Spotlight on the Good Works of the RCM Community Trust: 

Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum


The following is a reflection shared by Joseph Brooks, a member of the Urban Ecology Center Board of Directors.



As Eastsiders, the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park Branch feels a lot like our backyard. It’s where we meet our son’s friends, it’s where we clear our heads after long weeks at work, and it’s where we take family and friends when visiting.



A beautiful November Sunday with family in town and it’s off to the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum for a few turns down the slide, an eagle’s eye view on the lookout tower, and a stroll along the river. Around us dogs are tugging leashes as they watch squirrels gathering the last of their nuts, a lady with a book enjoys a comfortable bench in the peace and quiet, and a snake soaks up the sun on the undisturbed pavement. On this beautiful fall afternoon—likely the last one for at least five months—we all seemed to have the same idea.



As it normally does, our walk led us across the bridge above the Oak Leaf Trail and down to the water for some frog spotting. We strolled along the river admiring the vibrant autumn leaves. We climbed the stairs to the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum and called off the colors we saw in the rich array of wildflowers (a favorite game of our 3-year-old). Perhaps it was the nostalgia of the last hike of the season or maybe it was the time of year with Thanksgiving around the corner, but this familiar stroll felt different. We neared the end of the trail and walked past the sculptural signage listing the many donors who made this space possible. I felt grateful to have this beautiful, natural space on this particular day—grateful to the many donors who are inspired by the work of the Urban Ecology Center and choose to give so generously. On behalf of us urban dwellers, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the many children who explore, learn, and frolic is these natural spaces, thank you.



As board members and volunteers, donors and members, and those of us whose lives are made richer thanks to the work of the Urban Ecology Center, it’s our job to inspire others to become involved and join the Urban Ecology Center community. Tell your friends and family about the wonderful resource we have in the Urban Ecology Center and the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Aboretum and invite them for a stroll.