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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 18 February 2013
Moments before 7am on a cold Tuesday morning, Jaimie Cloud, an education for sustainability expert from New York, and I dashed up the steps of Carmen High School. We were greeted by an enthusiastic math teacher and student and guided to the classroom. There, very professional looking students anxiously prepared to share their projects with us. These students spent the previous three weeks learning about sustainability: economic, ecological and equitable understandings of the world around them. They were charged with researching, analyzing and visualizing a project that improved the sustainability of their school.
Written by Ken Leinbach
Monday, 18 February 2013
Ok, I’ll admit it. When Pieter Godfrey discussed the idea of converting the land he wished to donate into a unique ecosystem of trees … he and I had only a vague notion of what exactly an arboretum was. My instinct in calling it an Arboretum instead of a park was less biologic and more practical - a marketing tool. The name had the panache to attract attention and hopefully the support needed for the ambitious project of tearing down an old factory and reclaiming the worn industrial land into public green space. When the marketing plan started to work, and support started to pour in, it became evident that understanding the term Arboretum was important.
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Friday, 15 February 2013
Old Plank Farm is in its fifth year as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm offering sustainably grown produce, eggs and poultry to the Milwaukee area. The farm is located on 25 acres in Sheboygan County in the town of Plymouth. Stephanie Bartel owns and operates Old Plank Farm. Prior to beginning this farm five years ago, she worked for several years at a neighboring CSA, Springdale Farm. With her excellent crew of interns, Stephanie is excited to be able to provide CSA boxes for nearly 200 families this coming season. She lives and works at her 25 acre farm year round, taking care of the laying flocks in the winter, and endlessly reading and studying ways to improve her…
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Friday, 15 February 2013
Stems Cut Flowers is a sustainably managed, fresh-cut flower farm specializing in green weddings and a seasonal flower CSA. Providing members with an eco-friendly and socially responsible alternative when choosing fresh flowers. As owner and operator Emily Watson said “I graduated from UW Madison with a degree in tree hugging (also known as Biological Aspects of Conservation)  which landed me a job with a commercial landscaping company and eventually led to a job in the floral industry. There were parts of both jobs that I absolutely loved. But I was uncomfortable with environmental practices that go on within both of these industries. I could not in good conscience continue to be part of it. So I started a business partly…
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Friday, 15 February 2013
JenEhr Family Farm has been offering CSA shares for 15 years along with sales at farmers markets, to natural food cooperatives and area restaurants. As Wisconsin natives and growing up on farms, owners Paul Ehrhardt and Kay Jensen understand the soil and infrastructure needs in growing healthy organic produce year round. Everything in their CSA share is grown at the farm, from early summer strawberries and blueberries to late fall broccoli and spinach. Using early season hoop houses, deep well irrigation and complimented with an incredible farm crew, JenEhr offers organic, sustainable and nutritious produce from April to December with informative weekly email newsletters. Every pickup site is staffed by someone from the farm to answer any questions about the…
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Friday, 15 February 2013
Steve Levsen, his wife Andrea and their three children are the family who founded and run Stoney Meadow Farm. Their organically-grown produce flourishes on more than 10 acres. With a combined 50+ years of farming experience, they grow a wonderful, carefully chosen variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs picked within hours of making their way into your kitchen. Some of the distinguishing features of Stoney Meadow include: 16 week peak season CSA Farm share program, extended season share option as well, accommodating members’ vacations, not using black plastic on their crops, focusing on education and nutrition, offering a weekly newsletter/blog, farm tour and picnic, and various payment options.
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Thursday, 14 February 2013
The Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized, woodland hawk native to Wisconsin. This common accipiter is lanky in appearance, with a large head, long tail and narrow, straight-edged wings.  
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Willoway Farm consists of young couple Daniel Bertram and Jacqueline Fulcomer, who have 14 years of organic farming experience. Wisconsin raised Dan and New Jersey raised Jacqui met in Whitefish, Montana one winter. In Whitefish, Jacqui spent five growing seasons working at an organic farm called Purple Frog Gardens. They moved to Wisconsin in 2004 and both attended the Garden Student Program at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin for six months. The program covered everything from market gardening, to organic pest and disease management. Being a garden student gave them a sense of direction and provided them with many organic, permaculture and biodynamic resources.
Written by Caitlin Reinartz
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
One beautiful and interesting native Wisconsin tree which will, like more than 70 other native tree species, be planted as a part of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project is Carpinus caroliniana or musclewood. Musclewood is a relatively small, slow-growing, and short-lived tree which usually grows in the understory of our mixed-hardwood forests. The foliage, bark, and fruits are important food for lots of different songbirds, as well as squirrels, grouse, turkeys, foxes, cottontails, and beavers.
Written by Phenology Team
Sunday, 10 February 2013
Water. Simply put: it sustains life. Humans can live without it for only three days before perishing. Its unique properties allow an insect to walk on top of it and a pelican to dive through it. It drives weather and moderates local conditions (cooler by the lake). Because water is so integrated in earth's systems, it makes a great phenological tool, particularly in winter when it takes the form of snow and ice as you will see in this month's phenology blog entries:

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