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Displaying items by tag: Menomonee Valley
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00

Art in the Menomonee Valley

Invisible and Visible Mending

Nancy Aten

June – August 2020 - UEC's first Online Art Gallery! See it here: landscapesofplace.com/gallery

For the Wild Ones by Nancy AtenSometimes ecological restoration activities can be “eco-revelatory”, that is, can reveal what are otherwise un-noticed behaviors or functions in the ecosystem. This can help us understand how things work. Like, planting a whole bunch of little bluestem grass in a long weaving drift of a pattern, oriented in such a way that in the late afternoon on a certain trail it simply glows in the sun, and you can’t help but learn what this grass looks like and how the seed fluffs to blow with the wind. Or, leaving a permanent vegetation sampling quadrat in the field, drawing attention to changes in species richness over time: two years ago, it was all switchgrass; today, I see it has five other flowering species I can count.

This exhibit explores fractures and wounds in the landscape, and mending that happens with ecological restoration, both invisibly and visibly.

Artwork: Nancy Aten - For the Wild Ones


I am me because of them — My journey of self discovery through my ancestors

Rozalia Hernandez-Singh

September – November 2020

Opening Reception: September 11th, 5-7 p.m.

For her entire life Rozalia Hernandez-Singh has always struggled with finding her self-identity. Rozalia has always felt that American history books did not include people that look like her. Her ancestral story was discarded and is one that needed to be told. After starting a family of her own it became even more important for her to know who she was. Believing a lot of the traits that we have we inherit from our family even the ones that we’ve never met, lead her on a journey to finding herself and her family. She began taking trips through United States tracing the footsteps of her ancestors seeing the communities and homes that they lived in.

Rozalia has made a thorough investigation of her ancestry, including finding lost ancestors, connecting with other historians, and attempting to piece together her family tree. Rozalia’s background includes Native American, Puerto Rician, African American, and Mexican ancestry. Her family has been separated through migration and difficult circumstances. Rozalia’s husband is from India which becomes part of her children's ancestry. Rozalia encourages everyone to research their family history and write and tell their own American story.

Mississippi Magnolias by Rozalia Hernandez-Singh

Mississippi Magnolias by Rozalia Hernandez-Singh

Now after many years (as well as countless days and sleepless nights) of research she wants to share the stories of her ancestors with you through this exhibit. Rozalia’s hope for this exhibit is to give a voice to her ancestors that had none and to challenge the never-ending attempt to erase and silence people of color. Rozalia chooses to share her story through vibrant visual paintings of portraiture that explore intense feelings and understandings of her research.


Perspective of Nature

UEC Photo Club, Julee Mitchell, & Jeff Veglahn

December 2020 – February 2021

Opening Reception: Friday December 11th, 2020, 5-7 p.m.

A collection of artwork, through many perspectives, of what we see in nature. Our perspective is expressed through photography, illustrations, and acrylic paintings. Nature isn’t only found in vast spaces across the country, but also locally in our own neighborhoods. We hope that our exhibit will inspire and encourage you to see nature in a new perspective.

Trees 2 by Julee Mitchell

Trees 2 by Julee Mitchell

Rattlesnake Master by Jeff Veglahn

Rattlesnake Master by Jeff Veglahn

Diaphanous Reminder by Terri Hart Ellis, UEC Photo Club

Diaphanous Reminder by Terri Hart Ellis, UEC Photo Club


Jolie Collins & Shelly Rosenquist

March – May 2021

Opening Reception: Friday, March 13th, 5-7 p.m.

Understory by Shelly RosenquistShelly Rosenquist says, “My subject matter ranges from what inspires me in the world around me, but I tend to take much of my inspiration from nature and the organic. I believe that in our hectic human existence, we have strayed from what makes this world a beautiful place. I like to use my work as a tool to remind people to look around them, to breathe the air, to take the ordinary and twist it into something even more beautiful.” Artwork on right: Understory by Shelly Rosenquist

Hidden Bud Rough Terrain by Jolie CollinsJolie Collins shares that “As someone who grew up in the city, it is the small things of nature that inspire and give me joy: the smell of lilacs in spring, playing in the surf, and taking pictures in the park. I especially love noticing things, like the rough texture of bark, seed pods on branches, blades of grass, or a lone goose standing in the fog. My nature inspired art reflects this interest. I love mixing mediums to reflect the variety of nature: its roughness, its smoothness, its color, it beginnings and its endings. I want to bring to life the many wonders that embody nature.” Artwork on left: Hidden Bud Rough Terrain by Jolie Collins


Brianna Siepel & Hannah Ribbens

The Mountains Are Calling by Brianna Joy SeipelSeptember – November 2021

Opening Reception: Friday, September 10th, 5-7 p.m.

Whether we encounter wild beauty, quiet poetry, or raw power, Brianna Joy Seipel believes we draw strength from the natural world and the stories of others. Inspired by multi-day backpacking trips, her vibrant oil paintings explore the beauty of local and national parks, forests, and wilderness areas.

Inheritance by Hannah RibbensHannah Ribbens’ work focuses on using collage and color to disrupt reality and challenge the world around us. Nature is often used to bridge the real and fabled worlds and provide a constant that everyone can connect with. The work is colorful and crosses freely between the real and the imaginary.

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!

Sunday, 01 November 2015 01:00

Welcome to Our New Staff

We’ve seen quite a bit of transition over the past couple of months and we’d like to introduce you to some of our fantastic new staff members!

In no particular order, here are the staff who have been newly hired or recently promoted to a new role:

Amy LaMacchia is our new Donor Relations Manager. Lianna Bishop was promoted to the new role of Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager. Brittany Peters was promoted to Membership and Development Systems Coordinator. Chris Steinkamp is our new Evaluation Coordinator but don’t worry, he will continue his half-time Volunteer Coordinator role at Menomonee Valley as he adds this new half-time role. Shameka Tyler is now the full-time Human Resources Specialist. Kirsten Maier is a full-time Environmental Educator at Riverside Park. Emily Bablitch is a new full-time Environmental Educator at Washington Park. Jaime Cano is the new Visitor Services Specialist at the Menomonee Valley. Davita Flowers-Shanklin has two new roles. She is the Volunteer Coordinator at Washington Park as well as our Development Specialist. Martha Sudermann is joining us this year as our Lutheran Volunteer Corps intern, serving as a Community Program Educator. Francis Sullivan is our new Community Program Assistant. Alex LaBonte joins us an Environmental Educator working at both Riverside Park and Washington Park.

Last, but not least, we are pleased to announce that the Urban Ecology Center has two new directors! Jen (Feltz) Hense is our Director of Development and Jeff McAvoy is our Director of Marketing and Communications. These two fantastic individuals have joined our Leadership Team and are helping to make key decisions that will shape the future of the Urban Ecology Center. Click here to learn more about these new Directors.

With a larger leadership team, a full staff of brilliant and enthusiastic individuals, and thousands of dedicated and inspiring volunteers, we are well poised for future success!

Thursday, 29 October 2015 01:00

You DO Live Here

This time of year always gets me thinking about gratitude (I probably say that every November). This year, I want to share a story that perfectly captured for me why I’m so grateful to be a part of this work, and why I’m grateful for the support of so many people that make this work possible.

Last spring, I had the opportunity to teach a 3rd grade Neighborhood Environmental Education Project class at our Menomonee Valley branch. It was a glorious late spring day—sunny with just that faintest taste of summer coming around the corner.

“An oasis in a city to learn about nature and teach kids about nature.”

This is what one community forum participant said about our Menomonee Valley branch when asked how he would describe the Urban Ecology Center to a friend. Another said “It is a place to have fun and laugh.” And when asked about challenges we can help address in the neighborhood, we heard that we should continue to “increase safety along the bike path,” provide more “options for kids in the neighborhood,” and perhaps add programs to help address “balanced nutrition … Kids eat unhealthy foods.”

Monday, 26 October 2015 01:00

Do the Extra-ordinary!

Do you remember those little gift books you used to give as a kid? You’d spend hours, carefully creating hand-made “coupons” for someone special. The promise was to take an ordinary experience and add a little extra. One might say you’d do the dishes without complaining. Another would say you’d give your parents a hug or plan a movie night. They were fun to make and even more fun when redeemed ... well, except for the chores, but even those would change ordinary activities into extraordinary experiences as grownups would often join in to help.

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00

See For Yourself - Summer Camps!

Spending time outdoors, actively engaging with nature is what our Summer Camps are all about!

Our campers explore the secrets of nature by looking under logs, hiking in the woods, climbing trees, building forts, creating art projects, taking pictures and more with kids from all over the city. They’re building science and engineering skills to be better prepared for school year.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 00:00

Outdoor Awesomeness

Being outside is awesome because there is something for everyone. This was perfectly illustrated on a camping adventure with the Menomonee Valley Young Scientists Club this past summer. We packed two buses full of tents, sleeping bags, food and ourselves and drove up to Blue Heron Wildlife Sanctuary for our first Young Scientists and parents camping trip. Camping was a new experience for many, so we planned to do the basics like preparing dinner over a fire, telling stories and exploring the woods at night. But perhaps the best parts of the whole trip were the things that had not been planned.

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