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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Beth Heller
Thursday, 05 July 2018
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.
Written by Danny Pirtle
Tuesday, 03 July 2018
Canoes and kayaks are, without a doubt, the most popular items in our equipment lending program. Every weekend throughout the summer months, our boat racks are completely empty, as our members enjoy paddling up and down the Milwaukee River and all throughout our community.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Perhaps you have seen the recent headlines? Urban Ecology Center's $12 million expansion plan at Washington Park would save taxpayers — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 25, 2018 Urban Ecology Center plans $12 million expansion at Washington Park site — Milwaukee BizTimes, May 29, 2018 Yes it’s true, with emphasis on the words “offers” and “plans.”
Written by Beth Heller
Thursday, 21 June 2018
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!
Written by Michaela Molter
Monday, 04 June 2018
Plants lack an immune system like that of animals. However, plants have developed their own unique defenses to detect bacteria, fungi, insects, and vertebrate organism invasion and stop them before mortal damage ensues. Tissue structure and chemistry as well as existing ecological relationships between animals and plants contribute to a plant’s defense and disease resistance. Aside from providing plant strength and rigidity, cell walls, waxy or rubbery films covering leaf and stem tissue, and bark all perform as physical barriers to invasion.
Written by Mike Larson
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
I woke up in the morning to the sound of waves crashing against the shore on Rock Island, about 20 yards from my tent. I moved silently out of the tent so as not to disturb the sleep of my teenage son and stretched my muscles that were sore from yesterday’s bike ride. Enjoying the early morning quiet from my hammock, I reflected on the journey thus far... this was one of the most amazing camping trips I had ever taken, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Urban Ecology Center.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Your support allows the Urban Ecology Center’s Land Stewardship team to improve habitat on over 70 acres of urban land, vastly expanding opportunities for outdoor science and recreation. The UEC is restoring ecosystems which support more wildlife and create healthy outdoor classrooms where urban children, families, and residents can learn about their natural environment. Here’s how!
Written by Kim Forbeck
Friday, 11 May 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 Tim Vargo
Thursday, 10 May 2018
A good researcher performs many roles — observer, record keeper, historian and the like. But one of our favorites is storyteller. You may have heard about how the UEC heals the land through thousands of hours from land stewardship volunteers and staff pulling nonnative plants, planting natives and preventing erosion. Often the results of these efforts are easy to see.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 07 May 2018
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.

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