What We Do

School Programs

To keep alive his inborn sense of wonder [a child] needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. — Rachel Carson

School Programs at Urban Ecology Center

Tapping maple trees for syrup . . . ice skating on the Washington Park lagoon . . . donning hip waders and carrying magnifying glasses to look for damselflies, leeches, clams and crayfish in the Milwaukee River . . . . Students at the Urban Ecology Center get so involved in what they’re doing — and have so much fun — they don’t even realize how much they’re learning!

A New Model for Environmental Learning

The philosophy behind our school programs is based on research which shows two things make a person environmentally aware:

  • constant contact with nature early in life and
  • an adult mentor (parent, teacher, friend) who demonstrates positive behavior toward the environment.

In the city, people often live in apartment buildings and school grounds are often covered in cement. The Urban Ecology Center offers unique urban sanctuaries and “outdoor laboratories” for neighborhood school children. The Center’s staff and volunteers serve as adult mentors to guide students, year after year, as they progress through school.

Based on this model, the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project (NEEP) partners with schools within a two-mile radius of our branches at Riverside, Washington, and Three Bridges Parks. Rather than arranging for single field trips, each participating school signs up for an entire year. This provides them with multiple visits to each park, spread throughout the school year, and ongoing participation in the program each year.

If your school is outside the two-mile limit, click here for other opportunities available at the Center.


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