Force for Good

Written by Ken Leinbach
    Thursday, 10 November 2016
Force for Good

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the Urban Ecology Center is like Star Wars. Wait, I know this sounds like a stretch, but stay with me. One of the underlying themes of Star Wars is that when diverse people come together for the greater good they can create world altering change. Tapping into the diversity of natural and community life here in Milwaukee, the Urban Ecology Center is creating “world altering” change, neighborhood by neighborhood. And we get the excitement of working locally now, not “a long time ago” and “far, far away.”

I bet you’re wondering why Star Wars was on my mind at all. Well…

We’ve had some pretty unique donations but it’s going to be tough to top a Jedi lightsaber! When a seven-year-old heard that the Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center keeps a lightsaber on the wall behind his desk his eyes lit up. But when he heard that it was red (the color of Darth Vader’s lightsaber), he was determined to change that. That is how I ended up finding a brand new green lightsaber on my desk. “It’s the color Luke Skywalker had,” the boy said and smiled.

And that’s when it hit me. From his own frame of reference, this seven-year-old was sharing what the Urban Ecology Center meant to him — a powerful force for good. For us, this good is daring to redefine what it means to be out in nature and in the city. We’re restoring the land and connecting people in our communities. And all because of your help! Together we are sharing so much life!

Many thanks to all of you in our diverse, energetic community who help us continue to be a force for good. Specifically, I’d like to thank our Board of Directors (Jedi Counsel) who help create our vision, our contributing members (um, maybe the Galactic Senate ... no, that’s not right) who support our programs and our volunteers (Rebel Alliance, sort of) who provide hands-on help.

Ok, so the Urban Ecology Center isn’t exactly like Star Wars. But you have to admit that if our supporters and volunteers were working in one of their cities, it would be a whole lot greener and full of life.

May the force be with you this holiday season.

Photo Credit: Anna Aragon
Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach is a nationally recognized science educator and leader in community-based environmental education. From a trailer in a high-crime city park, Ken has had fun facilitating the grassroots effort to create and grow the Urban Ecology Center which is the topic of his first book.

Striving to live with as little environmental impact as possible, Ken lives in the community in which he works and, not owning a car, commutes by bike, unicycle, roller blades, and occasionally even by kayak on the Milwaukee River.


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