Summer Camp in the City

Written by Maddie Bird
    Thursday, 09 July 2015
Summer Camp in the City

Summer Camps have started at the Center, and what a start it was! The Urban Ecology Center became a few decibels louder as campers ages four to fourteen arrived to learn about nature in the city. It was amazing to hear and see as young minds were awoken by the engaging activities in their camps. Even more amazing, the camps at the Center take place in the heart of the city, allowing kids to experience Summer Camp without leaving Milwaukee!

My job this past week was to shadow some of the camps, take pictures, and learn about the Summer Camp experience here at the Center. I expected to simply be tagging along and photographing from the background, but I found myself having just as much fun with the activities as the campers!

On Wednesday, I joined the I Spy…Birds! camp at our Washington Park branch to band and release birds for research. This meant helping to set up nets to catch the birds, watching the professional and volunteer scientists record their information and place bands on them, and finally, releasing the birds back into the wild! 

DSC 0370.low
Manager of Research and Community Science Tim Vargo demonstrates bird banding to campers while they use their bird guides to identify the one he’s holding. Photo: Maddie Bird

I also had the opportunity to travel to the Menomonee Valley branch to take pictures of the Outdoor Detectives camp while they collected invertebrate samples from the Menomonee River and hiked through Three Bridges Park. Campers learned about macro invertebrates, played games, and then hiked down to the river for some hands-on research. They captured the tiny water creatures using nets, and then observed them using tools such as magnifying glasses, eyedroppers, and petri dishes. 

DSC 0868.low
Campers using tools to observe the macro invertebrates they caught in the river. Photo: Maddie Bird

The Washington Park Trailblazers camp had the youngest campers of any program I shadowed last week. These kids were between the ages of five and six, and were just discovering the wonders of nature. They spent some of their time catching and observing invertebrates from the Washington Park lagoon, but I had the most fun playing hide and seek with them! They discovered a natural hideout inside a bush next to the water, and called it their “secret fort.” 

DSC 0555.low
The Trailblazers inside their secret fort. Photo: Maddie Bird

Watching kids from the city explore nature and learn about the environment was an awesome experience for me. I loved the looks of wonder and excitement on campers' faces as they released birds for the first time, climbed trees, explored the forest, or made new animal friends! Giving urban kids a chance to explore nature without leaving the city is an invaluable service provided by the Urban Ecology Center, and I am grateful to be able to witness the impact it has on our summer campers. 

Maddie Bird

Maddie Bird

Maddie Bird is our summer marketing intern, and will be covering events at the Center during our busiest season. Maddie grew up in Milwaukee, and is currently a business student studying Marketing at Temple University in Philadelphia. She has a passion for nature, and is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to learn about and promote all of the ways the Urban Ecology Center enriches the community through ecological education and research. In her spare time Maddie loves to bike, explore, and take photographs.


Email Sign-Up


* indicates required
Which Emails would you like to receive?

Connect Now

facebook instagram 2018 2 twitter linkedin

Get Involved

Become a member today!

Copyright © 2022 The Urban Ecology Center