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Displaying items by tag: Washington Park
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 14:59

Rivers of Fun

Spring is always a time of excitement and of release. As the snow melts and the birds return, I feel a sense of relief from the cooped-up restlessness of winter. The students I work with seem to have the same experience, though of course in a more exaggerated way. After a winter in often windowless classrooms, they are as wiggly physically as I am mentally.

The typical structure of our classes with the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project, our school program, is to do one or two short activities inside before heading out into the park.

When I was first hired as an Environmental Educator seven years ago the Washington Park branch was just getting started. I had spent the last four years teaching in a variety of environmental education centers where my outdoor classroom had been a forest.

My new outdoor classroom was not a forest but a city park that had a lagoon with a very distinct “stinky end,” some nicely spaced trees and grass. All I could see were the challenges in not having decomposing logs to roll over, undergrowth to play camouflage or a gully of rocks; in short, all the things I was used to having when teaching a class.

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.

Monday, 23 December 2013 16:08

Washington Park: Ready to Blossom!

Can you believe it’s been only seven years since we hired our first staff member to start up our Washington Park branch? The growth there has been amazing! With the start of a new year, we, like many of you, are reflecting on the past and thinking about our plans for the year ahead. These two perspectives, hindsight and anticipation, seemed like the best way to give an update on our Washington Park branch! Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It all started with...

Change, real change takes time.

Today, we are three branches, 224 acres and 3,000 plus members strong. But we didn’t start off here. It took commitment. It took community. It took resources. It took me. It took you.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013 08:21

What’s Happening at Washington Park

With the big events that have been happening in Riverside Park and in the Menomonee Valley, it’s easy to lose track of the fantastic things happening at Washington Park. To catch everyone up, I thought it best to check in with some of the folks who are helping to make it all happen.

Tim Vargo, bird magnet and Manager of Research and Community Science, had this to say about a wonderful tradition he leads every Wednesday morning:

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.

Whether they are planting trees, greeting our visitors or giving our branches a "face-lift," we are grateful for the hard-working volunteers who give their time to furthering the Urban Ecology Center's mission. Come celebrate their efforts at our Volunteer Appreciation Party on November 20th, 2013. Look below and see for yourself just some of the things volunteers have accomplished during 2012-2013!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 08:25

Wow! What a Year!

Autumn is when nature provides us with a reminder of change: leaves become vibrant, the sun sets early and morning frost is on windows. It is also the season when we at the Urban Ecology Center reflect on our year and the changes we made as an organization. Our fiscal year begins in September in order to include an entire school year, so fall is the time when we’re getting ready for a “new year.”

The High School Outdoor Leader Program is a two-year, environmental career internship for teens who have completed grades 9-10. Outdoor Leaders are trained in 8 areas including education, stewardship, research and community relations. In addition, Outdoor Leaders take two week-long research trips. This year they even organized and ran our 2013 Teen Survival Challenge!

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Upcoming Events

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Early Morning Birdwalks (Menomonee Valley)

Menomonee Valley

Tuesday, December 12th

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

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ROOT - Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Tuesday, December 12th

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

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