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Member Highlight: Anushka Fonseka

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Monday, 14 February 2022
Member Highlight: Anushka Fonseka

Before becoming a member of the UEC during the winter of 2020, Anushka Fonseka had lived in Indiana for 9 years. “I’m new to Milwaukee, so I was looking for outdoor things and how to get involved in the community.” Shortly after moving here, he decided to become a member after it was suggested by his friend and UEC staff member Victoria Bahe.

He said that the Urban Ecology Center has been a great welcome to Milwaukee. “I really have enjoyed meeting all UEC employees, they are really friendly and welcoming, especially to someone from the outside, you know, coming from Indiana moving here, and also somebody from a minority group coming from a South Asian background. I feel out of the place most of the time, but I haven’t felt that way at the Urban Ecology Center.”

00B1A93E DCDA 4096 8855 DE998AE14540 1 201 aAnushka has always been very active playing sports like softball, volleyball, soccer, and cricket whenever he gets the chance. He has also recently found a new sport to practice, “Since I moved to Milwaukee, I’ve realized it’s such a bike-friendly community, so I do a lot of cycling when the weather is warm. I like to go by the lakefront and ride on the Oak Leaf Trail and explore other trails as well.” 

Marveling at how much harsher the winters can be here with colder temperatures and lots more snow, Anushka was glad to be a UEC member so he could learn how to get outside and properly enjoy them! This winter, he participated in two cross country skiing Pop-Up Excursions which he said were some of his favorite memories of his time in Milwaukee. Laughing, he explained, “One of them was the one at night, and that was my very first time doing cross country skiing - first time ever on skis. I fell at least 12 times, and Glenna [Holstein] was in that group and she was kind enough to stay behind.” 

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Picture of Anushka enjoying a fun outdoor cross-country skiing day with friend and UEC staff member Victoria Bahe

After these first cross-country skiing experiences, Anushka ended up borrowing skis to go down the Oak Leaf Trail by Riverside Park and around the lake at Washington Park. When he had some difficulty borrowing equipment online, he said it was easily figured out over the phone and he was out skiing in no time.

“Everybody who I talk to says, ‘Oh yeah, I really like the Urban Ecology Center, they do really great stuff.’ The community piece, it seems like that’s what people enjoy most. I would like to do more activities with you all and also volunteer. I’m really looking forward to being more involved!”

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