The Research Team at the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) studies urban ecology with a focus on wildlife in order to understand, evaluate, and inform the interconnectedness of the natural world and humans.

Through the process of collecting and sharing this knowledge, our goal is to impact actions taken at the individual, organizational, and community level to heal our natural world.

On this Page:

How we do it

The Research Team studies bats, insects, plants, snakes, fungi, birds, people, and a host of other critters! We focus on the following areas:

  • Urban Ecosystems
  • Biodiversity
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Habitat Restoration

Prioritizing collaborative, data-driven research, our team aims to provide the community with experiential opportunities to participate in and learn about our research. Design a community science project,  join us on a Fungi Foray, or stop by a Backyard Naturalist lecture!

Want to Learn More?

Take a look at the nature notes created by UEC Community Scientist, Heidi Meier, for summaries and interesting facts, and findings from her beetle surveys.

Nature Notes

Urban Ecosystems

Cities are the newest and fastest growing ecosystems on earth. Within them is a mosaic of habitats that support diverse communities of plants and animals.

As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, we are interested in understanding how humans and wildlife interact, how landscape changes impact wildlife, and the importance of urban green spaces.

Active Projects:


Did you know that we’ve been surveying birds for over 20 years?

Our team monitors birds along with other animals (and fungi!) to better understand the diversity of life within the parks.

Long-term monitoring helps us keep track of shifts in community composition and changes in wildlife populations over time at the UEC, across Wisconsin, and throughout North America.

Active Projects:

Bird Walks

Help us monitor bird biodiversity! Interested bird watchers of all ability levels are invited to explore our branches on our weekly bird walks.

Rain or shine we’re out every week all year round. Hone your bird identification skills and contribute to our long-term bird monitoring.

Not on our weekly bird walk recap email list and want to keep up to date with the weekly species lists? Email Amanda at

Bird Walks

Wildlife Biology

We study wildlife behavior, ecology, and basic biology for the purpose of management and conservation.

Research topics include habitat use, migration patterns, population genetics, and species interactions.

Through the original research we and our community scientists conduct, we are able to make meaningful contributions to the broader scientific community.

Active Projects:

Habitat Restoration

We work closely with our Land Stewardship team to understand the impacts their restoration efforts have on the wildlife that use the parks.

By monitoring “indicator species” (species that are sensitive to specific environmental conditions), we provide feedback on the success of stewardship. This helps identify ways to adapt our plans to better support these species and others.

Active Projects:

Backyard Naturalists Series

Join us every Friday morning for our virtual lecture series! Learn about wildlife, plants, sustainability, the night skies, and more.

Check out our previous lectures on YouTube

Support the series with a subscription! Our annual and seasonal subscriptions give you automatic access to all Friday lectures including guest lectures, discounted workshops and courses, a free monthly field trip (normally $20/trip), and a Subscriber Appreciation party (in-person). What a deal!

Sign up for the Series

Simplify your registration and become a subscriber to our Backyard Naturalist series.

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Annual Reviews

The Research Program contributes important data to the study of urban wildlife.

Data Requests & Availability

Much of our data can be found in free and accessible online repositories like eBird & iNaturalist.

If you are a student, researcher, or community scientist and would like help finding data we’ve collected or would like access to data held internally for a project or study, please contact GIS & Field Data Manager, Amanda Tokuyama (

Check out the annual reviews:

See the Reviews

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