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Expanding Our Reach

Written by Ken Leinbach
    Tuesday, 24 April 2018
Expanding Our Reach

“Hello Urban Ecology Center! I am excited to apply to your Intensive workshop. I live in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, and have begun running environmental education programs in one of the parks. I read your book, and think the Intensive is just the training I need in order to use our current resources to create further impact, serve more schools, and educate all people to understand the importance of Environmental Eduction. We are inspired by what you have done!” — Elena

You may already know about Urban Ecology, the book I wrote last year about our story that I hoped would inspire others to take action in their own cities. But did you know that the book was only the beginning of our overall vision for change?

In July, we’re beginning our exciting next step. We are hosting a 4-day Intensive workshop designed to inspire and train folks in other cities to replicate our work. Like the book, it is a strategic initiative to help us respond to the numerous requests we receive about our work and Elena was our very first applicant. She found us through a Cornell University Online class, where we were highlighted as a positive model for urban environmental education.

Intensive header

Why is it important to bring people to Milwaukee? In addition to wanting to show off our home city, much of our work revolves around having a sense of place. Our model is founded on understanding and nurturing our place – people, land, water, plants and wildlife. Bringing folks to Milwaukee provides them with the opportunity to see our model in action. They witness the interconnectedness of people, program and the natural environment and consider what it would look like in their own communities or “places”.

With training, I believe this model can be implemented in any city in the world. As the back cover of our book states: 

There is a quiet experiment in Milwaukee that is turning heads. It’s a story of a group of ordinary people in an ordinary neighborhood who created something quite extraordinary. It starts with getting a city kid to explore their neighborhood park and has the power to transform a city. It’s remarkable. It’s contagious. And it works as a catalyst for social change. 

As a supporter of the Urban Ecology Center you are a part of this change.

Intensive Fun

We’ll be welcoming the first cohort of Intensive attendees this July 23 – 27. To delight our guests during their time in Milwaukee, we are seeking help from people like YOU! We’re embracing the “many hands make light work” philosophy here.

First, we are still accepting applicants to the Intensive until May 15. Think of your network. Maybe you know someone in another city who would be interested in what we do. Please share the Intensive’s website with them: www.urbanecologycenter.org/intensive

Second, we would love to knock their socks off with our hometown Milwaukee hospitality. Do you have a favorite restaurant, summer concert, or Milwaukee landmark you think our guests should experience? Might you be able to offer a ride to the airport? Or, maybe you’re not sure how to help but have time that week or before to support aspects of the Intensive as it develops. Contact Megan Andrews-Sharer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to volunteer.

For those not able to go to the Intensive, my own efforts to spread the word about the UEC model include speaking and keynoting at conferences and events. If you have connections to conference planners please feel free to share my new website with them: www.kenleinbach.com

It is exciting to see our impacts in Milwaukee earning international attention! From the beginning of the Urban Ecology Center, our growth has been accelerated by our amazing community here in town. We can all take pride in this. Thank you!

Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach

Ken is a nationally recognized educator and leader in community-based environmental education. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center. With his contagious energy, Ken speaks on a number of topics including: urban education, community organizing, environmental issues, finding abundance, the power of story, sustainable design, the need for "near-by" nature, leadership, fundraising, and green living. Ken holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Antioch College in Ohio, a Masters degree in Environmental Education from Prescott College in Arizona and received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Milwaukee Instituted of Art and Design.

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