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Urban Ecology Podcast

May 31, 2021

This is our second episode in a mini-series focusing on how local governments can provide public green spaces. In the City of Milwaukee, there is a clear history for this work. Around the time the Urban Ecology Center was moving into a new building in Riverside Park in 2004, leaders in the area helped Mayor Tom Barrett establish a “Green Team” for the city. Today, the Environmental Collaboration Office carries on the work of the original Green Team in distinctive ways. Many cities have opened offices that focus on sustainability, as well as the familiar parks and recreation programming. In Milwaukee, as we learn in this conversation with Director Erick Shambarger, the focus is consistently on collaboration, and the results over the past decade or so point to even more potential for the future. As in our last episode with Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, Erick shares a passion for urban ecology. His work – starting in the city budget office, joining the Green Team, and now leading the Environmental Collaboration Office – sets a high bar for other cities looking to expand access to urban green spaces.

This episode is hosted by Chris Young with contributions from Gillian Spence, and Ken Leinbach. Edited by Danny Pirtle. Special thanks to our guest, Erick Shambarger.

For more from the Urban Ecology Center, visit our website ( or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @UrbanEcologyCenter.