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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Lesley Sheridan
Wednesday, 05 March 2014
Reflecting on all my experiences, I’ve really come to appreciate the pure joy and curiosity preschool-aged children readily exhibit in response to outdoor experiences. I can always count on pockets full of leaves, rocks, sticks and other treasures that kids bring to show me with exclamations of delight! One of my favorite things to do with preschoolers is to flip over these large, black pads that we have in Riverside Park to reveal the invertebrate life hidden beneath. The kids help me point out scurrying centipedes, hustling isopods and wiggling worms.
Written by Beth Heller
Tuesday, 04 March 2014
For 44 years Earth Day has been celebrated around the world on April 22nd as a day to protect, steward and learn about the earth. It’s one of our favorite holidays at the Urban Ecology Center, but we always have too much earth-celebrating enthusiasm for one day. It has caused a bit of a dilemma for us — do we spend the day educating others about our fascinating planet or plan a day of service so you can dig into the dirt? Do we create programs about water or take you out in a canoe to experience it? We want to do it all and one 24-hour day is just not enough. So, we’re declaring April to be Earth Month…
Written by Anne Reis
Monday, 03 March 2014
A recent NPR segment on All Things Considered reported some sad news - but brought the acronym “GIS” to light. The father of GIS (geographic information systems), Roger Tomlinson, passed away in early February. He was the first person to devise a computer software to overlay different types of map layers on top of one another, thereby efficiently revealing physical and biological patterns in a landscape or area and streamlining analyses of these patterns. Using current GIS software, the Urban Ecology Center has been able to map a variety of data about our branches and parks.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Monday, 03 March 2014
Fifteen years ago a movie cost you on average $4.50 (now $8.20), a gallon of gas cost $1.06 (now $3.75), a dozen eggs went for $1.09 (now $2.50) and an Urban Ecology Center membership cost $25 (still $25). What? The crazy thing is that while our membership rates remained the same for 15 years, our offerings increased by at least a factor of ten if not a hundred! 15 years ago we had only one center — a single, double-wide trailer in the then run-down Riverside Park. Our lending program consisted of just a few canoes and our program offerings, while always of the highest quality, represented just a fraction of the number of what we can offer now.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 03 March 2014
“Who knew potatoes could be so thrilling,” says Barb Finch, a member of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm from Milwaukee. “I grew up eating mashed or boiled potatoes every day, they weren’t that interesting. The potatoes I get in my CSA box are so full of flavor. The Yukon Golds and Reds are incredible. I could never go back to buying a potato from a grocery store again.”
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Even poor college students can afford to eat well. Jamie Ferschinger belonged to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm through most of her college career and doesn’t ever “remember it being a hardship.” “I love to cook and I always had friends around to eat what I cooked. I got a smaller share so it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of food,” says Ferschinger. She eventually became a drop site for her CSA and it opened up a whole new demographic for the farmer – college kids.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 27 February 2014
“It’s like having Christmas every week!” says Lindy Meer of Milwaukee about being a member of a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) farm. “Our children are always very eager to open the box and see what has arrived. John Paul, the 8-year-old, loves opening the box because of all the crazy vegetables – like the mutant carrots and massive cabbages or club-like summer squash. I also don't think that a pint of raspberries has lasted for more than 1.5 minutes after opening.”
Written by Terrance Davis
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Imagine a hot summer sun beating down on you, creating beads of sweat while you sip an ice cold lemonade and say AHHH! Refreshing huh? Unfortunately, it's not even spring yet, so you have a few months before you have rightfully earned warm temperatures.  But don't worry, there's plenty to keep you busy until the summer heat comes!  Of all the activities that children and families can participate in at the Urban Ecology Center, I believe the favorite is sledding. Sure skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating all have exhilarating effects, but something about sledding seems to really connect the community with the outdoors. 
Written by Willie Karidis
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
It was the kind of adventure that inspired unbridled cheers as well as quite moments of awestruck reflection. A week-long trip in Alaska has that effect on people. The Urban Ecology Center led its second Great Alaska Adventure this past September and this year we’re doing it again. The camaraderie displayed by our participants was truly inspiring and we looked forward to each day and savored moments wishing they would never end.
Written by Patrick
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
I thought the day would never come. Two years ago I probably couldn't tell you when my internship would end, and now I'm attempting to refute the inevitable conclusion. That's why I'm telling my story, because I want others, just like me, to share the experiences and incredible acquaintances that I've had the pleasure of having.

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