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Displaying items by tag: Nature
Friday, 17 November 2017 09:08

Mother Nature and Father Time

Mother Nature and Father Time. We’ve known they were our family for at least 3,000 years when they first entered into Ancient Greek lore. I prefer to call them our parents and leave out the gender, but let’s focus on their relationship.

It’s prudent to consider time in our daily lives – learn from the past, live in the present, prepare for the future. Nature excels at all three of these things.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 12:21

Cultivating Crucial Connections

There’s a certain allure to farming that resonates with almost everyone. It’s very hard work, but your daily connection to the land is powerful. As an environmental educator at the Urban Ecology Center I consider myself a farmer of connections.

From birth, children are developing their connection with the wider world and the many experiences in nature make up the threads that are woven throughout our entire lives.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 12:10

Giving the Gift of Experience

“See you at the top, Aunt Beth!” shouted my niece, Kate who was 12 at the time. We were at Lapham Peak facing what is affectionately called “Asthma Hill”. My niece and her friend had mastered the art of skiing uphill leaving me lagging behind, catching my breath. They paused and asked me to lead only once, at the “Roller Coaster” section of the trail: a steep, undulating, fast and slightly icy technical stretch. I must say, I was delighted to be able to give a few pointers, even if it was just once that day.

Friday, 20 October 2017 12:07

Fall Colors: Behind the Scenes

It’s officially autumn! Time for pumpkins and sweaters and soaking up every moment of sunshine before winter hits. Fall is such a wonderful time of year. The entire forest turns into a spectacle of color and light — a showy and powerful promise from Mother Nature that if we huddle through these few cold months, she’ll be back and better than ever. Walking through the woods in fall, with a crisp silent breeze and only the sound of feet through dry leaves, one might think that the forest seems to be settling down for a big nap.

From the perspective of a tree, though, fall is an incredibly busy season.

On an early morning bird walk last year, we smelled our find before we saw her. The smell of necrosis mixed with day-old vomit lingered on the light breeze. We scoured the nearby terrain trying to find the mysterious decaying matter hidden amongst the leaf litter only to remain perplexed. And then we saw her. Perched on a tree branch, just 10 feet from our heads, sat the pungent perpetrator.

I am excited to announce that print copies of our new book — Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities and the World — will be available for sale this fall at the Urban Ecology Center! Soon you will be able to get your very own signed copy to both support the Center and spread the word.

The e-book launched in April on Amazon and quickly rose to best seller status in the Children’s Study and the Urban Planning & Development categories … wild eh? But as great as that was, I have to admit that having a hard copy in hand will be very satisfying.

During hot months, prairies come alive with phenomenal displays of wildflowers and the prairie restorations of the Rotary Centennial Arboretum at Riverside Park are, right now, in full bloom. There you can find this week’s wildflower: Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus).

With flowerheads that look like small, delicate daisies, prairie fleabane is a member of Asteraceae, the asters. Asteraceae is one of the two biggest families of plants in the world along with Orchidaceae, the orchids. Which family is bigger depends on who’s counting what as a species.

Thursday, 30 June 2016 12:23

CRIKT and You

It is the season of showy butterflies, buzzing cicadas, crackling grass hopper wings and CRIKT research. Nope, that is not a typo. CRIKT stands for “Citizens Researching Invertebrate Kritters Together” and this research team at the Urban Ecology Center is leading the nation in its approach to field ecological research. “Invertebrate Kritters” refers to the vast array of animals found in the insect, spider and mite categories. Because invertebrates impact people in a variety of ways: pollinating crops, decimating crops and invoking some of our greatest fears or senses of awe, they have been studied quite a bit over the years. So what sets CRIKT apart? It is WHO is involved and WHERE they work.

Some wildflowers grow modestly, a few delicate blossoms held a few inches off the ground. Then there are bold wildflowers like the Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum).

Waterleaf can’t wait for you to see it. Growing some two-feet tall, the waterleaf puts out showy balls of flowers. If you walk through Riverside Park on the right day in late spring, the whole park will be alive with this bushy wildflower.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 13:30

Introducing a Walk of 3 Billion Years

Studying nature is a great way to feel young…comparatively speaking, that is. There are trees that are hundreds of years old as well as turtle and bird species that can easily outlive the humans who care for them. The entire human race is like a newborn when compared to billion-year-old rocks. It’s mind blowing!

Thanks to a generous gift from the Franke family, we’ve created a way to explore this concept of time through nature. We’re proud to introduce a new treasure, a 3 Billion Year Walk through the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum.

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Monday, November 20th

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