Displaying items by tag: Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum

During hot months, prairies come alive with phenomenal displays of wildflowers and the prairie restorations of the Rotary Centennial Arboretum at Riverside Park are, right now, in full bloom. There you can find this week’s wildflower: Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus).

With flowerheads that look like small, delicate daisies, prairie fleabane is a member of Asteraceae, the asters. Asteraceae is one of the two biggest families of plants in the world along with Orchidaceae, the orchids. Which family is bigger depends on who’s counting what as a species.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 13:30

Introducing a Walk of 3 Billion Years

Studying nature is a great way to feel young…comparatively speaking, that is. There are trees that are hundreds of years old as well as turtle and bird species that can easily outlive the humans who care for them. The entire human race is like a newborn when compared to billion-year-old rocks. It’s mind blowing!

Thanks to a generous gift from the Franke family, we’ve created a way to explore this concept of time through nature. We’re proud to introduce a new treasure, a 3 Billion Year Walk through the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00

Take a Hike, Milwaukee!

One of my favorite things to do is be fully immersed in nature while hiking in the middle of the city. The fact that you can walk from a street full of houses into a beautiful green haven in a matter of moments is so amazing!

I love watching people’s faces their first time out hiking in one of the parks at our branches, especially those who have lived in Milwaukee all their lives but have never seen this natural side of their city. It’s great.

I’d like to invite you to take part in an urban nature hike with me!

Monday, 29 December 2014 00:00

Arboretum Donors

The Urban Ecology Center has been working to improve the assets and accessibility of Riverside Park since our founders formed a grassroots group in the early 1990s. The Park Access Project was an outgrowth of our plans to serve more students from the Riverside Park branch. In 2008, the Rotary Club of Milwaukee selected our proposal to create an arboretum to celebrate their centennial anniversary in 2013. Since then, many new volunteers and donors have built on the momentum of the original Park Access Project culminating in the opening of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum in September 2013.

In addition to the $8 million project, a Preservation Fund has been established. Members of the community and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee have generously contributed to seed this endowment in hopes to reach a goal of $3 million in 10 years ($850,000 raised to date), which will allow for the perpetual preservation and maintenance of the Arboretum. Listed below are the supporters to date for this remarkable community effort to improve, expand and maintain the natural oasis of Riverside Park for future generations.


Riverside Park Access Project Donors


Alterra Coffee Roasters

Alvin & Marion Birnschein Foundation



Brico Fund


Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Charitable Trust


Dudley, Constance, & Pieter Godfrey

Greater Milwaukee Foundation

  • Anonymous Fund
  • Burns-Schrader Foundation
  • Trinity Foundation Fund

Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Inc.


Richard & Ethel Herzfeld Foundation


Susie & Fred Kasten


Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District


Charles D. Ortgiesen Foundation


River Revitalization Foundation


Schoenleber Foundation, Inc.

Stackner Family Foundation

David & Nancy Stone


Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC


Ziemann Foundation


Rotary Centennial Arboretum Project


Anonymous (3)

Antonia Foundation

Assurant Health Foundation


Badger Meter Foundation

Brookby Foundation


CG Schmidt Inc.


Dorothy Inbusch Foundation, Inc.

Ginger Duiven


Fund for Lake Michigan


Nancy Gloe 
Dudley, Constance, and Pieter Godfrey

Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.


Great Lakes Ecological Services, LLC

Greater Milwaukee Foundation 

  • Anonymous Fund
  • Jane K. Kaiser Fund
  • John and Melita Lane Fund


Jen Hagenow

Beth and Fred Heller


Jerome J. and Dorothy H. Holz Family Foundation

John C. Bock Foundation

Johnson's Nursery, Inc.


Kaytee Avian Foundation

Krause Family Foundation


Sean La Fleur

Ken and Shauna Leinbach

Lynn Lucius and Richard Taylor 


Marcus Corporation Foundation

Jean McKey and Jerome Houfek

Tom and Monique Meyer

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Patricia and George Mueller


Louise Phillips

Prairie Seed Source

Prairie Future Seed Company


Verne and Marion Read

Rexnord Foundation

William and Eva Rumpf


Wendy Schaffer

Michael and Joan Spector

Staff Electric Co., Inc.


Thiel Design


U.S. Forest Service

Urban Ecology Center Birders 

  • Patricia and Gary Ahrens
  • W. Paul and Deanna Andre
  • Jonathan and Anne Bales
  • Kathleen Beaver
  • Dennis and Jean Casper
  • Ronald Gutschow
  • Suzy and Jim Holstein
  • Lenore Lee
  • Thomas and Kathleen Nelson
  • Maryanne and Daniel Niesen
  • Peggy Noonan and Julian Taagen
  • Jeanne and Larry Prochnow
  • William and Eva Rumpf
  • Mary Schley
  • Dale Snider
  • Robin Squier
  • Tim Vargo and Jessie Tobin
  • Carolyn Scott Washburne
  • Jessica Wirth


Valley Community Presbyterian Church


Walton Family Foundation, Inc.

We Energies Foundation

Wisconsin Coastal Management Program


Rotary Club of Milwaukee Donors: Arboretum Project and Preservation Fund

Those marked with an * have contributed to both the Arboretum Project and the Preservation Fund.


Mike Abuls *

William Adams

David Ahern

William Alverson 

Debbie Amundson

Keith Anderson

Renee Anderson

Thomas Angerer


JoAnne Anton *


Baird Foundation

Keith Baisden

James Barry, III *

David Baum

Rick Bauman, PhD

Stephen Becker *

John Beckwith *

Donna Bembenek

Todd Bentley

Thomas Bentley

Kristin Bergstrom *

John Bernaden *

Frederick Bersch

Timothy Birkenstock

David Bishop


Larry Bonney *

Harvey Brahm

Tom Branigan

Hugh Braun *

Ellis Bromberg *

Christy Brown

Alan Brown

Patrick Brown

David Buck, PhD *

Keith Butler


Fil Carini

Kevin Carr

Joseph Caruso *

Jean Casey

Tina Chang

Stephan Chevalier *

Thomas Churchill

Edward Cichurski

Lawrence Clancy *

James Clark

William Coleman *

John Connelly

In Honor of Mario and Cathy Costantini

Margaret Crawford


Ryan Daniels

Donald Daugherty

Richard Davidson*

Jonathan Dehlinger, PhD

William DeLind

Lloyd Dickinson

Roger Dirksen

Kenneth Donner

James Dorman

Kenneth Dortzbach

Harry Drake *

John Drosner

David Drumel

David Drzadinski

Elizabeth Duback

Steven Duback

David Dunker


Kathie Eilers *

John Emory, Sr. *

Chukuka Enwemeka

Robert Eschweiler

Estabrook Beer Garden

Pam Evason


William Feerick

Robert Feind *

Daniel Fetterley *

Jeff Fleming

Patty Flowers

James Ford

In Memory of William R. Forrer

Karen Forrer

Byron Foster *

Richard Frank *

Harry Franke

Harry & Mary Franke Idea Fund

Deborah Fugenschuh


Thomas Gale

Pamela Garvey

Danni Gendelman *

Daniel Gentges

Franklyn Gimbel *

Steven Glaser

In Honor of Pieter Godfrey

Charles Gorham

Tom Goris

James Gormley

Jason Graham

Louis Gral

Michael Graverson

Robert Grede

Eckhart Grohmann

Rob Guilbert


Scott Haag *

Richard Hackl *

Bob Haig

Craig Haskins

William Hattendorf

Leslie Hauser

Robert Heger

John Hein

Edward Heinecke *

Rae Heiple

Edward Heiser

Jackie Herd-Barber*

Kristine Hinrichs

Peter Hitler *

Christine Holmes *

Randall Hoth *

In Honor of Thomas and Claire Hultgren

Paul Hundt *

James Hunter

Ted Hutton *


Mary & Eric Isbister


Christopher Jaekels

In Honor of Charlie James

Charles James *

William Jermain

In Honor of Anthony Jurisic, M.D.

Maja Jurisic, M.D.


Bradley Kalscheur

Lynnea Katz-Petted

Michael Kellman

Dorothy Kerr

Joan Kessler *

Liz Keuler

In Honor of John & Lucretia Kiely

Paula Kiely

Thomas Kilkenny *

Sarah Kimball *

Sister Camille Kliebhan *

Thomas Klug

Stephen Knox

Karl Koenig

Kipp Koester

Julilly Kohler *

The Kranick Family

Warren Kreunen *

Edward Krishok

Kathryn Kuhn

Ronald Kuramoto

Joe Kurth


Roy LaBudde

John and Melita Lane Family Fund

Dennis Laudon

William LeFeber, M.D. *

Jack and Phoebe Lewis

John Lewis

George Liberatore

Bruce Lindl

Sister Edna Lonergan

Kent Lovern *

Frederick Luedke *

Thomas Lutzow

Vincent Lyles


Robert MacDonald

Joanne MacInnes Grunau *

Douglas MacNeil *

James Madlom

Steve Magnuson

Robert Mandel

Rick Mandel

Jack Marringa

In Honor of Frank and Frances Martinsek

Michelle Mason

Paul Mathews *

David McClurg

Mary McCormick *

James McKeown

Daniel Meyer

Paul Meyer

Christopher Meyer

James Miller, Jr. *

Jim Milner *

Thomas Mirsberger *

Henry Monaco

Todd Montgomery, Jr., PhD

Detlef Moore *

George Mosher *

Kurt Mueller *

David Murphy *

Patrick Murphy

Frederick Muth *


Ann Navin

James Nelsen *

Jeffrey Nelson*

Daniel Nelson, Jr.

Reggie Newson

Matthew Nink

Nancy Noeske

Robert Norton

Barbara Notestein


Kathleen O’Brien *


Irene Parthum

Sandy Pasch

Julie Pedretti

Jill Pelisek *

Paula Penebaker

Anthony Petullo

William Piernot *

Thomas Plantenberg

James Plunkett

Karen Plunkett-Muenster

Randle Pollard, M.D.

Jamie Pratt

Janet Protasiewicz

Monica Pyne


Betty Quadracci


In Memory of Gregory T. Raab

Kathleen Raab

Susan Rabe

William Randall *

Jon Rauser *

Theresa Reagan

Ellen Redeker *

James Reeve, III

Jeffrey Remsik *

John Ridley, M.D.

Leo Ries

Allen Rieselbach *

In Memory of A.D. Robertson *

David Rohlfing

Rotaract Club of Milwaukee

William Rotter

Charles Roy *

James Ryan *


Andrew Sawyer, Jr. *

Kim Schaffer *

Roger Schroeder

Philip Schultz

In Honor of Philip and Elizabeth Schultzbank

Dean Schultzbank

Nancy Sennett *

William Sheahan

Robert Sholl

Thelma Sias *

Kelly Skindzelewski

Robert Slater

Philip Smith *

Roger Smith *

Gordon Smith

George Solveson *

Tracey Sparrow

Robert Spitzer*

Valerie Stefanich *

John Steinhafel

Jerry Stepaniak

Daniel Switzer


Dennis Tamcsin *

John Teevan *

John Thiel

Dick Tillmar


Sheila Unni, M.D.*

Fritz Usinger *


Jan van den Kieboom

Jose Vasquez

Jennifer Verbrigghe

Daniel Vliet *

Philip Vollrath *


Sean Walker

John Walker

Richard Wanta

In Memory of Sheila Ruth Wharton Wasserman

Kyle Wasserman

Arthur Wasserman, PhD

J.D. Watts

John Wermuth

Wendy Werner

Jude Werra

Paul Westphal

Rick White *

George Whyte, Jr. *

Adam Wiensch

James Wiensch

Thomas Wigdale

Velvalee Wiley

In Honor of David and Debbie Willis

Nicholas Wilson *

Lee Wolcott

Karen Wolfert

Peter Wolters *


David Young


Bill Zaferos

Don Zien



In Memory of Kathryn Duiven
Ginger Duiven

In Memory of Pieter Godfrey
Jen Hagenow
Tom & Monique Meyer
Kathleen Raab
Verne & Marion Read

In Memory of Pap Joe, Aunt Charlotte, Malinda Beck, & Mother Elise
Alice Jo Star & Mark Clausen

In Memory of Mark Smith
Edward & Kimberly Apfelbach
Carol Butchart & Paul Moran
Robert & Christy Ciecko
Kristine Devitt & David Franczyk
Carolyn & Brian Esswein
Sarah Koepke
Patrick & Katherine Kressin
Edward Loving
Nancy & David Martin
Elizabeth & Mark Miller
Steve & Lori Nalefski
Christopher & Mary Palmisano
Joseph Pepitone
Erin & Emily Ruth
Ronald & Jean Schmidt
Jessica & Erik Schmitt
Robert Smith
Sandra Smith
Carmel & Mark Sweet
Christin & Oscar Wille
Lawrence Witzling


Deep Roots Native Tree Sponsorship

In the fall of 2012, we launched the Deep Roots: Native Tree and Plant Sponsorship Program. This program helps us transform post-industrial land into a flourishing native ecosystem.

Nurture Sponsorship

Scott & Kathleen Yanoff

Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin

In Memory of Walburg Hanstein
Else Ankel

In Memory of Carol R. Jacobson
Lianna Bishop

In Memory of Ruth Zobel
Penny & Chuck Cruse

In Memory of Mr. Schwartz
Penny & Chuck Cruse

In Honor of Mary Gemlo
Lucy Greer

In Honor of Tresca Meiling and Patrick Bader
Carol Dede

In Honor of Marlowe R. Nortrom
Janet & Marlowe Nortrom

Biodiversity Sponsorship

Claudia Koehler

In Honor of Kat Grinker
Michael & Sharon Grinker

In Honor of All the Wonderful Arboretum Volunteers
Megan Kelly

In Honor of Her Children
Rebecca Neumann

Canopy Sponsorship 

In Honor of Liam Wellenstein

In Honor of Todd Dunsirn & Kimberly Forbeck Family
Mary & Duane Dunsirn

In Memory of William James Morby
Joshua & Rose Morby

Olmsted Sponsorship

In Honor of Paul C. Mueller & Anne Mueller Rose; In Memory of David Holton Mueller & Amy Elizabeth Mueller
Patricia & George Mueller

In Honor of John McCarthy
Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Inc.

In Honor of Bridget, Rachel, & Sarah Whaley
Kevin & Patty Whaley

Visionary Sponsorship 

Evelyn Ericson

In Honor of Maddy Cook
Ron & Joan Cook

In Honor of Matthew
Eva Hagenhofer & David McLimans

In Honor of Ethan Patrick Meister
Daniel Mount

In Honor of Danni Gendelman
Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Inc.

In Honor of Helen Huchinson Woodburn
Judith Woodburn

In Memory of Marge O’Callaghan & In Honor of Linda, Kathy, & Family
Jim Schleif & Bill Morley/Renee & Mike Dries


Riverland Property

In June 2011, Pieter Yates Godfrey, neighbor, dear friend, and partner in the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project, unexpectedly passed away. His absence left a void in the community and unanswered questions about the future of his business and property. Located in the center of the Arboretum and sandwiched between the Milwaukee River and the Riverside Park branch of the Urban Ecology Center, we have a vested interest in its future. With the generous support of the following donors, we were able to purchase this property in December 2013, preserving the natural sanctuary that Pieter, the Urban Ecology Center, the Milwaukee Rotary Club and many community members have worked so hard to create and improve. We look forward to the prospect of further engaging the community to reactivate this property in alignment with the mission of the Center.


Anonymous (2)


Brico Fund

Cheri & Thomas Briscoe

The Brookby Foundation

Robert & Kathy Brumder


Barbara & Robert Elsner


Feitler Family Fund

Anne & Dean Fitzgerald

Foley & Lardner, LLP


Greater Milwaukee Foundation

  • Burns-Schrader Family Fund
  • Leesly B. & Joan Hardy Living Trust 
  • Joseph Gromacki 


Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation, Inc.


Juli & Mike Kaufmann


Nancy & Arthur Laskin

Sally Lewis & Kathleen Rivera


Joe & Laura Mantoan


Bill & Marian Nasgovitz


Phoebe R. & John D. Lewis Foundation


Miriam Reading & Richard Miller


The Sigma Group

Bruce & Janine Smith


David & Julia Uihlein


von Briesen & Roper, S.C.

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 00:00

Reclaiming Riverland

While some activities outdoors are winding down (at least until there is enough snow to get out on skis or snowshoes), activity has increased on the land situated in the midst of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. If your plans bring you to the Arboretum this winter (it’s a great place for a walk in any season!), you will see a demolition project underway. This work began in December and will extend until March 2015.

Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

Baby Parks and Plantings

In the spring of each year, all sorts of adorable baby animals can be seen. This spring, I saw baby Great Horned Owls (called owlets), baby White-footed Mice (called pups, pinkies or kittens) and baby Brown Snakes (called snakelets or hatchlings). We don’t usually pay close attention to “baby” plants, but they’re showing up now too!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 14:48

The Arboretum’s First Spring

Every spring, Center staff members have a friendly competition of “firsts.” As the snow melts, folks vie to be the first person to see a red-wing blackbird, chipmunk or spring flower. But the most important “first” to me is found in the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. This is the first year we’ll begin to see the results of our hard work last fall.

All of Wisconsin’s ecosystems are represented in the Arboretum, from soil make-up to wildflowers to tree species. This amazing new asset for the city was built for everyone to enjoy. 

Friday, 27 December 2013 12:22

New Year, New Land

I knew the call would come eventually, I was just hoping it would take a little longer to happen. When it did come, however, I was incredibly thankful that it left an opening and was not final.

“Ken, we’ve decided that we need to sell the property and have some interested buyers who have offered some very attractive numbers to us,” she said, “however, we’d love it if there was a way for the Center to have it. We cannot give it away but we might be able to give you time. How long do you think you would need to make a run for it?”

Monday, 21 October 2013 16:03

Together, We are an Ocean

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” — Ryunosuke Satoro. 

I love the community we’ve built at the Urban Ecology Center! I am constantly amazed by the dedicated and passionate people I meet here. Here are four affirming vignettes – all from one day!

First I had a meeting at Menomonee Valley:

Monday, 26 August 2013 15:24

Come Celebrate!

It’s finally ready and YOU are invited to celebrate a beautiful new public gem: The Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum opens on September 28th, 2013! The journey leading up to this event has been rich with energy, dedication, challenges and vision. Glimpses of this vision began in the early 1990s when a group of neighbors imagined what it would be like to transform Riverside Park into a safer, ecologically robust outdoor classroom. They formed Friends of Riverside Park, which later evolved into the Urban Ecology Center. New park surveys and attendance records now show that within the last year there have been over 125,000 visits from students, families, adults and neighbors to the 15 acres of Riverside Park. The arboretum adds 25 acres to the existing park. Come celebrate our new 40 acre outdoor classroom!

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