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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Tim Vargo
Thursday, 22 August 2013
We know there are bats in Riverside Park. Hike a trail at dusk and you may see a Big Brown Bat fly overhead or even hear a few chirps if a bat is closing in on its prey. Because of their nocturnal aerial habits, bats make very difficult study subjects. But recent technological advances are allowing us more detailed glimpses into the habits and distribution of Wisconsin’s bats, including those in Riverside Park.
Written by Jeff Veglahn
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
This month, I’m going to share some insight on one invasive species that is plaguing the Menomonee Valley. Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea biebersteinii) was introduced to the Northwestern United States around 1890 from Europe and Asia and now is found in 48 of 50 states.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Wednesday, 07 August 2013
Our executive director Ken Leinbach often says “many hands make light work.” This was certainly the case over the course of this past April. With the help of 400 Kohl’s associates who participated in the Kohl’s National Go Green Event we were able to accomplish more work in one month than we could have even imagined.
Written by Anne Reis
Tuesday, 06 August 2013
Lichens are the ultimate example of collaboration in the natural world. If you're not familiar with this group of organisms, perhaps this joke will clue you in: Why did the fungus and the algae get married? Answer: They took a lichen to each other! If you've heard this joke before, you're probably groaning and rolling your eyes. If you haven't, I hope you're intrigued.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
I biked in to work in an absolutely fabulous mood. No particular reason, just enjoying life. So I'm riding along lost in my thoughts, meditating in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way on a friend who is depressed. If he could just find his passion, I thought, or a new passion then maybe it would bring purpose to his life. There seems to be a definite connection between purpose and passion. Perhaps the meaning of life is to find one's purpose and that one finds purpose through exploring one's passions ... Hmmm. Suddenly another "P" word came to mind, presence.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Monday, 15 July 2013
The Common Green Darner (Anax junius) is a lovely migratory dragonfly that visits Wisconsin from April through September. This native invertebrate is Wisconsin's most common large dragonfly. The male has a bright bluish-green abdomen and is sexually dimorphic from the female whose abdomen ranges from brick-red to bluish gray. They have four gossamer wings, heavy thoraxes and are about the size of hummingbirds. They are extraordinary fliers; flying forward, backward, while mating and even while laying eggs! Their flight is so incredible that aeronautic scientists have studied them to better understand flight physics.
Written by Allie Rolandi
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Upon the creation of Milwaukee’s first Park Commission in 1889, among the first projects undertaken were the construction of Lake Park, River Park (today known as Riverside Park) and Newberry Boulevard, which served as a connection between the two. In an effort to bring prestige and order to these new landmarks, the Commission hired famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, to head up the project.
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!

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