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Displaying items by tag: Nature
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 01:36

Take a Virtual Nature Walk with Chad!

We're encouraging our staff to share the natural discoveries they've found on their walks. Come along on a "virtual nature walk" with our Environmental Educator Chad Thomack, and hear stories about his recent discoveries in nature!

Tuesday, 17 March 2020 15:44

Phenology in the Time of a Pandemic

There are few rules to hiking beyond “leave no trace” and “stay on the trail,” but another unspoken one is “give other folks their space.” In other words, polite hikers have been practicing “social distancing” for ages! Just because kids don’t have school to go to for the time being doesn’t mean we all have to spend the next bit of time cooped up in the house. In fact, the natural world has kept on doing its thing while we’ve been busy with math assignments and playdates and seemingly endless meetings, and spring is the perfect time to get back out there. The Urban Ecology Center’s mission to connect people in cities to nature isn’t going anywhere, and this is the first in a series of blog posts with ideas on how to keep getting outside.

A few years ago I had a friend who was afraid to do almost anything outdoorsy in Milwaukee. She told me that the outdoors "didn't have anything accessible." How I've loved proving her wrong!

Truth is, there are a lot of ways to enjoy nature on wheels in Milwaukee. And, what better time to explore the natural beauty of our city than on the anniversary of one of the most important pieces of legislation regarding civil rights – the Americans with Disabilities Act? Here are five outdoorsy things you can do in Milwaukee on July 26th and beyond:

Friday, 17 November 2017 09:08

Mother Nature and Father Time

Mother Nature and Father Time. We’ve known they were our family for at least 3,000 years when they first entered into Ancient Greek lore. I prefer to call them our parents and leave out the gender, but let’s focus on their relationship.

It’s prudent to consider time in our daily lives – learn from the past, live in the present, prepare for the future. Nature excels at all three of these things.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 12:21

Cultivating Crucial Connections

There’s a certain allure to farming that resonates with almost everyone. It’s very hard work, but your daily connection to the land is powerful. As an environmental educator at the Urban Ecology Center I consider myself a farmer of connections.

From birth, children are developing their connection with the wider world and the many experiences in nature make up the threads that are woven throughout our entire lives.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 12:10

Giving the Gift of Experience

“See you at the top, Aunt Beth!” shouted my niece, Kate who was 12 at the time. We were at Lapham Peak facing what is affectionately called “Asthma Hill”. My niece and her friend had mastered the art of skiing uphill leaving me lagging behind, catching my breath. They paused and asked me to lead only once, at the “Roller Coaster” section of the trail: a steep, undulating, fast and slightly icy technical stretch. I must say, I was delighted to be able to give a few pointers, even if it was just once that day.

Friday, 20 October 2017 12:07

Fall Colors: Behind the Scenes

It’s officially autumn! Time for pumpkins and sweaters and soaking up every moment of sunshine before winter hits. Fall is such a wonderful time of year. The entire forest turns into a spectacle of color and light — a showy and powerful promise from Mother Nature that if we huddle through these few cold months, she’ll be back and better than ever. Walking through the woods in fall, with a crisp silent breeze and only the sound of feet through dry leaves, one might think that the forest seems to be settling down for a big nap.

From the perspective of a tree, though, fall is an incredibly busy season.

On an early morning bird walk last year, we smelled our find before we saw her. The smell of necrosis mixed with day-old vomit lingered on the light breeze. We scoured the nearby terrain trying to find the mysterious decaying matter hidden amongst the leaf litter only to remain perplexed. And then we saw her. Perched on a tree branch, just 10 feet from our heads, sat the pungent perpetrator.

I am excited to announce that print copies of our new book — Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities and the World — will be available for sale this fall at the Urban Ecology Center! Soon you will be able to get your very own signed copy to both support the Center and spread the word.

The e-book launched in April on Amazon and quickly rose to best seller status in the Children’s Study and the Urban Planning & Development categories … wild eh? But as great as that was, I have to admit that having a hard copy in hand will be very satisfying.

During hot months, prairies come alive with phenomenal displays of wildflowers and the prairie restorations of the Rotary Centennial Arboretum at Riverside Park are, right now, in full bloom. There you can find this week’s wildflower: Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus).

With flowerheads that look like small, delicate daisies, prairie fleabane is a member of Asteraceae, the asters. Asteraceae is one of the two biggest families of plants in the world along with Orchidaceae, the orchids. Which family is bigger depends on who’s counting what as a species.

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