The Center That Never Rests

Written by Maddie Bird
    Tuesday, 30 June 2015
The Center That Never Rests

My first month as an Urban Ecology Center intern is in the books, and while I already feel totally at home here, I still have a lot to learn about the everyday happenings at the Center.

Last week there was a brief lull in activity for myself and the other interns; our official training sessions had ended, and most of the interns were working on refining their lesson plans for the coming Summer Camps they would be assisting with. I used the quiet week to explore some of the activities that happen at the Center every day, all year long.

On Tuesday morning, I joined the land stewards and the ROOT volunteers who assist them in the everyday maintenance of the public green spaces we manage. I chatted with the volunteers, some of whom have been working here at the Center for years! Others had a bit less experience, and one person was volunteering for the very first time. One thing they all shared was incredible positivity and excitement for their work. They spent the morning clipping seed heads off of an invasive grass species in order to prevent the plants from spreading further into the park. 

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ROOT Volunteers working in Riverside Park

On Wednesday, I went to open climb on the rock wall at the Riverside Park branch. This activity may become a weekly one for me, as I loved watching the climbers fearlessly scramble to the top of the tower. The participants at the open climb I attended were a family, three brothers and their sister. They were all seasoned climbers; two of them made it to the top, and the sister made it to the top twice! Even the youngest, at only three years old, attacked the wall with gusto and climbed until he realized that he could swing from the belay rope. After that, climbing seemed a bit less exciting than swinging!

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Siblings participating in Open Climb at Riverside Park

To cap off the week, I tagged along with Mike Zeigler from our Community Programs team as he led the annual Lumberjack Paddle and Brunch. We put our kayaks and canoes into the Milwaukee River at Glendale’s Kletzsch Park, then paddled all the way down to Hubbard Park in Shorewood for a hearty lumberjack breakfast! The paddle took just long enough for everyone to have developed a healthy appetite by the time we reached our destination. The unlimited flapjacks, hash browns, and made-to-order omelets served at Hubbard Park Lodge were a well-deserved reward at the end of our journey. 

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Lumberjack Paddle and Brunch participants in Hubbard Park

After this week’s “quiet lull” I have a better understanding of why the Urban Ecology Center is always so busy! People are coming and going all the time, contributing to the organization in all kinds of meaningful ways through volunteering, program participation, or just exploring the buildings and the parks. I can’t wait to participate in more of the Urban Ecology Center’s everyday programs and activities!

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.


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