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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Ken Leinbach
Thursday, 30 May 2013
"Who would have thought just a decade ago, when we were still in our double-wide trailer, that our "Milwaukee Idea" of solving a social problem in a park with kids' education and the magical connection to nature would have the kind of national impact we are experiencing today? I certainly never did, but I am humbled and proud to represent Milwaukee and our simple yet profound idea. And isn't it cool that this idea evolved here in a Midwest industrial town? This is not Portland, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, Boston or New York. Somehow this adds credibility to our story."
Written by Aaron Zeleske
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
One vital component of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum is the development of trails that are sustainable and universally accessible. This past summer, Milwaukee County repaved some of the historic trails in Riverside Park originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1893. When the Arboretum is complete there will be a network of universally accessible trails near the Urban Ecology Center that will, for the first time, allow those in a wheelchair to independently navigate the park and even the river bank! Emanating from these paved paths in either direction are gravel paths that an ambitious wheelchair user can explore.
Written by Aaron Zeleske
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
In May 2012, the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project applied for a grant of $1.2 million from the Wisconsin Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.  Administered by the Department of Natural Resources, the Knowles-Nelson program makes funding available for conservation of wildlife habitat and access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Thursday, 23 May 2013
The Urban Ecology Center's Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP) is wrapping up it's 13th school year! And our first year at our Menomonee Valley branch. That's 13 years of kids connecting with frogs, birds, turtles, the land, science and each other.  
Written by Terrance Davis
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Fishing with children is an activity that will never go out of style. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush you get when there is a fish on your line and you are wrestling to reel him in. Once that fish is out of the water flipping and spinning at the end of your pole you feel like a true fisherman. It is definitely an accomplishment. I feel this way because I have seen the look of achievement on so many faces after catching a fish. Once you get past the initial "yuck" and "no ways" when hooking worms, you see a light turn on inside of them as they realize this sport can actually be fun... until you have…
Written by Jennifer Callaghan
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
The Green Birding Challenge is a friendly birding event to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMDB) and raise money for Community Science programming at the Urban Ecology Center. We had 12 teams compete in four categories (walking, sitting, biking, and a mini-challenge). Teams recorded 112 species of birds and raised over $4800. This year, 10 Young Scientists from Washington and Riverside Park participated in the mini-challenge! Winners received trophies and experiential trips (canoe trip, hawk-watching trip, etc.) and the team with the fewest birds found received a free trip with the research team to work on bird identification skills.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Monday, 20 May 2013
By now, I think most of you know that the Urban Ecology Center now has a branch in the Menomonee Valley! What you may or may not know is that Menomonee Valley branch is just one piece of a larger project, called “From the Ground Up,” which is a combined effort the Urban Ecology Center, the Menomonee Valley Partners, the City , the State, and many others. This summer, we are putting into motion the final piece in the From the Ground Up project: on July 20th (save the date!) we are opening at brand new 24 acre park, next to the Center on a former brownfield site.
Written by Kara Baldwin
Friday, 17 May 2013
On the first day of “I Spy…Birds!” Camp, the campers arrived excited for a fun week of camp. Some were thrilled about the prospect of spending a whole week learning about and searching for birds.  Others were just excited to be at the Urban Ecology Center.  And some were skeptical and needed some convincing that birds were worthy of being studied for a whole week of their summer.  The skepticism was short-lived, however, as they received their binoculars and started paging through their new bird field guides (which were theirs to keep, thanks to funding from the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology and discounted binoculars through Eagle Optics.)
Written by Mike Larson
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
When I was in college, I took a course on physical geography as part of my general education requirements. Our course textbook covered various unique and interesting natural areas in the United States ranging from the canyon lands of Utah to the limestone caves of Kentucky, and we learned about the specific geographic confluences that formed these natural wonders. One day my classmates and I were bemused to find that we were studying glacial features in the exotic locale of Southeastern Wisconsin. Having lived in the area most of my life, I never really thought of kettles, eskers, moraines, and drumlins as being anything particularly special, but apparently, these features that formed as giant sheets of ice retreated across the…
Written by Phenology Team
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Every new day in May brings out plants and critters that re-emerge after their winter absence. Warmer temperatures and longer days allow plants to re-emerge from soil and leaves and flowers to burst forth from trees. These provide food for insects, which are food for frogs, birds and mammals and so on.  Here are some things to look for outside in May.

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