MKE Upcoming and Recent Events

Recent Events

April Visit || April 10-12

Upham Woods made it back out to Milwaukee in April. Staff mentored La Escuela Fratney students working on climate change projects for the Milwaukee Public Museum. Our rock nerds, Tempestt and Isabelle, spent a lot of time discussing extinction events with a group that is comparing the extinction of the Megalodon and the endangerment of the Snow Leopard. Our staff also worked with a group of students working on a project of their own interest and design. A group of students from Maryland Avenue Montessori are observing several trees in their schoolyard and trying to determine if the animals in the garden have a preference for coniferous or deciduous trees. The group is looking for evidence of animals like scat, tracks, nests and when we’re all quiet enough – critters! Our staff helped the group graph their data and discussed the importance of different variables like weather on their data collection. Preliminary results show a preference for the sheltered conifers by small mammals and birds.

March Research Accelerators || March 20 – 22, 2019

Research Accelerators are Back! Research Naturalists will be available to help learners with their inquiry-led projects. These sessions involve research naturalists working with learners to refine their scientific procedure, identify relevant variables, and connect them to local experts in their field. Our main goal for this round would be to support students and their projects to be presented at the Wisconsin Youth Summit at UW-Stevens Point on Thursday, Apr 11, 2019. However, we are wiling to work with learners who do not plan to participate in the youth summit. For more information please contact:

Women and Girls in Science || March 16, 2019

Wehr Nature Center hosted this event to highlight both past and present prominent women in the science community on March 16, 2019 from 1 – 3pm. Research Naturalist from Upham Woods ran a tool familiarity exercise with the Digital Observation Technology Skills (DOTS) tools. Participants were able to explore objects  around them while learning about women scientists who may have used those same tools. Participants were also be able to draw and share stories about their experience. A total of 47 people attended the event.

Science Strikes Back Creates a Space for All Scientists to Flourish in Milwaukee
February 6, 2019

Upham Woods, alongside Escuela Verde, hosted the third year of Science Strikes Back, a Milwaukee based community science fair. This fair encourages community members to critically analyze environmental issues and solve problems in their communities, producing a strong network for continued environmental education and natural resource stewardship. This year focused on water and the scientific process to answer learner driven research questions. This year’s theme of water was inspired and supported by Upham Woods’ participation in the Environmental Protection Agency Local Environmental Education grant number NE 00E02399.

Through this effort, 35 projects were entered ranging from testing how classroom temperatures affect student attention to understanding the physics of sledding. 37 community members volunteered to serve as judges some representing local organizations. Community members wandered between projects contributing their own insight in discussion with the project team. Science flourished amidst the diverse group; one high school student commented that they, “loved the opportunity to get community members, scientists, and students all in one place.” One judge was struck by the utility of the science projects commenting on a project where a student designed their own glove, “I loved how your experiment was derived from a daily problem you have. You wanted a solution to your problem, a true engineers mind.”

grand prize winner of SSB

Bradley Tech High School student, Khari, won the grand prize at Science Strikes Back

At the end of the night the grand prize, an original piece of art designed by a Mark Winter, went to the Virtual Water Table by Khari from Bradley Tech High School. An interactive and colorful sandbox with a projector above it designed to superimpose topography and watershed demarcation. It was a hit among the

younger crowd and adult educators. Winners from each category also won entrance to the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Youth Summit in April and Upham Woods’ data summit camp in August.

As Science Strikes Back continues, Upham Woods will continue to play a role in engaging Milwaukee’s burgeoning scientists through local environmental issues in new and creative ways.

To learn more about Science Strikes Back visit To learn more about Upham Woods visit


Milwaukee STEM: La Escuela Fratney research summit at Upham Woods

Students using DOTS tools on Blackhawk Island to collect data on their surroundings

Students and teachers from La Escuela Fratney in Milwaukee visited Upham Woods from November 14th to the 16th, 2018, for a three-day research and outdoor learning program. This program was an extension of #MKESTEM, an ongoing collaboration between Upham Woods and several Milwaukee schools. Students produced their own research questions before they arrived: one group wanted to investigate how heat is transferred in buildings, one group was interested in insects, and another group planned to research how clouds move. Between hiking on Blackhawk Island, team building on Peanut Butter Mountain, and playing Predator/Prey, students collected data using DOTS kits. They analyzed their data–which included photos, temperature recordings, water measurements, and thermal images–and displayed their findings in PowerPoint presentations. On the last day of their stay, the students presented their findings to their peers during a research summit in the lodge.