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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

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.
Written by Willie Karidis
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
In September the Urban Ecology Center will be taking our second trip to visit the greatland, Alaska.  Last year my wife Christine and I were fortunate to guide a trip, which we called The Great Alaska Adventure, with 44 Urban Ecology Center members and friends. Having lived in Alaska, on the border of Denali National Park, for 25 years, my memories run deep and my experiences were varied. After growing up in Wisconsin I feel like I was shaped into who I am today, literally in the backcountry of Denali.
Written by Mike Larson
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
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.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Thursday, 11 April 2013
The tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) is one of the first migrants to arrive to Wisconsin in the spring. It gets its name from the beautiful orangish-yellow feathers on the top of its head which resemble a crown. The male's crown is a deeper orange, while the female's is more of a bright yellow. The crowns of both species are lined in black and underlined with a white eyebrow. The head pattern and pale underparts distinguish this bird from the plain face and yellower underparts of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
This month we turn the spotlight onto a native tree that has a large and dedicated fan base, the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides).  Its fan base consists of hunters, recreationists, bunches of wildlife, and me!  The trees have smooth pale bark scarred with black. The leaves are almost circular to triangular with little teeth all the way around the edge.  They are glossy and green above, a dull whitish color on the underside, and turn a beautiful golden yellow in the fall.  The petioles or leaf stalks are flattened instead of round, which causes the leaves to flap and flutter beautifully in the wind, hence the name “quaking” aspen.

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