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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Anne Reis
Monday, 14 April 2014
Spring migration is one of the Research and Community Science Team's favorite times of year. For the fourth year in a row, we are hosting our Green Birding Challenge (GBC), the Team's signature annual fundraiser! Do you enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or biking, or just sitting and listening to the sounds of nature? If so, this year's GBC, held on Saturday, May 10th, is the event for you! Get out your walking shoes, dust off your lawnchair or pump up your bike tires and participate in a little competitive birding. Register a team for one of our four challenges: stationary birding, birding on foot, birding by bike, or a mini-challenge. Your participation will help us celebrate International Migratory Bird…
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 09 April 2014
Since we've declared April to be Earth Month, we're celebrating different earth-related themes all month long. This week, let's take a look at our Washington Park branch theme, FOOD.  Because who doesn't love food?  Read on for a fun perspective on Learning Gardens from Washington Park's branch manager, Willie. Additionally, Erick, Washington Park's Community Program Coordinator, provides some foolproof tips and tricks for how YOU can start up and maintain your own garden at home!  
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 02 April 2014
Our Washington Park branch manager, Willie Karidis is leading an eco-travel trip to Alaska in September. Since he is there visiting friends right now he created this little video inviting you to come with him in September. Doesn't it look great?  
Written by Lesley Sheridan
Wednesday, 02 April 2014
I'm very excited to introduce a new series of classes for adults and teens at the Center's Riverside Park branch – The Naturalist Skills Series! These classes are designed to guide observant and inquisitive folks in deepening their understanding of ecological concepts, especially those that are prominent here in Riverside Park. Each month from April through September this learning community will engage in discussions, activities, and observations of a different ecological topic.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Monday, 24 March 2014
Having grown up in Florida, there are some things in the Midwest that are just hard for me to fathom, like the immensity and complexity of Lake Michigan or brutal winters that last from November to April. Another fantastical oddity is a little creature known as the snow flea. When I moved to Wisconsin, I told some friends about bioluminescent critters back home that glow in the dark waters of the Gulf during certain times of the year. They didn't believe me, which is exactly how I felt the first time I heard about snow fleas. I pictured giant fleas hopping heavily on the snow, biting people's ankles as they walked through the woods. I imagined dogs scratching madly as the…
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Thursday, 20 March 2014
The story of lesser celandine (also known as fig buttercup or pilewort) is the classic story of an invasive species.  Native to Europe, northern Africa, western Asia, and Siberia, it was brought to the United States as an ornamental plant.  While here, this species found that it had a huge competitive advantage and it took over.  In Cleveland, Ohio, lesser celandine was planted in flower beds of (just) two residences in the 1970s.  It escaped the confines of those two yards, and less than 40 years later, it had taken over nearly 300 acres of parkland along the Rocky River, with 183 of those acres having lesser celandine cover of more than 50% (that means that lesser celandine covered more…
Written by Celia Benton
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
It was another sunny day in the Menomonee Valley. Delma placed the stethoscope against a gnarly tree branch in Three Bridges Park. Her eyes grew wide and she shouted “I can hear it! The tree has a pulse!” Several minutes, and several tree pulses later, Delma approached me and said, “My grandfather in Mexico used to place his ear to the ground and say he could hear the heartbeat of the earth. Is it true that the earth has a heartbeat? Now that I’ve heard the pulses of the trees I think he is right.” It was one of the most profound and beautiful statements I have ever heard, and it came from a seventh grader.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 10 March 2014
Connecting people with both their community and their environment is at the heart of what we do. One of the ways we accomplish this is through sustainable food programs like these!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 06 March 2014
Sometimes changing one small thing can have a huge impact. Curiosity about where her food came from and who was growing it led Anne Steinberg from a passive consumer to a food activist. After participating in a course on sustainable living at the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) about nine years ago, Steinberg decided to try to change just one thing in her life to be more sustainable. She started buying fair trade coffee. Since it was easy enough to change what she was drinking, she decided to change what she was eating, so she became a member of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Having a connection to where and how her food was grown opened her eyes to a…
Written by Emily Michi
Thursday, 06 March 2014
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.

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