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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Jeff Veglahn
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
In John T. Curtis' book "The Vegetation of Wisconsin," he identifies five major plant communities (southern forests, northern forests, grasslands, savanna and shrub communities, and lesser communities), each with sub-categories. We are going to look at one of the lesser communities (named this not because of lesser ecological value, but more because it occupied less of an acreage compared to forests, grasslands, and savannas) known as a sedge meadow.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Monday, 17 November 2014
Hi, it’s me, Ken! I’m thinking about what to give to the special people in my life during this giving season. Should I give them an Urban Ecology Center gift membership? A Center t-shirt? Or maybe a day outdoors in the snow? Hmm, perhaps I should ask around. "What does the fox say?"
Written by Chad Thomack
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
This story is one of gratitude, one I hope all our volunteers will have the chance to read.  I share this story with you today because I feel so thankful for all that our volunteers do for the Center.  If you are a volunteer, please feel free to share it with other volunteers!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 10 November 2014
Get notified about spontaneous winter adventures! Sign up for our “Snow and Go" group! Knowing when Wisconsin’s snow will fall is difficult to determine, but having fun in that snow is not! When snow conditions are too perfect to stay indoors, you will receive an email notifying you of a spontaneous winter recreation program — sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, making snow angels — whatever the snow calls for!
Written by Kara Baldwin
Monday, 03 November 2014
I love fall! We begin a new school year with excited students, perfect sunny days and beautiful changing leaves. Fall is also when I get to teach a class that brings kids into the water to look for macroinvertebrates. It’s one of my favorite classes to teach. The program begins with the students tucking in their shirts and climbing into waders to explore the Milwaukee River. We hand them kick nets and bins to hold the benthic invertebrates they find. As we head to the river, there is nervous excitement. It is fun to watch the first groups get their bearings in the water.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Thursday, 30 October 2014
I am writing this article on my way back to Milwaukee after an incredible trip to Alaska. Willie Karidis, with lighthearted expertise, gave the Urban Ecology Center eco-travel group a wonderful experience of wilderness. We witnessed Denali, the tallest mountain on the continent, rise out of brilliant reds and yellows of Alaska autumn. We marveled at moose and wandered among wolf tracks. We splashed through icy rivers and padded across spongy tundra. It was a trip filled with awe for vast expanses of beauty that stretched as far as we could see and amazement at remarkable minutia close enough to touch. Willie called it “Subarctic splendor.” But this article is not about the Alaskan wilderness.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom, perhaps none has inspired so much folklore and legend as the wolf. From the wolf gods of Norse mythology to the recent pairing of werewolves and vampires in popular culture, stories featuring this misunderstood mammal abound. Separate fact from fiction, however, and you’ll discover a fascinating species with an important place in the ecosystem.
Written by Beth Heller
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
It was a crisp autumn day - perfect for a bicycle commute - and I was using my lunch hour to pedal between the Center’s branches. Zipping downhill on Highland Boulevard toward MillerCoors, I hit a big bump that popped my chain out of gear, jamming it so that the pedals would no longer crank. I coasted to a stop and within a few seconds was surrounded by three Harley-Davidson-attired gentlemen. Before I could utter a greeting, one asked if they could help. I nodded yes and within 30 seconds the chain was back in place.
Written by Anne Reis
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
On July 30th, Jennifer Callaghan, the Center’s Research & Citizen Science Coordinator, returned to the office with visual evidence of an extremely rare species in Riverside Park! One of the large cottonwoods along the Milwaukee River (just north of the Riverside Park canoe launch) was clearly chewed on by an American Beaver! The images at right show the extent of chew on August 13th and then again a little over a month later on September 18th. While Castor canadensis is common in the Great Lakes basin, they are not often seen in heavily urbanized areas. After almost 8 years of wildlife camera surveys, this is the first time we’ve ever photographically documented a beaver!
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Winter is on its way, and I'm preparing by unearthing the wool socks and long johns buried in the back of my closet, and by covering my windows with plastic (one of my least favorite chores). All this preparation makes me think of my little plant friends, who are also busy preparing for winter in their own way. How can a living thing freeze solid for months, then thaw out the next spring and continue on its merry way? And how can we humans help prepare our plants for their big sleep? Read on to learn how plants get ready for winter, and how we’ve successfully overwintered plants in our nursery here at the Center for the past 8 years!
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