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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 16 April 2021
“Why should I look up?” Bob Bonadurer, Planetarium Director of the Milwaukee Public Museum, rhetorically asked this question during an interview that the Urban Ecology Center hosted with him and some members of the Urban Stargazers. Bob marveled that the universe is the ultimate connection, and that looking up and basking in the vastness of it all is incredible.
Written by Drew Vandegrift
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Recently I have been reflecting on gardening and wildlife. As a gardener, I enjoy pondering what food I can grow for myself and my family. Then I do my best to keep wildlife out of the garden. As a Land Steward, I garden for wildlife. I consider what plants I can add to the land for the benefit of wildlife. Specifically, I ask myself “What wildlife species can I feed or provide shelter for?” And then “What plants do those wildlife need?”
Written by Erin Whitney
Saturday, 03 April 2021
'Tis the season for Garlic Mustard Pesto! As the soil warms up, this sea of green takes over local forest floors. Garlic Mustard is an invasive species to North America and discourages native plants from growing by releasing lasting antifungal chemicals into the soil. Removing garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is no one-day task, take some time to correctly ID a bunch and remove its root and all! Its seed can survive up to 10 years in the soil. So bag it up and dispose, or blend up its leaves and stems for a tasty pesto or soup. Note the roots should be discarded into a garbage bag, not your compost.
Written by Angélica Sánchez
Friday, 02 April 2021
You may have seen recent news of the fire that occurred this week in Three Bridges Park. Or maybe you’ve seen the burned hillsides while visiting the park or riding through the Hank Aaron State Trail, wondering what happened. I’d like to share what happened and hopefully answer some questions you may have.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 26 March 2021
We have all been and continue to be affected by the ongoing pandemic and the new lifestyle and norms that have come with it. Children have been uniquely challenged in this respect - they have had to adapt to learning virtually, away from their peers, and the structure a typical school environment provides. This last year, more than ever, getting children outdoors and in nature was critical. The Urban Ecology Center made this possible by hosting several safe Summer Camp programs for kids of varying ages and interests. Children who attended last year’s camps were able to reconnect to the constants that are nature, friends, and community during a time filled with so much uncertainty.
Written by Chad Thomack
Friday, 26 March 2021
I wake to temperatures in the single digits; wind blowing, snow covering the streets. It is the end of January so this weather is fitting. As I sip my hot coffee gazing out the window I think of all the winter campers and what the day will bring for them. For me, it brings cross country skiing, one of my favorite outdoor sports. I lace up my boots, throw on a fleece, full face mask, and waterproof gloves. The sun is rising and the moon is setting as I glide through the woods and down to the lake. Every time I ski I am surprised how little I feel the cold.
Written by Michaela Rosenthal
Thursday, 25 March 2021
Many of you venturing outside through the Milwaukee parks this spring may see various aquatic life- fish and frogs –floating rather than swimming at the surface of the park ponds.  This is known as “winterkill”. 
Written by Davita Flowers-Shanklin
Monday, 22 March 2021
Spring is officially here and with that comes new life, the sun, and Earth Day (April 22nd)! It is hard to believe that this time last year we were gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day at all three of our centers. Because of the pandemic, and wanting to keep everyone safe, we decided to cancel our celebration. Not only was canceling sad for us, but it also was sad for you! Truthfully, the hundreds of volunteers that usually come for Earth Day were missed tremendously at all three of our locations. We missed the hundreds of pounds of trash pulled out of our parks and waterways, we missed the piles and piles of invasive species being…
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 08 March 2021
The vernal equinox is upon us! And with it, comes longer days, shorter nights, and (eventually) warmer temperatures. March 20th officially marks 2021’s first day of spring when the hours of daylight and night are roughly equal. This makes sense, given the Latin roots to this event’s name; “equi” stemming from “equal,” and “nox” stemming from “night”: “equality of night and day.” From here, the days will continue to grow longer until the summer solstice on June 21st - the longest day of the year. For this reason, the spring equinox often represents new life and new beginnings as the light overtakes the dark. After months of cold and snow, when many animals hibernate and plants senesce, life returns.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 04 March 2021
Early spring brings us more than just sorely missed warmer temperatures with more daylight. It’s a “goldilocks zone” where the snow has melted but the trees' leaves don’t yet shade the ground. For a short period of time, when conditions are just right, spring ephemerals begin to bloom. Ephemeral - describing something as transitory or lasting for a short period of time - in this case, refers to the curious spring wildflowers we only see briefly each year around this time.
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