Membership Changes FAQ

The Urban Ecology Center is doing something a bit radical - something certainly worth buzzing about.  We are reimagining membership and equipment access.  

The current format of Urban Ecology Center membership will begin to sunset this fall to make room for a more sustainable model of support, community involvement, and equipment access opportunities.

Membership Change Email Size Graphics 1

Why is membership changing?

→ Well, think of your membership in other organizations. What do you get?

  • Museum Membership? = admission to the exhibits.
  • Nature Center Membership? = access to the park.
  • Zoo Membership? = entrance to the zoo. 

Here at the UEC, the parks we steward are free to use. Our buildings are open to all. And we are proud of that!

For the past two decades, outdoor equipment lending has been a core membership benefit. However, it's time to explore new avenues that align with our mission while ensuring accessibility and affordability for all.

How is equipment access changing?

→ Our goal with equipment access has always been to encourage and enhance urban nature experiences for people living in cities.

After 2 years of analysis and discussion, we determined that the equipment lending program is not efficiently or effectively accomplishing this goal.  For years, the Urban Ecology Center was trying to operate as an outfitter. As we've grown, operating in this way is just not sustainable.

TIODLogo 02Our new approach to equipment access through designated free-use "Take It Outside" days will 

  • Spotlight our diverse natural sites in Milwaukee 
  • Showcase staff expertise 
  • Focus on introductory experiences 
  • Serve a broader base of people

 When are the Take It Outside Days?

 The first Take It Outside Days will be:

  • Saturday, Sept 30th from 10-2pm: Take It Outside with Bicycles! (Menomonee Valley)
  • Saturday, Oct 7th from 10-2pm: Take It Outside with Canoes on the Milwaukee River (Riverside Park)

Who are UEC members now?

→ Everyone! Anyone that wants to become a community member of the UEC can do so - free of charge. The UEC buildings, managed parks, Take It Outside days and many programs are FREE TO EVERYONE.

By moving forward in this way, we are removing barriers and creating inclusion! With your continued support, we can welcome all of our neighbors to the UEC.

How can you continue to support the UEC?

→ We are so grateful for your continued support.

The Hive 2023 Logo 01By joining The Hive: UEC's Sustaining Givers with a recurring gift - either monthly or annually, you help connect people in cities to nature and each other.  

Joining The Hive isn’t about what you get - it’s about what you give. The Hive ensures that everyone has the opportunity to fall in love with nature, get fitted for snowshoes, learn proper paddling techniques, catch their first fish, tag a butterfly and so much more. 

Your commitment demonstrates to others that urban nature is inherently valuable and that everyone should have the opportunity to experience natural spaces.

Why is The Hive based on recurring donations? 

→ Lots of reasons!

By making a recurring gift, you - and many others - are casting votes for the future you wish to see in Milwaukee. You are joining a group of like-minded individuals whose combined commitments have a BIG impact. 

Recurring support has a long-term impact on the UEC’s ability to fulfill our mission and ease financial uncertainty.  We can’t support Milwaukee’s people and parks without your consistent support.

Recurring gifts are easier for you! You can manage a budget for giving back while avoiding the hassle of remembering to renew.

Recurring gifts can be given on an annual or monthly basis.  It’s easy to change your gift amount or cancel if needed. 

What about current membership benefits? 

→ The equipment lending benefit for current members will end on September 30, 2023. Our first 'Take It Outside' day will also be on September 30 at Menomonee Valley.  We hope you can come bike with us! 

All other membership benefits, including the 20% program discount, will remain active until November 30, 2023.

Can I still purchase a membership?

→ You can. However, given the changes, your membership would only be valid until November 30, 2023 with the equipment lending benefit ending on September 30, 2023.   On September 1, 2023, we will stop selling memberships entirely.

If you aren’t interested in borrowing equipment from us but still want to be more deeply involved with the UEC... check out this flyer instead!  It’s full of great ways to support and get involved.




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