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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Laurel Cutright
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
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.
Written by Mike Larson
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
We believe in the power of the outdoors. We believe that all work and no play makes us all a little dull and that the antidote for the monotony of routine is to go outside. We believe that paddling, biking, fishing, camping, hiking and/or playing outside are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. We believe that nature is everywhere- even in the city- and that adventure can literally be found right in your backyard. We believe that fun doesn’t have to be expensive or accessible to only a few lucky people. We believe it so much that we can taste it as fresh as the spring air.  We can’t wait to get out of the office, home or car to…
Written by Beth Heller
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Every spring, Center staff members have a friendly competition of “firsts.” As the snow melts, folks vie to be the first person to see a red-wing blackbird, chipmunk or spring flower. But the most important “first” to me is found in the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. This is the first year we’ll begin to see the results of our hard work last fall. All of Wisconsin’s ecosystems are represented in the Arboretum, from soil make-up to wildflowers to tree species. This amazing new asset for the city was built for everyone to enjoy. 
Written by Ken Leinbach
Monday, 28 April 2014
I awoke alone just before sunrise, happy for the warmth of my sleeping bag. The eastern horizon was aglow where ocean met sky. Purple, peach and pink all mixed up into one intense remarkable color. I rolled over and rested my chin in my hands to take in the beauty before my eyes. There was hardly a breath of wind on the shore of this small, isolated cove on Isla Espiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez. My mind was awake, open and clear. I heard a soft sound ... not so much an interruption, but an intrinsic part of the moment.
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Thursday, 24 April 2014
This month let's talk about prairie ecological succession. Succession is the observed change in a species structure of an ecological community over time. For the most part, this change is very slow and happens over the course of 100+ years! When talking about ecological succession, there are two different types of succession: primary and secondary. Primary succession happens when the starting landscape is devoid of vegetation and usually lacking soil, such as lava flows or areas retreated by glaciers. Secondary succession happens when the starting landscape is reduced from an event such as a fire.
Written by Willie Karidis
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
I've just returned from spending 18 days in Alaska visiting a variety of destinations including Denali National Park and Preserve. I'm really excited to lead another Great Alaska Adventure from September 4 through the 13th, 2014. The Urban Ecology Center has put together a wonderful opportunity for friends of the Center to experience Alaska unlike any other tourist can. The reason I love going on this trip is one, autumn is the most beautiful time of the year, and two, I am able to show you some of my favorite spots in the world. I hope you can join us for this amazing trip of a lifetime.  
Written by Guest Blogger
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Once upon a time there was a ‘double wide’ parked under a tree in a corner of Riverside Park near the high school.  It was an ‘office’ and classroom meeting space.  What was it called? “Riverside Urban Ecology Center” and it housed a staff of 1 and ½, both part time.   A board made up of highly dedicated community people had been working toward the goal of establishing such a center and called on the science staff at the high school to be among the first consultants.
Written by Anne Reis
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
The Galapagos Finches were crucial to Darwin’s understanding of natural selection and evolution, but did you know that evolutionary scientists have been studying a more common and locally distributed species for over a century? Learn more about the extraordinary importance of this ordinary bird as we screen the film Ordinary Extraordinary Junco.
Written by Guest Blogger
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Here at the Urban Ecology Center, we're celebrating the Earth all month long with different events, activities and programs that highlight earth-related themes. This week, let's focus on our Riverside Park branch theme, WATER. Not only are we excited about this topic, but two of our amazing volunteers also wanted to get in on the action.  Two volunteers, Andrew and Patricia, took on their own water-themed experiement over the past week to see just how water conscious they could be!  Each volunteer tracked their shower water consumption and wrote about their experience. Read on to get some interesting insight on what they discovered!
Written by Guest Blogger
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Here at the Urban Ecology Center, we're celebrating the Earth all month long with different events, activities and programs that highlight earth-related themes. This week, let's focus on our Riverside Park branch theme, WATER. Not only are we excited about this topic, but two of our amazing volunteers also wanted to get in on the action.  Two volunteers, Andrew and Patricia, took on their own water-themed experiement over the past week to see just how water conscious they could be!  You've already read Andrew's take on this experiment, so read on to get some interesting insight on what Patricia discovered!

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