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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Jose Basaldua
Friday, 06 November 2020
It is that time of the year when the trees and other plants change the pigments in their leaves. The reds, yellows, and oranges (no, not the fruit) make the outdoors like a painting. On top of that, the temperatures are starting to take a dip into the chilly end of the weather pool. Don’t get me started on the snow. Let us push that back as much as possible for now. One weather phenomena that still sticks around throughout the entire year is rain.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 02 November 2020
Have you noticed that the leaves have changed into brighter colors then you remember them being in the past? If you haven’t, go take a walk outside and see what you think about the leaf color. The reason that some years the colors of leaves seem brighter than others is because of the temperature and cloud cover. For the leaves to get bright, they need several warm sunny days followed by nights where it does not freeze. If this happens continually then it will be a good year for reds and bright leaves.
Written by Olivia Raasch
Wednesday, 21 October 2020
These snacks are spooky… but their ingredients aren’t! Six healthy, easy to make treats that both kids and grownups can enjoy. These creepy-crawly creations may not bite... but you certainly will! October is the perfect time for all things that wriggle, slither and crawl. Whether it be a fun addition to your kid’s lunch box, or a frightening prank on your family and friends, these snacks are a great way to celebrate the spooky season.
Written by Mike Larson
Thursday, 15 October 2020
As part of our annual HKE MKE event this past month, I had the opportunity to lead a Ten Mile Hike along the west and east bank of the Milwaukee River, throughout the Milwaukee River Greenway corridor and into 11 different county parks. We saw fall flowers in full bloom, leaves just starting to turn red, salmon anglers sharing the river with migrating waterfowl, and even a small herd of deer not 30 yards from the trail in Estabrook Park. It was an amazing hike, and I would invite you to try it for yourself sometime. Before you go, be prepared! I’m sharing our Ten Tips for a Ten Mile Hike that you can use for your next urban adventure.
Written by Maggie Steinhauer
Thursday, 01 October 2020
Just a couple of weeks ago, as the sun was setting on one of our last warm September evenings, the air was filled with large, erratically flying creatures. I was driving along a side street in Shorewood and yard after yard was enchanted by the incredible swarms of dragonflies clouding the already-dim sky. Being the dragonfly nut that I am, a wave of great appreciation for the gift of this moment washed over me, and I wondered if the neighbors chatting a few houses down or the kids playing next to the street noticed it too.
Written by Ethan Bott
Wednesday, 02 September 2020
Back in June, the Urban Ecology Center challenged you to help document signs of summer using the free mobile phone app, iNaturalist, to record and submit wildlife and plant sightings to an international dataset. And wow – there were over 600 summertime observations that were submitted! With your help, 59 species were identified, which nearly met our total summertime challenge species goal! Some species of plants that evaded documentation were the Prairie Spiderwort and the Yellow Coneflower. On the wildlife list, both the Common Yellowthroat and the Dekay’s Brownsnake were left undocumented.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 31 August 2020
When we think of fall, we begin to dream of pumpkins, apple orchards, and pumpkin spice lattes. While these are exciting things to look forward to, fall also brings on an exciting event that you can witness from your backyard's comfort. Fall migration in Wisconsin can begin as early as August and will continue through December. The first birds to kick off migration are swallows and purple martins. Birds move to where there are more resources, such as food and nesting locations. Insect availability drops as temperatures cool, and other food sources become scarce as the plant life decays.
Written by Laura Wolske
Thursday, 27 August 2020
As you are socially distancing, working from home, and trying to plan a wedding, you might find yourself retreating to the outdoors for some much needed zen during this difficult time. Why not return the favor? Help Mother Nature by looking into some sustainable event decor that decreases waste and your carbon footprint! We have gathered a resource list of eco-friendly wedding décor crafts that you can easily do at home while saving you money and a little bit of sanity. Check them out!
Written by Ethan Bott
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
While springtime has long ago passed and with social distancing and mask wearing highly recommended, the Urban Ecology Center is excited to announce our first ever Fall Backyard Birding Blitz on Saturday, September 12th! As the birds start their journey back down south to warmer places for the winter, that means that they will be stopping by in Milwaukee and in cities and places from around the country. Come join us in observing and documenting the beautiful birds as they migrate south. Similar to the Green Birding Challenge in spring, some of the rules will sound familiar – you can choose between one of three challenges where you will try to record as many different species of birds as possible…
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Monday, 17 August 2020
Moths are known for their beauty and curious attraction to light. These alluring creatures often are overlooked when compared to their close relative, the butterfly. There are a total of 835 species of butterflies in North America. While this number may seem high, it does not compare to the 12,000 total number of moth species in North America alone. Worldwide, there is a whopping total of 160,000 species of moth. For butterflies, there are only 17,500 species worldwide.

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