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Our Water: Milwaukee's Mirror

Written by Antonio Garcia
    Tuesday, 06 March 2018
Our Water: Milwaukee's Mirror

Just for a moment, try to think back to your first fond memory around water.

What were you doing? Who were you with? What did that experience mean to you as you grew older?

Our memories and stories - especially those around water - help shape us as individuals, families and as a people. Just as the water sustains us; the way we treat and respect (or disrespect) the waters in return reflect back on us as a people - like a mirror, revealing parts of our Milwaukee story.

Each day at the Urban Ecology Center, youth, adults, and families strengthen their memories around water by exploring urban nature and most importantly, by having fun. And each day throughout our city, individuals and groups dedicate themselves to protecting our natural urban areas and learning through our waters - which is one of the reasons I am so proud to consider Milwaukee home.

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As part of our learning process as a community, it is important to share welcoming spaces for community members and experts alike in telling stories and provide learning opportunities to you, our Milwaukee community.

Which is why this year, as part of a community science initiative, the Urban Ecology Center is excited to welcome you to an event series focused on sharing stories around water and learning more about the beauties of, as well as concerns facing our three rivers, Lake Michigan, and our communities - Our Water: Milwaukee’s Mirror. At least once a month, from March to September, we will host artists, scientists, historians and leaders in our Milwaukee community to share in their self/community-expression, scientific research, historical perspectives and present insights on pressing water issues.

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We've started this all-new series off on an exciting note: the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra dropped by our Riverside Park branch for a performance exploring the interaction of sound, music, and water. In April, join us for a special discussion of the documentary "The Worth of Water: A Great Lakes Story", an extraordinary journey to raise awareness for an essential element of life: water. As we approach the summer, our May focus will be on water-specific Community Science opportunities that you and your family can participate in. We will learn from experts from the School of Freshwater Sciences at UW-Milwaukee who make it their mission to try to understand the mysterious world underneath the surface of the water - from the small world of macro-invertebrates to lake-wide threats from invasive species. In June, we will look into the history of Milwaukee as a city built by the water and how our reliance on water shaped Milwaukee into what we see today - hearing from historians and inviting you to join in voices through a spoken word open mic.

As you think of your own waterside memories, we hope you, your family, and our Milwaukee youth alike have the chance to create many more, and share in the excitement of caring for our waters as they care for us.

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Photos: Sarina Ryals

Antonio Garcia

Antonio Garcia

Tony Garcia is a conservationist, science educator and water enthusiast. He was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and continually tries to find ways to explore the city with fresh perspectives.

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