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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Angélica Sánchez
Thursday, 22 February 2018
Winter: a simple word that has the ability to quickly put either a smile or a frown on your face. To many, winter is a much anticipated season with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Yet to others, winter can be a “yucky” time where you find yourself running from one building to the other trying to avoid the cold. For many of our students, winter can simply mean a time when you stay indoors. It is precisely those students who I love spending time with during our school field trips, since I myself felt that way not too long ago.
Written by Jaime Cano
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
The German zoologist Ernst Haeckel coined the word ecology almost 150 years ago. He combined a couple of Greek words to do this trick: “oikos” means "habitation" and “-ology” means "the study of." This fact may already be part of your ample knowledge, but a quick reminder won´t hurt: ecology started off as the study of where things live. In ecology, sustainability (from sustain and ability) is the property of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely. Who doesn't want to be diverse and productive indefinitely? I remember when I was younger and able to dunk a basketball…
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Midway through February and we finally have a “Wisconsin Winter”! I don’t know about you, but this time of year is one of the reasons why I love living in Wisconsin. Whether I’m sledding, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing, I make sure to get outside, along with my dog, when the snow builds up! Not only does the snow make winter more enjoyable, it also helps absorb sound and reflect light to make the whole landscape quieter and brighter. Not only does the snow make winter months more enjoyable (or tolerable, depending on your point-of-view), it also is very beneficial for ecosystems.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Have you ever been snowshoeing before? If not, now may be the perfect time to give it a try! We've had wonderful weather for winter adventures lately, and every branch has been bustling with people of all ages borrowing snowshoes and hitting the trails. The amount of snow on the ground right now at all three of our locations is ideal for snowshoeing - we recommend around 6" to a foot (or more!) of snow. 
Written by Kim Forbeck
Monday, 29 January 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 Terrance Davis
Sunday, 28 January 2018
I have a lot of memories that were made on the Washington Park Lagoon. The most memorable has to be when I totally slayed in ice hockey my first time ever playing! Okay, I didn’t really slay - I survived in style. While I tell you about it, I’ll throw in some facts about a cool opportunity available to you at the Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park.
Written by Tea Cakarmis
Monday, 22 January 2018
The viscerally devastating moving picture of a polar bear struggling to board a chunk of ice, dissolving under its paws, still haunts me today. Judging by the public and critical response to the The Inconvenient Truth—a national and international box office success from 2006—I was not the only one that found the documentary poignant and disturbing. The impact of the film is best captured by the Oxford University-run survey which shows that as many as 89% of respondents said it made them more aware of the problem of global warming and as many as 74% of them claimed that they had changed some of their habits after seeing the film.
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
When I first started learning about plants, I had a lot of questions. How does a tree gets water from deep in the ground all the way up to leaves 160 feet in the air? How are plants able to survive cold winters like this one? How do seeds know when to germinate in the spring? Why are most plants green anyway? Why not blue or pink or black? Do plants communicate with one another? How do plants defend themselves from attack by insects? Whew! That's a lot of stuff to learn! The more I dug into this (no pun intended), the more I discovered how amazing, adaptable, and beautiful plants can be.
Written by Erick Anderson
Monday, 15 January 2018
Many times, members have shared with me their fond memories of ice skating on the Washington Park Lagoon while growing up. Having accessible skating in their neighborhoods was a huge part of many people’s childhoods. It was an important part of my childhood, too! I walked to a local park to go ice skating. Providing that service to the Washington Park neighborhood is something that we take great pride in as an organization.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 08 January 2018
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.

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