URBAN ECOLOGY CENTER INC

Rating: 5 stars   10 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Environment, Sports

Location: 1500 E. Park Place, Riverside Park Milwaukee WI 53211 USA

Mission: The Urban Ecology Center fosters ecological understanding as inspiration for positive change, neighborhood by neighborhood. Our Environmental Community Centers: Provide outdoor science education for urban youth. Protect and use public natural areas, making them safe, accessible and vibrant. Preserve and enhance these natural areas and their surrounding waters. Promote community by offering resources that support learning, recreation, stewardship and camaraderie.
Geographic areas served: Milwaukee, WI
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a volunteer with the Urban Ecology Center for the last 15 years, during which it has grown from occupying a double-wide trailer in Riverside Park to now serving over 50 schools with ecology/science educational programs from centers in three different areas of Milwaukee, with over 70 full and part-time employees, and a wide array of programming for children, families and adults. Meanwhile, important but previously neglected or abandoned open spaces are being restored, planted, and turned into active community resources. Crime is down, schools are more successful, and neighborhoods are stronger and more alive. What's not to like?

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I've watched, and been a part of the Center's growth -- from a Friends of the Park group, to providing environmental education field trips to classes from neighborhood schools, to offering a broad science/environmental education curriculum out of a double-wide trailer, to becoming a full-fledged nature center/urban environmental education center/community center in a wonderfully green, comfortable, and inviting 20,000 sq ft building, and to serving schools and neighborhoods in another area of Milwaukee from a branch Center in another large park. The Center's collaborations and partnerships with other organizations -- community groups, environmental organizations, educational institutions, artists and performers, gardeners and urban farmers, etc -- are among its great strengths. I've been a volunteer and board member of many nonprofit organizations, and UEC has been unique in being virtually free from ego struggles, turf battles, personal agendas, and the like. Even when hard work, or complex and difficult tasks need to be accomplished, volunteering at UEC has always been fun and satisfying. And, best of all, interesting, caring and friendly people are always part of the equation there!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

rescuing first Riverside Park from crime and neglect, and returning it to a community asset, and now beginning a similar transformation of Washington Park with UEC's second Center.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the opportunity to work with really talented, dedicated, younger staff on everything from community festivals to the planning, funding, design, construction, and management of the Center's Riverside Park facility.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

varied in age, education, race, and background, but uniformly friendly, dedicated, and fun to be with. In short, unlike almost everywhere else in life, folks are happy, comfortable, kind, and upbeat at UEC.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve more students and neighborhoods in Milwaukee with its programs, and could more quickly spread its model of urban environmental education/community centers to other cities, beyond the half dozen cities consulting with it so far.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with the UEC for almost a year now, and I think the work they are doing to revitalize the communities surrounding their 2 (soon to be 3) locations is outstanding. And I feel like I would be hard pressed to find a more passionate and welcoming staff. I like that they offer so many ways to be involved in the work they do, education, citizen science, land stewardship, urban sustainability, community building, etc. There is a place for everyone at the UEC!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the growth of several Young Scientist Club members at Washington Park, as well as several High School Outdoor Leaders at Riverside Park.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I think volunteering at the UEC has helped me connect to my local community, as well as people and organizations interested in what I'm interested in.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

I felt like I was a valued part of the team of staff and volunteers that help make what the UEC does possible.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The Urban Ecology Center (UEC) is a most efficient educator of Milwaukee's youth. Educating youth on the environment may be the the UEC's stated major mission. However, I believe that the UEC is even more valuable in helping youth of all socio-economic backgrounds develop reasoning skills, develop values necessary for maintaining society, and gain the ability to work with others. The UEC facilitates value exchange between generations.
In an age of working parents and shrinking school budgets, I believe that the UEC is the place to invest in our future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the excitement of the children when learning about our world. I see this hands on education shaping the values of our youth.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase the emphasis on working with youth.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

The UEC brings together so many different elements for me it is difficult to describe its impact on the Greater Milwaukee community. Truly a neighborhood based organization that has primary mission of bringing inner city kids to nature, the UEC is a model for cities everywhere that want citizens to get out and appreciate the out of doors. Sustainability and enjoyment of the world around us in an urban setting has blossomed into a huge, multi-faceted set of programs serving all parts of the community from bird watching to snowshoe

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

dealing with inner city kids who are truly turned on by nature - in their own neighborhood! The Teen Adventure Challenge got these kids into canoes on the river, biking along Milwaukee's historic oak leaf trail and really having fun in the outdoors.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

wandering through the snow-covered park on a candlelit path and reading poetry to others with my daughter.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

positive, cheerful, well-informed (many expert in their fields - plant biologists, naturalists, animal experts, etc) and willing to work to make the offerings better. A great group of people across the board.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

grow and replicate the model across other urban centers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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