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Displaying items by tag: Land Stewardship
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 14:41

Native Plants: Common witch hazel

Common witch hazel (CWH, Hamamelis virginiana) is hardly common in the wild and even less so in landscaping. In Milwaukee County CWH is only found in a handful of older growth forests. This unique large shrub or small multi-stemmed tree blooms October through November!

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-anglea) is one of the most common native asters and when covered in one inch diameter flowers, it's also one of the showiest. This member of the daisy/sunflower family grows in a variety of soil types and moisture levels and is well adapted to disturbed areas like roadsides and young prairie plantings where it can be a dominant species. 

Monday, 04 June 2018 09:46

Plant Defenses

Plants lack an immune system like that of animals. However, plants have developed their own unique defenses to detect bacteria, fungi, insects, and vertebrate organism invasion and stop them before mortal damage ensues. Tissue structure and chemistry as well as existing ecological relationships between animals and plants contribute to a plant’s defense and disease resistance. Aside from providing plant strength and rigidity, cell walls, waxy or rubbery films covering leaf and stem tissue, and bark all perform as physical barriers to invasion.

Thursday, 17 May 2018 10:14

See For Yourself - Restoring Ecosystems

Your support allows the Urban Ecology Center’s Land Stewardship team to improve habitat on over 70 acres of urban land, vastly expanding opportunities for outdoor science and recreation.

The UEC is restoring ecosystems which support more wildlife and create healthy outdoor classrooms where urban children, families, and residents can learn about their natural environment. Here’s how!

A good researcher performs many roles — observer, record keeper, historian and the like. But one of our favorites is storyteller. You may have heard about how the UEC heals the land through thousands of hours from land stewardship volunteers and staff pulling nonnative plants, planting natives and preventing erosion. Often the results of these efforts are easy to see.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 16:07

Plant Anatomy & Physiology Course

When I first started learning about plants, I had a lot of questions. How does a tree gets water from deep in the ground all the way up to leaves 160 feet in the air? How are plants able to survive cold winters like this one? How do seeds know when to germinate in the spring? Why are most plants green anyway? Why not blue or pink or black? Do plants communicate with one another? How do plants defend themselves from attack by insects? Whew! That's a lot of stuff to learn! The more I dug into this (no pun intended), the more I discovered how amazing, adaptable, and beautiful plants can be.

Friday, 11 May 2018 09:37

Improvements on the Oak Leaf Trail

The Oak Leaf Trail is my regular bike commute route from home to work and back. The morning commute is an especially quiet and beautiful experience from the morning a whitetail deer ran alongside me for 50 meters to watching the continuous show of wild geraniums in the spring through scarlet colored sumac in the fall. 

A former Chicago-Northwest Railway line, I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to witness those locomotives flying past. In the 1930s, the “400” trains that rumbled along this route were the fastest long-distance passenger trains in the world! The 400 train was named for the route distance of 400 miles between St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL which it could cover in 400 minutes.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 17:17

Wisconsin drought resistant plants

Has the weather lately left you feeling parched yet sweaty? Us too, but we can hardly stay inside knowing Autumn’s flower and foliage color display is on its way. While the weather remains unseasonably warm and minimal if any rain is in sight, many of our Wisconsin native plant species can take the heat as well as the drought conditions.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 12:23

Naturescaping Design Principles

People around the country are joining in on the growing native plant gardening movement. In addition to providing a multitude of vital habitat components for wildlife, native grasses, sedges, wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and ferns also conserve water, are less maintenance than majority of ornamental cultivars, and save money in multiple ways.

Yet, even with all these benefits it can be challenging to work through the many stigmas that have come to over shadow Naturescaping.

Coming from the perspective of a human (a true biological juggernaut of adaptability), the past couple of weeks have been a real joy. For a few glorious days, I wore a tank top outside at work (in February!) and today I’m walking in a winter wonderland again. While the particular weather pattern we’ve just experienced here in Milwaukee has been a treat for us humans, for the plants around us, trees and shrubs especially, it will prove to be more of a trial.

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