Earth Day? Earth Month!

Written by Beth Heller
    Tuesday, 04 March 2014
Earth Day? Earth Month!

For 44 years Earth Day has been celebrated around the world on April 22nd as a day to protect, steward and learn about the earth. It’s one of our favorite holidays at the Urban Ecology Center, but we always have too much earth-celebrating enthusiasm for one day. It has caused a bit of a dilemma for us — do we spend the day educating others about our fascinating planet or plan a day of service so you can dig into the dirt? Do we create programs about water or take you out in a canoe to experience it? We want to do it all and one 24-hour day is just not enough. So, we’re declaring April to be Earth Month at the Urban Ecology Center!

 This year we (or rather, you) get to do it all; canoeing, digging in dirt, eating great food and discovering new things about the earth.

Visit our Earth Month page to learn about the activities we have planned

With a whole month in mind at our three locations, we needed a plan! For that we turned to our set of 10 environmental issues — established with input from constituents, board and staff — that we use to help guide our activities. Each branch chose one of these issues to feature in their programming. At our Riverside Park branch we’re exploring water and how it connects all life. At our Washington Park branch we will be discovering food choices that can be found locally. At our Menomonee Valley branch we will get up and moving as we begin healthy living habits that are good for you and the earth. Here are some details to help you plan your “Earth Month.”

Riverside Park theme: Water

Learn basic hydrology in our Naturalist Skills course, reduce your water usage by following a few simple tips from our professional plumbers, then get out on the water and help Milwaukee Riverkeeper Clean-up by Canoe.

Washington Park theme: Food

We love food, especially if we can find it in the park itself. In March we’ll be tapping trees and boiling the sap down to syrup. Taste the fresh maple syrup, created from our own trees at our Pancake Breakfast. Families with toddlers will learn how to grow their own gardens at our Fun with Food program.

Menomonee Valley theme: Healthy Living

Get up and get out! One of the essential parts of a healthy lifestyle is activity. Get moving with our Zumba and Martial Arts classes. You could come for a walk then stay to “Dig it, Plant it, Grow it” with our land stewardship team.

Our Earth Month culminates with a city-wide, all-hands Earth Day of Service! Our Earth Day service opportunities are a kick-off to warm season volunteering because, as Volunteer Program Manager Meghan Jones says, “One day just isn’t enough to capture all the energy and interest Milwaukeeans have in getting outside and making a difference.”

Join us on April 26th as hundreds of grandparents, parents, children, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors come together to make a difference in our urban natural areas. While many of our volunteers help with outdoor physical activities, they also provide advice, serve as a resource for visitors, support administrative efforts and more.

We invite you to share your time, talents and advice with us, for not just Earth Day but rather Earth Month and beyond. Come join us!

Beth Heller

Beth Heller

Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning, Beth received her Masters in Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee in 2005, where she received the Outstanding Business Plan award for a plan to launch a branch of the Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park. She graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in 1994 with a B.A. degree in Biology and Education. Beth began working at the Urban Ecology Center in 2000 to combine her love of the city with her appreciation of nature. Beth loves to sail, bike, sing and hike.

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