More Change is Yet to Come

Written by Terrance Davis
    Saturday, 31 October 2015
More Change is Yet to Come

I have seen many changes at the Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park since I started working here in March of 2012. When I began we operated out of only one-third of the building and were just dreaming of all the programs, rental space and activities we provide if we could use the whole building. Thanks to a lot of hard work and an amazing partnership with the Milwaukee County Parks Department, we now lease the entire building. That one change led to a whole series of other positive changes.

One immediate change was moving our main entrance from the big classroom to the newly named Lagoon Room. We have so much more space to welcome people of the community and connect them to the parts of nature they love, as well as help the people engage in some recreational activities that they may not otherwise ever get to participate in.

Now that we have the whole building to work with, we would like to make it a little more green -- like our other two locations. Some examples are those nice toilets that don’t use so much water when you flush them. Or those neat windows that trap heat in the winter and lets the heat out in the summer. Although we have some solar panels it would be nice to have more so we would use even less energy. With the help of our community, I am pretty sure that we will come up with lots of cool ways to make this happen.

Our whole community has helped us make plans for the future. We had community planning meetings where people from the neighborhood came in and shared ideas about programs they thought we should make available. Also how they thought the building should look. One idea was an enclosed boat storage so that members can launch canoes and kayaks straight from the building. Another was a two story slide because the slides are like the ones at Menomonee Valley and Riverside Park. A program idea was a job readiness workshops to show people how to prepare resumes and fill out job applications so that people who live work and in the area can take full advantage of any employment opportunities that may come their way.

As we reviewed the comments, I even saw my name mentioned by someone saying how they loved to be greeted by me when they enter the building. Of course I was thrilled to see this, but I was also reminded of the many people who have put a lot of time and effort into these projects. I felt humbled and grateful to be a part of this work.

I grew up in the Washington Park Neighborhood so it’s good for me, as an adult, to see so many opportunities for kids that were not available for me as a child. These children learn so much through these programs. This encourages us to make the programs the best we possibly can. The better the program, the better the end results. All of us can truly say we are proud of the progress we have made so far to the building and our programming. But keep your eyes open because more change is yet to come!

Photo Credit: Maddie Bird
Terrance Davis

Terrance Davis

Terrance Davis is the Visitor Services Specialist at our Washington Park Branch. He takes a special interest in this area because he grew up in the neighborhood on 37th & Lloyd. Terrance's affection for the area is demonstrated each day with his attention to the neighborhood children and families. The work he has done with MPS and Choice schools across the city brings him much pride. With his daughters being his main motivation, Terrance strives to make positive changes in the community.


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