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UEC In My Backyard for Everyone

Toddlers, kids, teens, and adults will all find something to love here. Through video series, self-guided hikes, and more, the whole family will find inspiration to learn about and get out into nature here.

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How to Make an Invasive Plant Species into a Delicious Pesto!

How to Make an Invasive Plant Species into a Delicious Pesto!

'Tis the season for Garlic Mustard Pesto! Please remember to be an ethical nature explorer. While garlic mustard is an invasive species and will never be on the at-risk list in North America, it’s still illegal to pick or harvest ANY plant or berry from a park. Look for this crawling green in your backyard and enjoy this vegan garlic mustard pesto!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: More Signs of Spring

Chad the Nature Dad: More Signs of Spring

Spring continues to emerge in this episode of Chad the Nature Dad. Chad discovers some sweat bees emerging from their winter homes and Kendall finds some spring treats in the woods.

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Chad the Nature Dad: Signs of Spring

Chad the Nature Dad: Signs of Spring

The deep snowpack is almost melted, the temperatures are rising and nature has some sure signs that winter is on its way out. Join Chad as he explores two of the first signs of spring, skunk cabbage, and red-winged blackbirds.

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Short-lived Spring Wildflowers

Short-lived Spring Wildflowers

Early spring brings us more than just sorely missed warmer temperatures with more daylight. For a short period of time, when conditions are just right, spring ephemerals begin to bloom. These unconventional plants grow, reproduce, and die back extraordinarily quickly, all before the prime growing season.

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Video

Five Facts about the Great Horned Owl

Five Facts about the Great Horned Owl

The coldest months of winter are some of the best to hear owls hooting in Wisconsin. The most widespread North American owl is the Great Horned Owl - join Danny to learn five facts about this elusive, adaptable bird.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Animal Tracks in the Snow

Chad the Nature Dad: Animal Tracks in the Snow

Hello friends, We have been blessed (well in my opinion) with a lot of snow this year. All that snow helps to reveal who has been hanging out. Join me as I explore some animal tracks in the woods near my house and at Washington and Riverside Park. Bundle up and see what you can find.

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Midnight Owls

Midnight Owls

In the heart of the city, it's easy to miss the endless bird songs we took for granted throughout the warmer seasons. But in the absence of those loud, lovely summer songs, we are able to hear the wintery mating calls of area owls that can be difficult to find by sight.

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Video

Five Facts about the Western Honey Bee

Five Facts about the Western Honey Bee

Although it is winter, our honey bees on the roof of Menomonee Valley are still in their hive, staying warm. How do they do it? That and more fascinating facts about the Western Honey Bee on this episode of Five Facts!

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Video

How To Go Sledding

How To Go Sledding

In this instructional video, community programs educator José Basaldua shares the best tips and tricks for having a fun sledding adventure in the snow!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Holes in Trees

Chad the Nature Dad: Holes in Trees

Holes over here, holes over there. There are holes in trees everywhere. Holes play a key role in providing animals places to find shelter and food. Join Chad and Kendall as they explore holes in trees from a wide range of perspectives.

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Video

Create a Gift for the Earth!

Create a Gift for the Earth!

Learn how to make a sun catcher with Environmental Educator, Brynne Drohan. You can use any natural materials such as pinecones, leaves, and fruit. Put it outside on a tree. Admire the beauty but don't be too upset when it melts. Animals will enjoy your goodies!

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Video

Five Facts about the Northern Cardinal

Five Facts about the Northern Cardinal

Winter is here and with the landscape covered in snow, the bright red of the Northern Cardinal really stands out. Danny's got five facts about these iconic birds in today's episode.

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Milwaukee Winter Phenology Challenge and Fall Results

Milwaukee Winter Phenology Challenge and Fall Results

There were almost 400 observations that were submitted in iNaturalist spanning 45 different species from September through November for our Fall Phenology Challenge. Next up is winter! Here are the species to keep an eye out for during these coldest months.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Bird Murmurations

Chad the Nature Dad: Bird Murmurations

Chad has been seeing murmurations of starlings flying over the Hoan Bridge on his way home from work. Join Chad to learn about what a murmuation is and witness this spectacular natural phenomenon!

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Blog

Nine Songs for the Earth

Nine Songs for the Earth

Hey everyone; Van from the Washington Park UEC here. This month, I want to share with you some music that our earth and our climate inspired. Music is one of the most popular mediums to share our ideas and emotions as a human race. This is a list of 10 of my favorite songs about the earth and its people (in no particular order).

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Video

Five Facts about the Virginia Opossum

Five Facts about the Virginia Opossum

Danny is hanging out in their backyard today with Ruthie, who discovered a Virginia Opossum a couple of nights ago. Join us as we learn more about this marsupial and its unique defense mechanism of "playing dead" in this Five Facts video.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad & Five Facts: Blue-spotted Salamander

Chad the Nature Dad & Five Facts: Blue-spotted Salamander

It's a crossover episode! Chad the Nature Dad and Kendall found a blue-spotted salamander while out adventuring in the woods and Danny shares five facts about this amphibian species.

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Blog

Why are the trees brighter than I remember?

Why are the trees brighter than I remember?

The leaves are changing color, but have you noticed they seem brighter than usual this year? Learn about why this phenomenon happens as well as some of the best places in Wisconsin to see beautiful fall colors in this blog post.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Mandalas

Chad the Nature Dad: Mandalas

Looking to stir some creative juices this fall? Well look no further, learn how to make mandalas, a form of outdoor nature art, with Chad the Nature Dad and Kendall.

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Video

Five Facts about the Pumpkin Spider

Five Facts about the Pumpkin Spider

Just in time for Halloween, join Danny to learn five facts about a species of spider with a nickname that is very seasonally appropriate: the pumpkin spider!

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Video

How To Make an Oozing Pumpkin

How To Make an Oozing Pumpkin

Check out this fun experiment that uses a carved pumpkin and a mixture of ingredients to make the pumpkin “ooze” a foamy substance. For this experiment, you will need: Hydrogen peroxide,dish soap, food coloring, active dry yeast, warm water, garbage bag or towel, and a carved pumpkin.

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Video

How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds

How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds

If you're carving a pumpkin for Halloween, hold onto those pumpkin seeds! Follow along with Erin in this quick video to create a crunchy, salty, tasty snack - roasted pumpkin seeds!

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Blog

Ten Tips for a Ten Mile Hike

Ten Tips for a Ten Mile Hike

Before you go for your next hike, check out these ten tips for a successful adventure from Community Programs Manager Mike Larson.

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Video

Five Facts about the Coho Salmon

Five Facts about the Coho Salmon

Danny is hanging out by the Menomonee River today during peak salmon migration season. Let's learn five facts about one species you can see migrating right here in Milwaukee: the Coho Salmon.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Spiders

Chad the Nature Dad: Spiders

Spiders are an important part of our world. They help control pest populations and have many amazing adaptations to help them. Join Kendall and Chad the Nature Dad as they explore spiders!

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Video

Five Facts about the Eastern Chipmunk

Five Facts about the Eastern Chipmunk

Fall is here and that means preparations for winter have begun! Join Danny to learn five facts about some of the busiest mammalian hoarders around: chipmunks!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Erosion

Chad the Nature Dad: Erosion

While hiking along the bluffs of Lake Michigan and then in a kayak, Chad noticed that some bluffs were receding quickly. Join Chad in an adventure on the lake as he explores the erosion of our bluffs along Lake Michigan.

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Video

Five Facts about the Carolina Grasshopper

Five Facts about the Carolina Grasshopper

With their eggs laid, Carolina Grasshoppers have now completed their life-cycle and the adults will soon die. Join Danny in the Riverside Park prairie to learn five facts about these adaptable, widespread insects.

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Video

How To Make a Bird Seed Bell

How To Make a Bird Seed Bell

Follow along with this step-by-step guide for creating a unique bird feeder that you can hang in your yard.

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Video

How To Can Tomatoes

How To Can Tomatoes

Learn with Alex LaBonte how to can tomatoes so that you can preserve that sweet summer taste throughout the winter!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Prairie Plants

Chad the Nature Dad: Prairie Plants

With few trees in the prairies, the plants there have adaptations that allow them to bask in the hot summer sun. Join Kendall and Chad the Nature Dad as we explore some of these plants as well as have a little bit of fun!

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Blog

Milwaukee Fall Phenology Challenge and Summer Results

Milwaukee Fall Phenology Challenge and Summer Results

Ethan Bott shares the results of our summer phenology challenge and gives instructions for continuing to document the changing plant and animal life this fall.

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Video

Five Facts about the Canada Goose

Five Facts about the Canada Goose

It's fall migration and that means flocks of Canada geese will be flying overhead as they make their way south. Join Danny in some ideal Canada goose habitat to learn five facts about these familiar birds.

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Blog

Nocturnal Migrators

Nocturnal Migrators

Fall migration is upon us, but did you know that most birds migrate at night? Learn about how and why many birds are nocturnal migrants in this blog post.

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Video

How To Do Plant Pressing

How To Do Plant Pressing

Grab some plant parts and follow along with these three different methods to make a beautiful, plant-pressed craft.

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Video

How To Find Macroinvertebrates

How To Find Macroinvertebrates

Macroinvertebrates live in ponds and lakes and rivers all around us. In this "How To" video, join Alex LaBonte as she explains the best way to search for, study, and identify macroinvertebrates!

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Video

How To Make a Firefly String Lights Craft

How To Make a Firefly String Lights Craft

Follow along this video for a step-by-step guide on how to make a firefly string lights craft, so you can appreciate the beauty of fireflies at all times of the year.

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Video

Five Facts about the Darling Underwing Moth

Five Facts about the Darling Underwing Moth

The Darling Underwing is a member of the underwing family of moths, which exhibit a number of unique adaptations. Join Danny in their own backyard and learn five facts about this elusive moth species.

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Blog

Like Moths to a Flame

Like Moths to a Flame

Did you know that there are more than 160,000 different species of moths worldwide? UEC Intern Elizabeth Gamillo introduces you to the wonders and scientific importance of moths.

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Video

How To Throw a Moth Party!

How To Throw a Moth Party!

Join Erin Whitney as she explains all the best tips and tricks to throw a great moth party, so you can document all the cool species of moths you find in your own backyard.

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Video

How To Find and Cook with the Common Plantain

How To Find and Cook with the Common Plantain

Discover the plant Common Plantain in Lake Park with Environmental Educator Kelli Johnson! Then, learn how to prepare this nutritious and delicious plant for tea and as part of a recipe.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Snapping Turtles

Chad the Nature Dad: Snapping Turtles

Snapping turtles are some of the oldest creatures still on our planet. Their origins date back about 90 million years! Join Chad the Nature Dad and Chad the Nature Dad’s Dad as they explore a snapping turtle that was crossing the road here in Milwaukee.

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Blog

Stag Beetle Discovery

Stag Beetle Discovery

A group of summer campers discovered a pair of particularly interesting beetles. Meet Ted and Jessica, the stag beetles!

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Multimedia

Spectacular Wildflowers of Summer Guided Hike

Spectacular Wildflowers of Summer Guided Hike

Summer fun has arrived! Let's explore what's living in the wild spaces of Milwaukee and meet the spectacular wildflowers of summer with this self-guided hike through the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Frogs

Chad the Nature Dad: Frogs

In this episode of Chad the Nature Dad, we go back to spring when the call of frogs can often be heard as they emerge from hibernation. Join Chad and Kendall as they explore some wetlands on the Ice Age trail and then in the woods here in Milwaukee. Enjoy!

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Video

How to Make a Dragonfly Planter Craft

How to Make a Dragonfly Planter Craft

Join us for a guided dragonfly planter craft! Happy crafting!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Ants

Chad the Nature Dad: Ants

Ants are interesting creatures with the ability to lift objects many times their weight. But even more interesting is how ants all over the world work together in colonies to build homes, find food and nourish their young. Join Chad the nature Dad when he discovers a large ant colony in a log at Washington Park.

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Video

Five Facts about the Wild Turkey

Five Facts about the Wild Turkey

Danny is joined by a stuffed turkey in the animal room at the Menomonee Valley to share Five Fascinating Facts about Wild Turkeys.

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Video

How to Raise Monarchs at Home

How to Raise Monarchs at Home

The monarch population has been decreasing over the years. You can help improve its population by raising them at home. Watch this video created by environmental educator, Alex LaBonte. The experience of raising monarch butterflies can be a great learning tool for kids as they can learn about metamorphosis and see with their own eyes the whole cycle of the monarch's life.

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Video

How to Make Mulberry Jam

How to Make Mulberry Jam

Keep an eye out for mulberry trees in your yard or in some parks nearby so you can make this delicious mulberry jam recipe cooked by environmental educator, Kelli Johnson! Kelli shows us all the process, from harvesting to cooking!

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Blog

Scenery Paintings (blog)

Scenery Paintings (blog)

Enjoy this blog from Environmental Educator, Jose Basaldua, about how nature is the ultimate canvas for inspiration. We hope it can also inspire you to create art based on what you see in nature. Blog content in English and Spanish

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Water Striders

Chad the Nature Dad: Water Striders

Join Chad the Nature Dad and Kendall as they find, catch, and explore water striders. These super cool creatures can be found in most bodies of water and have some cool adaptations that help them survive! Look for them on your next adventure by the water. Enjoy!

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Video

How to Make a Worm Bin

How to Make a Worm Bin

Environmental Educator, Alex LaBonte, teaches us how to make a worm bin. Composting food waste has many benefits over sending it to a landfill. It can also be great for enriching the soil of the gardens.

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Blog

Milwaukee Summer Phenology Challenge and Spring Results

Milwaukee Summer Phenology Challenge and Spring Results

join the “Summer Phenology in Milwaukee 2020” project on iNaturalist! Learn how to get started with this blog written by Ethan Bott, GIS and Field Data Coordinator

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Skipping Rocks

Chad the Nature Dad: Skipping Rocks

Ever wondered how to skip a rock? Join Chad the Nature Dad on a beautiful spring evening down at Lake Michigan to learn how. Enjoy!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Flooded Woods

Chad the Nature Dad: Flooded Woods

This week Chad and Kendall went out to the woods on that very rainy Sunday what they found was a flooded forest floor. It created some new streams and opportunities for some fun exploration. Enjoy!

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Blog

Cool Finds with Regina

Cool Finds with Regina

Environmental Educator, Regina Miller, finds a lot of cool animals and plants in her backyard and nearby areas. Here are her recent cool finds.

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Multimedia

Beautiful Birds of Milwaukee

Beautiful Birds of Milwaukee

Leave your reference material (especially audio recordings) at home and let Environmental Educator Matt Flower lead you through a bird experience!

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Blog

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpeckers are a welcome sight in southern Wisconsin and are much less common then your backyard Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. The last time a Red-Headed Woodpecker was seen in Washington Park was in 2016 and we just saw one at the park (mid-May 2020)! Look for this beautiful bird drilling for insects and also catching insects in the air like other insect eating birds.

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Blog

American Bittern

American Bittern

American Bitterns are masters of camouflage typically hiding in the tall grasses along water bodies.They are often heard and not seen and their call is a deep gulping noise. Photo taken at Washington Park by Environmental Educator, Alex LaBonte.

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Blog

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches are one of the strictest vegetarians amongst birds as their diet consists almost entirely of plant based food. Photo taken at Washington Park by Environmental Educator, Alex LaBonte.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Animal Tracks

Chad the Nature Dad: Animal Tracks

Join Chad the Nature Dad as he explores animal tracks in the woods. Get out there and see what tracks you can find especially after a good rain or snow.

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Blog

After the Rain Comes the Sun (blog)

After the Rain Comes the Sun (blog)

What's a gall? Environmental Educator, Miguel Santos, explains about this growth on the cone of red cedar trees. (Contenido en español también)

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Rocks of Lake Michigan

Chad the Nature Dad: Rocks of Lake Michigan

On a warm sunny afternoon Kendall and Chad took a bike ride down to Lake Michigan to find some interesting rocks and other cool items. Check it out!

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Blog

The Relationship between Queen Bees and Spring Ephemerals

The Relationship between Queen Bees and Spring Ephemerals

Learn about the importance of bumble bees and the video that captured the first recorded sighting of a queen bumble bee of any kind in Milwaukee County this year and one of the very first in the state for this year. Blog written by Ethan Bott, GIS and Field Data Coordinator, and Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward at our Menomonee Valley Branch.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Baby Vole

Chad the Nature Dad: Baby Vole

While playing during a beautiful sunset one evening, Kendall found a little mammal running across a parking lot. Upon further inspection we discovered a furry baby vole!

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Blog

Make a Nature Journal / Crea un Diario de la Naturaleza

Make a Nature Journal / Crea un Diario de la Naturaleza

Create your own nature journal from things you can find in house and backyard! (Contenido en español también)

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Multimedia

Wonderful Flowers of Milwaukee

Wonderful Flowers of Milwaukee

Let's explore the wild spaces of Milwaukee and meet the wonderful wildflowers of spring! Self-guided walk through Riverside Park by Environmental Educator Matt Flower.

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Cedar Swamp

Chad the Nature Dad: Cedar Swamp

Join Chad and Kendall in their walk at Cedar swamp where Chad talks about swamps and wetlands. In this video, you will also learn about cedar trees and their leaves. Pay attention to Kendall's tip and take notes for your future hikes!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Mallards

Chad the Nature Dad: Mallards

Let's see what these mallard ducks are doing in this tiny puddle of water!

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Blog

Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Environmental Educator Brynne Drohan found this along the Menomonee River!

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Blog

Look for Bright Green Mosses

Look for Bright Green Mosses

Environmental Educator, Regina Miller, found this brilliant green moss in a local park!

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Blog

Early Flowers of Spring

Early Flowers of Spring

See Pasqueflowers, Virginia bluebells and Sharp-lobed Hepatica discovered by Land Stewards Drew Vandegrift, Michaela Rosenthal and Kim Forbeck.

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Blog

Take a Virtual Nature Walk with Chad!

Take a Virtual Nature Walk with Chad!

Come along on a "virtual nature walk" with our Environmental Educator, Chad Thomack, and hear stories about his recent discoveries in nature!

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Multimedia

Terrific Trees Walk

Terrific Trees Walk

Get to know the trees of Riverside Park in this insightful self-guided walk made by Environmental Educator Matt Flower.

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Self-guided Hikes

Staff Picks: Local Natural Areas to Enjoy

Staff Picks: Local Natural Areas to Enjoy

Excellent recommendations from our staff on local, accessible natural areas where you can enjoy nature right now!

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Video

Chad the Nature Dad: Rolling Logs

Chad the Nature Dad: Rolling Logs

Welcome to Chad the Nature Dad! Let's see what we can find under some logs.

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Blog

How you can Connect to Nature and Contribute to Research!

How you can Connect to Nature and Contribute to Research!

You have a chance to contribute to spring phenology data! Learn more information with this great article written by Ethan Bott, GIS and Field Data Coordinator

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Blog

Phenology in the Time of a Pandemic

Phenology in the Time of a Pandemic

Environmental Educator Tory Bahe tells about the Science of Appearance.

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Blog

Mourning Cloaks and Butlers, the Silent Heralds of Spring

Mourning Cloaks and Butlers, the Silent Heralds of Spring

by Research and Community Science Coordinator Maggie Steinhauer

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Check back soon for more great content!

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