Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Jeff Veglahn
Monday, 25 November 2013
I personally feel that the beauty of Xeric prairies (and prairies in general) are often overlooked when compared to other habitats such as forest communities. I think this especially holds true if you ask anyone that has driven through Middle America: "How was the scenery?" I would bet most people would say "There's a whole lot of nothing out there!" This might be true, since today, there are less than 0.1% of natural prairies remaining as opposed to the vast majority that could be found years ago!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 22 November 2013
My mom and aunt used to ride bikes along the sidewalks that outlined the empty lots of their mostly abandoned subdivision. It was here they and their friends would play and dream – where the grasses grew tall with brightly colored wildflowers painting the landscape and the groves of trees provided a magical oasis. Little did they know this place was meant to be built up with houses, one next to the other, and just how lucky they were the economic crisis of the 1930’s had stalled these plans. This enchanting place, where their imaginations could run wild, would remain unchanged for the rest of their childhood.
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Xeric prairies are a natural plant community that can be found all over Wisconsin and other varying topographies.  Although these communities, which are dominated by grasses rather than trees, may seem dry and ordinary, they have fascinating soil attributes that allow these dry prairies to retain a significant amount of water that helps them be productive plants.  When talking about plant communities, prairie is a very general term. It would be like describing all of Milwaukee as a city - yes it's a city, but there are also areas of the city (North side, East side, and South side) and also neighborhoods (Silver City Neighborhood, Washington Park Neighborhood, Riverside Park Neighborhood) that make the city so unique.  To extend this…
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Friday, 15 November 2013
I recently read Matt Flower’s awesome post entitled “The Beauty of Fall Trees” where readers got a great overview of the magic of fall colors.  After reading his post and looking at his stunning photos, I got excited to do a “piggy-back post” about the science behind autumn colors.  Read on to find out more about what changes trees undergo in the fall: why do leaves turn colors? How do they change color?  Why do individual trees change to certain colors while others change to a completely different color?
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
As the seasons change from autumn to winter, my field work tapers off and I spend most of time behind a computer, analyzing data and determining what can be accomplished the following field season. During this period our bird walks become my favorite time of the week. The walks give me some personal time to identify with nature be outside. However it isn’t the birds I enjoy the most, it’s the other discoveries. I like finding the overlooked, under-appreciated things that just seem beautiful and you can't really explain why. This week, my favorite find came while I was on a bird walk in the Menomonee Valley.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 08 November 2013
Thirteen year-old VeAndre chuckles as he recalls his first experience at the Urban Ecology Center so many years ago. “I remember I was 7 years old and scared to go out on the canoe because I thought I’d fall in the water or something,” VeAndre reflects. Now, six years later, he proudly states that he loves canoeing and being active outdoors. Enthusiastically participating in programs at the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park branch has allowed VeAndre to explore his passions and grow both professionally and personally.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Friday, 08 November 2013
Change, real change takes time. Today, we are three branches, 224 acres and 3,000 plus members strong. But we didn’t start off here. It took commitment. It took community. It took resources. It took me. It took you.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 08 November 2013
That big bright grin of Donald’s might seem familiar to you... he and his family were featured earlier this year in a blog article that explained how the Urban Ecology Center’s scholarship program makes membership benefits accessible for families like his that do not have the means to contribute financially.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 07 November 2013
Jada has blossomed through her participation in the Young Scientists Club at the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park branch. Before becoming involved, Jada was shy and reluctant to present ideas and projects in front of others. Now, eleven year-old Jada has radically improved her social skills as she actively engages with others in research projects and conferences.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 06 November 2013
Margaret Rozga is a poet, playwright, and along with her late husband James Groppi, a leader in Milwaukee's civil rights movement. Her poems have been featured in many journals, and her recent work 200 Nights and One Day earned a bronze medal in poetry from the Independent Publishers Book Awards and was named an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry by the Wisconsin Library Association. This poem is taken from her forthcoming book Justice   Freedom   Herbs. We are excited to have her speak at our Menomonee Valley branch on November 12th.

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