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Displaying items by tag: Riverside Park
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.

"Uh uh. We ain’t going. We wanna go to gym!” What a way to start a class. We thought they’d be happy to see us. After all we were about to take them away from school to play and learn in the snow (and even slip in a little sledding). Who wouldn’t want to do that? This class, apparently. In fact, when we showed up at their room and asked if they were going on a field trip, they tried to convince us we were in the wrong room! Things did not start well, but we were confident that we could corral these seventh grade stallions.

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.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:21

Milwaukee River Trails Getting a Facelift

Ever since the North Avenue Dam was removed in 1996, the Milwaukee River Corridor from Estabrook to downtown has gone through a remarkable transformation. Where once only a few species of fish could live in the highly polluted waters, this stretch is now teeming with life.

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