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Beth Heller

Beth Heller

Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning, Beth received her Masters in Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee in 2005, where she received the Outstanding Business Plan award for a plan to launch a branch of the Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park. She graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in 1994 with a B.A. degree in Biology and Education. Beth began working at the Urban Ecology Center in 2000 to combine her love of the city with her appreciation of nature. Beth loves to sail, bike, sing and hike.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Energy Efficient Families

With significant increases in energy costs and the depletion of non-renewable resources, families are embracing energy efficiency. Including your children in decisions and actions you take can be rewarding, educational and fun! Here are a few suggestions to begin building your energy efficient home.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 08:25

Wow! What a Year!

Autumn is when nature provides us with a reminder of change: leaves become vibrant, the sun sets early and morning frost is on windows. It is also the season when we at the Urban Ecology Center reflect on our year and the changes we made as an organization. Our fiscal year begins in September in order to include an entire school year, so fall is the time when we’re getting ready for a “new year.”

Monday, 26 August 2013 15:24

Come Celebrate!

It’s finally ready and YOU are invited to celebrate a beautiful new public gem: The Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum opens on September 28th, 2013! The journey leading up to this event has been rich with energy, dedication, challenges and vision. Glimpses of this vision began in the early 1990s when a group of neighbors imagined what it would be like to transform Riverside Park into a safer, ecologically robust outdoor classroom. They formed Friends of Riverside Park, which later evolved into the Urban Ecology Center. New park surveys and attendance records now show that within the last year there have been over 125,000 visits from students, families, adults and neighbors to the 15 acres of Riverside Park. The arboretum adds 25 acres to the existing park. Come celebrate our new 40 acre outdoor classroom!

With the addition of 25 acres of land along the Milwaukee River and Oak Leaf Trail to the existing 15 acres of restored natural lands of Riverside Park, we are gearing up for adventures and exploration of our new 40-acre Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. You are invited to join in the fun through our new volunteer docent program. This training will prepare you to lead other nature and outdoor enthusiasts in learning about the Arboretum.

Monday, 29 April 2013 09:42

Impact of Urban Nature

When we started this project we now affectionately call the Urban Ecology Center, we had a dream, a concept for implementation and a process to get us there. Our expectations for success have been significantly exceeded – never in our wildest dreams did we expect to have three vibrant environmental community centers up and running so soon from our beginnings in a trailer parked in Riverside Park. But are we really having the impacts we set out to accomplish? Are students really learning? Are our parks, that we claim are now safe, really being used? Is providing nature in the city and exposing people to it really making a difference? And how do we actually know?

Monday, 25 February 2013 15:55

Every Kid Belongs in Summer Camp

Eight year old Sammy has just found a soft-shelled turtle along the Milwaukee River. It is visible only because it was startled when the group of summer campers came just close enough to this very well-camouflaged Riverside Park resident for it to make a run for the more protective waters.

Sammy calls to his new friend, John, saying “Look at this turtle. What a weird nose!” The two excitedly watch as the turtle looks back for a moment then dives into the river. They giggle a little as the carapace disappears under the surface of the water.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 13:50

Memorable Moments

"...the crisp, prehistoric roar of thousands of cranes filled our ears and our heads so fully that we almost needed ear plugs. Their wild calls resonated in our lungs, bones and hearts."

As I’ve, ahem, matured, I’ve noticed that memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes I remember things from years ago as though they happened just moments ago. Sometimes things that happened yesterday are as foggy as if they happened years ago. Today, I’m excited to share something that happened years ago, but I can recall it as if it just happened.

Monday, 18 February 2013 17:32

Sustainable Solutions

Moments before 7am on a cold Tuesday morning, Jaimie Cloud, an education for sustainability expert from New York, and I dashed up the steps of Carmen High School. We were greeted by an enthusiastic math teacher and student and guided to the classroom. There, very professional looking students anxiously prepared to share their projects with us. These students spent the previous three weeks learning about sustainability: economic, ecological and equitable understandings of the world around them. They were charged with researching, analyzing and visualizing a project that improved the sustainability of their school.

Monday, 17 December 2012 23:57

Finding Inspiration in the Corporate World

Finding meaningful, inspiring stories of impactful corporate leadership in environmental sustainability for many may seem like a fantasy. From my experience, I know this kind of leadership is not only alive and well in our business community but also essential to our collective future. Forward thinking corporate leaders and employees use their ingenuity to think beyond the bottom line of the current quarter and plan for the future. This kind of leadership and the thinking that it is built upon is possible and it’s game changing.

Imagine walking up two flights of stairs under a decommissioned, elevated freight rail surrounded by high rises, street vendors and droves of people. As you reach the platform, you emerge into the lush greenery of a vibrant park buzzing with thousands of visitors.

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Early Morning Bird Walks (Washington Park)

Washington Park

Wednesday, December 13th

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ROOT - Washington Park - Cancelled

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