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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Anne Reis
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
What do Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin and our summer interns have in common? They are CommunityScientists! A Community Scientist is someone who engages in the research process in a non-academic setting. People are often surprised to learn that anyone can participate in our research projects, regardless of their age, background or previous experience. All you need is a passion for the natural environment. Community Science volunteers at the Center work with bats, birds, bugs, frogs and toads, small mammals, snakes, turtles, insects, plants and more!
Written by Willie Karidis
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
I have been working here at Washington Park for three years now and I must say that they have been three of the most memorable years of my life! I've had the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people — our staff, volunteers and community members — as we continue to grow the Washington Park branch into a wonderful destination for all of Milwaukee. Each day we learn a little bit more about the park and the community. And each day we are connecting kids and families to nature. I never think of our work as a job. It is a way of life with priceless benefits measured in kindness, awareness and "aha" moments.
Written by Lainet Garcia-Rivera
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Along with Community Program Educator Sam Huenink, I had the pleasure of accompanying the Center’s High School Outdoor Leaders on a trip to the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming. I can attest that it was an amazing trip, full of learning and exploration, but I’ll let Patrick, one of our high school participants explain the rest.  Read on for Patrick McLinden's reflection.
Written by Beth Heller
Monday, 26 August 2013
It’s finally ready and YOU are invited to celebrate a beautiful new public gem: The Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum opens on September 28th, 2013! The journey leading up to this event has been rich with energy, dedication, challenges and vision. Glimpses of this vision began in the early 1990s when a group of neighbors imagined what it would be like to transform Riverside Park into a safer, ecologically robust outdoor classroom. They formed Friends of Riverside Park, which later evolved into the Urban Ecology Center. New park surveys and attendance records now show that within the last year there have been over 125,000 visits from students, families, adults and neighbors to the 15 acres of Riverside Park. The arboretum adds 25 acres…
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.

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