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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Lesley Sheridan
Thursday, 21 May 2015
I once asked a friend of mine, if he could have anything for a birthday present, would he want? His response – a river. What an amazing answer! There is something about rivers that people are drawn to, something intrinsic. Maybe it’s the unpredictability and power of a river that commands our respect, or the mystery and intrigue of the life concealed beneath a river’s surface. Perhaps it’s the freedom and excitement we feel when we're recreating on a river. Or it could be the smell, the sound, the primal feel of the river that restores us. Maybe it’s something different for everyone…
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Many thanks to all who dug in and made our recent Earth Day of Service event such a smashing success! After celebrating for the entirety of April, we capped off Earth Month on Saturday, April 25th with a city-wide day of giving back to the planet. We are overwhelmed with gratitude at the dedication and care that hundreds of community members demonstrated on this day. Enjoy this recap of our Earth Day of Service events!
Written by Guest Blogger
Thursday, 07 May 2015
Have you ever had the experience of turning a corner in a familiar neighborhood, and suddenly becoming alert to all sorts of buildings or natural features you had never noticed before? That's sort of what becoming a bird watcher has been like for me. I've walked along creeks and in woods my whole life, but it's only been within the last few years that I've truly been aware of my winged companions out there.
Written by Michael Espinoza
Wednesday, 06 May 2015
“Do you like animals? There’s a room filled with Wisconsin Animals and a S-L-I-D-E” our Saturday morning receptionist Sybil Rockwell said smiling. “A what?!” said a visiting child. He begins to sound out the letters “S-L-I-D-E, sl-ide, slide”. “There’s a slide here!?” said the child excitedly. "Your right!" answered Sybil, “Let’s go find it!” This is just one example of the many unique interaction that our volunteer receptionists provide our visitors. The front desk receptionists are a dedicated crew of volunteers that return week after week for a 2-3 hour shift. They play an important role for our operations and work towards our mission of ecological understanding and growing community.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 04 May 2015
This year, on my 43rd birthday, my husband gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Along with a beautiful map of Milwaukee County Parks, he agreed to visit all of the parks with me before my 44th birthday. That’s 142 parks in one year! How awesome is that? The green scape of Milwaukee County is part of what I love about living here. At the point of writing this, we are only 8% into the year-long adventure. I could easily write a page about each park, the awe and magic of nature we’ve experienced, their natural attributes and the way people interact with them.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 01 May 2015
We began our hands-on, environmental education school program serving just 12 schools in a double-wide trailer in Riverside Park. Our dream was to serve all the schools in a two-mile radius and have a vibrant, environmentally-based center connecting people with the outdoors. We definitely needed more space (and indoor plumbing!). With the help of many, many friends, we opened our Riverside Park building in September 2004. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. We look forward to the next 10 years!
Written by Ken Leinbach
Thursday, 30 April 2015
“Look! Up there, high in the tree, perched on that branch,” an environmental educator directed his class of students to where a Cooper’s Hawk sat in a tree in Riverside Park. Just moments before they spotted the hawk, a chipmunk had darted across the path in front of them. Out hunting for signs of spring, the class was thrilled at the sighting because chipmunks are hibernators and only awaken from their deep slumber when the weather warms just enough – a true sign of spring!
Written by Mike Larson
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
Last summer, my eight year old son Benjamin and I borrowed a tandem kayak from the Urban Ecology Center for an overnight camping trip on the Wisconsin River. Thanks to a shuttle service through the Wisconsin Canoe Company, we were able to park our car 18 miles downstream from our starting point. Our goal was to stop at one of the many sandbar islands on the Wisconsin River to pitch our tent and finish the trip in two days. In order to pump Benjamin up for the trip, I talked about our awesome adventure for weeks in advance… little did I know just how exciting it was going to be!
Written by Glenna Holstein
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
Being an ecologist, in many ways, is about paying attention. In springtime, the Center is particularly good at this: the staff have their eyes and ears on high alert for that first jubilant trill of a Red-winged Blackbird or the first striped flash of a chipmunk that will let us know the wait for spring is over. But the everyday observations are just as important as the “firsts.” That’s how we learn to understand the natural world and notice changes or needs arising in our own ecosystem.
Written by Kirstin Anglea
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
I was asked recently, “What is your philosophy of education?” This is a question I’ve explored many times throughout my years as an educator. Depending on the crowd, my answer brought warm smiles or a furrowed brow as some consider my philosophy a bit “dreamy” in this data-driven, standards-based era of education. To me, a meaningful education is a journey of discovery, exploring the mystery and the magic of the world around us and within us. I had the joy of witnessing this outward and inward journey recently while observing two of our talented environmental educators in action.
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