16 episodes

The Urban Ecology Podcast tells the ongoing story of the Urban Ecology Center, an “experiment” still in the works in the neighborhoods of Milwaukee that has been connecting people to nature for nearly three decades. We’ll explore the nature-based educational programming and community engagement efforts that help the Urban Ecology Center make a positive impact locally and globally. Through conversations with staff members, volunteers, and community members, each episode of the Urban Ecology Podcast weaves together stories from the past, present, and future of the Urban Ecology Center. What do we do? How do we do it? How can you do it in your community? And perhaps most importantly, why do we do it? Listen in as we continue working to transform kids, parks, cities, and the world. Nothing like having small goals, eh?

Urban Ecology Podcast Urban Ecology Center

    • Society & Culture

The Urban Ecology Podcast tells the ongoing story of the Urban Ecology Center, an “experiment” still in the works in the neighborhoods of Milwaukee that has been connecting people to nature for nearly three decades. We’ll explore the nature-based educational programming and community engagement efforts that help the Urban Ecology Center make a positive impact locally and globally. Through conversations with staff members, volunteers, and community members, each episode of the Urban Ecology Podcast weaves together stories from the past, present, and future of the Urban Ecology Center. What do we do? How do we do it? How can you do it in your community? And perhaps most importantly, why do we do it? Listen in as we continue working to transform kids, parks, cities, and the world. Nothing like having small goals, eh?

    Environmental Collaboration in Milwaukee: Erick Shambarger has an Office for That

    Environmental Collaboration in Milwaukee: Erick Shambarger has an Office for That

    This is our second episode in a mini-series focusing on how local governments can provide public green spaces. In the City of Milwaukee, there is a clear history for this work. Around the time the Urban Ecology Center was moving into a new building in Riverside Park in 2004, leaders in the area helped Mayor Tom Barrett establish a “Green Team” for the city. Today, the Environmental Collaboration Office carries on the work of the original Green Team in distinctive ways. Many cities have opened offices that focus on sustainability, as well as the familiar parks and recreation programming. In Milwaukee, as we learn in this conversation with Director Erick Shambarger, the focus is consistently on collaboration, and the results over the past decade or so point to even more potential for the future. As in our last episode with Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, Erick shares a passion for urban ecology. His work – starting in the city budget office, joining the Green Team, and now leading the Environmental Collaboration Office – sets a high bar for other cities looking to expand access to urban green spaces.
    This episode is hosted by Chris Young with contributions from Gillian Spence, and Ken Leinbach. Edited by Danny Pirtle. Special thanks to our guest, Erick Shambarger.
    For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website (www.urbanecologycenter.org) or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.

    • 36 min
    Urban Ecology in Milwaukee County: Conversation with Chairwoman Nicholson

    Urban Ecology in Milwaukee County: Conversation with Chairwoman Nicholson

    In this episode, we meet Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors (https://www.facebook.com/SupervisorNicholson and http://milwaukee.gov/Nicholson) to learn about her passion for urban ecology. This is the first in a two-part series on municipal government partnerships. Nicholson explores the importance of public policymaking for protecting green spaces. She shares her passion for nature as she talks about its benefits to individual and community health. Connected to this, she returns to major themes of her work so far as a public servant, advocating for racial equity as it is impacted by disparities in funding for programs across the county. She is inspired by community organizations like the Urban Ecology Center that partner with one another, with neighbors, and with government agencies to make change happen. She is, in turn, inspiring others at the local, state, and national levels to recognize the need for continuing transformation of green spaces in our cities.
    This episode is hosted by Chris Young with contributions from Gillian Spence, and Ken Leinbach. Edited by Danny Pirtle. Special thanks to our guest, Marcelia Nicholson.
    For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website (www.urbanecologycenter.org) or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.

    • 45 min
    Education Partners Build Community

    Education Partners Build Community

    This episode completes our initial 4-part series on environmental education. Throughout this series, we have seen how programming at the Urban Ecology Center makes connections to environmental learning for children in school groups and for community members of all ages. We have seen the dynamic ways that the community informs that programming. In this episode, it is even more notable that we are only just beginning to share the diversity of the people the Center serves and how our efforts to learn from and meet the needs of our neighbors are ongoing. José interviews Martina Patterson, an educator in a partner organization called Nearby Nature. Together, they reflect on what it means to share their love of nature to inspire the passion of children for the environment through science and art. The partnership between the UEC and Nearby Nature has been in the works for several years, through the commitment of a local Sierra Club advocate, David Thomas, and this collaboration is set to grow as we move forward.
    This episode is hosted by Chris Young and José Basaldua with contributions from Ken Leinbach and features special guest Martina Patterson. Edited by Danny Pirtle.
    For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website (www.urbanecologycenter.org) or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.

    • 34 min
    Community Education at the UEC: Engaging Environmental Education

    Community Education at the UEC: Engaging Environmental Education

    In this episode -- the third in our 4-part series on environmental education -- we take a dive into another component of the ecosystem of education at the Urban Ecology Center: Community Programs. In conversation with educators Erin and José, our podcast interviewer Tim explores the meaning of community through the lens of these programs, as well as the ways that the focus of education differs when we consider a much wider audience. Previous episodes included descriptions of the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP), but here the focus is all Community Programs (CP). Bringing a range of experience and different backgrounds, José and Erin share what it takes to succeed in the dynamic role of a Community Programs Educator.
    This episode is hosted by Chris Young and Tim Vargo with contributions from José Basaldua, Erin Whitney, and Ken Leinbach. Edited by Danny Pirtle.
    For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website (www.urbanecologycenter.org) or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.

    • 46 min
    Kids in Nature at the UEC: Enacting Environmental Education

    Kids in Nature at the UEC: Enacting Environmental Education

    In the second episode of our 4-part series on environmental education, we visit winter Forest Camp in Riverside Park. Two educators and about a dozen kids on piles of snow and around a campfire tell us what it takes to have fun and learn outdoors in a Wisconsin winter. Along the way, we encounter animal tracks, learn about what they eat, hear about where wildlife in the park lives, and get a lesson in what animals leave behind.
    This episode is hosted by Chris Young with contributions from Matt Flower, Alex LaBonte, and Ken Leinbach. Edited by Danny Pirtle. Special thanks to our very special guests, the kids of winter Forest Camp.
    For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website (www.urbanecologycenter.org) or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.

    • 40 min
    Environmental Education at the UEC: Foundations

    Environmental Education at the UEC: Foundations

    This episode begins a 4-part examination of environmental education and the Urban Ecology Center model. In this episode, we hear from Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning Beth Heller and Environmental Education Manager Lynn Anders. They share the history of the program, and look closely at the important elements that have led to its success, some of which will be familiar to environmental educators across the world, but many of which are unique to our urban community-focused model.
    This episode was hosted by Chris Young with contributions from Ken Leinbach. Edited by Danny Pirtle. Special thanks to our guests Beth Heller and Lynn Anders. 
    For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website (www.urbanecologycenter.org) or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.

    • 47 min

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