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Glenna Holstein

Glenna Holstein

Glenna grew up a mile up the river from the Riverside Park, so the Urban Ecology Center has always been important to her. Her studies and work have taken her all over the hemisphere, but her home has always been right here in Milwaukee. As Menomonee Valley Branch Manager, she is delighted to be part of the team that is working to connect a new community to the nature in their neighborhood. Her favorite things to do include hiking, exploring, cooking, singing, building forts, and trying to convince children that cockleburs are really baby porcupines!

Several times a week, I get to hear new ideas — from members, visitors or Young Scientists. Each person who participates at the Urban Ecology Center has experiences, knowledge and ideas to share, and one of my favorite parts of my job is getting the chance to hear the ideas from our community.

As you can imagine, some of my favorite events at the Center are our Community Forums—meetings that are open to the public, whose intent is to give our whole community the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas, and for our staff to have the chance to connect with community members and listen to these opinions and ideas.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 12:53

Building the World We Want

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 ills. And while these conversations are critically important, I’ve realized that we tend to spend much less time talking about what it is we are working for.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 20:04

New Growth in the Menomonee Valley

A few weeks ago, I was pulling together some attendance numbers for a report. I sent them over to Jen Hense, our Director of Development, and she sent me back an email that said, "Safe to assume all of these numbers were 'zero' four years ago, huh? :-)" She's right – 4 years ago there literally were zero kids playing in Three Bridges Park because there WAS NO Three Bridges Park!

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 16:51

¡Únese a la conversación!

Varias veces a la semana, escucho nuevas ideas de miembros del Centro, visitantes, y de jóvenes científicos. Cada persona que participa en el Urban Ecology Center tiene experiencias, conocimiento e ideas que compartir, y una de las partes favoritas de mi trabajo es tener la oportunidad de escuchar las ideas de nuestra comunidad.

Como pueden imaginarse unos de mis eventos preferidos son los Foros Comunitarios. Los cuales son reuniones que están abiertas al público, donde la intención es brindar la oportunidad a toda la comunidad de compartir sus opiniones e ideas, y para que también nuestros empleados puedan conectar más con la comunidad y conocer sus intereses.

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 13:22

Join the Conversation!

Several times a week, I get to hear new ideas — from members, visitors or Young Scientists. Each person who participates at the Urban Ecology Center has experiences, knowledge and ideas to share, and one of my favorite parts of my job is getting the chance to hear the ideas from our community.

As you can imagine, some of my favorite events at the Center are our Community Forums—meetings that are open to the public, whose intent is to give our whole community the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas, and for our staff to have the chance to connect with community members and listen to these opinions and ideas.

Thursday, 29 October 2015 00:00

You DO Live Here

This time of year always gets me thinking about gratitude (I probably say that every November). This year, I want to share a story that perfectly captured for me why I’m so grateful to be a part of this work, and why I’m grateful for the support of so many people that make this work possible.

Last spring, I had the opportunity to teach a 3rd grade Neighborhood Environmental Education Project class at our Menomonee Valley branch. It was a glorious late spring day—sunny with just that faintest taste of summer coming around the corner.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 00:00

The Importance of Paying Attention

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.

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 00:00

Why What We Do Matters

The turn of the year is always a good time for reflection-- to ask, “Why do I do what I do?”

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to answer that question. We live in a city plagued by segregation, disparity and systemic violence, within a country that often feels paralyzed by political polarization. Against this backdrop, I sometimes find myself planning a snowshoe program and wondering, “Isn’t there more I could be doing?” and “Is this work really that important?”

I think the answer to both of these questions is “yes.”

Thursday, 30 October 2014 00:00

Appreciating Wild Spaces

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.

One year ago, we were busily preparing for the grand opening of Three Bridges Park. So many people worked so hard leading up to that day: to design the park, to build it, and to create a celebration that we hoped would capture the spirit of creativity and invitation that we wanted Three Bridges Park to be for Milwaukee. As exciting as that experience was, it was also a daunting task. We had huge hopes for what Three Bridges Park would become, and though all of us working closely on the project were excited for the park’s potential, we just couldn’t know how people would respond to the park once it was actually open.

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