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Features > Milwaukee, WI (April 2009) > CU MKE Alumni Day of Service


Creighton University holds an annual day of service where alumni from each club around the country get together and pitch in at a local non-profit. This year the Milwaukee Alumni Club visited the Urban Ecology Center on April 4, 2009 where five of us helped to rid the land surrounding the center and nearby Milwaukee River shoreline of an invasive and non-native plant called Garlic Mustard.


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It is a very nice facility and even has pretty branded buses!


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There's the evil Garlic Mustard plant, they start small but quickly overshadow local plants and also actively prevent germination of competing seeds. You can tell the plant by the bumpy leaves and erratic pattern along the leaf perimeter.


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Beth Cleary '01 clearing the invasive plant species


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Andrew Cleary '01 does the same


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See what nicer plants produce!


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More garlic mustard plants picked and awaiting slow disintegration


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Pat Porter tries the plant we're helping remove - the garlic mustard plant is edible and makes a good pesto sauce ingredient


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Volunteers walking back for a tour of the center after work - Andrew Cleary, Beth Cleary, Francine Fosselman, and Pat Porter


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Geologic marker #34 of the Urban Ecology Center


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A nice sculpture near the Urban Ecology Center


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Our guide gives us a tour


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Andrew Cleary '01 and Francine Fosselman '71 take a trip down a slide used to teach children about the water cycle


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Quite a rare frog lives in the native animals area!


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Teton the snake


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In the basement were several good examples of recycled material for use in building and decorative home elements


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Denim recycled for wall insulation


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In the winter, community members can rent cross-country skis from the center - here are ski shoes


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A display above the Vermiculture/worm farming area in the basement - they use red wigglers which are great, but also non-native to Wisconsin. They use these isolation but don't put back into the soil - they sort out the worms by starving them for a couple weeks then putting the soil on top of some rubbish separated by a grate. The worms move down into the rubbish to eat, the soil is removed and the worms are sadly killed after that :(


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The Citizen Science Lab!


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Fun plant samples


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On the tour, guides ask the children to find this secret door - it's pretty neat!


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Many of these clocks in various themes (another one is made of arrowheads/stones) are hung around the center, made by a volunteer


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Unfortunately half-flush toilets are still quite rare in the US and so the center has had to try a number of different strategies to communicate delicately when people should use the two buttons on their toilets. This is the best approach they've found thus far - "If you go a bit, the half flush you should hit. If you go a lot, press the full flush spot"


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There's a neat rainwater collection system - this one from the roof runs from the gutters into a holding pond/rain barrels. The rainwater is used again to flush the toilets and other grey water uses in the center.


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There is a fairly large solar panel installation on the roof of the center


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The Milwaukee skyline from the lookout tower next to the center


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A weather monitoring station at the center


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Metal stairs of the tower


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Light switches at the center show the power usage of each set of lights they trigger, allowing power users to make better informed decisions with a very simple/cheap solution!


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The CU Alumni Day of Service MKE gang! Pat Porter, Jay Langhurst, Francine Fosselman, Andrew & Beth Cleary


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There are a few instruments for community members to use as well


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There's a cool ad on a brick wall across the street that says "Schlitz - The Drink that Made Milwaukee Famous" - I think the word Drink used to be Beer but it's tough to tell...


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After the volunteering and tour, we had lunch at the fabulous Shahrazad Persian & Middle Eastern Cuisine restuarant on Oakland Ave nearby. There was a neat lamp in the foyer of the restaurant.

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