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Your nearest nature can be a data-rich destination for some riveting research. The guidance and inspiration in these resources will help you conduct your own backyard research and contribute your data to global projects!

Backyard Wildlife

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

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

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Article

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Article

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Backyard Wildlife

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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Article

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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Article

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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Article

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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Article

Get To Know Land Steward Terminology!

Get To Know Land Steward Terminology!

Land Steward, Jeff Veglahn, shares some common lingo.

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Article

Secret Lives of Wildlife

Secret Lives of Wildlife

Enjoy this article about wildlife camera pictures. These could be in your backyard as they were found in the UEC’s backyard! Keep your eyes out for these awesome creatures!

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Article

Brilliant Beetles

Brilliant Beetles

Who doesn’t love living creatures that are brilliantly colored, small and abundant in their desired environment?

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Article

Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures

You can spot these birds soaring high in the sky as they search for food.

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Article

Striped Skunk Spotlight

Striped Skunk Spotlight

There's more to skunks than meets the eye (and nose!)

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Article

Opossum Spotlight

Opossum Spotlight

The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) lives throughout most of Wisconsin - except the northeast - in deciduous woods, semi-open and urban areas.

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