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“Wow! Did I really just say that? ... I sure hope I didn’t offend anyone,” I thought as I stepped from the podium and returned to my seat. It is always a little dicey when I’m asked to speak extemporaneously. Even I am never quite sure what I will say. In this case, I issued a personal challenge to all in attendance at an evening business awards ceremony organized by the Shepherd Express. Upon receiving much positive feedback afterward, I thought that perhaps I should offer this to you as well!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:00

We’re in it Together

It was a crisp autumn day - perfect for a bicycle commute - and I was using my lunch hour to pedal between the Center’s branches. Zipping downhill on Highland Boulevard toward MillerCoors, I hit a big bump that popped my chain out of gear, jamming it so that the pedals would no longer crank. I coasted to a stop and within a few seconds was surrounded by three Harley-Davidson-attired gentlemen. Before I could utter a greeting, one asked if they could help. I nodded yes and within 30 seconds the chain was back in place.

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 00:00

Art at the Urban Ecology Center

To complement our mission of using urban nature to educate, inspire, and motivate people towards positive change, the Urban Ecology Center exhibits artwork in our Riverside Park and Menomonee Valley branches. All of the work displayed feature nature-related subjects, the natural sciences, natural products used as art or the relationship of the urban environment to nature in their themes. Learn more about the history behind these exhibitions in this blog post.

Check out our current and upcoming shows by clicking the buttons below, or click here to explore our exhibit archive.


Our Gallery Space

Riverside Park

Art Show Opening at Riverside Park
Artist Michael Kutzer presents his work at an opening reception in our Riverside Park space. Photo: Nancy Aten

At our Riverside Park branch the spacious Community Room serves as gallery, meeting space, and classroom, and with its plentiful wall space typically exhibits two artists concurrently.

Menomonee Valley

Menomonee Valley Gallery Space
Our first ever show at our Menomonee Valley branch featured Plein Air paintings of the area surrounding the Center by local artists. Photo: Jamie Bilgo Bruchman

Our Valley Room hosts exhibits at our Menomonee Valley branch as well as meetings and community programs. This space features plenty of natural light and typically shows one artist at a time.

Contact Info

Do you have questions about our shows? Are you interesting in purchasing any of the work displayed? Are you an artist interested in exhibiting your work at the Center? For these and other questions please contact Jamie Ferschinger, our Riverside Park branch manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Glenna Holstein, our Menomonee Valley branch manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I came to the Center two and a half years ago as a summer camp intern. As my role has changed from environmental educator to volunteer coordinator and community health evaluation coordinator, I have found myself reflecting on a question that has repeatedly come up in the various roles I’ve held: What is environmentalism?

It didn’t take long in my role as an educator to notice that how I engaged with nature wasn’t universal. Activities I loved as a child, like catching bugs or sitting quietly in the woods or playing in snow, while appreciated by some, could be terrifying, disgusting or down right boring to some of my students.

Thursday, 26 December 2013 16:48

A Sense of Tribe

Of all of the things the Native Americans have contributed to society, I think one of the most important is the tribe. Based on kinship, orally communicated customs and rituals and commonly shared values and beliefs, people within the tribes are attuned to others in the group and often work toward shared goals (e.g. food, shelter, healthcare, raising children, etc). They are also each others’ support network. It’s a social construct that has worked for thousands of years.

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Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Volunteer Papermaking

Riverside Park

Monday, December 11th

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

More Details...

Nature Rangers: Monday Series

Riverside Park

Monday, December 11th

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

More Details...

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