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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Beth Heller
Thursday, 21 June 2018
Milwaukee’s summer months are filled with light! Throughout the city there are fireworks, stage lights, tiki torches and people coming together to enjoy the weather. But if you are looking to spend time away from the massive crowds and hard streets, you don’t need to look very far: nature offers its own set of lights!
Written by Michaela Molter
Monday, 04 June 2018
Plants lack an immune system like that of animals. However, plants have developed their own unique defenses to detect bacteria, fungi, insects, and vertebrate organism invasion and stop them before mortal damage ensues. Tissue structure and chemistry as well as existing ecological relationships between animals and plants contribute to a plant’s defense and disease resistance. Aside from providing plant strength and rigidity, cell walls, waxy or rubbery films covering leaf and stem tissue, and bark all perform as physical barriers to invasion.
Written by Mike Larson
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
I woke up in the morning to the sound of waves crashing against the shore on Rock Island, about 20 yards from my tent. I moved silently out of the tent so as not to disturb the sleep of my teenage son and stretched my muscles that were sore from yesterday’s bike ride. Enjoying the early morning quiet from my hammock, I reflected on the journey thus far... this was one of the most amazing camping trips I had ever taken, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Urban Ecology Center.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Your support allows the Urban Ecology Center’s Land Stewardship team to improve habitat on over 70 acres of urban land, vastly expanding opportunities for outdoor science and recreation. The UEC is restoring ecosystems which support more wildlife and create healthy outdoor classrooms where urban children, families, and residents can learn about their natural environment. Here’s how!
Written by Kim Forbeck
Friday, 11 May 2018
The Oak Leaf Trail is my regular bike commute route from home to work and back. The morning commute is an especially quiet and beautiful experience from the morning a whitetail deer ran alongside me for 50 meters to watching the continuous show of wild geraniums in the spring through scarlet colored sumac in the fall.  A former Chicago-Northwest Railway line, I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to witness those locomotives flying past. In the 1930s, the “400” trains that rumbled along this route were the fastest long-distance passenger trains in the world! The 400 train was named for the route distance of 400 miles between St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL which it could cover in…
Written by Tim Vargo
Thursday, 10 May 2018
A good researcher performs many roles — observer, record keeper, historian and the like. But one of our favorites is storyteller. You may have heard about how the UEC heals the land through thousands of hours from land stewardship volunteers and staff pulling nonnative plants, planting natives and preventing erosion. Often the results of these efforts are easy to see.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 07 May 2018
Much has changed over the past 20 years. One thing that hasn’t is the dedication of two key people – Executive Director, Ken Leinbach and Board Director, Dennis Grzezinski. They, and many others, worked together to help establish the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) as the award winning educational and environmental model it is today. On the eve of their 20th anniversary with UEC, I thought I’d ask what brought them here and what changes they have seen as a result of their work. Here’s what they said.
Written by Chad Thomack
Thursday, 03 May 2018
I was enjoying a dinner with my family when I got a call from Beth, our Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning. “Chad, I just wanted to give you a heads up that someone got into your bus and sprayed the fire extinguisher all over.” Oh shoot! I totally forgot to lock up my bus at the end of the night and now I am stuck with the repercussions.
Written by Guest Blogger
Friday, 27 April 2018
Who doesn’t love living creatures that are brilliantly colored, small and abundant in their desired environment? Beetles have been treasures, delicacies, and pets for thousands of years. Just like feathers have been used in fashion, so too have beetle wings. Over the summer, my dentist was preparing for an Indian family wedding in Canada. She was painstakingly embroidering metallic, vibrant colored beetle wings (beetlewing embroidery) onto the wedding gown.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
“Hello Urban Ecology Center! I am excited to apply to your Intensive workshop. I live in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, and have begun running environmental education programs in one of the parks. I read your book, and think the Intensive is just the training I need in order to use our current resources to create further impact, serve more schools, and educate all people to understand the importance of Environmental Eduction. We are inspired by what you have done!” — Elena You may already know about Urban Ecology, the book I wrote last year about our story that I hoped would inspire others to take action in their own cities. But did you know that…
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