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I am always amazed when I find new and exciting places to visit here in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and Urban Ecology Center’s Riverside Park is one of those places. Made of 76% recycled material, the Urban Ecology Center “Green” building boast that it using rain water for all restroom purposes and is not connected to the Lake Michigan water filtration system, saving thousands of dollars a year. On the roof are solar panels that produce enough energy to sustain it for the summer months and get a rebate from Wisconsin Electric Energies (WE Energies). The hardwood maple floor is over 100 years old and was donated after the demolition of a nearby elementary school gym. The wraparound porch is made entirely of wood scraps of trees from Africa from the construction of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Although the building is amazing, the best feature of the Urban Ecology Center is its people.
Led by the unassuming Executive Director, Ken Leinbach, the Urban Ecology Center has grown year after year as one of the key organizations designed to connect urban areas with the beauty of the outdoors. In just 10 years the organization has grown from a $50,000.00 annual budget to over $3 million dollars as of the 2011. To ensure that all of the employees of the Urban Ecology Center share the vision of the organization, they are required to go on a 3 day camping retreat with no access to technology while being immersed in nature. This helps drive the purpose of the mission and the importance of what they look to accomplish; improving the relationship between nature and the urban community while promoting green energy alternatives.
If you are interested in learning more about what the Urban Ecology Center has to offer, please visit their website at: http://urbanecologycenter.org/ for more information.