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Displaying items by tag: Nature

Thank You! You really did make the impossible POSSUMble! Your support helps youth and adults explore, learn, grow, work and play outdoors. Together we’re making a positive change, neighborhood by neighborhood. See for Yourself how you supported the Urban Ecology Center during our 2015 Fall Fund Drive.

Thursday, 31 December 2015 00:00

First Time Ever Experiences

The Urban Ecology Center is a place of “firsts” for many in our community. Some of our younger students see Lake Michigan for the very first time while walking on the sandy beach during one of our Summer Camps. Families have had their very first time ice skating on a cold day in Washington Park. Last winter we had visitors from Nepal who enjoyed their first sled ride down the hill in Riverside Park. A big perk that comes from working at the Urban Ecology Center is being part of those “firsts” – those times of wonder in the outdoors.

Friday, 26 June 2015 00:00

See For Yourself - Healing the Land

Protection and restoration of the land is an essential part of what we do. Through hands-on work, our Land Stewardship team and volunteers grow healthy native habitats in which animals and plants can thrive. These areas are also important to our environmental education programs. Plus they are a great place to explore the natural world! See for yourself how we are caring for the land.

Thursday, 25 June 2015 00:00

Lake Michigan Lessons

One of my favorite places to take school groups is Lake Michigan. It is such a valuable resource right in the backyard of our city. We use it in many ways to teach lessons to students. One lesson is that our drinking water comes from Lake Michigan. Another is the rock cycle, during which we collect different rocks at the “skipping stone beach.” Recently, my co-teacher Tory and I used the beach to teach 4th graders about glaciers and glacial landforms.

By now you have probably heard about the Riverside Park Beaver. He’s been chewing down Milwaukee River Greenway trees since the summer of 2014, has been featured on local news segments, has been written about in social media and blog articles, and even became the star of our recent Earth Month grant-matching campaign. But, how much do you really know about this busy beaver? You might be surprised to learn that this species is much more complex than one might think.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 00:00

Looking Back On Our Earth Day of Service

Many thanks to all who dug in and made our recent Earth Day of Service event such a smashing success! After celebrating for the entirety of April, we capped off Earth Month on Saturday, April 25th with a city-wide day of giving back to the planet. We are overwhelmed with gratitude at the dedication and care that hundreds of community members demonstrated on this day. Enjoy this recap of our Earth Day of Service events!

This year, on my 43rd birthday, my husband gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Along with a beautiful map of Milwaukee County Parks, he agreed to visit all of the parks with me before my 44th birthday. That’s 142 parks in one year! How awesome is that?

The green scape of Milwaukee County is part of what I love about living here. At the point of writing this, we are only 8% into the year-long adventure. I could easily write a page about each park, the awe and magic of nature we’ve experienced, their natural attributes and the way people interact with them.

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.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 00:00

“Seeing” Nature

I was asked recently, “What is your philosophy of education?” This is a question I’ve explored many times throughout my years as an educator. Depending on the crowd, my answer brought warm smiles or a furrowed brow as some consider my philosophy a bit “dreamy” in this data-driven, standards-based era of education.

To me, a meaningful education is a journey of discovery, exploring the mystery and the magic of the world around us and within us. I had the joy of witnessing this outward and inward journey recently while observing two of our talented environmental educators in action.

Thursday, 30 April 2015 00:00

A Hawk, a Chipmunk and So Much More

“Look! Up there, high in the tree, perched on that branch,” an environmental educator directed his class of students to where a Cooper’s Hawk sat in a tree in Riverside Park.

Just moments before they spotted the hawk, a chipmunk had darted across the path in front of them. Out hunting for signs of spring, the class was thrilled at the sighting because chipmunks are hibernators and only awaken from their deep slumber when the weather warms just enough – a true sign of spring!

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