Wednesday, May 18, 2016

North American Urban Ecology Centres

Here's a starter list of urban ecology centres: some are run by the city, some are non-profits, some are research centres.  Some implement public education programs, some run environmental remediation programs and other are studying (with the help of students or citizen volunteers) urban ecological issues.  Share with me others that you know of!


Montreal Urban Ecology Centre

"Projects include the Green, Active and Healthy Neighbourhoods where the organization’s expertise grew to include greening, urban agriculture, planning, active transportation and participatory democracy.  Today, the MUEC has expanded its scope of activity to other municipalities in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. It remains, however, true to its approach and scope of action: citizens and their neighbourhoods." (from the MUEC website)

Humber College’s Urban Ecology Centre

"The Humber Arboretum is a joint venture of the City of Toronto, Humber College and Toronto and Region Conservation. The park includes trails and boardwalks through gardens, forests, meadows and wetlands. The Centre for Urban Ecology provides a first-rate venue for education and research on urban ecology and an up-to-date example of environmental sustainability. The Centre for Urban Ecology teachs by example how we all can help work towards a healthy sustainable environment in our own urban spaces." (from the Centre's website)

John Janzen Nature Centre (City of Edmonton)

 Run by the City of Edmonton:
"A gateway to the heart of Edmonton’s River Valley, the John Janzen Nature Centre takes visitors for a walk on the wild side with programs, events and interactive exhibits designed to promote awareness and engagement with nature in an urban setting." (from the website)

Institute of Urban Ecology (Douglas College, Vancouver)

"IUE has been involved in a myriad of community-based activities and projects. These projects include: an environmental outreach and education program that reaches about 2000 participants in schools and community organizations in Metro Vancouver each year; working with the Britannia Food Garden Project; and giving input to a number of local and regional initiatives related to ecology and development, such as the Metro Vancouver Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. The IUE also undertakes a variety of research projects related to urban sustainability issues. Recent and current projects include: Urban Bug Gardens, which examined beneficial insects in a community garden and the Delta Migratory Bird Study, which looked at the impact of various land uses on migratory bird foraging behaviours." (from their website)


Urban Green Spaces (Portland) 

"Motto: In Livable Cities is Preservation of the Wild

Mission: To ensure that parks, regional trail systems, greenways and greenspaces are integrated with the built environment in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region, and to promote urban greenspace efforts nationally and internationally." (from website)

Urban Ecology Center (Milwaukee)

"The Urban Ecology Center provides year-round educational programs for kids, families and adults of all ages. The cornerstone program is the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project serving kids in 55 urban Milwaukee schools each year. This program enables students to get to walk in the woods, stand in a river in hip waders or run along the beach at Lake Michigan when they might have no other opportunities to do so." (from website)

Urban Ecology Institute (Cambridge)

"The Urban Ecology Institute (UEI) was started in 1998 teaming up community and educational partners to improve the health of urban ecosystems through environmental education, action, and advocacy programs. Their programs reached more than 30,000 people each year throughout Massachusetts and beyond. UEI's core programs harnessed the potential of young people and the power of citizen groups to create physical and social transformations in the midst of neglected communities." (from their website)

Boston Metro Ecological Research (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)

"Exploring past, current and future socio-ecological dynamics in a founding city - We are a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team of ecologists and social scientists at several universities and the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and partnered with the City of Boston." (from their website)

Wild Metro (New York City)

"WildMetro, a non-profit organization aims to protect wildlife in natural areas within and around New York City. The organization advocates a sensible balance of development and nature protection in urban regions and promotes intelligent management of resources. It also works to involve communities in the protection of nature by offering various programs such as an after-school nature program and an ecological field techniques course." (from their website)

EcoCity Builders (California)

"Ecocity Builders reshapes cities for the long-term health of human and natural systems. We develop and implement policy, design and educational tools and strategies to build thriving urban centers based on “access by proximity” and to reverse patterns of sprawl and excessive consumption." (from their website)

Centre for Urban Resilience (Los Angeles)

"CURes works with faculty, staff, students and community members to develop research and other interventions that lead to more resilient and just communities. Our goal is to pair the study of urban ecology with local issues that can benefit from the talents and resources at LMU. We support a variety of projects ranging from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher professional development; urban biosocial research; graduate education; restorative justice; and regional climate change initiatives." (from CUR website)

P.S. I also wrote about Debs Park in Los Angeles which is another great example of an urban ecology centre!

*Image above of Milwaukee Riverside Park Centre (from website)

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