Displaying items by tag: Environmental Education
Wednesday, 15 February 2023 07:59

Adventure Days 2023


School's out — time to play! Spring Adventure Days are full of fun, learning, and seasonal exploration. Investigate the natural world on an Adventure Day!

For Ages 7 to 12

Join us for one day or the entire week. Register individually each day

Spring Break Adventure Day - Weather Detectives

Monday, April 3| 9:30 am - 4 pm | Riverside Park

Sunshine or rain, we'll be heading outside to make some real-time weather observations. Using thermometers, wind meters, and more we'll think like scientists as we work together. Group games, outdoor play, and picnic fun will be included in this adventure-filled day too!

Register Here for Weather Detectives

Spring Break Adventure Day - Eco Art

Tuesday, April 4 | 9:30 am - 4 pm | Riverside Park

Use your creativity, recycled materials, and elements from Mother Earth to craft nature-inspired art. We'll embark on an art-in-nature hike searching for colors, patterns, and sounds to amplify the beauty of Riverside Park. Group games, outdoor play, and picnic fun will be included in this adventure-filled day too!

Register Here for Eco Art

Spring Break Adventure Day - Animals in Spring

Wednesday, April 5 | 9:30 am - 4 pm | Riverside Park

Meet the animals and plants of Riverside Park and use your five senses to learn about the changes Milwaukee species undergo in this new season. We’ll encourage exploration and inquiry through hikes, games, and a visit to our animal room!

Register Here for Animals in Spring


Spring Break Adventure Day - Soil Science

Thursday, April 6 | 9:30 am - 4 pm | Menomonee Valley

Explore the dirt and soil as we dig into the Earth below our feet! We'll meet the UEC compost worms, do some mud painting, and feel the differences between sand, silt, and clay. Group games, outdoor play, and picnic fun will be included in this adventure-filled day too!

Register Here for Soil Science

Spring Break Adventure Day - River Explorations

Friday, April 7 | 9:30 am - 4 pm | Menomonee Valley

We'll venture out to explore along the Menomonee River, go for a hike, and learn about the plants and animals that call this place home. Using dip nets and basins, we'll collect creatures from the river and take a closer look at them with hand lenses. Group games, outdoor play, and picnic fun will be included in this adventure-filled day too!

Register Here for River Explorations


For Ages 4 to 6

Spring Break Forest Adventures 

March 27 - March 31 | 9:30 am - 4 pm | Riverside Park (Join us for one day or the whole week!)

April 3 - April 7 | 9:30 am - 4 pm | Riverside Park & Menomonee Valley (Join us for one day or the whole week!)

Your kids will have an active day outdoors hiking, climbing trees, bird watching, bug catching, and playing in the park with others. We’ll encourage exploration and inquiry through outdoor play, games, imaginary play, and more. Please dress your child in layers for the outdoor weather, along with a spare set of clothes, a bag lunch, and a reusable water bottle. We will spend as much time outdoors as possible (weather permitting). 

Register Here for Spring Break Forest Adventures

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Questions about Adventure Days?

For questions about Forest Adventures (ages 4-6), contact our Nature-based Early Childhood team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

For questions about programs (ages 7-12), contact our Community Programs team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 26 March 2021 08:01

Summer Campers Reconnecting to Nature

We have all been and continue to be affected by the ongoing pandemic and the new lifestyle and norms that have come with it. Children have been uniquely challenged in this respect - they have had to adapt to learning virtually, away from their peers, and the structure a typical school environment provides. This last year, more than ever, getting children outdoors and in nature was critical. The Urban Ecology Center made this possible by hosting several safe Summer Camp programs for kids of varying ages and interests. Children who attended last year’s camps were able to reconnect to the constants that are nature, friends, and community during a time filled with so much uncertainty.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 17:21

Summer Camps are coming!

Plows rumble through the streets creating piles of sledding potential and wonderful winter experiences while every peek of the sun promises warmer weather to come. As we relish each moment of the changes in our outdoors, we are getting ready for summer camp at the Urban Ecology Center!

Wednesday, 06 May 2020 12:54

After the Rain Comes the Sun

At first sight, this may look like a humongous macroscopic mutation of the feared virus. However, it is a gall on the cone of a red cedar tree (Juniperus virginiana).

Galls are abnormal growths that occur in plants and trees when they get attacked by insects, fungi, bacteria or viruses.

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 15:49

Look for bright green mosses

As Environmental Educator Regina Miller was taking a quiet morning walk in a local park recently, she looked around and most of the forest world looked brown and gray. The colors of winter are still all around even though it is spring. Soon, however, Regina began to see peeks of bright green here and there on the forest floor and it made me smile.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 15:55

Making nature more inclusive

“Would you like to hold it?”, I asked the 8th-grade boy. He said “Yes” and I gently poured the spoonful of pond water that held the dragonfly larva into his hands. Ever so carefully he touched it with his fingertips and turned it around in his hand exploring it thoroughly. “Can I try another one?” he asked? He put the dragonfly larva back into the basin of pond water and I quickly scooped out a damselfly larva and poured it into his hands. Again he carefully felt and explored the small, delicate creature. After returning it to the pond water basin, he asked to try another animal. This time I scooped out a snail and poured it into his hands. Once again he thoroughly examined it. I asked him to describe the differences between these animals and he said that the snail had a hard shell and the dragonfly larva was bigger than the damselfly larva. After examining each of these animals, he asked if he could hold each one again. Over the course of the hour, he held each one of these animals multiple times and by the end, he could tell the difference between the dragonfly larva, damselfly larva, and snail. A great accomplishment for any student, but did I happen to mention that this 8th-grade boy is blind?

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 11:42

Insect Collecting on the Prairie

Cool September mornings on the prairie are ripe with beauty and activity: grasses towering, swaying overhead in the light autumn breeze, goldenrod with its tiny intricate blossoms, and asters popping in vibrant hues of purple, white, and blue. Insects busily soak up the last fruits of fall before winter’s frost. Meanwhile, boisterous high school sophomores rush up and down the paths winding through the prairie, combing the grasses and flowers with giant sweep nets in search of insects. This peaceful prairie teeming with diverse plant and insect life—nestled in the heart of urban Milwaukee—has become an outdoor classroom for teenagers embarking on an important school project.

Thursday, 17 October 2019 10:34

A Snake Story

I stopped to talk to Carol, the Tuesday afternoon receptionist at Riverside Park, on my way in from teaching. Carol is so lovely; I’ve really enjoyed getting know her over the years via a mutual love of reading and traveling, and I always look forward to our Tuesday chats.

Today she offered to lend me a great book she’d just finished and I told her about the snake I’d found on a hike this afternoon. After I returned to my office, the phone started ringing.

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 14:19

Fun and imaginative play in the forest

It was time to go pick up the kids for another fun field trip so I headed over to the nearby school in one of our buses. Once at school I waited a few minutes for the class and soon the line of little ones came walking down the hall. The group of K5 children was eager to see me and very excited about the field trip they were going on. I asked them if they knew what we were going to be learning about that day and one child eagerly responded with, “Habitats!” I told the group that we were indeed going to be learning about habitats and animal homes and then we headed to the bus to begin the adventure. On the way to the Center, each pair of children had pictures of an animal and its home and they talked with their partner about how the home helped their animal.

When I first started working at the Urban Ecology Center, I had only been in the United States for a year or so. I was still struggling with a lot of stuff: language, friends, work, and what the heck I was going make of myself in this new place. The UEC was my beginning. It was where I began to find myself, my passions, and my place. 

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