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Displaying items by tag: Impact
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:36

Washington Park Wins MANDI Award!

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.

Monday, 29 April 2013 09:42

Impact of Urban Nature

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?

Ok, I’ll admit it. When Pieter Godfrey discussed the idea of converting the land he wished to donate into a unique ecosystem of trees … he and I had only a vague notion of what exactly an arboretum was. My instinct in calling it an Arboretum instead of a park was less biologic and more practical - a marketing tool. The name had the panache to attract attention and hopefully the support needed for the ambitious project of tearing down an old factory and reclaiming the worn industrial land into public green space. When the marketing plan started to work, and support started to pour in, it became evident that understanding the term Arboretum was important.

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:39

Steady Change

It’s fascinating to watch the place where you work become transformed. The progress can take on many forms -- slow as molasses, steady as an Ornate Box Turtle or fast and furious. No matter at what speed you are moving, visitors inevitably come in and comment, “Wow, it looks so different!” or “You all have been doing so much work!” However, when you are caught up in the day to day, it’s sometimes hard to see the change -- “smell the roses” as it were, along your journey. It was a comment from a regular visitor that caused me to step back and really take a look at what we’ve accomplished.

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:36

This Place Is Real

I don’t remember the first time I walked into the Urban Ecology Center. This strikes me as unfortunate, because I have since witnessed many people’s first encounter with the Center, and it can be pretty incredible. I love watching people’s faces as the energy of the amazing work happening here breaks over them and they think, “This place is here? This is real?”

Imagine walking up two flights of stairs under a decommissioned, elevated freight rail surrounded by high rises, street vendors and droves of people. As you reach the platform, you emerge into the lush greenery of a vibrant park buzzing with thousands of visitors.

Monday, 03 September 2012 14:22

The Hidden Secret to Our Success

“Hello Ed, is this a good time to discuss the terms of the lease for the Arboretum project?”...“Wait, are you sure?”...“You mean you are in Hamburg, Germany and it’s midnight over there?”...“I can’t believe you took my call! Thanks for agreeing to help.”

And on another day...

“Hi Andre, we have a situation we need to address at the Center—do you mind taking a minute to discuss this with me?”....“Thanks”...are you at an airport? I just heard an announcement in the background?”...“You are in Moscow on your way to Siberia! That’s crazy! You sound like you are in the same room with me, what time is it?”...“11pm!”...“Wow, thanks for taking my call!”

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