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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Glenna Holstein
Friday, 03 May 2013
If you walk into the Menomonee Valley branch on a Wednesday evening, you might think you’ve stumbled upon a party — resonant beats and fast moving lyrics emanate from the Valley Room, along with the sound of voices and moving feet. But what’s going on is more than a party: it’s a hip-hop class that teaches movement, confidence and teamwork. The class is being offered free of charge at the Center through a partnership with Above the Clouds, a non-profit, faith-based creative arts program dedicated to bringing art experiences to children in marginalized communities in Milwaukee.
Written by Matt Flower
Thursday, 02 May 2013
Pssst...parents. I have a brilliant plan! Don't tell your kids, but I'm leading a Summer Camp for Parents. Year after year, I have parents and adults telling me how lucky I am to have a job that’s so much fun. They wail and complain, "Why should my kids be the ONLY ones in the family to have all the fun?", "Why should they be the ONLY ones who get to learn, play, exercise and explore?" So this year we're gonna have some fun - just us adults!
Written by Chad Thomack
Wednesday, 01 May 2013
May day, May day… that is right, it is May 1st; the first day of canoe and kayak lending at the Urban Ecology Center. We are fully prepared at all three branches for people to borrow equipment. For those early bird paddlers, here are some recommendations of my favorite places to canoe on the Milwaukee River and beyond.
Written by Tim Vargo
Wednesday, 01 May 2013
What do the late Senator Gaylord Nelson, polar explorer Eric Larsen, South African conservationist Louis Liebenberg, poet Wendell Berry, Carl Leopold (late son of Aldo) and the Urban Ecology Center’s Beth Heller all have in common? They have all donated their time and talents as speakers at the Urban Ecology Center. However, there is another common bond, a rather tasty one, that emerges if we dig a little into the Urban Ecology Center’s past.
Written by Willie Karidis
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
This past March both our Menomonee Valley and Washington Park branches were nominated as finalists for a MANDI Award! WOW! Fantastic! Wait, what’s a MANDI?The Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) recognize efforts of those working to ensure Milwaukee’s central city is a great place to live, learn, work and grow.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 29 April 2013
When we started this project we now affectionately call the Urban Ecology Center, we had a dream, a concept for implementation and a process to get us there. Our expectations for success have been significantly exceeded – never in our wildest dreams did we expect to have three vibrant environmental community centers up and running so soon from our beginnings in a trailer parked in Riverside Park. But are we really having the impacts we set out to accomplish? Are students really learning? Are our parks, that we claim are now safe, really being used? Is providing nature in the city and exposing people to it really making a difference? And how do we actually know?
Written by Meghan Jones
Friday, 26 April 2013
I recently had the pleasure of coordinating volunteer activities for a group of University of Kansas students who chose to do volunteer work on their spring break week. Here is a story written by one of those students. Milwaukin’ on Sunshine by Steve Norris Whenever you pack yourself into a van with six other college students and get sent hundreds of miles away, you will undoubtedly have some stories to mull over on the way back. This was certainly the case on our Alternative Spring Break to the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee.
Written by Terrance Davis
Friday, 26 April 2013
The Lagoon at Washington Park is an awesome body of water. Not only is it the habitat for several thrilling creatures, the Lagoon is also a hot spot for recreation throughout the year.  The Equipment Lending Benefit at the Urban Ecology Center can help you participate in several of these activities. You can drill through the ice with an auger to go ice fishing in the winter or catch a settling breeze while canoeing from shore to shore of the Lagoon in the summertime. If you are a member, each and every piece of equipment is available to you from the Urban Ecology Center.
Written by Mike Larson
Thursday, 25 April 2013
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.
Written by Rachel Soika
Thursday, 25 April 2013
If you have visited the Washington Park Branch within the last three months, you have probably noticed the big map hanging up on the divider in the main classroom. And upon closer investigation you may have wondered what in the world our Young Scientists are doing by walking across America? Well, three months ago on Martin Luther King Day, we embarked on a grand adventure to walk across the country.

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