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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Urban Ecology Center
Tuesday, 03 December 2013
Eight years ago, Shorewood resident Ann Brummitt was teaching her 20th year of high school French, helping students conjugate verbs, and interpret French literature and history. While she enjoyed being an educator, she felt the need to make a change in her life and her career. "I wanted to be an environmental activist." After a long conversation with Executive Director Ken Leinbach about finding a project she could dig her hands into, Ann started volunteering at the Urban Ecology Center.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 02 December 2013
Looking for an economical way to stretch your dinner dollar and be more frugal with food? If you’re partial to poultry consider getting the whole chicken! This recipe for baked chicken meatballs is just one way to move beyond the breast and take advantage of the multiple meals you can get out of a whole bird. Want to get more creative? Then check out our hands-on Cooking Circle: Using the Whole Chicken class Monday, December 9th and learn how make chicken salad, curry, stock, and more!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Darrin Madison is no stranger to the Urban Ecology Center. Having been involved with the Washington Park branch since its opening in 2007, sixteen year-old Darrin has experienced a variety of activities that have helped him grow as an individual and a community member. "The first day I came to the Center, it was during the summer and I was at the Washington Park Library. When I left, I saw a group of kids playing ultimate Frisbee close to the lagoon, and they invited me to play with them. After that, I always spent time here because I love it," Darrin recalls with a grin. After that initial experience, Darrin was hooked. He has remained actively involved over the years…
Written by Cassie Mordini
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
We generally remember the simple lessons we learn as kids: don’t talk with your mouth full; put things back where you found them; say please and thank you. We often pass on those easy to remember and easy to follow rules to our children too. While they help shape us into well mannered adults, there are other important lessons in life. And as Preston Cole explained to me as we chatted one afternoon, teaching children to appreciate and understand our natural world is paramount for our collective future. After all, they will become the next generation to steward our natural resources.
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Monday, 25 November 2013
I personally feel that the beauty of Xeric prairies (and prairies in general) are often overlooked when compared to other habitats such as forest communities. I think this especially holds true if you ask anyone that has driven through Middle America: "How was the scenery?" I would bet most people would say "There's a whole lot of nothing out there!" This might be true, since today, there are less than 0.1% of natural prairies remaining as opposed to the vast majority that could be found years ago!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 22 November 2013
My mom and aunt used to ride bikes along the sidewalks that outlined the empty lots of their mostly abandoned subdivision. It was here they and their friends would play and dream – where the grasses grew tall with brightly colored wildflowers painting the landscape and the groves of trees provided a magical oasis. Little did they know this place was meant to be built up with houses, one next to the other, and just how lucky they were the economic crisis of the 1930’s had stalled these plans. This enchanting place, where their imaginations could run wild, would remain unchanged for the rest of their childhood.
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Xeric prairies are a natural plant community that can be found all over Wisconsin and other varying topographies.  Although these communities, which are dominated by grasses rather than trees, may seem dry and ordinary, they have fascinating soil attributes that allow these dry prairies to retain a significant amount of water that helps them be productive plants.  When talking about plant communities, prairie is a very general term. It would be like describing all of Milwaukee as a city - yes it's a city, but there are also areas of the city (North side, East side, and South side) and also neighborhoods (Silver City Neighborhood, Washington Park Neighborhood, Riverside Park Neighborhood) that make the city so unique.  To extend this…
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Friday, 15 November 2013
I recently read Matt Flower’s awesome post entitled “The Beauty of Fall Trees” where readers got a great overview of the magic of fall colors.  After reading his post and looking at his stunning photos, I got excited to do a “piggy-back post” about the science behind autumn colors.  Read on to find out more about what changes trees undergo in the fall: why do leaves turn colors? How do they change color?  Why do individual trees change to certain colors while others change to a completely different color?
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
As the seasons change from autumn to winter, my field work tapers off and I spend most of time behind a computer, analyzing data and determining what can be accomplished the following field season. During this period our bird walks become my favorite time of the week. The walks give me some personal time to identify with nature be outside. However it isn’t the birds I enjoy the most, it’s the other discoveries. I like finding the overlooked, under-appreciated things that just seem beautiful and you can't really explain why. This week, my favorite find came while I was on a bird walk in the Menomonee Valley.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 08 November 2013
Thirteen year-old VeAndre chuckles as he recalls his first experience at the Urban Ecology Center so many years ago. “I remember I was 7 years old and scared to go out on the canoe because I thought I’d fall in the water or something,” VeAndre reflects. Now, six years later, he proudly states that he loves canoeing and being active outdoors. Enthusiastically participating in programs at the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park branch has allowed VeAndre to explore his passions and grow both professionally and personally.

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