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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
For Steve Young and Debra Jo Becker of Rare Earth Farm in Belgium, Wisconsin, “farming isn't something you do when you feel like it- it's a lifestyle.” The pair, who described themselves as a couple of happily married farmers, have over twenty years of experience growing crops and caring for the land. According to Debra Jo, “if you don't care for your soil first it almost isn't worth bothering to care for your crops- especially over the long-term.”
Written by Chad Thomack
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Ah yes, nothing like the crispness of a cold winter day! The fresh cold air in my lungs wakes up the mind and body. Silently I ski across a bluff over looking Lake Michigan in the glow of a winter moon as my dog runs next to me. I pause for a moment to take in complete silence; I feel as though I am in the deep woods of northern Wisconsin but am only a few miles from downtown Milwaukee.
Written by Beth Heller
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
"...the crisp, prehistoric roar of thousands of cranes filled our ears and our heads so fully that we almost needed ear plugs. Their wild calls resonated in our lungs, bones and hearts." As I’ve, ahem, matured, I’ve noticed that memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes I remember things from years ago as though they happened just moments ago. Sometimes things that happened yesterday are as foggy as if they happened years ago. Today, I’m excited to share something that happened years ago, but I can recall it as if it just happened.
Written by Terrance Davis
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Having started my new position as the Visitor Services Assistant in November, I have been fortunate to observe the daily branch activities here in Washington Park. My conclusion... The Washington Park Urban Ecology Center fills me with happiness each day! There are so many things that fill me with joy, and I certainly had a huge smile on my face when I was asked to write this article. But nothing prompts a smile faster than the smile of another person. It’s contagious. Just ask my friends and co-workers at the Urban Ecology Center; they will confirm that I keep a smile on my face all the time. There are so many people to thank for this: members, volunteers, visitors, staff…
Written by Jamie Ferschinger
Monday, 18 February 2013
When I was in college I took a year-long course titled Water 211. Before taking the class, I had a fairly average depth of knowledge and relationship with water: I consumed water, I used water, and I knew the basics about water. But beyond that, I didn’t give it much additional thought. Upon completion of the class my deep, and somewhat nerdy, fascination with water had blossomed. Water is truly amazing! Second to no other molecule, in my book.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Monday, 18 February 2013
I am not a parent, so I can’t claim to know what the highs and lows of parenthood might be, but I imagine one of the most incredible experiences must be to witness the transition from not being into being: to have in your life, all of a sudden, a wonderful living thing that wasn’t there at all before. I got to experience that a little bit the other day at the Menomonee Valley branch.
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…

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