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Beth Heller

Beth Heller

Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning, Beth received her Masters in Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee in 2005, where she received the Outstanding Business Plan award for a plan to launch a branch of the Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park. She graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in 1994 with a B.A. degree in Biology and Education. Beth began working at the Urban Ecology Center in 2000 to combine her love of the city with her appreciation of nature. Beth loves to sail, bike, sing and hike.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 15:52

Dreams and Ambitions Come to Life at UEC

As Milwaukee’s urban ecosystem fills with the energy brought by more sunlight, blossoming plants and wildlife, the Urban Ecology Center overflows with people looking to enjoy the outdoors. How do we handle this great opportunity? With outstanding summer interns!

This year 28 interns spent 12 weeks exploring their dreams and ambitions while they worked to connect people to nature and each other.

Famous Wisconsin conservationist, Aldo Leopold was a hunter and fisherman. Not only did these activities provide him with food, they also connected him deeply to the land. In “The Sand County Almanac” he described how draining and channelizing along the Mississippi River wetlands aimed to bring economic growth to the area, but instead left his boyhood marsh “impoverished.” While some may consider fishing a controversial activity, we at the Urban Ecology Center understand that with proper guidance, it can launch a life-long commitment to protecting our local freshwater systems.

Thursday, 21 June 2018 13:42

Let's Find Fireflies!

Milwaukee’s summer months are filled with light! Throughout the city there are fireworks, stage lights, tiki torches and people coming together to enjoy the weather. But if you are looking to spend time away from the massive crowds and hard streets, you don’t need to look very far: nature offers its own set of lights!

Monday, 07 May 2018 13:28

Reflecting on 20 Years

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.

Sunday, 25 February 2018 11:18

Our Loss is Milwaukee's Gain

We have a lot to be proud of here in our city. Milwaukee is at the forefront of US and global urban environmental initiatives, positioning itself as a world class eco-city. The city signed on to the international environmental principals of the Paris Accord. The United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All recognized Milwaukee for its innovative approaches through public-private partnerships that speed up implementation of efficient buildings. We’re the only city in the US contributing to this global effort.

Along with Milwaukee’s growing initiatives this year came a big change for the Urban Ecology Center.

Monday, 08 January 2018 09:29

News from the Volunteer Program!

We are delighted to announce that the Urban Ecology Center’s volunteer department achieved certification as a “Service Enterprise” organization through Points of Light! This national recognition of excellence comes after a rigorous process in Points of Light’s Service Enterprise training program. The program aims to help nonprofits who already engage volunteers well to learn ways to more effectively engage volunteers and extend the reach of their missions.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 12:10

Giving the Gift of Experience

“See you at the top, Aunt Beth!” shouted my niece, Kate who was 12 at the time. We were at Lapham Peak facing what is affectionately called “Asthma Hill”. My niece and her friend had mastered the art of skiing uphill leaving me lagging behind, catching my breath. They paused and asked me to lead only once, at the “Roller Coaster” section of the trail: a steep, undulating, fast and slightly icy technical stretch. I must say, I was delighted to be able to give a few pointers, even if it was just once that day.

Friday, 22 September 2017 12:01

Celebrating 10 Years at Washington Park!

This year the Urban Ecology Center is celebrating 10 years of programming in Washington Park. What an amazing 10 years it has been!

We opened our Washington Park branch in 2007. This was our first attempt to expand our mission outside of Riverside Park. We rented one third of our current home in the Milwaukee County Park’s Washington Park Pavilion with the help of many neighbors, donors and friends.

Monday, 26 June 2017 12:08

Summer Lights

Milwaukee’s summer months are filled with light! Throughout the city there are fireworks, stage lights, tiki torches and people coming together to enjoy the weather. But if you are looking to spend time away from the massive crowds and hard streets, you don’t need to look very far: nature offers its own set of lights!

Wednesday, 01 March 2017 15:54

Learning about Learning

An ornithologist and ecologist are hiking along the Milwaukee River. No, this is not a start to a bad joke – it is a story about how we think.

As they turn a corner, the ornithologist gasps as she sees a tree alive with the movement of over 20 birds! Stopping, she focuses her binoculars and directs her attention to the characteristics that will help her identify them. It is challenging and fun. She is having a great time and decides she needs to walk here more often and plans to tell all of her friends about this wonderful place to look for birds!

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