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Willie Karidis

Willie Karidis

Willie Karidis was born and raised in Milwaukee then took off for Denali National Park, Alaska, spending 25 years enjoying the wilderness of the Big Country. Gold mining in the bush, roofing in the Aleutian Islands and discovering the furthest inland whale in North American history were adventurous days. Working as the Executive Director of the Denali Education Center for 16 years was a time of wonderful exploration. 

Monday, 05 November 2018 15:09

The Great Alaska Adventure

Nothing prepared me for the first time I went to Alaska. Mountains everywhere, turquoise blue rivers, friendly people and yes, a seemingly unending expanse of wilderness that captured my heart and changed the way I viewed the world. It is a true pleasure to be able to share the best of Alaska with all of you. My friends from Premier Alaska Tours and the Denali Education Center, both Alaska owned and operated, will be our hosts for the eight-night, nine-day experience. Our visit will include some of my favorite adventures including a trip from Anchorage to Seward on the iconic Alaska Railroad, a boat tour into magical Kenai Fjords National Park and a bus ride all the way to Eielson Visitor Center deep into the wilderness of Denali National Park.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:36

Join us in Alaska!

I've just returned from spending 18 days in Alaska visiting a variety of destinations including Denali National Park and Preserve. I'm really excited to lead another Great Alaska Adventure from September 4 through the 13th, 2014. The Urban Ecology Center has put together a wonderful opportunity for friends of the Center to experience Alaska unlike any other tourist can. The reason I love going on this trip is one, autumn is the most beautiful time of the year, and two, I am able to show you some of my favorite spots in the world. I hope you can join us for this amazing trip of a lifetime.

 

It was the kind of adventure that inspired unbridled cheers as well as quite moments of awestruck reflection. A week-long trip in Alaska has that effect on people.

The Urban Ecology Center led its second Great Alaska Adventure this past September and this year we’re doing it again. The camaraderie displayed by our participants was truly inspiring and we looked forward to each day and savored moments wishing they would never end.

Saturday, 26 October 2013 08:21

What’s Happening at Washington Park

With the big events that have been happening in Riverside Park and in the Menomonee Valley, it’s easy to lose track of the fantastic things happening at Washington Park. To catch everyone up, I thought it best to check in with some of the folks who are helping to make it all happen.

Tim Vargo, bird magnet and Manager of Research and Community Science, had this to say about a wonderful tradition he leads every Wednesday morning:

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:25

Why are You Here?

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.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:36

Washington Park Wins MANDI Award!

This past March both our Menomonee Valley and Washington Park branches were nominated as finalists for a MANDI Award! WOW!

Fantastic! Wait, what’s a MANDI?
The Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) recognize efforts of those working to ensure Milwaukee’s central city is a great place to live, learn, work and grow.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 13:23

Reflections on Alaska

In September the Urban Ecology Center will be taking our second trip to visit the greatland, Alaska.  Last year my wife Christine and I were fortunate to guide a trip, which we called The Great Alaska Adventure, with 44 Urban Ecology Center members and friends. Having lived in Alaska, on the border of Denali National Park, for 25 years, my memories run deep and my experiences were varied. After growing up in Wisconsin I feel like I was shaped into who I am today, literally in the backcountry of Denali.

Friday, 21 December 2012 16:40

Nature Prescription Video - Episode 4

We’re prescribing outdoor activities to help you connect to nature in Milwaukee! Check out Episode 4 of our Nature Prescriptions video series with Willie Karidis, Branch Manager of Washington Park Branch.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 00:16

The Great Alaska Adventure 2013!

“Taking this trip to Alaska was the best thing that I’d ever done for myself.”
- Mia Kuether, participant, 2012 Great Alaska Adventure

“From the famous owl’s nest from the movie Into The Wild, to swimming moose, a lonely grizzly, beaver entering his mansion, magnificent clear view of Denali, outstanding meals, our naturalist Nan’s wisdom, delightful people and so much more in one adventure....it was awesome!”
- Ellen Boettcher and Pat Cochran, participants, 2012 Great Alaska Adventure

This past September my wife Christine and I led 45 Urban Ecology Center members to our former home and showed them a slice of what makes Alaska magical. It was so much fun, we are doing it again!

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:39

Steady Change

It’s fascinating to watch the place where you work become transformed. The progress can take on many forms -- slow as molasses, steady as an Ornate Box Turtle or fast and furious. No matter at what speed you are moving, visitors inevitably come in and comment, “Wow, it looks so different!” or “You all have been doing so much work!” However, when you are caught up in the day to day, it’s sometimes hard to see the change -- “smell the roses” as it were, along your journey. It was a comment from a regular visitor that caused me to step back and really take a look at what we’ve accomplished.

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Sunday, November 17th

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

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Riverside Park

Monday, November 18th

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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