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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 08:53

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!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 13:20

Darwin, Franklin and You

What do Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin and our summer interns have in common? They are CommunityScientists! A Community Scientist is someone who engages in the research process in a non-academic setting. People are often surprised to learn that anyone can participate in our research projects, regardless of their age, background or previous experience. All you need is a passion for the natural environment. Community Science volunteers at the Center work with bats, birds, bugs, frogs and toads, small mammals, snakes, turtles, insects, plants and more!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:25

Why are You Here?

I have been working here at Washington Park for three years now and I must say that they have been three of the most memorable years of my life! I've had the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people — our staff, volunteers and community members — as we continue to grow the Washington Park branch into a wonderful destination for all of Milwaukee. Each day we learn a little bit more about the park and the community. And each day we are connecting kids and families to nature. I never think of our work as a job. It is a way of life with priceless benefits measured in kindness, awareness and "aha" moments.

Thursday, 04 July 2013 08:32

Interest Groups: What is Your Crazy Idea?

What good is an idea if it resides only in the isolation of one mind? Ideas that are shared and nurtured are those ideas that grow, become contagious, and bring about change. I believe that all ideas are valuable, even the ones that seem crazy at first. Diversity is essential for healthy, thriving, natural systems. Heterogeneity, not homogeneity, of ideas breeds innovation.

It has been a huge year for the Young Scientists Club at Washington Park. Reflecting on it all, I can't even believe we've accomplished so much in such a short period of time! Longtime member Donald Harris did his best attempt to summarize exactly what we do in our club in a quote found later in this post. As I try to summarize it myself, I'm not even sure where to begin. What began as a way to engage drop-in kids at Washington Park has evolved into a dynamic, multi-faceted educational and recreational program that I'm proud to be a part of. I'll summarize for you a few of its many highlights over the past 12 months.

This past summer, we began a research partnership with the University of Minnesota's Driven to Discover program. The kids — with guidance from the staff — developed their own original bird research study and created a professional-quality research poster and paper. We then traveled to the University of Minnesota's insect fair, where we presented our research and won an Outstanding Project Award. Since then, our group of budding young scientists has also presented their work at our annual Community Science Research Summit, at the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative annual conference, and to a group of partnering teachers at our schools. As I write this, Donald is again presenting our work for the Hi-Mount Elementary science fair!

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Private Cross-Country Ski Lessons for Beginners

Riverside Park

Sunday, February 18th

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ECO I DO Green Wedding Expo

Riverside Park

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