Milwaukee Urban Ecology Blog

Written by Erin Whitney
Monday, 04 May 2020
Let's get ready for those warmer afternoons and make your own sidewalk chalk! I enjoy the plaster of Paris recipe best because I can keep the chalk I don’t use for next time, but this chalk paint recipe is pretty neat too! Haga clic aquí para encontrar esta información en español. Translated by Angélica Sánchez Mora.
Written by Ethan Bott
Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Co-authored by Jeff Veglahn. Recently in early April, Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward at our Menomonee Valley Branch, spotted a bumble bee flying around and was able to capture an incredible video of it landing on a willow to feed.  This interaction may seem common enough, but after careful identification of the bee, the video became more exciting than initially thought! What was captured on film was actually a Two-spotted Queen Bumble bee which is one of about twenty bumble bee species in Wisconsin. This was the first recorded sighting of a queen bumble bee of any kind in Milwaukee County this year and one of the very first in the state for this year.
Written by Danny Pirtle
Sunday, 26 April 2020
At the Urban Ecology Center, education is a cornerstone of our work, our mission, and our impact on the city of Milwaukee. We strive to use education as a tool to form deeper connections with the natural world around us. So as you might imagine, it was a little jarring for me when I realized that I had inadvertently been sharing misinformation when educating the public about one of our resident turtles, Marty. This is a story of a case of mistaken identity. A few weeks ago, I posted a video introducing the world to Marty.
Written by Glenna Holstein
Thursday, 23 April 2020
As we hope you’ve seen, the Urban Ecology Center has been putting together lots of great resources for you to create your own “UEC in My Backyard” –if you haven’t had a chance to explore those activities yet, definitely check them out! But today, I want to bring the UEC right into your living room!  We have a really amazing art show up at our Menomonee Valley branch, and I was so sad thinking of that beautiful art hanging there with no one to look at it that I thought I’d bring it to you! 
Written by Annie Ela
Thursday, 23 April 2020
I don’t know about you, but sitting still has been hard for me these days, even though it’s the first chance in a while I’ve had the time to do so. If you have the time and space too, why not use it to slow down, watch spring emerge, and reflect on the ways life has changed? I know, I know, easier said than done. The best way I’ve found to do this so far? Keeping a journal.
Written by Alex LaBonte
Tuesday, 21 April 2020
Co-authored by Madeline Karian. Just because we’re stuck inside doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Here are five easy ways that you can celebrate the Earth with your children: Plant some easy to grow herbs like basil, cilantro or mint. Put soil into a planting pot and keep the seeds on your windowsill or in a sunny spot. Don’t forget to water them every day! If you don’t have a planting pot, you can use an old milk jug cut in half or plastic juice jug. In a few weeks you’ll have fresh herbs to incorporate into your next meal.
Written by Drew Vandegrift
Monday, 13 April 2020
Spring is a time of returning sunshine, new beginnings, and getting our gardens started! While we're enjoying getting outside and preparing gardens now more than ever, we know it's important to be mindful of the critters who have been overwintering in this space. Here's some insight on spring gardening in harmony with native wildlife and plants from Urban Ecology Center Assistant Land Steward Drew Vandegrift.
Written by Davita Flowers-Shanklin
Friday, 10 April 2020
It's hard to believe that Earth Day is right around the corner. In some ways it feels like March was years ago and that we had so much time until Earth Day. When I look back before the "Safer at Home" state order was issued, we at the Urban Ecology Center were gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day through our Earth Day of Service event. We were excited to partner with Milwaukee Riverkeeper for their 25th annual Spring River Cleanup, partner with organizations and businesses in our communities to work on projects in our parks, to partner with neighbors and schools to come together to clean up our community and celebrate the earth.
Written by Davita Flowers-Shanklin
Friday, 10 April 2020
Did you know that Earth Day started 50 years ago by Wisconsin's very own Sen. Gaylord Nelson? It's true! Originally, Earth Day was called the National Environmental Teach-in. The goal was to have a national day of ecological observance in order to mobilize public sentiment towards environmental issues and to positively impact future ecological decisions. Sen. Nelson based his idea around the teach-ins taking place all over the country around the Vietnam War. He hoped that students around the country would want to hold events on the same day to help grab the attention of news outlets and most importantly, lawmakers in Washington DC.
Written by Urban Ecology Center
Tuesday, 07 April 2020
As Environmental Educator Regina Miller was taking a quiet morning walk in a local park recently, she looked around and most of the forest world looked brown and gray. The colors of winter are still all around even though it is spring. Soon, however, Regina began to see peeks of bright green here and there on the forest floor and it made me smile.


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