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Displaying items by tag: Menomonee Valley
Monday, 17 November 2014 00:00

The Greatest Gift

Hi, it’s me, Ken! I’m thinking about what to give to the special people in my life during this giving season. Should I give them an Urban Ecology Center gift membership? A Center t-shirt? Or maybe a day outdoors in the snow? Hmm, perhaps I should ask around. "What does the fox say?"

Thursday, 30 October 2014 01:00

Appreciating Wild Spaces

I am writing this article on my way back to Milwaukee after an incredible trip to Alaska. Willie Karidis, with lighthearted expertise, gave the Urban Ecology Center eco-travel group a wonderful experience of wilderness. We witnessed Denali, the tallest mountain on the continent, rise out of brilliant reds and yellows of Alaska autumn. We marveled at moose and wandered among wolf tracks. We splashed through icy rivers and padded across spongy tundra. It was a trip filled with awe for vast expanses of beauty that stretched as far as we could see and amazement at remarkable minutia close enough to touch. Willie called it “Subarctic splendor.”

But this article is not about the Alaskan wilderness.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00

Inventive EcoArtists

Summer camp at the Urban Ecology Center is awesome for me as an educator. It’s laid back and having the same campers for four days means we have the opportunity to focus on activities they are interested in and help them gain a more in-depth knowledge of the environments just outside the Center’s doors.

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 12:17

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.

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