A Common Mission
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – On Aug. 24, representatives from UW-Stevens Point and Milwaukee Tool gathered at Schmeeckle Reserve to announce a new public-private partnership that will work toward “safer and more productive resource management.”
“Schmeeckle is just one of three UWSP field stations where our College of Natural Resources students receive hands-on learning experiences to prepare them for these professions. Our students learning experiences will be even more robust with the partnership that we are announcing today. We are excited to partner with Milwaukee Tool, a world-class leader in sustainable tool technology,” explained UWSP Chancellor Tom Gibson.
“Milwaukee Tool is providing a $1 million tool and equipment endowment to UW-Stevens Point. This will create first ever opportunities for forestry and natural resource management students.
“They will provide tools including chainsaws, pruning saws, and blowers – all that are used in the College of Natural Resources courses throughout the year.
“In addition, each CNR student will receive a personal protective equipment pack during their summer field experience, this includes a high-visibility vest, hard hat, magnetic rechargeable headlamp, safety glasses, and earplugs.”
“This will make Milwaukee tool the first and primary equipment provider of outdoor power tools and safety equipment for the College of Natural Resources,” added Brian Sloss, UWSP Dean of College of Natural Resources.
“Just as important, today represents the first step of this very valuable and growing relationship. From the first conversation for this wonderful moment, Milwaukee Tool has demonstrated a commitment to excellence, leadership, and success that aligns perfectly with our mission of educating, training, and developing the next generation conservation and natural resource professionals.
“The College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point was established in 1970 by university chancellor Lee Sherman Dreyfus. With the support of Chancellor Dreyfus, many state and federal agencies and even the father of Earth Day himself, Senator Gaylord Nelson. The college quickly gained a reputation as one of the preeminent and largest colleges of natural resources in the nation, a position we still proudly hold to this day.
“Over the years, the college has grown and adapted to ongoing challenges in our national and global environmental and conservation needs. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum, our students are educated and trained in fisheries and water resources, forestry, human dimensions of natural resources, soils and waste resources, wildlife ecology and management, and on and on.
“Our hands-on experiential approach is integrated into our four year curriculum. It shines in our summer field experience, which we host now at three different locations.
UWSP College of Natural Resources students will be some of the first to use Milwaukee Tool technology as they are released into the marketplace.
“it absolutely remarkable what returning a phone call can lead to, the simple act of returning a phone call can lead to,” reflected UWSP Director of the Wisconsin Forestry Center Les Werner.
“Last year, I received this kind of broken up, really cryptic voice message from somebody named Ryan at Milwaukee Tool who wanted to talk about something related to our forestry program.
“To make matters worse, I was only able to decipher nine of the 10 numbers of the phone message, so I spent the next hour hunting through the Milwaukee Tool website. I even went on to their Contact Us portal to see who this Ryan was and what number I can reach him at. Well, we finally did make contact and the culmination of that is where we are today.
“We’ve had numerous conversations, numerous meetings leading up to this point in time and one of the things that that came clear very quickly was that Milwaukee Tool and the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point shared a common mission – to produce the best product possible – whether that’s industry-leading professional tool technologies or creating the next generation of natural resource managers.”
Werner called the relationship a “paradigm shift in higher education.”
“A private-public partnership that affords students not only the opportunity to work with advanced technologies on a daily basis, but with the chance to be an active participant in the process of developing and refining these technologies and tools,” he stated.