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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

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…
Written by MaryBeth Kressin
Monday, 23 April 2018
As the end of April rounds the snowy bend, we reflect back on National Poetry Month and how the very best writers have intertwined words with nature. From the poetry of Mary Oliver (“There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees…”) to Walt Whitman (“Give me a field where the unmow’d grass grows… Give me solitude, give me Nature, give me again O Nature your primal sanities!”) throughout time people have beautifully captured the essence of the world outdoors.
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Monday, 16 April 2018
A seed is small and complex,  And will keep you perplexed,  On how it relents,  From seasons to next.
Written by Michaela Molter
Thursday, 29 March 2018
Did you know Earth Day was first celebrated in the United States nearly fifty years ago? This annual event, which began on April 22, 1970, was proposed as a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Denis Hayes, and Paul Erlich. Twenty years later the event went global. Today, more than one billion people in nearly 200 countries participate internationally in Earth Day activities each year!
Written by Danny Pirtle
Monday, 26 March 2018
In the visitor services department at the Urban Ecology Center, we like to say that we “wear a lot of hats.” In any given day, for example, I may end up making a pot of coffee, repairing a broken snowshoe, signing visitors up for memberships, training a new volunteer receptionist, or setting up a room for a neighborhood group, amongst many more tasks and projects. This spring, two students from Cardinal Stritch University took the opportunity to experience the life of the Visitor Services Department first-hand as our first ever Visitor Services College Interns.

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