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Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Mike Larson
Tuesday, 29 October 2019
Of all my childhood experiences, waking up before sunrise to go fishing with my grandfather still holds a vivid place in my memory. My grandparents would pick me up from my house and take me up to Chetek, WI to go fishing for a week-long trip. We would stay at a humble fishing resort and I would share a pull out bed with my cousins who lay sleeping soundly while I quietly rose and put on warm clothes to go out alone on the boat with my grandpa. I always wanted to fish for northern pike or some other monstrous fish, and my grandpa would humor me and let me just keep casting over and over until I grew bored,…
Written by Ashley Alred
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Cool September mornings on the prairie are ripe with beauty and activity: grasses towering, swaying overhead in the light autumn breeze, goldenrod with its tiny intricate blossoms, and asters popping in vibrant hues of purple, white, and blue. Insects busily soak up the last fruits of fall before winter’s frost. Meanwhile, boisterous high school sophomores rush up and down the paths winding through the prairie, combing the grasses and flowers with giant sweep nets in search of insects. This peaceful prairie teeming with diverse plant and insect life—nestled in the heart of urban Milwaukee—has become an outdoor classroom for teenagers embarking on an important school project.
Written by Tory Bahe
Thursday, 17 October 2019
I stopped to talk to Carol, the Tuesday afternoon receptionist at Riverside Park, on my way in from teaching. Carol is so lovely; I’ve really enjoyed getting know her over the years via a mutual love of reading and traveling, and I always look forward to our Tuesday chats. Today she offered to lend me a great book she’d just finished and I told her about the snake I’d found on a hike this afternoon. After I returned to my office, the phone started ringing.
Written by Davita Flowers-Shanklin
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
We are so excited for fall in the Volunteer Department, not just because we get a lot of awesome fall volunteers, but because fall means it is almost time for the Volunteer Appreciation Party! We spend the fall reflecting on the past year as an organization, and we especially love to think about how truly amazing our Volunteers are. As many of you know, the Urban Ecology Center was started by a group of volunteers and because of this, volunteers are integrated into every part of what we do. We have volunteers helping by leading programs, be with school groups or with research and community scientists. Volunteers help on our land by picking up trash, planting native species, mulching trails,…
Written by Erin Ganzke
Monday, 30 September 2019
Autumn is here and so is the craving for new fall decorations! My grandmother and I share a love for crafting and taking on as many DIY (do-it-yourself) projects as we can. We especially enjoy projects involving the changing seasons and nature because we are always trying to bring nature inside to bring life into our homes and to our projects. In today’s world, it is easy to get wrapped up in the purchasing of new autumn decorations at the store every year because you have an autumn fever, but keep in mind that a materialistic mindset does not support a sustainable lifestyle.
Written by Lynn Anders
Thursday, 12 September 2019
Autumn is knocking, summer vacations are in the rearview mirror and we are preparing for the school year ahead and our Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP) for schools. While students are thinking about homework and teachers are creating lesson plans, we are in full-gear preparing for tons of outdoor experiences, nature play and educational fun! Excitement for new connections NEEP is a partnership program. We partner with schools within a 2-mile radius of our branches to provide multiple field trips per year. Students have multiple trips, sometimes for multiple years, to learn in and connect to the land in the green spaces we use as “outdoor classrooms.” In addition, our Educators work closely with teachers to ensure that our programming…
Written by Margaret Siebers
Tuesday, 27 August 2019
This summer, my family had an opportunity to go camping at Rock Island state park in Door County, WI. This was a level up for us because, to date, we had always done car camping. Rock Island does not allow cars or have any sort of store on the island to replenish supplies (read: snacks). You bring all supplies with you on a ferry. Then cart everything, including your young children, to the campsite, which is located about a half mile from the boat launch.
Written by Beth Heller
Thursday, 22 August 2019
As Milwaukee’s urban ecosystem fills with the energy brought by more sunlight, blossoming plants and wildlife, the Urban Ecology Center overflows with people looking to enjoy the outdoors. How do we handle this great opportunity? With outstanding summer interns! This year 28 interns spent 12 weeks exploring their dreams and ambitions while they worked to connect people to nature and each other.
Written by Jackie Gonzalez
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
I started my position as a Visitor Services Specialist for the Menomonee Valley branch about four months ago. One of the best parts of my job is not only having the opportunity to use my first language, Spanish, but also to help my community connect, or in many cases reconnect, with nature and the environment. It also gave me the ability to start that re-connection that my family has with nature and with Milwaukee ecology specifically.
Written by Guest Blogger
Friday, 02 August 2019
I have always been interested in the unique physiology and behavior of our local avian friends; however, my internship this summer with the UEC has further sparked my interest in their migratory patterns. As one of the Community Science and Research Interns, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Door County for the annual Bioblitz. This event consists of several passionate scientists from around the state meeting and conducting biological surveys for an area of interest- basically a bunch of nerds doing what they love. As a part of this, I had the chance to participate in bird banding.

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