Future Relationships: Plastic-Driven Citizen Science

Master of Landscape Architecture Program

Student Name: Kendra Klenz


Project Name: Future Relationships: Plastic-Driven Citizen Science in the Grand Trunk Wetland, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Course: Capstone


Course Instructor: Joseph Favour/Rebecca Krinke


Plastic: it is within bodies and the fossil record; it is a vector for contaminants and can alter species relationships. Uncontained, plastic often makes its way into waterways: 22 million pounds of plastic enter Lake Michigan each year. At the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River, in the most urbanized watershed in Wisconsin, lies an inlet and wetland, which have been contaminated and reshaped over time through industry and fill. Here, collaborative inquiry (citizen science) is proposed as a method to understand how plastic moves through land, water, and bodies while simultaneously building and complicating a freshwater identity that Milwaukee promotes. Rather than cleanup or mitigation, this project proposes a public approach to testing and seeing plastic as an actor within the landscape.


A rendering of people digging in the soil.
A rendering of a dock on a river.
An aerial map of the proposed project.