Member Profiles

Marcia Penner

Marcia Penner grew up in Milwaukee, WI in a large family with seven children. She enjoyed her family and the excitement created by having seven kids in the house. In the summer, Marcia's family moved to their summer home in Sheboygan County.

Sunset along Lake Michichan shore
Marcia spent much time on the beach, in the lake and sailing with her father. Marcia and her siblings also attended YMCA Camp Manito-wish in Boulder Junction, WI, where she first learned to camp, canoe, portage and cook meals over the fire.

After graduating from highschool, Marcia attended Northwestern University for her first year of college. Having visited Colorado to look at colleges, she transferred from NU to the University of Colorado in lovely Boulder. At first, Marcia studied anthropology but she decided that a career in that field was not for her. Marcia stopped school for a year, much to the chagrin of her parents, to try to determine what her major and her career ideas were. During the year she was out of college she became an industrial seamstress, waitress and then worked in a carnation greenhouse.

When Marcia looked back into college, the University of Colorado had created a new inter-disciplinary major in Environmental Conservation. This seemed like a perfect fit and she returned to school to finish her BA degree. While in Colorado, Marcia learned to hike, camp and cross-country ski at altitude. She visited many lovely places in Colorado when it was a bit less crowded than it is today. She volunteered for the Recycling Club and the Wilderness Society, where she assisted others in visiting and evaluating roadless areas being considered for Wilderness designation.

After graduation from Colorado, Marcia returned to Wisconsin to attend law school at the University of Wisconsin. Her father, who also attended UW Law School, encouraged this effort. Marcia also worked during law school and graduated in the top 10% of her law school class in 1979. After working as a judicial clerk for Dane County Circuit Court Judge Wm. Eich, Marcia was hired as a staff attorney at the Department of Natural Resources. For Marcia, this was her 'dream' job as she had wanted to be an environmental attorney for the government or a public interest group.

Marcia worked in many areas while at DNR. Her first assignment was to the Drinking Water program, where she worked to protect private and public drinking water supplies. This led to her later work on Wisconsin's Groundwater Protection law, which was one of the first in the country to establish groundwater quality standards for all groundwater. DNR had to revise its wastewater, solid waste and other pollution control laws so that the groundwater quality standards could be met. Marcia also helped to implement the Laboratory Certification Program and Well Compensation Program, which were part of the overall Groundwater law.

Later in her career, Marcia worked with the Air Pollution program, writing rules to conform with federal standards and assisting in granting permits to all regulated sources of air pollution in Wisconsin. She was also involved with several high-profile enforcement cases, including cases against 3M and Louisiana Pacific. During this time Marcia also worked with several outdoor recreational grant programs and provided legal advice on the Open Meetings law and the Open Records law. Marcia also assisted in rewriting rules for the Lower St. Croix Wild and Scenic Riverway and for the Shoreland Zoning program. These programs are very controversial in the state.

Marcia and her sister in Florence, Italy

Marcia retired in 2008. Since then, Marcia has had (and continues to have) a lot of work done on her 1928 house in Madison. She has also traveled to New Mexico, Pictured Rocks and the Porcupine Mountains in the UP, Sanibel Island, FL, Costa Rica, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Italy.

In Samara, Costa Rica with her wonderful driver, Sergio.

Lounging on the Italian Riveria

Marcia still enjoys gathering with her family at the summer cottage, sailing and walking the beach. She also does yoga, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, working out at the gym and loves to dance and hear live music.

Marcia at her niece's graduation from University of Iowa

While Marcia never had children of her own, she has taken great joy in being with her many nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephew. Marcia has volunteered for the Salvation Army, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and just recently started volunteering at a local Madison school. Marcia is truly enjoying her retirement and seeing all of her former co-workers at ARC luncheons and retirement parties.