What We Do

Schedule a Program with the Urban Ecology Center!

The Urban Ecology Center uses a nature exploration model for our programs. During a visit, participants will explore an urban natural area with our fun and knowledgeable staff members. Our goal is to create a positive outdoor experience for people to explore, discover, play, and learn while being active outdoors. As we embark on our adventure, we can explore specific nature topics such as wildlife, forest ecology, water, birds, bugs, etc. - or create a more generalized nature experience with a goal of having fun and being active outside, while enhancing environmental awareness.

We Offer Nature Based Programming:

Click titles below to expand


Early Childhood

  • Seasonal Nature Exploration and Discovery
  • Nighttime Nature
  • Sense-ational Nature (5 senses)
  • Maple Sugaring (RP and WP)
  • Birds
  • Wildlife in Your Backyard
  • Insects
  • Camouflage and Other Animal Disguises
  • Trees/Seeds/Leaves
  • Animals in Winter
  • Weather
  • Move Like an Animal
  • Sounds of Nature
  • Flowers
  • Create your own program

School Age Kids (adapted to any age)

  • Insects (April – September)
  • Birds
  • Wisconsin Wildlife
  • Trees
  • Team-building/Group Facilitation Games
  • Plants/Flowers (April – September)
  • Forest Ecology and habitat study
  • Pond or River study (April – September)
  • Winter Ecology / Animals in Winter (November – February)
  • Animal tracks and signs (November – February)
  • Maple Sugaring (March and April) (RP and WP)
  • Naturalist’s Choice
  • Create Your Own

Programs for Adults

  • Naturalist Skills
    • Maple Sugaring (RP and WP)
    • Plant Communities of Riverside Park
    • Invertebrates
    • Forest Ecology
    • Aquatic Ecology
    • Winter Ecology
    • Seasonal phenology and discovery
    • Basic Bird Identification/Beginning Birding
  • Night Hikes / Owl prowls
  • Team building
  • History and ecology of Riverside/Washington/Three Bridges Park walk
  • Camping/backpacking/canoe camping trips (these trips occur outside of Milwaukee County)
  • Nature therapy for health and wellness
  • Outdoor recreation – canoeing, kayaking, climbing, cross-country skiing

Scout Programs

  • Nature at Night
  • Sap to Syrup (Maple Sugaring) (RP and WP)
  • Animal Tracker (Animal tracks and signs)
  • Insect Studies
  • River Connections / Pond Connections (Water quality and biological sampling)
  • Animal Attributes
  • Beginning Birding
  • Fishing (Washington Park only)
  • Flower/Tree Hikes
  • Habitat/Ecology Hikes
  • Climbing (Riverside Park only)
  • Paddling (Riverside Park and Washington Park)
  • Biking
  • Campfire cooking (Riverside Park only)
  • Cross country skiing

B’earthday Parties (for kids turning 5 or older)

Offsite Programs (coming soon)

Stay tuned for more information soon.

Outdoor recreation

  • Canoeing (RP and WP) and kayaking (RP only) - ages 12 and above, unless accompanied by an adult
  • Biking (ages 10+)
  • Fishing (WP)
  • Climbing Wall (ages 6+) (RP
  • Cross Country Skiing (ages 7+)
  • Snowshoeing (ages 7+)

What to Expect From Your Program:

  • A fun and knowledgeable Urban Ecology Center to guide your group
  • An outdoor-based experience that gives participants a chance to be active, explore, learn, and play in some of Milwaukee’s best natural areas.
  • Guided outdoor activities that create awareness and learning about the program topic of your choice, plus free-play time in nature’s playground.

Program Cost:

  • Nature-based programs: $75/hour for up to 20 participants; $150/hour for 21-40 participants
  • Outdoor Recreation Programs: $100/hour for up to 12 participants
  • Larger groups can be accommodated based on staff availability. Additional program fees apply.

Program Length and times:

  • Typical program length is 1, 1 ½, or 2 hours, but we are very flexible and will work with you to create a program meets your needs.
  • We schedule programs any day of the week, generally between 9:30 AM and 7:00 PM, based on staff availability.
  • We offer year-round programming options, though many of our programs topics are seasonal. The Community Program Coordinator can assist you in choosing a program that fits the season of your visit.

Health and Wellness Benefits of Spending Time in Nature:

  • Increases pleasant feelings, and heightens feelings of empathy and connection
  • Reduces feelings of stress, anger, and aggression
  • Improves social and emotional relationship skill development
  • Reduces symptoms of ADHD
  • Increases creativity, curiosity, problem-solving, and critical thinking ability
  • Enhances cognitive functioning
  • Improves mood and eases feelings of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues
  • Promotes eye health
  • Lowers risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes
  • Increases fitness levels
  • Raises Vitamin D levels
  • Boosts immune system functioning

To learn more or schedule your program, contact:

Community Programs 
(414) 964-8505
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Matt Flower
Early Childhood Specialist
(414) 964-8505, x125
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Riverside Park Volunteer Orientation

Riverside Park

Monday, August 19th

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

More Details...

Canoe & Brew

Rowing Club

Monday, August 19th

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

More Details...

Find event


Email Sign-Up


* indicates required
Which Emails would you like to receive?

Connect Now

facebook instagram 2018 2 twitter linkedin

Get Involved

Become a member today!

Copyright © 2019 The Urban Ecology Center. Website by Savvy Panda.