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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
I recently pre-screened a copy of the Ordinary Extraordinary Junco in preparation for an April family program*. The film truly was fascinating and while I have always liked the little junco (especially when it is one of the only birds around on winter bird walks), my appreciation for them grew even more after having watched the film. The rapid adaptation that juncos are undergoing as a species and their unbridled tenacity make them a really neat bird.
Written by Joel Springsteen
Monday, 17 February 2014
A cedar glade is a type of savanna found on sites that are naturally protected from fire and where the bedrock is exposed or comes very close to the soil surface. The cedar, after which this natural community is named, is eastern red cedar - also known as Virginia juniper (Juniperus virginiana). Red cedar is not a true cedar (genus Cedrus) although it is a member of the cedar family (Cupressaceae). The rocky, thin soiled environment of the cedar glade is too harsh for most trees to become established, but red cedar is able to grow in cracks in the bedrock or in random pockets of deeper soil. Consequently, trees in the glade grow widely spaced, in clumps, or in…
Written by Mieko
Monday, 10 February 2014
Why would I recommend the Urban Ecology Center's Outdoor Leadership program? Honestly, I don't even know where to begin! It's not only the new experiences in both the working and the natural world that made this experience so incredible for me, it was also the new mindset I now have. If you are looking for a great way to get outside and learn about the world around you, but also get paid for the employment experience you gain, this is exactly the program for you. But it's not just that- if you want to meet new people and find friendships that will last a lifetime, this is just what you are looking for. And hey, who knows, it might completely…
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
During our recent bout of sub-zero weather, I noted the shortage of wildlife in my backyard. I knew that woodchucks were hibernating in cozy burrows, birds had insulating feathers, and turtles used anti-freeze in their blood to get through the winter, but then I considered our spineless friends. Surely all of Earth's 1.3 million invertebrate species couldn't move inside for the winter. But, where did they go? This question made me think about one bug in particular; one that I commonly associate with the warm weather. The antlion. What was my old buddy Mr. Ant Lion up to this time of year?  
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Thursday, 09 January 2014
Living in Wisconsin, one can expect winters to be cold.  Well, these last few days of frigid temperatures have tested even the hardiest Wisconsinites.  I for one have been thanking my lucky stars for my fleece long johns and my wool sweaters, and I’ve been drinking more than my fair share of hot tea and coffee.  Looking out of my window at our winter wonderland, I can’t help but wonder how our animal friends manage to keep themselves warm through the cold winter months.  As we know, some hibernate, some migrate, and some don’t make it through the winter.  Those that do stick around and survive make use of our coniferous trees for thermal cover and food.  This month’s Native…
Written by Omar Bonilla-Ortiz
Wednesday, 08 January 2014
If you have never tried snowshoeing (and maybe even if you have!), the word probably conjures images of fur trappers or mountain men trudging through the snowy pass with pelts dangling from a line - at least that was the mental picture I started with! Compared to most other winter pastimes, I had never even considered snowshoeing as something you'd do for recreation. Where's the exhilarating speed of sledding or the reckless abandon of a good snowball fight? It wasn't until I strapped on a pair of snowshoes last December and found myself out crunching along in (what would otherwise be) "ankle-high" snow, that I experienced the sheer pleasure of one of the fastest growing winter sports. In just minutes…
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 30 December 2013
We are so grateful for our awesome donors! 3,257 people helped keep the Center operating last year, contributing $857,645! From having a wedding at one of our branches to donating 2,000 assorted bird books, our supporters helped us get people outdoors and connected to nature. But don't just take our word for it -- See for yourself! See how you supported our mission last year.
Written by Erin Shawgo
Saturday, 28 December 2013
I came to the Center two and a half years ago as a summer camp intern. As my role has changed from environmental educator to volunteer coordinator and community health evaluation coordinator, I have found myself reflecting on a question that has repeatedly come up in the various roles I’ve held: What is environmentalism? It didn’t take long in my role as an educator to notice that how I engaged with nature wasn’t universal. Activities I loved as a child, like catching bugs or sitting quietly in the woods or playing in snow, while appreciated by some, could be terrifying, disgusting or down right boring to some of my students.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Friday, 27 December 2013
I knew the call would come eventually, I was just hoping it would take a little longer to happen. When it did come, however, I was incredibly thankful that it left an opening and was not final. “Ken, we’ve decided that we need to sell the property and have some interested buyers who have offered some very attractive numbers to us,” she said, “however, we’d love it if there was a way for the Center to have it. We cannot give it away but we might be able to give you time. How long do you think you would need to make a run for it?”
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Thursday, 26 December 2013
Of all of the things the Native Americans have contributed to society, I think one of the most important is the tribe. Based on kinship, orally communicated customs and rituals and commonly shared values and beliefs, people within the tribes are attuned to others in the group and often work toward shared goals (e.g. food, shelter, healthcare, raising children, etc). They are also each others’ support network. It’s a social construct that has worked for thousands of years.

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