Omar Bonilla-Ortiz

Omar Bonilla-Ortiz

Having grown up in the Silver City neighborhood, Omar is thrilled to be part of the Menomonee Valley team in his role as Visitor Services Assistant.  A graduate of UW Madison, Omar's background is in Sociology; but before arriving at the Center he worked in landscaping and construction, where he developed a passion for woodworking and green design.  In his off time he enjoys drawing, finding new restaurants, and tinkering with old bikes.

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 11:36

Get Out and Snowshoe!

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 I was blazing a fresh trail at my own pace. There was no technique to master before heading out (although you can gain mastery with time), and as long as the terrain had ample snow cover I didn't need a special path or an ideal hill to have fun. I could, to borrow a phrase, "just do it."

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:20

Go Outside and Play: Bike

The season of cycling is upon us.  Here are a few ideas for places to ride, both in and out of the city, for cyclists of all experience levels.  

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.”  - James E. Starrs

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 09:29

Who Ever Heard of a Solar Chimney?

For all the cutting-edge design here at the Menomonee Valley, one of the building’s most prominent and unique features is actually based on a centuries old technology...and you’ve probably walked right past it!  The Solar Chimney (that two-story black box on the front of our building), also known as a ‘Solar Stack,’ or ‘Thermal Chimney’, uses the principle of convection to help keep the center well ventilated; and some versions of this technology date as far back as the Copper Age (circa 5500 B.C.E.).  

Convection?  Sounds like a lot of hot air!   

I’ll be honest, the first few times I heard about the stack my eyes glazed over a little, but the theory it’s based on is actually pretty simple.

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