Milwaukee teens learn new skills while helping the environment

MILWAUKEE -- Before the start of summer, 15-year-old Nodia Thrasher didn't know the first thing about construction, that's not the case anymore.

"I'm learning about team work, sanding, using epoxy, and all sorts of things," said Thrasher.

Now she can build a boat.

"My family will be like oh my gosh Nodia did you actually do this so it's good, I have fun," said Thrasher.

Thrasher along with several other teens are getting this experience through the organization All Hands Boatworks.

"We're using boat building and other related projects as a way to build kids," said All Hands Boatworks President and Founder Bill Nimke.

The kids mission: use their own hands to transform what started out as a pile of lumber.

Once the boats are built the students hop right in them to survey the quality of the river habitat.

Improving Wisconsin waterways

The nonprofit Groundwork Milwaukee is also working with the students to monitor artificial habitats or islands they created within the city's rivers to serve as a refuge for migrating fish.

"So that they can understand what local waterways are for, the health of the waterways, and to help keep the waterways healthy," said Groundwork Milwaukee Urban Water Program Manager Tony Gibson.

Developing new skills and character, along with the environment.

If you're interested in learning more about Groundwork Milwaukee CLICK HERE.

For information on All Hands Boatworks you can e-mail Bill Nimke at or call him at 262-290-0228.