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Mike Larson

Mike Larson

Mike is a happily married man living with his family in Bay View. As a young child he spent days playing along the banks of the Rock River, fostering a love for nature which eventually led him to study biology and pursue a career with the Urban Ecology Center. He enjoys telling people everything he can about the Center through his role as the Visitor Services Manager. He hopes that the work he does can help make it possible for his two sons and other kids in Milwaukee to grow up with similar experiences to those he had as a child.

Monday, 25 July 2016 16:37

Then and Now: Rails to Trails

On a regular basis I get to tell people the story of the Urban Ecology Center, and I love watching the way their eyes light up as I describe the transition that Riverside Park has gone through from beauty to decadence and back again in its 120 year history. So many groups have worked hard to make this transition possible, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00

More Skis, More Options, More Fun in the Snow!

Whenever I talk about my job at the Urban Ecology Center, I always mention three things:

  1.  The amazing work we do helping kids and adults get outside to enjoy nature and learn about science in an urban environment.
  2.  The awesome community of staff members and volunteers that I'm privileged to work with.
  3.  Our equipment lending benefit.
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 00:00

Share Your Adventure!

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!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Wisconsin Winter Wonderland Week

Winter is coming…and we can’t wait! Why spend 5 months of what feels like Wisconsin’s longest season* stuck indoors? The skis have been waxed, snowshoes checked, and sleds pulled out of storage. Winter Equipment Lending at the Urban Ecology Center is here!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 11:41

The Power of the Outdoors

We believe in the power of the outdoors. We believe that all work and no play makes us all a little dull and that the antidote for the monotony of routine is to go outside. We believe that paddling, biking, fishing, camping, hiking and/or playing outside are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. We believe that nature is everywhere- even in the city- and that adventure can literally be found right in your backyard. We believe that fun doesn’t have to be expensive or accessible to only a few lucky people. We believe it so much that we can taste it as fresh as the spring air.  We can’t wait to get out of the office, home or car to stretch our legs. Are you with us? Then do we have a deal for you!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 16:56

Get Outside and Play: Winter Hike

When I ask outdoor enthusiasts what they like about the winter, they frequently list their favorite adventure sports: skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, etc. Often I’ll hear a comment along the lines of “the winter weather here is terrible - except that I get to go skiing!” Unfortunately, as the last couple of years have taught us, winter sports that require snow aren’t much fun if it doesn’t snow. What’s an outdoor enthusiast to do if it doesn’t snow significantly until January, or even at all? Or, if you’re not in to the more adventurous sports, does that mean you should stay indoors all winter? Certainly not! This year, I’ve found another way to get outdoors in the cold: take a hike!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 09:42

Go Outside and Play: Camp

When I was in college, I took a course on physical geography as part of my general education requirements. Our course textbook covered various unique and interesting natural areas in the United States ranging from the canyon lands of Utah to the limestone caves of Kentucky, and we learned about the specific geographic confluences that formed these natural wonders. One day my classmates and I were bemused to find that we were studying glacial features in the exotic locale of Southeastern Wisconsin. Having lived in the area most of my life, I never really thought of kettles, eskers, moraines, and drumlins as being anything particularly special, but apparently, these features that formed as giant sheets of ice retreated across the landscape are relatively rare in the topography of the world, and we're lucky to have them.

I started working at the Center on the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2007. There were a lot of things that impressed me during my first week, but one that sticks out in my mind were the bikes that were parked outside of the building that cold November day. Apparently, despite the below freezing temperatures and threat of snow, some of the staff had chosen to bike to work instead of driving their cars.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 12:52

Earthstravaganza!

This year the Urban Ecology Center is excited to host the 25th Anniversary Earth Poets and Musicians Earthstravaganza Event on April 26th from 7-10 PM at our Riverside Park Branch. Come spend an evening listening to eco-friendly poetry and music put on by over two dozen songwriters and poets this Arbor Day.

The following is a special sneak preview of poems and lyrics featuring the Earth Poets themselves.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:40

Summer Camps at the Urban Ecology Center

Do you love the outdoors and want to share that same passion with your children? The Urban Ecology Center’s Summer Camps may be just what you’re looking for!

Campers will enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, games and songs. In just one week they will get the chance to go hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, fishing and swimming at the beach! Older campers will also get the chance to kayak, bike and go on an overnight camping trip. Your children are bound to find something they’ll love!

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Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Early Morning Bird Walks (Washington Park)

Washington Park

Wednesday, November 22nd

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

More Details...

Riverside Park branch Holiday Hours: Open 9am-5pm

Riverside Park

Wednesday, November 22nd

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

More Details...

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