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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Urban Ecology Center
Tuesday, 07 February 2017
Below is a short synopsis of the book. Click here if you'd like to learn the story behind it. We are excited to share that the Urban Ecology Center's new book is now available! It's called Urban Ecology: a Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities, and the World and the author is our Executive Director, Ken Leinbach.  The book shares the story of the beginning of the Urban Ecology Center and our growth into three vibrant Milwaukee branches. It includes our lessons learned along the way such as how to find abundance in our community, the power of prototypes, and how to raise money.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 30 January 2017
Winterfest was again a success! Even without snow! During this annual free family festival hosted in Washington Park, the community enjoyed arts, crafts, guided nature walks, and even sled dogs from Door County Sled Dogs. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of our sponsor, Joy Global.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 26 January 2017
The bitter cold of Milwaukee winters makes it difficult for many to stay active and have any interest in leaving the house to enjoy the outdoors. Since I joined the Outdoor Leader program at the Urban Ecology Center this summer, I've come to understand that this place can make it possible to have fun outdoors in any weather. I have never considered myself to be a 'winter person,' often opting to stay cuddled up in a blanket on the couch once the temperature drops below 20 degrees.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Thursday, 12 January 2017
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…
Written by Brandice Kirchner
Friday, 30 December 2016
I am a relatively new Community Programs Educator at Washington Park. We do much more than I ever expected! What do I do? Here are some examples. Roughly a month ago we taught the principle of cause and effect to a group of five year olds from Fernwood Montessori School in Bay View. As they came into the building for their second visit three weeks later, many of them kept saying, “I remember you! We played tug of war and you lost!”
Written by Beth Heller
Wednesday, 28 December 2016
Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be hard. Especially if one of your resolutions is to be active outdoors the middle of a season that usually keeps us indoors. I’ve learned that finding a group of people with similar interests can help get me going. So, if you’re aiming to start your year with more exercise, less stress and more meaningful time with family, we can connect you with others to help you along. Soon the resolution will become a part of your usual routine.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Monday, 05 December 2016
Few things illustrate a more beautiful image of winter in Wisconsin than a cervid in the snow. The hooved creatures conjure some type of nostalgia in our minds: a docile doe grazing for food beneath powdery snow, a statuesque bull moose wading through an icy pond, or a heavily antlered elk standing in silhouette as its warm breath escapes in wispy trails. Surely you can’t refute the holiday spirit swirling through your mind when you envision such a scene?
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 18 November 2016
When I first walked through the doors of the Urban Ecology Center as a new educator for the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP), I was struck by how much life surrounds the Center. I’m sure you’ve noticed it too. All of it; the land, the animals, the children and the community that make the Urban Ecology Center such a vibrant hub of activity, is because of you. Thank you!
Written by Ken Leinbach
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Lately I’ve been thinking about how the Urban Ecology Center is like Star Wars. Wait, I know this sounds like a stretch, but stay with me. One of the underlying themes of Star Wars is that when diverse people come together for the greater good they can create world altering change. Tapping into the diversity of natural and community life here in Milwaukee, the Urban Ecology Center is creating “world altering” change, neighborhood by neighborhood. And we get the excitement of working locally now, not “a long time ago” and “far, far away.”
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Sunday, 30 October 2016
While Else Ankel humbly underplayed her influence on the Urban Ecology Center, she is often referred to as the founder. Today we acknowledge her life with gratitude and our hearts go out to her family and friends as we mourn her passing.

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