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Jamie Ferschinger

Jamie Ferschinger

With a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Communications and a Master's degree in Conservation Biology, Jamie brings a wealth of experiences and deep passion to her work at the Urban Ecology Center. As Branch Manager of the Riverside Park Branch, she helps to ensure that things are running smoothly and everybody is happy! Outside of work, Jamie enjoys running when the sun is coming up, spending time outside, cooking, listening to music and traveling to new places.

The land just west of our Riverside Park branch, between the Center and the Milwaukee River, has an interesting and varied history of land uses – industrial factory, yarn company, and salvage business, to name a few – and now we want to hear your ideas on how it will be used next!

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 16:43

Expand Your Culinary Options: Ask a Farmer

When I was a freshman in college, my Saturday running path led me right past a farmer’s market. Each week I observed patrons in the market, coffee cups in hand, canvas bags hanging on their shoulders, conversing with friends, neighbors or farmers, seemingly having a pleasant time.

This was my first impression of the connection people could have to really fresh food. At that time in my gustatory path, I ate uninspired dorm food – cereal at least two meals a day, some over-steamed vegetables and iceberg lettuce salads.

When my dorm time ended I had to make culinary choices for the first time in my life.

Thursday, 26 February 2015 00:00

Connecting Through Stories

As a child I loved visiting other people’s houses, because visiting a different house seemed like an adventure. Maybe they would have a secret passageway. Maybe they would have a tree house or maybe a fireman’s pole. Maybe they would have a pony, or maybe they had a magic key that I would find! The possibilities seemed as endless as my imagination. I could make myself into a character of a new story with each new setting.

The awareness of these memories are at the front of mind when my nieces come to visit. I have two nieces, Macy and Ella: ages five and two, respectively. I think our house still seems like uncharted territory to them, where mystery and magic can still be discovered and I am happy to play along.

Last time they visited they walked in the door, took off their coats, and Macy said, “Can we go play on your bed? We can pretend you have a magic bed!” Why, of course! As we huddled under the blankets they said, “now you tell us stories.” So, I made up a story about a magic pond with golden water and a pink frog. Admittedly it was not my best story, yet they were captivated.

Stories, what remarkable things they are; they entertain us, they transform us, they transport us and they connect us. They have been woven into the fabric of history and of our lives. Children ask for stories and seek out a good storyteller while most adults happen upon them as a pleasant interruption in their busy lives.

Regardless of age or how we hear them, experiencing a good story is like a tasty treat to enjoy and savor and get lost in for a time. We would like to fill the Center with stories from the Urban Ecology Center community, so this year we are trying something new: a storytelling event. You are our community and family who have come through our doors for ten years and through the park for many more. You are the people who have helped to create the Center’s sense of place. You are the characters of the stories that take place at the Center and in the park and you have stories to tell. We are calling teen and adult storytellers (practiced and

novice) and story listeners to come together for an evening to connect through stories.

So whether you would like to tell stories or listen to stories, please join us on March 19th. For more information about the event and how to submit a story, visit urbanecologycenter.org/storytelling.

Thursday, 26 December 2013 16:48

A Sense of Tribe

Of all of the things the Native Americans have contributed to society, I think one of the most important is the tribe. Based on kinship, orally communicated customs and rituals and commonly shared values and beliefs, people within the tribes are attuned to others in the group and often work toward shared goals (e.g. food, shelter, healthcare, raising children, etc). They are also each others’ support network. It’s a social construct that has worked for thousands of years.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00

Calling All Artists!

I truly love science; everything about it. The precision, tidiness, predictability and accuracy of science are balanced with mystery, random chance, and outliers. Science is like magic. It is consistently mindblowing and awe inspiring. It is really quite a perfect balance.

Science often appeals to the logical mind. Though it is also inspiration and fuel for the artistic, creative mind. Art that has been inspired by science is often the most interesting for me to consume as it appeals to both sides of the mind.

Thursday, 04 July 2013 08:32

Interest Groups: What is Your Crazy Idea?

What good is an idea if it resides only in the isolation of one mind? Ideas that are shared and nurtured are those ideas that grow, become contagious, and bring about change. I believe that all ideas are valuable, even the ones that seem crazy at first. Diversity is essential for healthy, thriving, natural systems. Heterogeneity, not homogeneity, of ideas breeds innovation.

The Riverside Park Center was bustling last Saturday! The 11th annual Local Farmer Open House attracted approximately 1,000 people to our Riverside Park branch to meet local farmers and learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Visitors chatted with 17 local farmers as the farmers enthusiastically shared information about their farms, their philosophies, and the food they grow. The workshops, including: Introduction to CSAs, Cooking from Your CSA Box and Multiple Biological Effects from Low Level Pesticides in Foods, were packed and people were enjoying good food and good conversations throughout the day. Thank you to the farmers, the presenters, the food trucks, and to all of you who attended. Hope to see you next year!

Take a look at these photos from the event:

Stems Cut Flowers is a sustainably managed, fresh-cut flower farm specializing in green weddings and a seasonal flower CSA. Providing members with an eco-friendly and socially responsible alternative when choosing fresh flowers.

As owner and operator Emily Watson said “I graduated from UW Madison with a degree in tree hugging (also known as Biological Aspects of Conservation)  which landed me a job with a commercial landscaping company and eventually led to a job in the floral industry. There were parts of both jobs that I absolutely loved. But I was uncomfortable with environmental practices that go on within both of these industries. I could not in good conscience continue to be part of it. So I started a business partly to protect my own well-being and partly to provide others with healthier alternatives.”

Steve Levsen, his wife Andrea and their three children are the family who founded and run Stoney Meadow Farm. Their organically-grown produce flourishes on more than 10 acres. With a combined 50+ years of farming experience, they grow a wonderful, carefully chosen variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs picked within hours of making their way into your kitchen. Some of the distinguishing features of Stoney Meadow include: 16 week peak season CSA Farm share program, extended season share option as well, accommodating members’ vacations, not using black plastic on their crops, focusing on education and nutrition, offering a weekly newsletter/blog, farm tour and picnic, and various payment options.

Like a number of farmers drawn to what is often referred to as the "local food movement," Sandy Raduenz and David Kozlowski of Pinehold Gardens were not born into farming families.  In fact, they left their full-time "office" careers in their 40's to pursue this physically demanding yet rewarding vocation.  They became owners of their farm in 2004 yet have offered a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program since 1995.  

They work to provide the freshest, highest quality fruits and vegetables, educate members and nonmembers on sustainable food and energy issues and illustrate the importance of community in our food system.  They are motivated by this commitment and the opportunity to make the world just a little better.

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