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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Willoway Farm consists of young couple Daniel Bertram and Jacqueline Fulcomer, who have 14 years of organic farming experience. Wisconsin raised Dan and New Jersey raised Jacqui met in Whitefish, Montana one winter. In Whitefish, Jacqui spent five growing seasons working at an organic farm called Purple Frog Gardens. They moved to Wisconsin in 2004 and both attended the Garden Student Program at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin for six months. The program covered everything from market gardening, to organic pest and disease management. Being a garden student gave them a sense of direction and provided them with many organic, permaculture and biodynamic resources.
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
One beautiful and interesting native Wisconsin tree which will, like more than 70 other native tree species, be planted as a part of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project is Carpinus caroliniana or musclewood. Musclewood is a relatively small, slow-growing, and short-lived tree which usually grows in the understory of our mixed-hardwood forests. The foliage, bark, and fruits are important food for lots of different songbirds, as well as squirrels, grouse, turkeys, foxes, cottontails, and beavers.
Written by Phenology Team
Sunday, 10 February 2013
Water. Simply put: it sustains life. Humans can live without it for only three days before perishing. Its unique properties allow an insect to walk on top of it and a pelican to dive through it. It drives weather and moderates local conditions (cooler by the lake). Because water is so integrated in earth's systems, it makes a great phenological tool, particularly in winter when it takes the form of snow and ice as you will see in this month's phenology blog entries:
Written by Kristin Nelson
Thursday, 07 February 2013
Long-time Urban Ecology Center member Andy Connors is a born storyteller. Growing up within the Anishinaabe community along the Bad River in northern Wisconsin, Andy developed a strong sense of Native American identity through his ability to engage and connect with others through storytelling. Embracing his outgoing personality and narrative skills, Andy obtained a degree in Journalism, performed Native American folk music, and shared his stories of nature and cultural identity as a teacher at the Indian Community School in Milwaukee.
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Wednesday, 06 February 2013
Farmers Kelly Kiefer and Jeff Schreiber met while working at Outpost Natural Foods in Wauwatosa. Jeff was in the city for the winter after working as manager of the CSA at Wellspring, a non-profit farm-based education organization. Kelly had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Sociology and was off to pursue a five month internship as a farm-based educator in New York State. She was delighted to learn about Wellspring – who knew there was such a place so close to where she grew up? It worked out that Kelly went to work with Jeff at Wellspring when she returned from her internship in New York. There, over the next three years, their love for…
Written by Lainet Garcia-Rivera
Friday, 01 February 2013
Did you know that we are visually documenting the changing landscape in the Menomonee Valley? Over time, we will be able to see big changes occurring in this area including the planting and growth of the new 24-acre park in the Valley. Phenology is the study of plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by changes in the environment. In our monthly Photo Phenology walks, we use photography to document those changes so that we can refer back to them and compare the changes year after year.
Written by Mike Larson
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
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!
Written by Ken Leinbach
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Vignette # 1 “Urban Ecology Center, this is Dan” came a voice over the radio on Beth’s desk. “Dan, this is Beth. Ken and I are meeting right now, how can I help you?" “Sorry to bother you, but I’m in the bus awaiting the kids from Golda Meir. I’m teaching about the water cycle and I can’t remember exactly how many pennies I need for the third grade Water, Water Everywhere bus ride activity? Can you look it up for me?”  “No worries, hold on a second.” Sitting at her computer, Beth immediately got on our server, looked in the school program folder and quickly found the activity.
Written by Joel Springsteen
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
This month's native plant is Prairie Alumroot, Heuchera richardsonii. There are about fifty species of Heuchera distributed throughout North America. Heuchera are comonly called Coral Bells or Alumroot and a wide variety of hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected with colorful or variegated leaves. Prairie alumroot is the only Heuchera native to Wisconsin. A member of the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae), some of its cousins include genera such as Ribes (gooseberry and current), Astilbe (false spirea), and Tiarella (foamflower).       
Written by Mike Larson
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
The best birthday of my life was when my parents let me host my first co-ed party in our backyard. It seemed as if everybody I knew came! My friends, who mostly lived in the city, were especially excited about the bonfire. Living in the country, my family had bonfires several times each summer, but to my city friends this was an entirely novel experience. The huge pile of brush and fallen limbs made a fire so large it hid the people sitting on the other side, adding a sense of intimacy to the conversations taking place around the perimeter. There is something about a bonfire that captures the human imagination. Gazing into the flames while sharing a conversation with…

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