125 W Melvina St Ste 1, Milwaukee, WI 53212 | 414.272.0242

Welcome to Marek Landscaping, LLC

Marek Landscaping, LLC is a design-build company, founded in 1996, that combines the disciplines of restoration ecology and landscape architecture. Our inspiration comes from nature – the dynamic, diverse qualities of our native prairies, savannahs, forests, and wetlands in urban and rural environments.

Our projects involve native restorations, stream bank and bluff stabilizations, green infrastructure, stormwater management and erosion control best management practices, multi-use trails, parks and landscapes. Our work generally requires environmental documentation, wetland/waterway permitting, and strong stakeholder and public involvement.

Staff disciplines include land restoration ecology, soil science/hydrogeology, landscape architecture, plant ecology/botany, fisheries biology, and a number of construction crew members with backgrounds in landscaping, horticulture, carpentry, arboriculture, and farming.

We encourage our staff to continue their education and broaden their knowledge base. A sampling of continuing education includes; trail building, river and shoreline stabilization, wetland delineation, fish surveying, prescribed fire, stormwater and erosion control design, open-space development, design rendering, blacksmithing, and hazardous material management.

Staff also volunteer with groups, such as Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Milwaukee Urban Gardens, Urban Ecology Center, and community gardens to maintain a link with our neighboring communities.

Public outreach and education is an important component of our work. We enjoy engaging with a variety of groups, whether it be leading a tour of a recent project or facilitating a visit to a natural area of interest. Organizations, associations and schools have invited us to lead discussions on topics such as natural areas management and green infrastructure. We’ve gone into classrooms to teach about ecology, landscape architecture, soils, hydrology and more. We welcome opportunities such as these.

We are committed to the best design and construction practices that integrate science, ecology, and art. Our everyday experiences and inspirations are embodied in our work.


MEET OUR STAFF

Mike Marek

Jamie Van

Steven Tolle

Nicole Schneider

Danielle DeCloux

Amber Shesler

Maddy Reick

Casey Grajek

Mike Marek

President and Landscape Ecologist

In 1996, Mike founded Marek Landscaping, LLC with a commitment to provide sustainable design and installation services using low impact development techniques in Milwaukee and the surrounding area.

Writing specifications and design guidelines is where his 25 years of consulting and field work combine to add value in communication, know how, and prioritization. One of Mike’s earliest achievements in guideline and ordinance writing was way back in 1992 when he was responsible for changing the weed laws of the Village of Elm Grove where he was Forester. This new ordinance language allowed for natural landscaping and prairie plantings on public and private land. Elm Grove was one of the first in the country to adopt this ordinance language and it helped to develop a precedent and model for many to come. He has continued to be a force for positive change in how we design and manage natural areas, parks, shorelines, and green infrastructure, with a long list of innovative firsts. Mike has presented at local, regional and national conferences, including Wild Ones, State of Lake Michigan Conference, Southeastern Wisconsin Watershed Trust, Society for Ecological Restoration, and Partners for River Restoration and Science in the Upper Midwest (PRRSUM).

Outside of work, Mike enjoys freediving, surfing, paddling, skiing, hockey, hunting, fishing, inventing, tinkering, cooking, and camping. These activities are all the better with his two kids Otto and Ali.

Jamie Van

Operations Manager and Restoration Ecologist

As the Operations Manager at Marek Landscaping, Jamie assists with project management, human resources, and company operations. With three separate departments, including Design, Construction, and Stewardship, Jamie makes sure the teams are collaborating and working together, and keeps teams motived to achieve their goals while leading by example. She brings positive energy to the team and to clients. She has a wide range of experience as a project manager serving on projects that include private residential, commercial, government, and nonprofit originations.   As the Restoration Ecologist, Jamie focuses on writing management plans, grants, and reports for natural areas including prairies, coastal bluffs, and her favorite, wetlands. Jamie has a B.S. in both Biology and Natural Resources, with an emphasis on Fisheries and Wildlife Techniques which she earned from Northland College, in Ashland, Wisconsin. The small, hands-on, environmental liberal arts school had a large impact on her career. Jamie also specializes in invasive species management techniques and encourages homeowners, public, and volunteer groups to actively participate in restoration in their local communities. She enjoys presenting and coordinating volunteer efforts for topics such as invasive species control or land restoration.

Outside of work, Jamie enjoys beekeeping, fishing, and pretty much anything outdoors. Her favorite things are road trips, camping, and backpacking with her husband, kids, and dog.

Steven Tolle

Landscape Designer

Steven began working for our team three years ago when he was referred to Marek Landscaping by one his professors. He was in his third year of architecture school and he started off in the field, working on Lake Michigan bluff construction and restoration projects where he gained experience in infrastructure and common construction practices and learned how Marek’s designs and practices were specialized specifically for bluff work. Steven has since earned his BS in Architectural Studies from UW-Milwaukee and become an essential part of our design team here at Marek landscaping. Steven looks forward to working on new and unique design projects each week, presenting new complications, and requiring new procedures. He describes his coworkers, as well as the clients interested in our work, as very personable people with a passion for meaningful results. During his junior year of high school, he traveled abroad in Puntarenas, Costa Rica as an exchange student in a yearlong program with AFS. During this time, he made new family, friends, and experienced a culture apart from his own. He has since graduated with a minor in Spanish from UW-Milwaukee. Steven’s previous work has included two seasons as a climbing arborist in Kenosha, using his tree climbing abilities to their full potential, while also building a knowledge base of native tree identification.

Growing up he learned to appreciate the outdoors for all that it can offer, with parents that let him build tree houses, underground forts, skateboard ramps, hovercrafts, sail boats, and surfboards. Surfing has always been his favorite hobby while growing up on Lake Michigan. Currently, he also helps at the local surf shop, increasing his Great Lakes knowledge everyday with fellow freshwater surfers.

Nicole Schneider

Landscape Designer

Nicole joined Marek Landscaping after previously working for Engineering and Landscape Architecture firms both in the Milwaukee area as well as abroad in Australia and Canada and brings her expertise in landscape design. Her experience includes working on a wide variety of projects such as parks, streetscapes, hospitals, and green infrastructure. She is passionate about creating landscape designs that are sensitive to existing natural plant communities but also accommodate for the forces of water and wind that alter the landscape.

Nicole has a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of British Columbia as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota. After interning on an urban farm years ago, she developed an interest in urban agriculture and conservation agriculture practices that provide local food and improve the soil. She believes that the combination of good design, appropriate land management practices, and a variety of edible plants will all help to create a sustainable environment that encourages ecological diversity.

Outside of work Nicole is active in her surrounding community and contributes her time to the Waukesha County Green team as well as helping at a local flower farm. She enjoys traveling, biking Milwaukee’s city streets, hiking in many of Wisconsin’s parks, rock climbing, yoga, and meditation.

Danielle DeCloux

Land Stewardship Ecologist

Danielle began working for Marek Landscaping after deciding that the standard office job was not for her. She has earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from UW-Oshkosh. Working as an ecologist has been a great opportunity for her to broaden her knowledge and continue her education while working in the field. Danielle has a personal interest in fungi and native wildflowers, as well as, tree identification and taxonomy. She enjoys seeing the total transformation of a property from start to finish. The process of removing all invasive plants and replacing them over the course of the season is her favorite part of her job. While she works with mostly plants, she still gets excited every time she gets to ID animal tracks or see wildlife in its natural habitat. Her dream is to someday be able to teach others about taking care of natural landscapes and the environment.

In addition to work, Danielle is a project leader for her local 4H Club. She spends most of her time outside hiking and swimming with her dog Ducky. She also enjoys going on small road trips for craft fairs and concerts when she can.

Amber Shesler

Project Coordinator

Amber joined Marek Landscaping as a project coordinator after spending many years in various roles in the cycling industry. She has recently earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental management, in addition to an associate degree in business administration. She has a special interest in conservation, wildlife ecology, and forestry, and regularly seeks out additional education opportunities on these subjects. As the project coordinator, Amber enjoys supporting the variety of projects that Marek Landscaping takes on and learning as much as possible along the way.

Outside of work, she prefers to spend as much time outside as possible, and is obsessed with fishing, hiking, camping, and racing cyclocross. If she must be indoors, you’ll likely find her reading, baking, or crocheting, waiting for the sun to shine!

Maddy Reick

Field Ecologist

Maddy has joined Marek’s team and plays a key role on the Stewardship team, focusing on invasive species management and native plant community restoration. Her expertise from previous work with plant identification and invasive species control, along with her constructive attitude, has a positive impact on her peers. She has earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology from UW- Madison and brings experience in prairie and savanna restoration, conservation of natural areas, and interactions between plants and pollinators. Spending time in local natural areas, discovering new species of plants, and spotting the many wildlife species that use the areas she cares for, are just some of the things she enjoys about her work. She finds it fulfilling to observe stewardship in action, use new equipment and push her personal boundaries.

When she is not at work helping to conquer the restoration of our native ecosystems, she enjoys fishing, hiking, picnicking, and exploring new places around Milwaukee. She also loves baking, cooking, and exploring new flavors and cultures, as well as wildlife photography, mostly of frogs in her backyard.

Casey Grajek

Landscape Construction Crew Leader

Casey joined our team not only with a background in landscaping, but also as a musician and baker. His general love of the natural world translates into his many interests including music, animals, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and vegetable gardening. His favorite thing about working with Marek Landscaping is the variety of projects and opportunities to advance his knowledge of the field.