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Displaying items by tag: Riverside Park

Acrophobia. That’s the Latin name for a fear of heights – but forget that for a second. Instead, let me introduce you to Abstentisfelixtriumphusphobia. Admittedly a word made up without any knowledge of Latin, but if you’ll allow it: “A fear of missing out on a really fun time and/or the opportunity to feel triumphant.” Or how about Ascendopetropariesiphilia, an “irrepressible love of climbing rock walls?” Well, with the opening of the rock wall for our 2014 climbing season, we’ve got a cure for all these conditions!

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. 

Friday, 02 May 2014 10:18

Build It!

“Get out your hard hat! It’s time to put some materials to the test. Stretch’em, soak’em, crush’em – use what you learned to construct something (a bridge, a bird nest or a building) to solve a problem.”

This is the description for one of our school programs for second graders. We use the Three Little Pigs story as a reference. Students get to know about the properties of certain materials, then they are divided into groups to build up sturdy enough structures out of cups so as to withstand the wolves’ huffs and puffs.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 14:48

The Arboretum’s First Spring

Every spring, Center staff members have a friendly competition of “firsts.” As the snow melts, folks vie to be the first person to see a red-wing blackbird, chipmunk or spring flower. But the most important “first” to me is found in the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. This is the first year we’ll begin to see the results of our hard work last fall.

All of Wisconsin’s ecosystems are represented in the Arboretum, from soil make-up to wildflowers to tree species. This amazing new asset for the city was built for everyone to enjoy. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:00

Oh What Changes We Have Seen!

Once upon a time there was a ‘double wide’ parked under a tree in a corner of Riverside Park near the high school.  It was an ‘office’ and classroom meeting space.  What was it called? “Riverside Urban Ecology Center” and it housed a staff of 1 and ½, both part time.   A board made up of highly dedicated community people had been working toward the goal of establishing such a center and called on the science staff at the high school to be among the first consultants.

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:16

Toddling Into Nature

Reflecting on all my experiences, I’ve really come to appreciate the pure joy and curiosity preschool-aged children readily exhibit in response to outdoor experiences. I can always count on pockets full of leaves, rocks, sticks and other treasures that kids bring to show me with exclamations of delight! One of my favorite things to do with preschoolers is to flip over these large, black pads that we have in Riverside Park to reveal the invertebrate life hidden beneath. The kids help me point out scurrying centipedes, hustling isopods and wiggling worms.

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..

Friday, 27 December 2013 12:22

New Year, New Land

I knew the call would come eventually, I was just hoping it would take a little longer to happen. When it did come, however, I was incredibly thankful that it left an opening and was not final.

“Ken, we’ve decided that we need to sell the property and have some interested buyers who have offered some very attractive numbers to us,” she said, “however, we’d love it if there was a way for the Center to have it. We cannot give it away but we might be able to give you time. How long do you think you would need to make a run for it?”

Sunday, 27 October 2013 07:53

Annual Meeting is November 20th!

Join us on November 20, 2013 for our Volunteer Appreciation Party and Annual Meeting, an evening of food and fun as we celebrate our year, share our future plans and thank our wonderful volunteers for the tremendous work they do. Among those volunteers being recognized are members of the Urban Ecology Center Board of Directors. We thank them for the vision and leadership they provide.

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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