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Story of a Young Scientist

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Thursday, 28 February 2019
Story of a Young Scientist

Because of your support, our next generation of environmental scientists is growing. Up and out the door at 6 a.m., Analiese is ready to dive into the latest Community Science research project at the Urban Ecology Center! It’s not how you’d expect an 11-year-old might start her day. But for Analiese, walking a few doors down to the UEC at daybreak was a weekly routine during the summer of 2018.

Ana’s involvement with the Center began when her grandma first brought her to the Menomonee Valley branch for the Young Scientist Club. “I really felt this good vibe. It was somewhere I could be myself, and I felt safe there. I just kinda clicked with it,” she explains. “After going to the Urban Ecology Center, I realized how powerful nature is and all the great things it has to provide us.”

Lucky for us, Ana decided to stay and her adventures with the Young Scientist Club led to a deeper fascination with Community Science. Jennifer Callaghan, Research & Community Science Coordinator, was totally impressed. “Ana’s curiosity, commitment, and intelligence have led her to contribute meaningfully to many of the Center’s research and community science projects. Whether it’s helping collect data for a bat survey at 10:00 p.m. or entering information into a tricky database after a 6:00 a.m. small mammal survey, Ana’s helpfulness and sense of adventure lend well to field ecology. Her joyful spirit is infectious and every time I have an interaction with her, I leave feeling a little happier.”

Analiese helping feed a turtle.

Analiese helping take care of a resident turtle in the Menomonee Valley animal room

Today, Ana helps share all she has learned with those around her. “Now I teach my family: that’s switch grass, that’s a yellow finch, that’s a house sparrow. My parents are actually very proud of it and so surprised at how much I’ve grown.” And she loves helping other kids learn about monarch butterflies, migration, hibernation, and how plants grow. In her opinion, “the UEC is a place you can see that TV is not the best thing. Maybe it’s nature!”

It’s no surprise that Glenna Holstein, Menomonee Valley Urban Ecology Center Branch Manager, says, “Ana is definitely an honorary member of the Menomonee Valley team, and none of us will be surprised if she’s running this place someday!” We believe it Ana!

Learn more about the Young Scientist Club here!

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