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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Guest Blogger
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Once upon a time there was a ‘double wide’ parked under a tree in a corner of Riverside Park near the high school.  It was an ‘office’ and classroom meeting space.  What was it called? “Riverside Urban Ecology Center” and it housed a staff of 1 and ½, both part time.   A board made up of highly dedicated community people had been working toward the goal of establishing such a center and called on the science staff at the high school to be among the first consultants.
Written by Anne Reis
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
The Galapagos Finches were crucial to Darwin’s understanding of natural selection and evolution, but did you know that evolutionary scientists have been studying a more common and locally distributed species for over a century? Learn more about the extraordinary importance of this ordinary bird as we screen the film Ordinary Extraordinary Junco.
Written by Guest Blogger
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Here at the Urban Ecology Center, we're celebrating the Earth all month long with different events, activities and programs that highlight earth-related themes. This week, let's focus on our Riverside Park branch theme, WATER. Not only are we excited about this topic, but two of our amazing volunteers also wanted to get in on the action.  Two volunteers, Andrew and Patricia, took on their own water-themed experiement over the past week to see just how water conscious they could be!  Each volunteer tracked their shower water consumption and wrote about their experience. Read on to get some interesting insight on what they discovered!
Written by Guest Blogger
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Here at the Urban Ecology Center, we're celebrating the Earth all month long with different events, activities and programs that highlight earth-related themes. This week, let's focus on our Riverside Park branch theme, WATER. Not only are we excited about this topic, but two of our amazing volunteers also wanted to get in on the action.  Two volunteers, Andrew and Patricia, took on their own water-themed experiement over the past week to see just how water conscious they could be!  You've already read Andrew's take on this experiment, so read on to get some interesting insight on what Patricia discovered!
Written by Anne Reis
Monday, 14 April 2014
Spring migration is one of the Research and Community Science Team's favorite times of year. For the fourth year in a row, we are hosting our Green Birding Challenge (GBC), the Team's signature annual fundraiser! Do you enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or biking, or just sitting and listening to the sounds of nature? If so, this year's GBC, held on Saturday, May 10th, is the event for you! Get out your walking shoes, dust off your lawnchair or pump up your bike tires and participate in a little competitive birding. Register a team for one of our four challenges: stationary birding, birding on foot, birding by bike, or a mini-challenge. Your participation will help us celebrate International Migratory Bird…
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 09 April 2014
Since we've declared April to be Earth Month, we're celebrating different earth-related themes all month long. This week, let's take a look at our Washington Park branch theme, FOOD.  Because who doesn't love food?  Read on for a fun perspective on Learning Gardens from Washington Park's branch manager, Willie. Additionally, Erick, Washington Park's Community Program Coordinator, provides some foolproof tips and tricks for how YOU can start up and maintain your own garden at home!  
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 02 April 2014
Our Washington Park branch manager, Willie Karidis is leading an eco-travel trip to Alaska in September. Since he is there visiting friends right now he created this little video inviting you to come with him in September. Doesn't it look great?  
Written by Lesley Sheridan
Wednesday, 02 April 2014
I'm very excited to introduce a new series of classes for adults and teens at the Center's Riverside Park branch – The Naturalist Skills Series! These classes are designed to guide observant and inquisitive folks in deepening their understanding of ecological concepts, especially those that are prominent here in Riverside Park. Each month from April through September this learning community will engage in discussions, activities, and observations of a different ecological topic.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Monday, 24 March 2014
Having grown up in Florida, there are some things in the Midwest that are just hard for me to fathom, like the immensity and complexity of Lake Michigan or brutal winters that last from November to April. Another fantastical oddity is a little creature known as the snow flea. When I moved to Wisconsin, I told some friends about bioluminescent critters back home that glow in the dark waters of the Gulf during certain times of the year. They didn't believe me, which is exactly how I felt the first time I heard about snow fleas. I pictured giant fleas hopping heavily on the snow, biting people's ankles as they walked through the woods. I imagined dogs scratching madly as the…
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Thursday, 20 March 2014
The story of lesser celandine (also known as fig buttercup or pilewort) is the classic story of an invasive species.  Native to Europe, northern Africa, western Asia, and Siberia, it was brought to the United States as an ornamental plant.  While here, this species found that it had a huge competitive advantage and it took over.  In Cleveland, Ohio, lesser celandine was planted in flower beds of (just) two residences in the 1970s.  It escaped the confines of those two yards, and less than 40 years later, it had taken over nearly 300 acres of parkland along the Rocky River, with 183 of those acres having lesser celandine cover of more than 50% (that means that lesser celandine covered more…

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