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Displaying items by tag: Menomonee Valley
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 00:00

The Importance of Paying Attention

Being an ecologist, in many ways, is about paying attention. In springtime, the Center is particularly good at this: the staff have their eyes and ears on high alert for that first jubilant trill of a Red-winged Blackbird or the first striped flash of a chipmunk that will let us know the wait for spring is over.

But the everyday observations are just as important as the “firsts.” That’s how we learn to understand the natural world and notice changes or needs arising in our own ecosystem.

Friday, 06 March 2015 00:00

Not Just A Rock

The morning sunlight shimmered on the rippling surface of the river. It was a beautiful day in late fall as second graders hiked along the Menomonee Valley trails. The excitement of the kids grew as the trail got more and more covered by the trees. I realized that the border between them and the natural world had started to break down when I heard a few “wows” for a Blue Heron that flew by and a salmon going up the river to spawn. You could sense the connection one student had as she held an improvised walking stick.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 00:00

The $755,000 Hank Aaron Challenge!

Ce-le-brate good times, come on!
There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times
and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you

Do you remember that song from Kool and the Gang? Well guess what folks, we have our own Kool Gang and wow, do we have something to celebrate!

"When are the gardens going to be open?!" This is a question that the Menomonee Valley Young Scientists would ask last year over and over again. The roar and grumble of the tractor machinery was heard throughout Three Bridges Park as workers installed 40 raised garden beds and three arbors, airy structures that will support vine plants.

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 00:00

Why What We Do Matters

The turn of the year is always a good time for reflection-- to ask, “Why do I do what I do?”

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to answer that question. We live in a city plagued by segregation, disparity and systemic violence, within a country that often feels paralyzed by political polarization. Against this backdrop, I sometimes find myself planning a snowshoe program and wondering, “Isn’t there more I could be doing?” and “Is this work really that important?”

I think the answer to both of these questions is “yes.”

Monday, 10 November 2014 00:00

Snow and Go!

We have lot of winter fun planned here at the Urban Ecology Center, but our random Wisconsin weather patterns don't always grace us with the snow we need. To make the most of the snow when it it does fall, we offer a Snow & Go Facebook group that will alert members to any spontaneous winter antics we whip up! Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding... even skating on the Washington Park lagoon if the ice is safe!

Join the Snow & Go group to stay updated on winter fun that pops up when the snow flies.

Join the Urban Ecology Center's Snow & Go Facebook group

Preteen skiing at a Snow & Go event

A preteen learns to ski at a Snow & Go event

Monday, 17 November 2014 00:00

The Greatest Gift

Hi, it’s me, Ken! I’m thinking about what to give to the special people in my life during this giving season. Should I give them an Urban Ecology Center gift membership? A Center t-shirt? Or maybe a day outdoors in the snow? Hmm, perhaps I should ask around. "What does the fox say?"

Thursday, 30 October 2014 01:00

Appreciating Wild Spaces

I am writing this article on my way back to Milwaukee after an incredible trip to Alaska. Willie Karidis, with lighthearted expertise, gave the Urban Ecology Center eco-travel group a wonderful experience of wilderness. We witnessed Denali, the tallest mountain on the continent, rise out of brilliant reds and yellows of Alaska autumn. We marveled at moose and wandered among wolf tracks. We splashed through icy rivers and padded across spongy tundra. It was a trip filled with awe for vast expanses of beauty that stretched as far as we could see and amazement at remarkable minutia close enough to touch. Willie called it “Subarctic splendor.”

But this article is not about the Alaskan wilderness.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00

Inventive EcoArtists

Summer camp at the Urban Ecology Center is awesome for me as an educator. It’s laid back and having the same campers for four days means we have the opportunity to focus on activities they are interested in and help them gain a more in-depth knowledge of the environments just outside the Center’s doors.

One year ago, we were busily preparing for the grand opening of Three Bridges Park. So many people worked so hard leading up to that day: to design the park, to build it, and to create a celebration that we hoped would capture the spirit of creativity and invitation that we wanted Three Bridges Park to be for Milwaukee. As exciting as that experience was, it was also a daunting task. We had huge hopes for what Three Bridges Park would become, and though all of us working closely on the project were excited for the park’s potential, we just couldn’t know how people would respond to the park once it was actually open.

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