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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Glenna Holstein
Thursday, 12 January 2017
As we usher in 2017, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of change. It seems like it’s something all of us want, in some way or another. We may have different ideas about what kind of change, but I get the sense that most folks would agree with the statement that “The way the world is right now is not ok. We need a change.” This desire for change has created a lot of conversations about what within the status quo we need to fight against. For me, it’s a long list: climate change, injustice, disparity, oppression, just to name a few. I am exhausted by just talking about what it takes to fight all these huge societal…
Written by Brandice Kirchner
Friday, 30 December 2016
I am a relatively new Community Programs Educator at Washington Park. We do much more than I ever expected! What do I do? Here are some examples. Roughly a month ago we taught the principle of cause and effect to a group of five year olds from Fernwood Montessori School in Bay View. As they came into the building for their second visit three weeks later, many of them kept saying, “I remember you! We played tug of war and you lost!”
Written by Beth Heller
Wednesday, 28 December 2016
Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be hard. Especially if one of your resolutions is to be active outdoors the middle of a season that usually keeps us indoors. I’ve learned that finding a group of people with similar interests can help get me going. So, if you’re aiming to start your year with more exercise, less stress and more meaningful time with family, we can connect you with others to help you along. Soon the resolution will become a part of your usual routine.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Monday, 05 December 2016
Few things illustrate a more beautiful image of winter in Wisconsin than a cervid in the snow. The hooved creatures conjure some type of nostalgia in our minds: a docile doe grazing for food beneath powdery snow, a statuesque bull moose wading through an icy pond, or a heavily antlered elk standing in silhouette as its warm breath escapes in wispy trails. Surely you can’t refute the holiday spirit swirling through your mind when you envision such a scene?
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 18 November 2016
When I first walked through the doors of the Urban Ecology Center as a new educator for the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP), I was struck by how much life surrounds the Center. I’m sure you’ve noticed it too. All of it; the land, the animals, the children and the community that make the Urban Ecology Center such a vibrant hub of activity, is because of you. Thank you!
Written by Ken Leinbach
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Lately I’ve been thinking about how the Urban Ecology Center is like Star Wars. Wait, I know this sounds like a stretch, but stay with me. One of the underlying themes of Star Wars is that when diverse people come together for the greater good they can create world altering change. Tapping into the diversity of natural and community life here in Milwaukee, the Urban Ecology Center is creating “world altering” change, neighborhood by neighborhood. And we get the excitement of working locally now, not “a long time ago” and “far, far away.”
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Sunday, 30 October 2016
While Else Ankel humbly underplayed her influence on the Urban Ecology Center, she is often referred to as the founder. Today we acknowledge her life with gratitude and our hearts go out to her family and friends as we mourn her passing.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 28 October 2016
Environmental education is at the core of our mission. The main way we accomplish this during the school year is our Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP). Through NEEP our partner schools send students to our branches for hands on science and environmental lessons. We’re educating the next generation of environmental leaders. Plus, they have so much fun they don’t realize how much they’re learning!
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Many folk tales, urban legends, and myths have led people to believe just plain inaccurate things about some of our wild creatures. Dragonflies were believed to be the Devil’s helpers by sewing naughty children’s eyes shut while they slept. Bats were believed to get tangled in people’s hair in the dark because of misconceived poor eyesight. And, ravens were thought to be premonitions of death. I’ve heard countless critter myths throughout the years, but one creature in particular continues to surprise me with its maligned status: cue the American Toad.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 24 October 2016
Malachi Crenshaw, a 10th grader at Rufus King High School, finished teaching his first solo Water Safety Course when I met him at the Washington Park branch. I asked him if he had been nervous about being the only instructor and he said “I was more curious. I’m pretty comfortable with public speaking and I know the content, so I mostly was interested to see how those would come together.” This is exactly the kind of experience we hope to provide to our High School Outdoor Leaders – hands-on work. The High School Outdoor Leader program is one step in our “green career pipeline.”
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