Imagine a new Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park

Imagine the Washington Park neighborhood being a place where every urban child can explore the natural world every day of every season of every year of their life. Through the generous support of people like you, we are nearly there. 

With a full heart and an abundance of enthusiasm, we are excited to announce that the rebuild of the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park location has begun! 

While this is cause for celebration, we still need your help to close our gap to goal. We've raised 88% of the funds needed to complete the Washington Park project. We hope you will invest in the future of Washington Park by making a donation today.

Support and learn more about the project below.

Building On A Strong Foundation

Our Washington Park location was opened in 2007 to serve more neighborhood schools with our acclaimed Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. Located at the former site of the Milwaukee Zoo, we opened a site here to help with neighborhood revitalization efforts.

And it worked. Here’s what happened just last year:

  • 5,100+ student experience in partnership with neighboring schools 
  • 88,000+ visit to our building and green spaces 
  • 2,500+ hours of volunteer work 

Unfortunately, the outdated and inefficient building is limiting our ability to increase our programming and does not provide the welcoming environment we wish to offer. Imagine if we could do more. Imagine what could happen if we doubled our programming, increased access to early childhood education programming, and reached more kids and adults from across the city

Bringing Our Dreams to Life

In 2021, we began raising funds to reimagine our Washington Park location - bringing the wonder of nature to the heart of this vibrant neighborhood.

Through intentional conversations, we listened to our neighbors, to students, to community leaders, to supporters, to the County and to the City.

Our new education and community center project will:

  • Double the capacity of our Neighborhood Environmental Education Project program within the first 3 years growing our reach from 13 to 31 schools;
  • Increase the opportunities for preschool environmental education programs;
  • Allow us to complete beautification efforts on the 20 acres surrounding the building;
  • Continue partnering with Milwaukee County Parks to upgrade infrastructure

We are on the verge of making this vision come to life, but we need your help. We hope you will invest in the future of Washington Park by making a donation today.

Temporary Location & Plans:

While it is necessary to pause some of our programming, the UEC plans to maintain a strong presence in the park during construction. We will temporarily relocate to the Washington Park Pool House. 

To support this vibrant neighborhood, UEC and VJS will host informational career days for interested individuals to learn more about the necessary steps to pursue a career in the trades.

This construction project will create 143 FTE construction jobs. And, at the UEC, the expansion will create 5 new full time jobs and 5 new part time positions while retaining 11 full time jobs.

What Else Are We Imagining?

The Imagine Campaign is a multi-phase effort to allow us to introduce more people to the transformational properties of nature, ensure Urban Ecology Center's longevity to reach generations of people, and respond to interest in our model so we can spread our knowledge and deepen our impact.

Other initiatives include: