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Displaying items by tag: Menomonee Valley

One year ago, we were busily preparing for the grand opening of Three Bridges Park. So many people worked so hard leading up to that day: to design the park, to build it, and to create a celebration that we hoped would capture the spirit of creativity and invitation that we wanted Three Bridges Park to be for Milwaukee. As exciting as that experience was, it was also a daunting task. We had huge hopes for what Three Bridges Park would become, and though all of us working closely on the project were excited for the park’s potential, we just couldn’t know how people would respond to the park once it was actually open.

Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:00

From Visitor to Ambassador

One of the best things about being an organization focused on mentoring is that we get to experience both sides of mentoring, and we get to watch “mentees” become “mentors.” I’ve had three great experiences recently watching the transition from “visitor” to “ambassador” and I thought I’d share them:

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00

See for Yourself - Interns

The Urban Ecology Center’s Summer Internship progran is a dynamic employment opportunity for adults. It’s a win-win; The Center gains valuable help during our busiest months and Interns get a summer they’ll never forget!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 00:00

Our Stories

“Ken, in addition to our gift for your early childhood program, we are also interested in giving you a little extra to write a book. We think that the story of the Urban Ecology Center is an inspirational one that needs to be told.”

Wow! How cool is that? This remarkable, unsolicited gift came last year from a foundation that had just started their support. However, it has not been until very recently that we have actually figured out how to carve out the necessary time to put a book together. I mean, really, how do you even start?

Well, in typical Urban Ecology Center fashion we’d like to start with you!

Everyone, no matter their age, can teach, help and learn at the Urban Ecology Center! See for yourself how older adults through teens are mentoring Summer Campers and students who will in turn be the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

Research shows two things make a person environmentally aware – constant contact with nature early in life and a mentor who demonstrates positive behavior toward the environment. With this research in mind, we train interns to be mentors to high schoolers, who in turn become mentors to our Summer Campers.

Come in today to see how your whole family can learn, work and grow at our Center. 

Five years ago, the Urban Ecology Center, the Menomonee Valley Partners, and Layton Boulevard West Neighbors gathered several groups of folks who live and work near the Menomonee Valley and shared with them a crazy idea — converting an old rail yard into a park. They asked the group: “what would you like to see in this park?” They received a lot of answers, but one thing that came up again and again was a desire for space to grow food. The neighborhood just south of the Menomonee Valley is the most densely populated area in the state, which means lots of people and little space for gardening.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:17

The “Heartbeat” of a Community

It was another sunny day in the Menomonee Valley. Delma placed the stethoscope against a gnarly tree branch in Three Bridges Park. Her eyes grew wide and she shouted “I can hear it! The tree has a pulse!”

Several minutes, and several tree pulses later, Delma approached me and said, “My grandfather in Mexico used to place his ear to the ground and say he could hear the heartbeat of the earth. Is it true that the earth has a heartbeat? Now that I’ve heard the pulses of the trees I think he is right.” It was one of the most profound and beautiful statements I have ever heard, and it came from a seventh grader.

Fifteen years ago a movie cost you on average $4.50 (now $8.20), a gallon of gas cost $1.06 (now $3.75), a dozen eggs went for $1.09 (now $2.50) and an Urban Ecology Center membership cost $25 (still $25). What? The crazy thing is that while our membership rates remained the same for 15 years, our offerings increased by at least a factor of ten if not a hundred! 15 years ago we had only one center — a single, double-wide trailer in the then run-down Riverside Park. Our lending program consisted of just a few canoes and our program offerings, while always of the highest quality, represented just a fraction of the number of what we can offer now.

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.

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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