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Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach

Ken is a nationally recognized educator and leader in community-based environmental education. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center. With his contagious energy, Ken speaks on a number of topics including: urban education, community organizing, environmental issues, finding abundance, the power of story, sustainable design, the need for "near-by" nature, leadership, fundraising, and green living. Ken holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Antioch College in Ohio, a Masters degree in Environmental Education from Prescott College in Arizona and received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Milwaukee Instituted of Art and Design.

Sunday, 01 September 2013 13:24

MUL8ME

If I had a car this would be the personalized license plate for me. It is perfect! If more people would only emulate me, the world would be a much better place don't you think? Am I being arrogant? Sure. Pompous? You bet. Conceited? Not in the slightest. Supercilious? Maybe . . . need to look that one up. But am I right? Absolutely!

Just to be clear, in case you are taking me seriously the last thing I really want is the world to truly emulate me. I'm as messed up a the best of us — just ask my family or my therapist. It would, however, be nice if a few more people chose to compost. Because when it comes to making dirt I am definitely emulatable (take that, spell check!)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 15:06

Summer Solstice Soiree Success!

With a power outage, a computer server reboot headache, and rain threatening our 6th Annual Summer Solstice Soirée I had my doubts about the night, but WOW! What a magical night it was! Who knew that after six years this event keeps getting better and better, and the outpouring of support continues to amaze me! I'm almost at a loss for words, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. See for yourself what a great night we had and consider joining us again next year!

Thursday, 30 May 2013 08:11

Convergent Evolution!

"Who would have thought just a decade ago, when we were still in our double-wide trailer, that our "Milwaukee Idea" of solving a social problem in a park with kids' education and the magical connection to nature would have the kind of national impact we are experiencing today? I certainly never did, but I am humbled and proud to represent Milwaukee and our simple yet profound idea. And isn't it cool that this idea evolved here in a Midwest industrial town? This is not Portland, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, Boston or New York. Somehow this adds credibility to our story."

Ok, I’ll admit it. When Pieter Godfrey discussed the idea of converting the land he wished to donate into a unique ecosystem of trees … he and I had only a vague notion of what exactly an arboretum was. My instinct in calling it an Arboretum instead of a park was less biologic and more practical - a marketing tool. The name had the panache to attract attention and hopefully the support needed for the ambitious project of tearing down an old factory and reclaiming the worn industrial land into public green space. When the marketing plan started to work, and support started to pour in, it became evident that understanding the term Arboretum was important.

Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:01

Two Vignettes

Vignette # 1

“Urban Ecology Center, this is Dan” came a voice over the radio on Beth’s desk.

“Dan, this is Beth. Ken and I are meeting right now, how can I help you?"

“Sorry to bother you, but I’m in the bus awaiting the kids from Golda Meir. I’m teaching about the water cycle and I can’t remember exactly how many pennies I need for the third grade Water, Water Everywhere bus ride activity? Can you look it up for me?” 

“No worries, hold on a second.” Sitting at her computer, Beth immediately got on our server, looked in the school program folder and quickly found the activity.

Sunday, 16 December 2012 18:06

Leading for Global Abundance

In May I’ll have been on this planet for half of a century. Seems like that should be enough time to have learned a thing or two, don’t you think? While I can’t claim extraordinary brilliance or wisdom, there are a few things I have figured out and, perhaps in part because of my graying hair, people on occasion actually seem to listen to me! I don’t expect you to fall into this category, but I hope you will at least give my words some consideration. 

Monday, 03 September 2012 14:22

The Hidden Secret to Our Success

“Hello Ed, is this a good time to discuss the terms of the lease for the Arboretum project?”...“Wait, are you sure?”...“You mean you are in Hamburg, Germany and it’s midnight over there?”...“I can’t believe you took my call! Thanks for agreeing to help.”

And on another day...

“Hi Andre, we have a situation we need to address at the Center—do you mind taking a minute to discuss this with me?”....“Thanks”...are you at an airport? I just heard an announcement in the background?”...“You are in Moscow on your way to Siberia! That’s crazy! You sound like you are in the same room with me, what time is it?”...“11pm!”...“Wow, thanks for taking my call!”

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:21

Milwaukee River Trails Getting a Facelift

Ever since the North Avenue Dam was removed in 1996, the Milwaukee River Corridor from Estabrook to downtown has gone through a remarkable transformation. Where once only a few species of fish could live in the highly polluted waters, this stretch is now teeming with life.

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