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- Solar Powering the Midwest Conference
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Visit the MREA
The ReNew the Earth Institute is a 4,200-square-foot building on 20 rolling acres where people of all ages can learn about renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable living, and other environmental issues. The Institute has working renewable energy systems, hands-on educational displays, demonstration gardens, a resource library, workshop room, and a conference room. The building incorporates energy-efficient features, including passive solar design, standing-seam Galvalume roof, daylighting, energy-efficient light fixtures, solar tubes, and in-floor radiant heat. The building includes a beautiful lobby, numerous offices, a large education room, and a kitchen. One hundred percent of the electricity used at the Institute is generated from on- and off-site renewable energy systems.
A Travel Green Destination
The Institute has been certified as a green tourist destination by Travel Green Wisconsin. Travel Green Wisconsin recognizes businesses that are reducing their environmental impact through operational and facility improvements. To gain certification, businesses have to meet a wide range of goals, that include water conservation, electrical efficiency, and reduction of solid waste.
MREA was recognized for the following best practices:
- 100% of electricity consumed on site comes from renewable energy
- restoration of monoculture pine plantations
- organic and fair trade products used on site
- passive solar building design
To learn more about Travel Green Wisconsin, visit www.travelgreenwisconsin.com.
Getting to the ReNew the Earth Institute
The MREA's headquarters, The ReNew the Earth Institute, is located at 7558 Deer Road in Custer, WI. Google Maps can help you find us and get directions to the REI:
Feel free to call the office at 715-592-6595 for more detailed driving directions
Tour the MREA's ReNew the Earth Institute
Visitors to the ReNew the Earth Institute may tour the site in three ways:
- Take a self-guided tour. Brochures are available to help you understand the systems and features at the site.
- Take a guided tour. Our staff will lead you on a 45-minute tour of the site and systems tailored to your questions. Guided tours are available Monday through Friday at 11:00 a.m. Please call in advance.
- Arrange a tour for your school or group. Are you part of a group that would like to learn more about renewable energy and sustainable living? Call our office to schedule a group tour of the site. Fees for groups of 10 or more people are $3.00 per person.
Call 715-592-6595 to arrange for guided and group tours.
For details on the Portage County area and accommodations, visit the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Below you will find information on the following:
- Kennel Information
- Ground transportation, including taxi service and drive times
- Bike Transportation
- Air Transportation
- Railway Transportation
- Hotels and Motels
- Bed and Breakfasts
- Camping Information
Please note that pets are not allowed at The Energy Fair. That means no pets in parking lots, fairgrounds, or the campground. You can keep your pet safe and comfortable at one of the following kennels:
- Wag Inn Kennels, Custer (just down the road from the Energy Fair): 715-592-4972
- The Barking Lot, Stevens Point: 715-341-9322
- Camp Bandy Pet Resort, Amherst Junction: 715-824-3900
- Muckamoor Kennel, Plover: 715-344-8533
- Pawsitively Unleashed, Custer: 715-347-3294
The ReNew the Earth Institute is conveniently located just off Hwy 10, 7 miles east of Hwy 39, providing easy access to Appleton (1 1/2 hours), Chicago (4 hours), Milwaukee (3 1/2 hours), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (4 hours).
Taxi service from Central Wisconsin Airport is provided by:
- Courtesy Cab 715-342-8863
- Checker Yellow Cab 715-344-2765
- Plover Taxi 715-342-1313
Taxi service from Appleton Airport to Custer, WI:
- Fox Valley Cab Inc 920-734-4546
- Community Cab 920-788-4645
Interested in riding your bike to The Energy Fair? The Energy Fair is a comfortable ride from Stevens Point or Amherst. Download the Stevens Point bike route here. Download the Amherst bike route here.
Bike rental is available in Stevens Point through Nature Treks at 715-254-0247.
The nearest airports to the ReNew the Earth Institute in Custer, WI are:
- Central Wisconsin (CWA), Mosinee: 40 miles
- Appleton: 60 miles
- Madison: 125 miles
- Milwaukee: 150 miles
- Minneapolis: 230 miles
- Chicago: 240 miles
Amtrak Railroad comes as close as Portage, WI (about a 2-hour trip from Custer). They also provide a motorcoach from Milwaukee to Wausau, as well as Milwaukee to Stevens Point. For more information, call 800-USA-RAIL or see their website at www.amtrak.com.
Both tent and RV camping are available at our Back 40 Campground during The Energy Fair. Sites cost $20.00 per tent or RV per night and are located just 1 mile from the Front Gate. Feel free to park your car for the weekend while you walk, ride your bike, or take the free shuttle (runs every 15 minutes) to The Energy Fair. A shower trailer and porta-potties are available for your use. Download our Back 40 Camping Flyer to see rules and a map. Click here to reserve your site, or call the Custer office at 715-592-6595.
The following is a list of accommodations in the central Wisconsin area. Listing does not imply endorsement from the MREA. For more information on specific sites or availability, please contact the site directly. Additional information can also be obtained through the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.spacvb.com.
Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express offer discounts for MREA course and event participants.
MREA Course Discount
- Indicate that you're with "Midwest Renewable Energy" to receive these discounts:
King Room: $92.00 Single/double occupancy
Queen Room: $92.00 Single/double occupancy
Suites: $119.00 Single/double occupancy
Holiday Inn Express
King Room: $79.00 Single/double occupancy
Queen Room: $74.00 Single/double occupancy
Suites: $99.00 Single/double occupancy
MREA Energy Fair Discount
- To be determined.
Locations in GREEN are Travel Green certified.
|Within 9 miles of the ReNew the Earth Institute||Phone|
|EconoLodge, Stevens Point||715-341-5110|
|Fairfield Inn and Suites, Stevens Point||715-342-9300|
|Holiday Inn & Convention Center, Stevens Point||715-344-0200|
|Holiday Inn Express, Stevens Point||715-344-0000|
|LaQuinta Inn, Stevens Point||715-344-1900|
|Within 10-25 miles of the ReNew the Earth Institute||Phone|
|AmericInn Motel, Plover||800-634-3444|
|Best Western Plover Hotel & Conference Center, Plover||715-544-6200|
|Bestwestern Grand Seasons, Waupaca||877-880-1054|
|Blue Top Motel, Stevens Point||866-377-9707|
|Comfort Inn, Plover||715-342-0400|
|Comfort Suites, Stevens Point||715-341-6000|
|Country Inn and Suites, Stevens Point||715-345-7000|
|Elizabeth Inn, Plover||800-280-0778|
|Hampton Inn, Plover||715-295-9900|
|Point Motel, Stevens Point||866-344-8312|
|Stay Inn & Suites, Stevens Point||715-341-9090|
View Hotels near Custer, WI - MREA Accommodations in a larger map
Bed and Breakfasts in GREEN are Travel Green certified.
|Amherst Inn, Amherst||888-211-3555|
|Appletree Lane, Waupaca||877-277-5316|
Artha Sustainable Living Center, Amherst
Offers $5 discount for MREA course attendees
|Crystal River B&B, Waupaca||715-258-5333|
|Dreams of Yesteryear, Stevens Point||715-341-4525|
|Ferg's Bavarian Village, Manawa||920-596-2946|
|Green Fountain Inn, Waupaca||800-603-4600|
|Inn on Main Street, Stevens Point||715-343-0373|
|Iris Inn B&B, Iola||715-445-4080|
|Lindsay House B&B, Manawa||920-596-3643|
|Victorian Swan, Stevens Point||800-454-9886|
|Walker's Barn, Waupaca||800-870-0737|
The MREA is pleased to offer camping at the ReNew the Earth Institute (REI) as a low-cost alternative to course attendees. The MREA campground includes 20 rustic tent sites nestled north of the Institute in a wooded area with raspberries, elderberries, and Norway pines. Please note that during The Energy Fair this camping area is closed but The Back 40 Campground accepts Energy Fair camping reservations. Please see above for more information on The Back 40.
Camping features include:
- Woodchip path leading to indoor showers and toilets available to workshop attendees 24 hours a day, located on the north side of the North Education Building
- Access to workshop kitchen located on the north side of the Main REI Building during office hours (roughly 8-5)
- Access to permaculture courtyard
- Picnic table at each site
- Straw bale composting outhouse
|Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca||888-947-2757|
|Iola Pines Campground, Iola||715-445-3489|
|Portage County Parks (Emily, Jordan)||715-346-1433|
|Pine Ridge Campsites, Custer (Adjacent to The Energy Fair!)||715-321-1708|
|Ridgewood Campground, Plover||715-344-8750|
|Rivers Edge Campground, Stevens Point||715-344-8058|
|Rustic Woods Campgrounds, Waupaca||715-258-2442|
|Waupaca Camping Park, Waupaca||715-258-8010|
|Wild West Camp, Amherst||715-824-5112|
Campsites are first come, first served and cost $15.00/night. RV spaces are also available in the field in front of the REI for $15.00/night.
You may pay for camping by stopping at the MREA front desk upon arrival. Please visit the front desk to pick up your camping placard which indicates the nights you have paid for camping. Campfires and dogs are not allowed on site.