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Displaying items by tag: Menomonee Valley
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 13:22

Join the Conversation!

Several times a week, I get to hear new ideas — from members, visitors or Young Scientists. Each person who participates at the Urban Ecology Center has experiences, knowledge and ideas to share, and one of my favorite parts of my job is getting the chance to hear the ideas from our community.

As you can imagine, some of my favorite events at the Center are our Community Forums—meetings that are open to the public, whose intent is to give our whole community the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas, and for our staff to have the chance to connect with community members and listen to these opinions and ideas.

Baby showers and birthday parties and weddings – oh my! When the education classes wrap up and our public programs are done, the second life of our classrooms and branches emerges. Retirement parties, memorial celebrations, bridal showers, company retreats and more! Our spaces get used all over again – a repurposing of space if you will – with our facility rental program.

As our art exhibits enter their tenth year, Sally Duback, one of the founding members of our arts committee offers this reflection about the beginning and growth of the program.

Ten years ago, UEC board member Danni Gendelman convinced the board that it would be a good idea to host nature-related art exhibitions in the community room. In order to make this happen, she pulled together a small committee of Milwaukee area artists/arts professionals Barbara Manger, Sally Duback and Leon Travanti; and discussions began among them about how this could work.

It was the best “wild ice” for skating that I have found in years. A vast expanse of smooth-as-glass clear ice made not by a Zamboni, but by Mother Nature herself. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all? This “secret gem” wasn’t some hidden lake up state, but it was right here, in the shadow of the US Bank building downtown. I’ve been here over 20 years now and I still keep finding the unexpected. This is why I LOVE living in Milwaukee.

Last summer the Urban Ecology Center held its first Engineering for Kids Summer Camp for third and fourth graders. The entire experience at this camp completely exceeded my expectations. The campers built a raft with their own hands out of recycled wood, inner tubes, ropes and milk jugs and on their last day of camp they embarked on a big adventure - gliding their raft down the Menomonee River.

I felt intimately connected to this project as it reminded me of my childhood. My friends and I used to build rafts with driftwood in the Alagón River Reservoir, Spain. It was a passion I could share with my campers.

Our habitat restoration efforts and research projects really go hand-in-hand. As we restore the land, we discover more and more mammals, birds, insects and amphibians using our parks. Our studies also help to determine the number of native plant species we’ve added that have “taken root” and are continuing to grow. Here are just a few highlights you can find.

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00

Art in the Menomonee Valley

"Pollinators and Prairies" by Escuela Verde's Field Research Team

December 2019 - February 2020

Opening Reception: Thursday, December 12, 4 - 6 p.m.

In Escuela Verde's Field Research Team, students explore the natural world around them through the practice of community science. Works in this show speak out about issues of conservation, preservation, climate change and environmental justice.

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Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Hide and Seek

It was 5pm on a late fall, Friday evening and I was enjoying a cup of hot chocolate at the Menomonee Valley branch’s reception desk. A group of our regular youth visitors were running around the building as it was too dark outside to explore Three Bridges Park and they were having too much fun to go home. It was a quiet evening, perfect for kids to just hang out and be themselves in our safe community center. I couldn’t see anybody around, but I could hear little feet moving fast.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:00

The Intersection of Ecology and Art

“I realized I truly wanted to study ecology – a seed that was planted during my time at [the Urban Ecology Center] but took a few years to sprout.”

This is the opening line of an email from a former High School Outdoor Leader, Robby Friedlen, to Riverside Park Branch Manager, Jamie Ferschinger. He was eager to share the reason behind his decision to shift his research studies to “the intersection of ecology – through the lens of permaculture – and the arts.” As a High School Outdoor Leader in 2009, Robby spent a portion of his summer working with internationally known artist Roy Staab.

Students can be scientists? It's true! In another story of "impossibles made possible" by your support of the Urban Ecology Center, we're taking at look at our Young Scientists Club and their participation in the University of Minnesota's Driven to Discover program!

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