Ash Tree Bench Project

About the Project

In 2017, Dr. Nancy Schofield, a member of the Menomonie Urban Forestry Board and UW-Stout professor, reached out to Dr. Jerome Johnson, a fellow professor a UW-Stout, to collaborate around using the wood from ash trees being removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation in the City to create something beneficial. Together, they started a program to create benches from the wood of the ash trees being cut down in the City of Menomonie. UW-Stout students designed and constructed the benches as part of their classroom curriculum. Dr. Schofield wrote an application for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry grant program to receive funding for the project. The project was funded and work began on the Menomonie Ash Tree Bench project in 2017.

In Fall 2017, work began to create benches out of 30 ash trees that were removed from City property.  Over 20 benches have been designed and constructed by UW-Stout students. These benches have been placed around the City and in UW-Stout buildings.

This projects continues Menomonie's rich history as a lumber town. The Knapp, Stout and Company located in Menomonie was the largest manufacturer of lumber in the United States by 1878. By 1870, a yearly average of 85 million board feet of lumber was shipped down the Red Cedar River to the Mississippi River and St. Louis. In 1891, James Huff Stout, heir to the company, established the Stout Manual Training School, which we know as UW-Stout today.

Bench Locations

  • Menomonie Public Library Bus Station
  • Wakanda Park (4 benches)
  • City Hall (indoors)
  • Wilson Park (5 benches)
  • Leisure Services Center (indoors)
  • Brickyard Disc Golf Course (2 benches)
  • Cedarama Park
  • Community Services Building (indoors)

Adopt a Bench Program

The City of Menomonie Urban Forestry Board is looking for individuals, families, community groups or organizations that would be willing to adopt one or more of the ash tree benches in the City. Individuals or organizations that adopt a bench will be expected to do a visual inspection of the bench annually and then perform any maintenance needs, including sanding and refinishing. A manual containing information about the bench, the type of finish used, and guidelines for maintenance will be provided to each entity adopting a bench.

If you are interested in adopting a bench, please contact Megen Hines, Environmental Program Coordinator at or 715-232-2221, extension 1005.

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