Our Water: Milwaukee's Mirror

WaterSeries web


A community science freshwater series. 

The Community Science Freshwater Series, Our Water, Milwaukee’s Mirror, gathers science experts, community leaders and local history tellers to share their experiences and perspectives on water issues in Milwaukee. Through these insightful presentations, guided conversations, and hands-on activities, we hope to engage our community members by exploring the fascinating and sometimes troubling history of water in Milwaukee, as well as explore the present pressing issues and hopeful opportunities to protect this common resource for future generations.

Most of the events are free of charge (donations are appreciated).


March - September 2018

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Milwaukee River

Schedule of Events

Click each title below for details about the different events.

Toxic Lead: Stealing our Community's Future (May)

Thousands of homes in Milwaukee are impacted by lead exposure in the service lateral pipes. Our own State Senator LaTonya Johnson will give us her perspective on the lead crisis and steps we all can be taking to make Milwaukee a safe, just, and vibrant community by addressing lead exposure to our drinking water

May TBD in Washington Park


Tim Vargo, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Community Science Journey into the Lives of Macro-Invertebrates (May)

Join us for an evening of exploring macroscopic creatures that inhabit our water and provide the base of the food chain. Which creatures indicate good water quality for our rivers? Which are more tolerant to pollution? And what are some steps we can take to continue learning and protecting these important beings that live throughout our rivers? We will be accompanied by scientists who study these macro-invertebrates from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who will guide us along a journey of freshwater discovery.

May 24th 5pm in Riverside Park

Register Here

History of Water in Milwaukee Exhibit (June)

Exhibition - Wisconsin Historical Society Water Exhibit "Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin".

A new water themed travelling exhibit from the Wisconsin Historical Society, “Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin,” will be visiting the Urban Ecology Center in the beginning of June 2018. The exhibit will teach audiences about our relationship with water as a state. The exhibit will place many of our current concerns in a historical context and show how our state was changed over time by the force of water. Visitors will see the consequences—good and bad—of past decisions and will be challenged to incorporate insights they gain into actions that can secure a more hopeful future for all of us regarding water.

June 6th – 9th in Washington Park


Terry Evans, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Documentary Screening, “Milwaukee: A City Built on Water” (June)

The movie screening features historian John Gurda by exploring how the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan spurred Milwaukee's growth. Viewers will be taken on a chronological journey of Milwaukee’s hydrological systems: from settlers using rivers and Lake Michigan to transport grain, lumber, leather and beer to how the lower Milwaukee River was eventually reduced to an open sewer by 1900, with Lake Michigan suffering similar indignities. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with local experts.

June 7th at 5pm in Washington Park

Local to International: Water Challenges around the World (July)

The month of July will feature local Milwaukee professionals/scientists who actively engage in international water research and engineering work.

Please stay tuned to more information about the event.

Native Voices on Our Water (August)

In August, the Urban Ecology Center will feature Native American speakers in our community science freshwater event series. Come learn about the stories of peoples whose ancestors have called the Great Lakes home for centuries and their tireless work to celebrate, protect, and preserve these special waters.

Please stay tuned for more information about the speakers.

Stories of the Great Lakes (September)

Stories of the Great Lakes – A Conversation with Dan Egan

As the Community Science Water Series comes to a close, we invite the Milwaukee community to join in a conversation with one of Milwaukee’s most respected reporters on the Great Lakes, Dan Egan.

Dan is a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who has covered the Great Lakes since 2003. His latest achievement has been authoring the book The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. Participants will hear directly from Dan’s experiences writing the renowned book and give perspectives and insight surrounding the challenges and opportunities facing the Great Lakes.

September TBD in Riverside Park


Dan Egan, Environmental Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Lake Michigan


Thanks to our Sponsors


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Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Earth Day of Service at Menomonee Valley

Menomonee Valley

Saturday, April 21st

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

More Details...

Earth Day of Service at Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Saturday, April 21st

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

More Details...

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