Giving Thanks

Written by Glenna Holstein
    Thursday, 01 November 2012

I really enjoy Thanksgiving, because it’s a whole day set aside for one of my favorite feelings — gratitude. I’d like to get a head start on giving thanks this year, because there is so much to be grateful for around here!


Ever since we began the adventure of opening the Menomonee Valley branch, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and kindness of so many of you in the Urban Ecology Center family (a family that grows every day!). It’s incredible how often I get to hear: “I’d like to give _____ to the Center.” And “____” has been anything from a post-hole-digger to a baby milk snake to extraordinary offers of volunteered time and financial support. I am humbled by the generosity of our community, which reflects a deep commitment to the work we are doing. As I said at our Grand Opening, these moments remind me that the Center itself is really just like the frame of the mosaic that hangs at Menomonee Valley. The place provides structure, but the energy, talents, dedication, creativity and generosity of each one of you — which allow us collectively to “heal the land, and have the land heal us,”—are the beautiful mosaic pieces.

There is no way that I can sufficiently thank you all in one newsletter article, but I want you to know how really grateful we are for everyone’s support. Your gifts are already enabling wonderful things to happen! An energetic crew of Young Scientists is out exploring our park, learning how to tag migrating monarchs and extract honey from honeycomb. Students from eight new schools are getting hands-on science experiences in our newest outdoor classroom. Adults who have never explored the Menomonee River are discovering the joy of watching a great blue heron take flight. And as people are drawn together here, new voices are being added to our community and new relationships are being built. It’s pretty amazing!

A friend of mine says that it’s always best to “begin and end in gratitude.” This is a wonderful practice both for everyday life and for us as an organization. So, as we continue starting up at Menomonee Valley, and as I reflect on how thankful I am for the support and generosity of each of you, I’m happy to say that here in the Valley we are definitely “beginning in gratitude.” Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving!


Glenna Holstein

Glenna Holstein

Glenna grew up a mile up the river from the Riverside Park, so the Urban Ecology Center has always been important to her. Her studies and work have taken her all over the hemisphere, but her home has always been right here in Milwaukee. As Menomonee Valley Branch Manager, she is delighted to be part of the team that is working to connect a new community to the nature in their neighborhood. Her favorite things to do include hiking, exploring, cooking, singing, building forts, and trying to convince children that cockleburs are really baby porcupines!


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