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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Joel Springsteen
Tuesday, 09 July 2013
This is the first in a series featuring the natural communities of Wisconsin. A natural community is a distinct and recurring group of interacting populations of microorganisms, fungi, plants, and animals and their physical environment. Because of our unique geographic location at the crossroads of several major ecosystems and the wide variation in soil type, temperature range, and moisture availability across the state, Wisconsin has a diverse mosaic of over seventy different natural communities. Southern Mesic Forest, the first natural community we will highlight, was once the most common natural community in Milwaukee County.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Tuesday, 09 July 2013
Before we launch into detail about our Summer Paddling Series, a word on perspective: “Successful education has the power to make the world strange again. Without any stake in the places where we live, we walk through days in which there are trees but no tree in particular, we drive along roads that could be anywhere, never registering the mountains to the east and lake to the west that determined, in fact, exactly where that route would run. Such casual familiarity is the opposite of intimacy and attentiveness.” - environmental studies professor John Elder
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 08 July 2013
We're looking for youth ages 7-13 years old who are interested in science and nature, love learning and playing outside, and enjoy asking questions and discovering answers. The subject for our team's important project? You might recognize them as a kind of striped catepilar, but to scientists they're monarch larvae!
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Friday, 05 July 2013
From the Ground Up is an effort to improve job accessibility, science education, environmental and public health, and neighborhood vitality in the Menomonee Valley. It is a story of partnership, creative solutions, and profound impact.
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Thursday, 04 July 2013
What good is an idea if it resides only in the isolation of one mind? Ideas that are shared and nurtured are those ideas that grow, become contagious, and bring about change. I believe that all ideas are valuable, even the ones that seem crazy at first. Diversity is essential for healthy, thriving, natural systems. Heterogeneity, not homogeneity, of ideas breeds innovation.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Wednesday, 03 July 2013
We are thrilled to announce that on Saturday, July 20th, Three Bridges Park will open in the Menomonee Valley! I can't wait to help you explore this 24-acre brownfield-turned-greenspace! This park marks the fourth and final piece in the "From the Ground Up" campaign, a joint effort of the Center, the Menomonee Valley Partners, the City of Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin and many corporate and individual donors to revitalize the Valley and reconnect it to surrounding communities. As the land is healed, the community can become more vibrant.
Written by Erick Anderson
Tuesday, 02 July 2013
It has been a huge year for the Young Scientists Club at Washington Park. Reflecting on it all, I can't even believe we've accomplished so much in such a short period of time! Longtime member Donald Harris did his best attempt to summarize exactly what we do in our club in a quote found later in this post. As I try to summarize it myself, I'm not even sure where to begin. What began as a way to engage drop-in kids at Washington Park has evolved into a dynamic, multi-faceted educational and recreational program that I'm proud to be a part of. I'll summarize for you a few of its many highlights over the past 12 months. This past summer,…
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 01 July 2013
With the addition of 25 acres of land along the Milwaukee River and Oak Leaf Trail to the existing 15 acres of restored natural lands of Riverside Park, we are gearing up for adventures and exploration of our new 40-acre Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. You are invited to join in the fun through our new volunteer docent program. This training will prepare you to lead other nature and outdoor enthusiasts in learning about the Arboretum.
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:

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