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Winter - December, 2019

During the week of Thanksgiving, the cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) were flocked by the dozens in the eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) shrubs immediately in front of our Riverside Park building having their own feast. Cedar waxwings are very social, fruit-eating, nomadic migrants. They are medium-sized and smaller than their cousin, Bohemian waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), with the identifiable black-masked markings and yellow-tipped tail feathers. The cedar waxwings have visited us each year over the last several years to feed voraciously on the cedar's berry-like cones and the sumac's berries. This is a shining example of the power of planting native species in our small urban spaces to provide food and shelter to urban residents and migratory wildlife! Sign up for Michaela's Native Plant Landscape Design course, on Thursdays from February 6th to March 19th to find out how you can provide habitat and attract wildlife to your yard by incorporating native plants into your landscape! Find out more about cedar waxwing habits and range here.  Find out more about the easter red cedar here.

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This year we've had several measurable snowfalls in the month of November, with late fall arriving in a very winter-like fashion. The Farmers' Almanac 2020 calls for a 'Polar Coaster' winter this year with above-normal winter precipitation in the Great Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes regions with many ups and downs in temperatures. Read more here.   Plants have many adaptations to survive Wisconsin's harsh winters. Learn more here. Find out how plants function, including how they can survive our crazy Wisconsin winters during Caitlin's Plant Anatomy and Physiology class on Wednesday evenings, starting January 22 through February 26th. 

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See below for ROOT times, below, to come to help us improve the habitat diversity at all three of our branches! 


Join the ROOT times (Restoring Our Outdoors Together) at each of our Urban Ecology Center branches each week to improve biodiversity, connect to the land and help restore and improve vital habitat and native Wisconsin plant community types!

ROOT Times: (ROOT may be canceled if the temperatures are above 100F, below 0F or if there are thunder and lightning)

*Please, arrive dressed for the weather in clothes and shoes you don't mind getting dirty. What to expect this week:

Menomonee Valley ROOT: 
We will be working on invasive species removal in Three Bridges Park. Help us remove invasive species to provide more room for native species to improve the diversity of habitat in our parks. Occasional indoor native seed cleaning.

Thursdays 9-11am 

Washington Park ROOT: 
Join us for the beauty of all seasons! We will focus on invasive woody species removal throughout the fall and winter to improve the biodiversity and improve important habitat within Washington Park. Occasional, indoor native seed cleaning. 

Tuesdays 9-11am 

Riverside Park ROOT: 

Join us while we experience winter in Wisconsin! There is still work to do out in our parks. We will focus on removing invasive woody species, like honeysuckle and buckthorn, to make space for native species and improve the habitat diversity of Riverside Park. Most days we will venture outside, so please come prepared. Occasionally, we will remain inside to clean native plant seed.  

Tuesdays 9-11am

Fridays 2-4pm 


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