spaces.

Fitzgerald also shares a new set of stories including a profile on Mark Shepard, a farmer in Viola ushering in a new era of restoration agriculture. Shepard is the owner of New Forest Farm and is living proof that you don’t need big tractors and chemicals to grow a hearty crop. Shepard and his wife came to Wisconsin in 1995 from Alaska.  His idea was to find and plant species that flourished in Wisconsin without help, yet still produce a profitable harvest.  As his farm grew, he saw a return of native birds, frogs and insects that provide pest control and a little beauty.

Next up we head to Milwaukee to meet Linda Wade, founder and president of Above the Clouds, an organization that helps children connect to the arts through free dance, music and creative art classes. Wade, a dancer herself, felt the need to start this organization after taking a ministry trip to a women’s prison and realizing the importance of a healthy childhood. She now teaches ballet classes and helps children blossom into confident dancers and artists.

Then we travel to Platteville to meet Marie Fritz Perry, an oil and pastel artist specializing in portraits of beloved horses and sporting dogs. Growing up on a farm, Perry formed connections early on with horses and dogs.  After artistic training at Smith College and elsewhere, she turned her passion for art and animals into an unusual portrait specialty.

Lastly, we meet a Verona teen who is anything but typical. Zaria Roller is a Verona’s High School Exploration Academy student who has found success on stage and in the classroom. All of Zaria’s hard work and talent paid off when she was asked to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech in the state capitol rotunda in Madison.


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