Let's make the UEC Intensive an Unforgettable Experience

Written by Ken Leinbach
    Friday, 14 June 2019
Let's make the UEC Intensive an Unforgettable Experience

Imagine a place where folks of all ages can get outside and explore nature near their home every day of every season of every year of their life. Everyone can join together in this endeavor – at a neighborhood ecology and community center in a nearby park; a center whose purpose is to facilitate child-adult interaction, heal the land, promote outdoor play, and educate and inspire people to understand and value nature as motivation for positive change.

That's the model we use and teach at the Urban Ecology Center. Folks from around the world are learning how to apply this model in their cities, neighborhoods and urban land.

The Urban Ecology Center’s 4-day Intensive Workshop is designed to help bring this model to other kids, parks, cities, and the world. Last year, we hosted the Inaugural Intensive workshop with four countries and ten cities represented. You really stepped up to help the attendees feel welcome. Please consider helping us give this year's attendees the same kind of warm, Milwaukee hospitality. Click here to discover ways you can help.

It has been exciting to see how much has evolved in many of these cities over the past year.

Julie Ulrich, Program Director of Nature in Cities for the Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, was part of last year’s cohort. Julie noted, “There’s nothing like being here in person.” She added that the co-learning with people from around the world creates “allies” in thinking about community and ecology. All of these people inspire one another, contributing in their own neighborhoods, whether in Atlanta, Mexico, or Israel!

The participants who joined us from Trees Atlanta completed a major shift in their work as a result of their learnings from the workshop. In less than a year’s time, the organization raised $3 million toward a new Urban Ecology Center initiative in Atlanta.

1Dana with the group

Last year's participants celebrating the co-learning continuing even after returning home

In Israel, the group that joined us last summer has begun partnering with an existing school to implement urban ecology center style programs. Unused land belonging to the school will be transformed into outdoor classrooms, including gardens for green career education. Gur, who has been leading the project, came back to Milwaukee just a few weeks ago to share about his progress: “We have the vision. We’ll have a new Urban Ecology Center in Tiberias. It’s not a copy-paste, but it will be something for the benefit of our region, which is the region of the Sea of Galilee, all the people that are living in Tiberias, in the north part of Israel.”

In July, we are holding the Intensive workshop again. This year’s applicants are coming from both the states and abroad. It will be a smaller, but equally dynamic group of leaders. The learning all will gain from each other will be the most rewarding.

Any chance you have any free time to help us host and make this year’s Intensive workshop an unforgettable Milwaukee experience? Between July 21st and 27th you can help by:

  • offering rides to and from the airport;
  • donate berries and veggies from your garden (let us know what types of produce you will contribute so that we can plan to include them in the meals);
  • volunteer with us to set up and serve meals!

For more details about any of these opportunities, please contact Megan Andrews-Sharer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We hope you will join us in helping others connect people in cities to nature and each other!

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.


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