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Displaying items by tag: Nature
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 12:52

Earthstravaganza!

This year the Urban Ecology Center is excited to host the 25th Anniversary Earth Poets and Musicians Earthstravaganza Event on April 26th from 7-10 PM at our Riverside Park Branch. Come spend an evening listening to eco-friendly poetry and music put on by over two dozen songwriters and poets this Arbor Day.

The following is a special sneak preview of poems and lyrics featuring the Earth Poets themselves.

Friday, 22 March 2013 11:49

Native Plant: Eastern Skunk Cabbage

What native Wisconsin plant is the first to bloom in the spring, generates its own heat capable of thawing frozen soil and melting snow, and produces flowers before leaves; flowers that emit a smell of rotting flesh?

Skunk cabbage! 

Not a true cabbage, skunk cabbage is a member of a mostly tropical family of plants, the Arum family or Araceae. Other well known members of the Arum family include calla lilies, philodendrons, taros (elephant ears), as well as other native plants like Green Dragon and Jack-in-the-pulpit. Skunk cabbage gets its name from the pungent skunk-like odor released when any part of the plant is broken or damaged and from its large leaves which grow in a rosette somewhat like a cabbage.

Monday, 25 February 2013 15:55

Every Kid Belongs in Summer Camp

Eight year old Sammy has just found a soft-shelled turtle along the Milwaukee River. It is visible only because it was startled when the group of summer campers came just close enough to this very well-camouflaged Riverside Park resident for it to make a run for the more protective waters.

Sammy calls to his new friend, John, saying “Look at this turtle. What a weird nose!” The two excitedly watch as the turtle looks back for a moment then dives into the river. They giggle a little as the carapace disappears under the surface of the water.

Ok, I’ll admit it. When Pieter Godfrey discussed the idea of converting the land he wished to donate into a unique ecosystem of trees … he and I had only a vague notion of what exactly an arboretum was. My instinct in calling it an Arboretum instead of a park was less biologic and more practical - a marketing tool. The name had the panache to attract attention and hopefully the support needed for the ambitious project of tearing down an old factory and reclaiming the worn industrial land into public green space. When the marketing plan started to work, and support started to pour in, it became evident that understanding the term Arboretum was important.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:40

Summer Camps at the Urban Ecology Center

Do you love the outdoors and want to share that same passion with your children? The Urban Ecology Center’s Summer Camps may be just what you’re looking for!

Campers will enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, games and songs. In just one week they will get the chance to go hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, fishing and swimming at the beach! Older campers will also get the chance to kayak, bike and go on an overnight camping trip. Your children are bound to find something they’ll love!

It was a muddy day in the woods. The snow that had piled up all winter was melting, making it a perfect day to study the tracks that animals had left behind in the mud. One particularly excited 2nd grader, Kayana, was anxious to find any track she could. As she ran off the trail in search of more signs that animals had made, I asked her to come back to the group. Clearly disappointed that I had stopped her investigation, she yelled back “But I’m in the woods- I’m s’posed to explore!”

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:21

Milwaukee River Trails Getting a Facelift

Ever since the North Avenue Dam was removed in 1996, the Milwaukee River Corridor from Estabrook to downtown has gone through a remarkable transformation. Where once only a few species of fish could live in the highly polluted waters, this stretch is now teeming with life.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:07

Get Outside and Play… Doctor’s Orders!

Who knew that when our parents told us to go outside and play they were dispensing medical advice? In the September/October issue of the newsletter I mentioned “Indoor Sickness”, a term coined by Dr. Daphne Miller, that increasingly is gaining attention from medical professionals. “Indoor Sickness” is an umbrella term for diseases linked to a sedentary lifestyle.

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