fbpx
Menu

Stories

Displaying items by tag: Impact
Sunday, 01 September 2013 13:24

MUL8ME

If I had a car this would be the personalized license plate for me. It is perfect! If more people would only emulate me, the world would be a much better place don't you think? Am I being arrogant? Sure. Pompous? You bet. Conceited? Not in the slightest. Supercilious? Maybe . . . need to look that one up. But am I right? Absolutely!

Just to be clear, in case you are taking me seriously the last thing I really want is the world to truly emulate me. I'm as messed up a the best of us — just ask my family or my therapist. It would, however, be nice if a few more people chose to compost. Because when it comes to making dirt I am definitely emulatable (take that, spell check!)

It has been a huge year for the Young Scientists Club at Washington Park. Reflecting on it all, I can't even believe we've accomplished so much in such a short period of time! Longtime member Donald Harris did his best attempt to summarize exactly what we do in our club in a quote found later in this post. As I try to summarize it myself, I'm not even sure where to begin. What began as a way to engage drop-in kids at Washington Park has evolved into a dynamic, multi-faceted educational and recreational program that I'm proud to be a part of. I'll summarize for you a few of its many highlights over the past 12 months.

This past summer, we began a research partnership with the University of Minnesota's Driven to Discover program. The kids — with guidance from the staff — developed their own original bird research study and created a professional-quality research poster and paper. We then traveled to the University of Minnesota's insect fair, where we presented our research and won an Outstanding Project Award. Since then, our group of budding young scientists has also presented their work at our annual Community Science Research Summit, at the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative annual conference, and to a group of partnering teachers at our schools. As I write this, Donald is again presenting our work for the Hi-Mount Elementary science fair!

Thursday, 30 May 2013 08:11

Convergent Evolution!

"Who would have thought just a decade ago, when we were still in our double-wide trailer, that our "Milwaukee Idea" of solving a social problem in a park with kids' education and the magical connection to nature would have the kind of national impact we are experiencing today? I certainly never did, but I am humbled and proud to represent Milwaukee and our simple yet profound idea. And isn't it cool that this idea evolved here in a Midwest industrial town? This is not Portland, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, Boston or New York. Somehow this adds credibility to our story."

The Urban Ecology Center's Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP) is wrapping up it's 13th school year! And our first year at our Menomonee Valley branch. That's 13 years of kids connecting with frogs, birds, turtles, the land, science and each other.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:36

Washington Park Wins MANDI Award!

This past March both our Menomonee Valley and Washington Park branches were nominated as finalists for a MANDI Award! WOW!

Fantastic! Wait, what’s a MANDI?
The Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) recognize efforts of those working to ensure Milwaukee’s central city is a great place to live, learn, work and grow.

Monday, 29 April 2013 09:42

Impact of Urban Nature

When we started this project we now affectionately call the Urban Ecology Center, we had a dream, a concept for implementation and a process to get us there. Our expectations for success have been significantly exceeded – never in our wildest dreams did we expect to have three vibrant environmental community centers up and running so soon from our beginnings in a trailer parked in Riverside Park. But are we really having the impacts we set out to accomplish? Are students really learning? Are our parks, that we claim are now safe, really being used? Is providing nature in the city and exposing people to it really making a difference? And how do we actually know?

Ok, I’ll admit it. When Pieter Godfrey discussed the idea of converting the land he wished to donate into a unique ecosystem of trees … he and I had only a vague notion of what exactly an arboretum was. My instinct in calling it an Arboretum instead of a park was less biologic and more practical - a marketing tool. The name had the panache to attract attention and hopefully the support needed for the ambitious project of tearing down an old factory and reclaiming the worn industrial land into public green space. When the marketing plan started to work, and support started to pour in, it became evident that understanding the term Arboretum was important.

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:39

Steady Change

It’s fascinating to watch the place where you work become transformed. The progress can take on many forms -- slow as molasses, steady as an Ornate Box Turtle or fast and furious. No matter at what speed you are moving, visitors inevitably come in and comment, “Wow, it looks so different!” or “You all have been doing so much work!” However, when you are caught up in the day to day, it’s sometimes hard to see the change -- “smell the roses” as it were, along your journey. It was a comment from a regular visitor that caused me to step back and really take a look at what we’ve accomplished.

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:36

This Place Is Real

I don’t remember the first time I walked into the Urban Ecology Center. This strikes me as unfortunate, because I have since witnessed many people’s first encounter with the Center, and it can be pretty incredible. I love watching people’s faces as the energy of the amazing work happening here breaks over them and they think, “This place is here? This is real?”

Imagine walking up two flights of stairs under a decommissioned, elevated freight rail surrounded by high rises, street vendors and droves of people. As you reach the platform, you emerge into the lush greenery of a vibrant park buzzing with thousands of visitors.

Copyright © 2021 The Urban Ecology Center