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UEC In My Backyard for Adults

Thank you Heartland Value Fund for presenting October's UEC in My Backyard content

Whether through virtual lecture series or in-depth blog posts, adults will find resources to improve your garden, document plants and animals in your community, or foster learning in your kids here.

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Six Spooky Snacks

Six Spooky Snacks

These snacks are spooky… but their ingredients aren’t! Six healthy, easy to make treats that both kids and grownups can enjoy. These creepy-crawly creations may not bite... but you certainly will!

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Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2, episode 6: Every Which Way But Goose

Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2, episode 6: Every Which Way But Goose

The Canada Goose is one of the most recognizable birds in Wisconsin and one we often associate with October. Sit back and relax as we look into the fascinating and complex world of the Canada Goose.

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Virtual Botany Walk: Goldenrod

Virtual Botany Walk: Goldenrod

Join Jeff Veglahn in Three Bridges Park for a virtual botany walk! Today, Jeff is looking for goldenrod. Learn how to identify some of the most common goldenrod species in Southeastern Wisconsin.

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Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2 episode 5: Moss Baby

Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2 episode 5: Moss Baby

OK, what’s the deal with moss and the north side of trees really? And could we grow moss in space? What is moss and what is its’ function in my backyard? We’ll take a closer look at the fascinating stories told by the oldest plant on Earth!

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Printable

Recipe from the Garden: Fall Asian Style Slaw

Recipe from the Garden: Fall Asian Style Slaw

Gather up your carrots, cabbage, onions, cilantro, and more, from the garden and follow along with this recipe to make delicious, home-made Asian-style slaw. Recipe submitted by Davita Flowers-Shanklin.

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Backyard Naturalist Series.  Season 2, Episode 4: The Good Leopard Slug

Backyard Naturalist Series. Season 2, Episode 4: The Good Leopard Slug

Leopard slugs are showing up increasingly around Milwaukee in public spaces and backyards. Grab a warm beverage and join us for a conversation about the good and the bad of this unique, invasive species.

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Blog

Swarms of Dragonflies

Swarms of Dragonflies

Have you noticed the swarms of dragonflies overhead? So has resident odonata expert Maggie Steinhauer. Learn about why they are swarming and where they are going in this blog post.

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Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2 episode 3: Raiders of the Lost Archaea

Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2 episode 3: Raiders of the Lost Archaea

Archaea are so important that they have their own domain, yet most of us know next to nothing about them. Because they are the most primitive form of life on earth, we are all descendants of Archaea, and so let's learn a little bit about our ancestors.

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Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2, episode 2: MONARCHNADO!!!!!!

Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2, episode 2: MONARCHNADO!!!!!!

The Monarch Butterfly is arguably the most iconic and recognizable North American backyard insect and not just because of its beauty. Grab a warm beverage and join us for stories about the Monarch Butterfly.

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Erin's Fall Garden

Erin's Fall Garden

It may be fall, but that shouldn't stop you from making the most of your garden! Join Erin in the garden for tips on fall planting, harvesting, and more!

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Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2, episode 1: Full Yellow Jacket

Backyard Naturalist Series, season 2, episode 1: Full Yellow Jacket

In the first episode of season 2, Tim Vargo features yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets. Although largely despised, after this lecture, you'll be marveling in awe the next time you have to give up on your backyard fall picnic.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard, Season 1, Episode XV: Blue Grass of Kentucky

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard, Season 1, Episode XV: Blue Grass of Kentucky

Likely the most common species in our collective backyards is arguably one of the most successful species on the planet – Grass! Specifically, Kentucky Blue Grass. Join Tim Vargo for wondrous stories about the natural history of grass.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard, Season 1, Episode XIV: Oak Signals

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard, Season 1, Episode XIV: Oak Signals

In this virtual lecture, Tim Vargo goes out on a limb to use the Chinkapin Oak as the backdrop for a deep look at the trees so common in our backyards.

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Printable

Summer Fresh Salsa Recipe

Summer Fresh Salsa Recipe

If your garden is overflowing with tomatoes right now, Environmental Educator Alex LaBonte has just the recipe for you - homemade summer fresh salsa!

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Blog

Late Summer Garden Planting

Late Summer Garden Planting

It is harvest time in the garden. Learn from Land Steward Drew Vandergrift what types of vegetables can still be planted in your garden in August and how to keep your plants warm as autumn approaches.

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Video

Community Science in Your Own Backyard: Documenting Bumble Bees

Community Science in Your Own Backyard: Documenting Bumble Bees

In this virtual lecture, we will learn more about the wonders of our native Wisconsin bumble bees, talk about their importance and then jump right into how you can help scientists by documenting and recording these fascinating creatures in your very own backyard!

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode XIII: Smellin' in the Rain

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode XIII: Smellin' in the Rain

You might prefer to sing in the rain but have you ever noticed that rain sometimes brings a noticeable, pleasant smell with it when you’re outside, especially in the spring? You may be smelling the spores of Actinomycetes bacteria which are common everywhere including your backyard! We’ll take a closer look at the complex array of smells that come with rain and the critters responsible for them in this week’s episode.

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Printable

Wildflowers in Summer: Parent Guide

Wildflowers in Summer: Parent Guide

A guide for parents that introduces vocabulary about wildflowers and images of common wildflower species to look for with your kids. A supplement to the "Wildflowers in Summer" video.

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Meet the Naturalist in your own Backyard

Meet the Naturalist in your own Backyard

Across generations and even centuries, people have built networks of knowledge. Backyard naturalists continue these traditions today. Let’s explore the naturalist tradition together, and see if it leads to you!

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Botany Walk: Black-eyed Susan

Botany Walk: Black-eyed Susan

Join Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward at our Menomonee Valley branch, atop our green roof to learn more about how to identify Black-eyed Susan and the origin story of its scientific name.

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Introduction to iNaturalist

Introduction to iNaturalist

Join us as we talk about what iNaturalist is and learn how to use one of the world's most popular nature apps. This app helps you identify the plants and animals around you all while using the broader community to help verify your sightings for research!

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode XII: The Hills Have Mycorrhiza

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode XII: The Hills Have Mycorrhiza

Mycorrhiza defines a relationship between fungi and plants that has been evolving for hundreds of millions of years and is happening in our own backyards. It’s arguably the most important and widespread ecological relationship on the entire planet and our understanding of it could have huge implications on the future of humanity on Earth! Think we're exaggerating?

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode XI: The Hunger Flames: Catching Fireflies

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode XI: The Hunger Flames: Catching Fireflies

Depending on where you live, you may not have to go any farther than your backyard to see fireworks this 4th of July. Nature provides her own pyrotechnics through bioluminescence, including the familiar Firefly/Lightning Bug/Glow Worm complex. Join as we’ll take a closer look at how insects glow and other incredible adaptations found by our common backyard neighbors.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode X: A Spittlebug's Life

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode X: A Spittlebug's Life

Spittlebugs are super common in your backyards, particularly if you have strawberries, herbs or other native plants. They're hidden from view, usually not harmful and their tell-tale foamy homes can be found with a little searching. We'll look at the amazing adaptations of this tiny insect.

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How to Mulch a Garden

How to Mulch a Garden

Want to spend less time weeding and watering in your garden? Join UEC Environmental Educator Kirsten Maier as she explains why you should mulch, and demonstrates her favorite mulching method: newspaper and straw.

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Ask a Naturalist (Animal Behavior)

Ask a Naturalist (Animal Behavior)

You "Ask a Naturalist" about "Animal Behavior" and you can find the answers in this video. Thanks UEC Research for sharing your knowledge!

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Botany Walk: Smooth penstemon

Botany Walk: Smooth penstemon

Join Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward at Menomonee Valley, in this virtual botany walk as he identifies and talks about Smooth penstemon (Penstemon digitalis)

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode IX: “You say potato bug, I say roly-poly”

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode IX: “You say potato bug, I say roly-poly”

"You say potato bug I say roly-poly". Whatever you call them, these isopods are found in backyards all over the word. These tiny creatures have been evolving for millions and millions of years, retaining gill-like breathing structures, and the ability to reproduce through parthenogenesis. Join us as we recount the amazing adaptations and life history of the common potato bug.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode VIII: All Coyote on the Western Front

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode VIII: All Coyote on the Western Front

It’s true! At least it was in 1600 when coyotes were restricted to the deserts and plains of the West. Today this song-dog has spread to all parts of North and Central America and has a long relationship with humans – a recipe for some intriguing stories.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode VII:

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode VII: "Starling Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Mimic"

The European Starling is a tough, adaptable and remarkable bird, which is why it does so well in our neighborhoods and backyards. We’ll look at the amazing natural history as well as the centuries of relationships starlings have had with humans.

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Printable

Mnemonic Bird Songs (Guide for parents)

Mnemonic Bird Songs (Guide for parents)

Parents, we hope this guide about Bird Song Mnemonics will be useful for you and your kids. Learning to identify birds by their songs and call notes is perhaps one of the most important aspects of birding.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode VI: The Faking Dead (Virginia Opossum)

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode VI: The Faking Dead (Virginia Opossum)

Millions of years ago, a land bridge in Panama allowed North American Placental Mammals to mingle with South American Marsupials. Only one Marsupial managed to work their way up here to Wisconsin and they are a common, adaptable and secretive member of our neighborhoods with amazing adaptations. Grab a cup of coffee and we’ll discuss Opossum stories and see how they compare to the myths and media portrayals.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode V: House of Cardinals

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode V: House of Cardinals

Cardinals epitomize the love that humans have for birds. They are bright red, their song is cheery and pure, they start singing right around Valentine’s Day and they are our neighbors!

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Intro to eBird – Part 4 – Final Tips and the Science Behind It (Recorded Live Lecture)

Intro to eBird – Part 4 – Final Tips and the Science Behind It (Recorded Live Lecture)

Join as we wrap up the Intro to eBird series as we talk about the status and trends section in eBird. We will talk briefly about some rare birds seen around Milwaukee in May of 2020. We will also talk about several tricks and tips within eBird that may or may not make you a compulsive birder! You have been warned! And finally we will wrap up with a tip on becoming a better birder by sound.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode IV: I, Rabbit

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode IV: I, Rabbit

The Eastern Cottontails are very common lagomorph in the Eastern United States and especially in our backyards. They are prolific, breeding like, well… rabbits but they are also high on the list of meals for predators. We’ll try to shed some new light on the natural history of this hoppy hare. Check out more great content like this at: urbanecologycenter.org/inmybackyard Want to help connect more people to nature & each other? Donate at urbanecologycenter.org/donate

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Ask a Naturalist: amphibians at the ephemeral pond

Ask a Naturalist: amphibians at the ephemeral pond

You asked questions about the amphibians who are currently living in the Riverside Park ephemeral pond and we answered them. Drew Vandegrift, Restoration Assistant, explains what type of amphibians you can see at the pond and other interesting facts. Check out the video!

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Most Commonly Misidentified Birds (Recorded Live Lecture)

Most Commonly Misidentified Birds (Recorded Live Lecture)

As you prepare for any kind of birding, we’ll guide you through some of the most commonly MISidentified birds, because let’s face it, the best way to become a better birder is to learn from our mistakes. Session led by GIS and Field Data Coordinator, Ethan Bott.

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eBird Basics (Recorded Live Lecture)

eBird Basics (Recorded Live Lecture)

Come learn what eBird is, why it’s important and who it’s for (spoiler: it’s for everyone!). This lecture will help prepare you for entering a checklist online and on your phone as well helping get you started on contributing to an international dataset that is used for scientific and conservation decisions around the world.

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Beginner Basics for Backyard Birding (Recorded Live Lecture)

Beginner Basics for Backyard Birding (Recorded Live Lecture)

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed or under prepared to identify birds and put a list together, we’ll guide you through some of the best practices for beginning birders and resources that you can use.

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Learn about mayapples

Learn about mayapples

Mayapple wildflowers are unique, fruit-bearing plants that grow primarily in woodlands where they frequently form a thick carpet of bright green foliage. Learn more about them with Restoration Assistant, Drew Vandegrift

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Intro to eBird Part 3 (Recorded Live Lecture)

Intro to eBird Part 3 (Recorded Live Lecture)

Join as we learn how to use the Explore tool of eBird. We will learn how to find which spots are hot and where specific species are that you want to know about! We will learn about bar charts as well as arrival and departure times for birds.

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode III: American's Next Top Robin

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode III: American's Next Top Robin

If you stay up late watching a movie this time of year, you might hear the Robin starting its’ day when you go to bed. Yes, they start singing at 3 or 4am! There are a lot of other great stories about this iconic North American bird that we’ll discuss in this episode

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode II: Fifty Shades of Gray Squirrel

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode II: Fifty Shades of Gray Squirrel

Gray squirrels are everywhere! But you may not know how ecologically important this squirrel is to our local plant and wildlife communities. We are exploring the amazing natural history of the very common but very successful critter.

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Intro to eBird: Part 2 (Recorded Live Lecture)

Intro to eBird: Part 2
(Recorded Live Lecture)

Join as we learn how to submit a checklist to eBird online while also learning how to attach photos, sounds and videos to your sightings. Among other information provided in this recorded live lecture, we're exploring how you can become a better birder using the millions of sounds and photos submitted to eBird.

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Ask a Naturalist: Things that Fly

Ask a Naturalist: Things that Fly

You "Ask a Naturalist" about "Things that Fly" and you can find the answers in this video. Thanks UEC Research for sharing your knowledge!

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Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode I: Desperate House Sparrows

Extraordinary Wildlife in Your Backyard. Season 1, Episode I: Desperate House Sparrows

House Sparrows are so common you probably don't even notice them but they are very likely your neighbor and have an extraordinary history with humanity. We're exploring this amazing creature together with a lecture led by Tim Vargo, Manager of Research and Community Science.

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Intro to eBird: Part 1 (Recorded Live Lecture)

Intro to eBird: Part 1 (Recorded Live Lecture)

Have you heard of eBird, but don't know what it is or where to start? Or maybe you have never heard of eBird, but you want to start contributing data on the birds in your backyard. Come learn what eBird is, why it’s important, and who it’s for (spoiler alert: it’s for everyone!). This first lecture on eBird helps get you started on contributing to an international dataset that is used for scientific and conservation decisions around the world. Led by GIS and Field Data Coordinator, Ethan Bott.

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Botany Walk: Apple Serviceberry

Botany Walk: Apple Serviceberry

Join Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward at Menomonee Valley, in this virtual botany walk as he identifies and talks about the Apple Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora). It's a naturally occurring hybrid between downy serviceberry (AmelanchLinkier arborea) and Alleghany Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis).

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Printable

The Life of Birds: Parent Guide

The Life of Birds: Parent Guide

Parents, use this activity guide to explore the lives of birds with your children! (Contenido en español también)

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Botany Walk: Cut-leaf toothwort and Common wood violet

Botany Walk: Cut-leaf toothwort and Common wood violet

Learn about native plants in this virtual botany walk led by Land Steward, Jeff Veglahn. Featured in this video: Cut-leaf toothwort (Dentaria laciniata) and Common wood violet (Viola sororia).

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Blog

Learn how to make chalk!

Learn how to make chalk!

Let's get ready for those warmer afternoons and make your own sidewalk chalk! (Contenido en español también)

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Nature in My Neighborhood

Nature in My Neighborhood

Roger and his son Auden go on a fun and engaging scavenger hunt in their neigbhorhood!

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Blog

How to Celebrate Earth Day with your Children

How to Celebrate Earth Day
with your Children

Celebrate Earth Day quarantine style! Use these 5 ideas at home or in your neighborhood.

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Blog

Spring Garden Cleanup:  Mind the Wildlife

Spring Garden Cleanup:
Mind the Wildlife

Land Steward, Drew Vandegrift, answers FAQs about spring gardening with native plants and wildlife in mind.

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Blog

What to Do for Earth Day 2020

What to Do for Earth Day 2020

While our Earth Day of Service program is cancelled (we miss you already!), we still encourage you to do something to celebrate the earth. Check out this post by Volunteer Program Manager Davita Flowers-Shanklin for more ideas!

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Explore Nature with your Toddler

Explore Nature with your Toddler

Join Anna and her son Pau on an outdoor toddler adventure! Captions available in Spanish (Subtítulos en español también)

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Blog

Fun Science Activities for Kids of All Ages

Fun Science Activities for Kids of All Ages

A list of activities that can be adapted for kids of all ages from Environmental Educator Brynne Drohan. (Contenido en español también)

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Check back soon for more great content!

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