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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Beth Heller
Wednesday, 30 December 2015
“I realized I truly wanted to study ecology – a seed that was planted during my time at [the Urban Ecology Center] but took a few years to sprout.” This is the opening line of an email from a former High School Outdoor Leader, Robby Friedlen, to Riverside Park Branch Manager, Jamie Ferschinger. He was eager to share the reason behind his decision to shift his research studies to “the intersection of ecology – through the lens of permaculture – and the arts.” As a High School Outdoor Leader in 2009, Robby spent a portion of his summer working with internationally known artist Roy Staab.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Saturday, 19 December 2015
Students can be scientists? It's true! In another story of "impossibles made possible" by your support of the Urban Ecology Center, we're taking at look at our Young Scientists Club and their participation in the University of Minnesota's Driven to Discover program!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 02 December 2015
Sometimes making the impossible possible just takes a little confidence and ingenuity. Just ask the class of students with visual impairments who spent time exploring Riverside Park and the lakefront with Urban Ecology Center Educators Matt Flower and Regina Miller. While learning about nature and the environment, all of the students who participate in the Urban Ecology Center's school programs are expected to participate in every way regardless of ability. It's the Center's mission to connect people to nature in part because of the fresh perspective getting outside can provide. In the case of these students, they knew deep down that "Mr. Flower and Ms. Regina" believed that they could do anything and should try everything.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Monday, 30 November 2015
When I think of the opossum, I think of a scrappy little character; tough, resilient, clever, and tenacious. In fact, one of my first memories of the opossum demonstrates its impressive adaptability. When tree hollows and brush piles provided inadequate shelter, the resourceful opossum sought shelter elsewhere - she would sneak in under our house's raised foundation and hunker down next to the hot water pipes beneath the bathrooms. There, she would build a comfortable bed of dry grass and stay till spring. And sometimes, when my family would take a shower or bath, you could even hear the scratching of little opossum paws against the water pipes, presumably acknowledging the relief provided by the warm plumbing.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Skipping school, dodging the Riverside Park branch manager and free snacks leads to a home away from home…the perfect recipe for an “Impossible made Possible” at the Urban Ecology Center! Jordan first came to the Urban Ecology Center in middle school on a Neighborhood Environmental Education Project fieldtrip. He remembers Mr. Flower coming and picking up his class in the busses and how cool it seemed to hang out in the woods. When he became a 9th grader at Riverside University High School, he realized that the Center’s Riverside Park branch was right across the field from his new school. He could come and visit afterschool!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 02 November 2015
"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra." - Jimmy Johnson I often hear how extraordinary the Urban Ecology Center is as an institution in Milwaukee. How did  we get this reputation?  Well ... I'm not 100 percent sure but I have do have a pretty good theory. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary — the secret to our success that is not shared with the world often enough — is the little extra from our volunteers!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Sunday, 01 November 2015
We’ve seen quite a bit of transition over the past couple of months and we’d like to introduce you to some of our fantastic new staff members! In no particular order, here are the staff who have been newly hired or recently promoted to a new role: Amy LaMacchia is our new Donor Relations Manager. Lianna Bishop was promoted to the new role of Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager. Brittany Peters was promoted to Membership and Development Systems Coordinator. Chris Steinkamp is our new Evaluation Coordinator but don’t worry, he will continue his half-time Volunteer Coordinator role at Menomonee Valley as he adds this new half-time role. Shameka Tyler is now the full-time Human Resources Specialist. Kirsten Maier is a…
Written by Terrance Davis
Saturday, 31 October 2015
I have seen many changes at the Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park since I started working here in March of 2012. When I began we operated out of only one-third of the building and were just dreaming of all the programs, rental space and activities we provide if we could use the whole building. Thanks to a lot of hard work and an amazing partnership with the Milwaukee County Parks Department, we now lease the entire building. That one change led to a whole series of other positive changes.
Written by Matt Flower
Friday, 30 October 2015
Despite my bias, I can honestly say that the Urban Ecology Center puts together a summer camp experience that even the most pristine and remote wilderness camp could never provide. One consistent comment parents and kids say about our summer camps is that we always do something fun and different every day in ways that showcase our great city. Milwaukee is a vibrant urban landscape with many gems waiting to be uncovered and part of our summer camp experience is to uncover those gems. We still provide a healthy dose of outdoor exploration, of course, but I think we offer aspects that might surprise you. They are an incredible mix of fun, fascination, adventure, exploration and opportunity.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Thursday, 29 October 2015
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.

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