The Greatest Gift

Written by Ken Leinbach
    Monday, 17 November 2014
The Greatest Gift

Hi, it’s me, Ken! I’m thinking about what to give to the special people in my life during this giving season. Should I give them an Urban Ecology Center gift membership? A Center t-shirt? Or maybe a day outdoors in the snow? Hmm, perhaps I should ask around. "What does the fox say?"

This question sparked my imagination. I wrote a story in which I asked the fox for gift ideas and she in turn asked her friends. An awesome illustrator, Aaron Boyd, turned my story into the comic linked below. As a bonus, you can download it and use it to wrap a special gift (the full-sized comic is 11"x17"). You can also pick up a copy at any of our branches.

Comic written by Ken Leinbach and illustrated by Aaron Boyd

Who knew a fox, squirrel, bat, frog, dragonfly, turtle and humming bird could have such great gift giving advice?

Need more ideas? Check out the list below.


($12 - $25) We have short and long sleeve t-shirts for adults and short sleeve t-shirts for kids. They're great for dancing and flipping, just watch!

They wrap up nicely in the full-sized version of the comic (we made the video below to show you how).

Stop by our Riverside Park branch to pick up a t-shirt.

Urban Ecology Center Gift Membership

($35 individual/$45 family) By giving a Gift Membership you're not just giving someone access to all of our great equipment like skiis and snowshoes, you're helping our community learn about science, sustainability and nature. Whether they are paying a reduced fee for a cooking class or borrowing a canoe for a 3-day trip, they will receive the benefit of your gift all year long. Click here to give an Urban Ecology Center Gift Membership.

Ski and Snowshoe Gift Certificates

(any amount, fees range from $10-$30 per program) Cure cabin fever — give a gift certificate in any amount towards one of our ski or snowshoe programs this winter. We have a wide variety of classes and trips for beginners through advanced skiers/snowshoers. Click here to order your downloadable certificate or visit any of our branches to pick one up in person.

Summer Camp Certificates

(any amount, fees range from $100-$300 per camp) Do you know a kid who would like to spend time out in nature this summer? Give them a gift certificate to Summer Camp! The Urban Ecology Center has camps for kids in grades K4 - 12. Certificates in any amount will be applied towards the child's camp fees. For more information or to give a certificate, contact Shameka Tyler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gift of an Outdoor Experience

(Free) With over 200 combined acres, Riverside Park, Washington Park, Three Bridges Park and the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum all have unique areas to explore for free! Borrow one of our field guides and try to identify the bugs, birds, trees and animals you see in the natural areas around our branches or in any Milwaukee County Park. Create your own "coupon book" filled with outdoor explorations.

A Donation in Honor or Memory

(any amount) Celebrate someone's life by making a donation in their name to the Urban Ecology Center. Click here for details.

So, "what does the fox say?" She says give a gift that supports the Urban Ecology Center! I hope you are inspired to give a gift that gets your friends and relatives (and you too!) outdoors.

We encourage supporting local Milwaukee businesses whenever you can. But, if the perfect gift just can’t be found locally then it’s still possible to support the Center through Amazon Smile. Follow these instructions and designate the Urban Ecology Center as the recipient of a small contribution when you make purchases on smile.amazon.com.

Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach is a nationally recognized science educator and leader in community-based environmental education. From a trailer in a high-crime city park, Ken has had fun facilitating the grassroots effort to create and grow the Urban Ecology Center which is the topic of his first book.

Striving to live with as little environmental impact as possible, Ken lives in the community in which he works and, not owning a car, commutes by bike, unicycle, roller blades, and occasionally even by kayak on the Milwaukee River.



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!