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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Phenology Team
Friday, 28 June 2013
Flowers are fascinating! They adapt to a wide variety of growing conditions, provide food for insects, and intrigue us with the origins of their names. As we exit June and summer hits its stride, take a look at this overview of the flowers (like the blue flag iris to the right) that you can find right now!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 27 June 2013
In December 2003, 14 intrepid travelers embarked on a long-remembered journey. Their destination was Costa Rica, a land of majestic natural beauty, smiling faces and the occasional near hurricane-force winds. At the risk of sounding cliché, words can’t describe the incredible breadth of Costa Rica’s biodiversity, the warmth of the Tico (local) people, or its striking topography. Our group truly embodied the motto of Costa Rica - Pura Vida/Pure Life! - and lived life to the hilt throughout the 10 day tour. There is so much to share but let's start with the following journal excerpt, culled from pages submitted by trip participant Pat Mueller, which offers a glimpse of one of the more memorable experiences:
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 24 June 2013
Thanks to you, there is a whole year's worth of accomplishments, discoveries, openings, stories, celebrations and learning to share in our new annual report!  But, printing it on paper and mailing it out didn't align with our goals of being good stewards of the earth and our donors' contributions...
Written by Kristin Nelson
Friday, 21 June 2013
On a bright, cheery Tuesday morning, I met Dan, Sherri, Josiah, and Tirzah Jibson at the Urban Ecology Center’s Menomonee Valley Branch. Immediately, I saw a glimpse of each family member’s unique personality through their independent engagement with other Center visitors. Dan sat in a circle with the morning Bird Walk group, listening carefully while sharing a huge smile and kind laugh. Sherri chatted and sipped hot chocolate with another birder and Center member, Carolyn Vargo. Josiah and Tirzah each played with Carolyn’s young grandchildren, who clearly loved the individual attention they were receiving from the older Jibson kids. Even though these interactions were separate, a shared glow of patience, grace, and serenity emanated from each of the Jibsons that…
Written by Anne Reis
Thursday, 20 June 2013
What other group of animals besides birds can you identify through binoculars, take colorful photographs of during the summer and track their migration in the spring? If you answered dragonflies and damselflies, you would be correct! Wisconsin is home to over 160 species of dragon and damselfies and summer is the time to monitor for these fast-winged, brilliantly- colored invertebrates. This year, two of the Center's Advanced Outdoor Leaders, Ethan Bott and Humzah Abdullah, will be leading the Odonata (the scientific group name for dragonflies and damselflies) Surveys with the help of volunteers from the Wisconsin Odonata Survey and the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society. Ethan and Humzah recently attended an Odonata workshop at UW-Waukesha led by experts from across the state.…
Written by Ken Leinbach
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
With a power outage, a computer server reboot headache, and rain threatening our 6th Annual Summer Solstice Soirée I had my doubts about the night, but WOW! What a magical night it was! Who knew that after six years this event keeps getting better and better, and the outpouring of support continues to amaze me! I'm almost at a loss for words, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. See for yourself what a great night we had and consider joining us again next year!
Written by Mike Ziegler
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Along the East Side of Milwaukee’s Oak Leaf Trail, some 40 feet in the air, stories are being made. Stories of fear overcome, of goals achieved, and of limitations shattered. I’m not talking about some sort of theater of the birds; the protagonists of these stories are the victorious rock climbers on the Urban Ecology Center’s very own rock climbing wall! And now you can add your own story to the rock wall’s vaunted history for a greatly discounted rate. The Urban Ecology Center is now selling rock climbing passes that essentially allow you 5 climbs for the price of 4! The details of the climbing pass are below, but first a word about our wall.
Written by Dan Graves
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
I love late May and June. So much. The garden is begging to be planted and late May is typically when you are able to harvest your first salad/veggies from the garden. There is something so satisfying about being able to harvest and wash veggies that have been grown in your gardening space. Oddly, I have always found it kind of bittersweet too. Sowing, watering and weeding your plants as they grow connects you to them and that piece of land. When I harvest that plant, I am grateful but I also left wanting more...that is why succession planting is so fantastic!
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
In this native plant highlight, we are going to look at the carrion-flower (Smilax herbacea), a member of the Smilacaceae family. Plants in this family are shrubs, herbs, or vines and usually perennial. The Smilacaceae family is found in tropical to sub-tropical environments, so you can think of the Carrion-flower as a piece of paradise in Southeast Wisconsin!
Written by Glenna Holstein
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
I want to tell you about one of the most incredible sights and sounds I have ever experienced. But before I can even begin to describe it to you, I need you to listen to something. So, close your eyes, imagine yourself under a big broad New Mexico sky. Now, click the play button below.

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