Displaying items by tag: Riverside Park

It’s time to explore! Our Urban Adventures programs will have you paddling, pedaling and climbing all summer long. Get into nature, there’s so much life!
Thanks to your support, kids and adults in the city can canoe, bike or climb — often for the first time. What a great way to be introduced to nature!

As our art exhibits enter their tenth year, Sally Duback, one of the founding members of our arts committee offers this reflection about the beginning and growth of the program.

Ten years ago, UEC board member Danni Gendelman convinced the board that it would be a good idea to host nature-related art exhibitions in the community room. In order to make this happen, she pulled together a small committee of Milwaukee area artists/arts professionals Barbara Manger, Sally Duback and Leon Travanti; and discussions began among them about how this could work.

It was the best “wild ice” for skating that I have found in years. A vast expanse of smooth-as-glass clear ice made not by a Zamboni, but by Mother Nature herself. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all? This “secret gem” wasn’t some hidden lake up state, but it was right here, in the shadow of the US Bank building downtown. I’ve been here over 20 years now and I still keep finding the unexpected. This is why I LOVE living in Milwaukee.

Our habitat restoration efforts and research projects really go hand-in-hand. As we restore the land, we discover more and more mammals, birds, insects and amphibians using our parks. Our studies also help to determine the number of native plant species we’ve added that have “taken root” and are continuing to grow. Here are just a few highlights you can find.

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00

Art at Riverside Park


June - October 2023

Opening Reception: Wednesday, June 7 from 5-7 pm at Riverside Park (Optional Bike ride to Bradford Beach at 7 pm)

Vessels is a project from Studio Seiche that explores a reciprocal relationship with Lake Michigan through design. We experiment with environment-driven fabrication methods by crafting cups and pitchers using local, hand-harvested wild clay and forms shaped by Lake Michigan’s shores. Community members are invited to a free public opening and workshop where participants will work with wild clay to make their own vessel, learn about threats to our local watershed, and take action to protect it. Our hope is this is an opportunity for all of us to build a stronger relationship with the land and commit to its care. We’ll offer connections to the fight to Stop Line 5 and the evening will end with an optional ride to Bradford Beach for a beach clean up. 

20230505 Vessels Insta Exhibit Graphic

Abundance and Minimalism in Nature - Urban Ecology Center Photography Club

Sept 8-Dec 3
Opening Reception: Thursday, Sept. 8th from 5-7pm
Artists will speak at 6pm

Artists’ Statement for Abundance & Minimalism in Nature Exhibit:

The Urban Ecology Center Photography Club, is made up of beginning, intermediate, and professional photographers who share a love of capturing the world around us. Our intention with this exhibit is to present nature’s beauty and resilience. Some of us have focused on capturing images of nature with an abundance of detail, the sweeping panoramas of dramatic sky and landscapes. Others have taken a minimalist approach with the lens trained on a single image revealing its essence with only the minimum detail necessary. Have an interest in photography? We invite you to join us. Meetings, at 6:30- 8:00 pm, the first Thursday of every month, are a great mix of learning, sharing and the celebration of the art of photography. There are opportunities to learn from seasoned and professional photographers who present programs and, on occasion, critiques of members’ photos. Club activities include participating in exhibits, monthly photo challenges, field trips, and connections with other statewide photography clubs and associations. There is a sense of camaraderie and fun among the members, a kind of abundance in itself! We are proud and grateful to be the Urban Ecology Center’s official Photography Club and we appreciate its welcoming support and opportunities to exhibit our members’ photographs. The Urban Ecology Center hums along on the incredible diversity of skills, talents, passions and gifts of hundreds of volunteers and its talented and dedicated staff. This is abundance, too! * The Urban Ecology Centers, Riverside Park, Washington Park, and Menomonee Valley, are global models of community-based environmental education with a mission to connect people in cities to nature and each other. Consider volunteering. Learn more about how you can share your skills and passions at the Urban Ecology Center’s website - urbanecologycenter.org *Edited excerpt from Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities and the World by Ken Leinbach, UEC Executive Director.

Four The First Time

Miriam Sushman, Adria Rose, Bev Richey and Jonathan Ellis.

May-July 2022

Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 18th, 5-7 pm at Riverside Park

Four artists are showing their work together for the first time. Each has their own distinct style. Their unifying theme is nature displayed through stained glass, paintings, mosaics, and more.

These four artists have gotten to know each other through their involvement in the Jewish community. Our work has two main themes –nature-based representationalism and abstract expressionism.

MiriamS IMG 5610 002Miriam Sushman:
Miriam Sushman will be showing a series of stained glass mosaic stepping stones of Wisconsin birds and abstract designs. She will also be showing mosaics for the wall inspired by her house plants, local flowers and flowers that she has encountered on her travels.

“I have always been in love with the natural world. My early years were spent playing in the woods surrounding my suburban Baltimore neighborhood. I tried to save baby birds and played with tadpoles in the nearby creeks. By age ten I had convinced my father to dig up our backyard so I could have an organic garden. I saved stones, leaves and fossilized wood and used some of these materials in my artwork. From an early age I have also been a collector of objects that I would find while playing. As an adult I still collect discarded objects either bought or found and incorporate them into my work.  As a mosaic artist most of my work is inspired by nature. Many of my ideas have come to me during daily walks in nearby Kadish Park in Milwaukee. Not only is nature a source of inspiration but it also has been a healing presence for me during stressful times. While looking at the prairie that overlooks the Milwaukee River I meditate on the flowers, birds, and insects and feel a sense of calm. My childhood love of gardening continues as I grow annual and perennial flowers. These flowers often appear in my work. I am always looking forward to the next flower that I will render in stained glass.”


Adria Rose:

My artwork is inspired by nature and the natural world. I find daily inspiration which greatly influences my work. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed working in many mediums including watercolor, oil, acrylic, and textile. PurpleWavesII 4x6 watercolor acrylic 002

"Since my childhood, I have had a deep appreciation for nature which has served as a constant theme throughout my artwork. As I live on a partially wooded lot within walking distance of Lake Michigan, I find daily inspiration which greatly influences my work. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed working in many mediums including printmaking, acrylic, textile and currently watercolor. I grew up in a multi-cultural home and have been surrounded by artwork from many different backgrounds particularly that of a great uncle, a Chilean printmaker. The vibrant colors, attention to detail, and stories behind each painting have had a huge impact on my artwork. Another theme reflected in my artwork deals with diversity. Given the diverse landscape we live in, I see nature as a unifying theme because nature is something that everyone can appreciate and like art can be a unifying force in people's lives."


Bev RicheyBev Richey
Richey will be showing a sampling of her project "The First Hundred Paintings"; her process of becoming a painter. 

New to Milwaukee, in 2014 Beverly Richey became a member of the Midwest Jewish Artists Laboratory. This unique program provided and required a fairly demanding commitment to studying with other artists and creating new work for regularly scheduled annual exhibitions. Richey thrived in this structured environment and remained a part of this regional program from 2014-2021. She used this project to develop herself as a painter. After decades of working in a range of materials best known for the feminist medium CAKE, Richey used the laboratory project to reinvent herself as a painter. In 2016 she launched the “First Hundred Paintings” series (FHPS). 

“For The First Time”, Richey will exhibit a sampling of works that when shown together represent the development of her new practice. She accepts the need to continue to make changes, begin again and commit to the awkwardness required for doing new things. “Four the First Time” takes you on a small piece of the journey Richey has taken to be able to recognize and identify herself as an artist who now engages with paint, brushes, and flat surfaces.

jonathan ellisJonathan Ellis

A devoted visual artist, educated at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Jonathan Ellis has a prolific body of work and unpredictable contemporary style rooted in emergent truth, love, humor, and theory. His drawings, paintings, and sculptures are reflective of a refined artist exploring identity, materials, and life itself as art. Self-portraits, landscapes, conceptual abstracts, and surreal floral pieces. The work is often transformed over many years, as stories evolve in the course of a lifetime. What is to be found in all is a vibrant confirmation of life and beauty, a joyousness that has been revealed out of profound struggle. Jonathan nurtures community building through exhibitions and painting events that are both healing and inspirational at Gallery 1033, on Historic Mitchell Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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.

Sometimes making the impossible possible just takes a little confidence and ingenuity. Just ask the class of students with visual impairments who spent time exploring Riverside Park and the lakefront with Urban Ecology Center Educators Matt Flower and Regina Miller.

While learning about nature and the environment, all of the students who participate in the Urban Ecology Center's school programs are expected to participate in every way regardless of ability. It's the Center's mission to connect people to nature in part because of the fresh perspective getting outside can provide. In the case of these students, they knew deep down that "Mr. Flower and Ms. Regina" believed that they could do anything and should try everything.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 00:00

Welcome Home: Jordan's Impossible Made Possible

Skipping school, dodging the Riverside Park branch manager and free snacks leads to a home away from home…the perfect recipe for an “Impossible made Possible” at the Urban Ecology Center!

Jordan first came to the Urban Ecology Center in middle school on a Neighborhood Environmental Education Project fieldtrip. He remembers Mr. Flower coming and picking up his class in the busses and how cool it seemed to hang out in the woods. When he became a 9th grader at Riverside University High School, he realized that the Center’s Riverside Park branch was right across the field from his new school. He could come and visit afterschool!

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!

“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.”


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