It Takes a Community to Put on a Great Summer Camp!

Written by Matt Flower
    Friday, 30 October 2015
I Spy...Birds! camp, sponsored by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology I Spy...Birds! camp, sponsored by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology

Despite my bias, I can honestly say that the Urban Ecology Center puts together a summer camp experience that even the most pristine and remote wilderness camp could never provide. One consistent comment parents and kids say about our summer camps is that we always do something fun and different every day in ways that showcase our great city.

Milwaukee is a vibrant urban landscape with many gems waiting to be uncovered and part of our summer camp experience is to uncover those gems. We still provide a healthy dose of outdoor exploration, of course, but I think we offer aspects that might surprise you. They are an incredible mix of fun, fascination, adventure, exploration and opportunity.

It’s that last word, opportunity, which I’d like to focus on. Just look at the list of people, nonprofits and businesses that donated either time, goods, services or financial support specifically for our 2015 summer camps.

Anonymous (2)
A and C Live Bait Shop
Melanie Ariens, Milwaukee Water Commons
Ayco Charitable Foundation
Todd Berens
Thomas Callan
Kevin A. Carr
Barbara A. Connolly-Blick
Ananda Deacon
Discovery World
Janet Eggie
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Fondy Food Market
Gloria & Steven Foster
Greater Milwaukee Foundation -
    Children’s Experiential Opps Fund
Sam Guyton, Generation Z
Eva Hagenhofer
Laura Herzog
David Johnson
Jorgensen Family Fund
JPMorgan Chase Bank
Ken Knetzger
MaryBeth Kressin
La Lune Collection
Lakeshore State Park
David LesStrang
Priscilla Y. Lietz
Helen L. Loewi

Robert Matthias
Mary E. McAndrews
Sandra McLellan
Sarah Minella
Dave Mueller, Hunger Task Force Fish Hatchery
Mary Louise Mussoline
Milwaukee County Parks
Milwaukee Public Libraries
Mitchell Park Domes
Steve Morse
Murray Hill Pottery
Jake Newborn
Our Daily Salt
Geoffrey Pearson
Pinehold Gardens
Planet Bead
Gene & Ruth Posner Foundation, Inc.
Rockwell Automation
Shorewood Public Library
George T. Stone
Carolyn Sweers
UW-Milwaukee Art Department
UW-Milwaukee Planetarium
Weiss Family Foundation
Whole Foods Market
Wisconsin Bike Fed
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Wisconsin Dragonfly Society
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology

The gifts these folks provided led to fun experiences such as fishing, biking, cooking, pottery, drawing, building, painting, photography, astronomy, gardening, music and memories that will last a lifetime.

Seeing them listed here makes me realize how fortunate I am to work for an organization that forms partnerships with such caring, talented and generous supporters. So to those listed, thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you recognize a name above, let them know you support the Urban Ecology Center, too.

I suppose you can say that healthy living is what keeps a community vibrant. Together we offer that in many important ways for kids and their families — teaching them life-long skills to keep them active, outside and having fun. I absolutely love teaching summer camps and now you know why.

Photo Credit: Maddie Bird
Matt Flower

Matt Flower

Environmental Educator Matt Flower joined the Urban Ecology Center in 2006.  Matt received his Naturalist training at Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg, Wisconsin and was an Educator and Land Manager at Neighborhood House’s Nature Center. He is married with two young children. Matt’s interests include birds, wild edibles, trees, winter ecology and, most of all, teaching kids how to explore wild spaces and make nature come alive. For Matt, a smile is worth a thousand words. He finds it empowering to work with people who love what they do.


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