In the Community


Assistance with the New Health Insurance Marketplace
Learn how to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace which begins October 1, 2013 with the Affordable Care Act. 

Enrollment labs available:
Wednesday from 3:00-5:30 p.m. • October 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30

Milwaukee Central Library (814 W. Wisconsin Ave.) • Computer Training Room, 2nd Floor

Click Here for details. Certified Application Counselors will be available to assist. No appointment is necessary.  Visit



What the Heck is an Arboretum Anyway - and Why is it So Darn Cool?
By Ken Leinbach, Executive Director, Urban Ecology Center




Project comes to life after extensive planning and fundraising by the school community
MILWAUKEE, September 7, 2012 – Much has been written lately about the nature “deficit” that exists today as children spend more and more time indoors and less time outside exploring nature. Today, Maryland Avenue Montessori School (MAM), part of the Milwaukee Public School District, is taking its own step toward reducing that deficit with the opening of a 14,000-square-foot environmental classroom and exploratory rain garden (“Outdoor Classroom”).

The $140,000 project transforms what was formerly a 10,000 square-foot asphalt parking lot and adjacent turf into a new environmentally-friendly landscape. The space, on the south end of the school property, features a dry creek bed to conduct water from disconnected roof downspouts into a rain garden area, allowing the 385 students to witness and study the natural cycle of rainwater. 

The Outdoor Classroom will be fully integrated into the school curriculum and serve as a laboratory for environmental studies and scientific experimentation with sensory and hands-on exploratory learning opportunities for studying plants, animals weather/seasons; textures, smells and colors. 

The Outdoor Classroom and rain garden are well-aligned with the philosophy of Maria Montessori, founder of the school’s Montessori teaching method. Montessori was an early advocate of incorporating the natural world into the educational process.  She once said, “…by learning to connect with nature, Montessori students learn to respect, protect, understand, and enjoy the natural world. Earth education is about more than just talking about saving the planet. It is about going outside and exploring the beauty of the earth. It is about learning about human’s place on the earth…”

According to Joe DiCarlo, principal of Maryland Avenue Montessori School, “The natural Outdoor Classroom will enhance the education of students at all levels of our K3 through 8th grade Montessori school giving them a wonderful opportunity to connect their cross-curricular classroom learning with on-site natural experiences and activities. It represents and reflects the concept of ‘cosmic education’ – the experiential and integrated learning of how things are interrelated – which is central to our school’s Montessori curriculum and philosophy.”

For example, our childhood students – K3 through K5 – can foster an appreciation for the ecological cycle of rainwater from the rain garden through hands-on exploration of the natural environment. They can also have fun exploring the variety of plant species in the natural gardens and playing on the natural boulders and landscape,” said DiCarlo.

“Beginning in the lower elementary grades, grades one to three, children can learn about the concepts of plants, water cycles and ecosystems. We plan to have the students conduct field work in the Outdoor Classroom, taking soil samples, measuring water saturation levels and exploring how plants and soil can help prevent water run-off into the sewer system. Older upper elementary students will learn more in-depth concepts of watersheds and ecosystems and participate in more in-depth scientific research. And, our seventh and eighth grade adolescent students will actually become advocates for their watershed by giving tours of the rain garden and helping with some of the maintenance of the space,” added DiCarlo.

 A committed group of MAM parents spent more than four years making the project a reality. MAM families and friends provided much of the funding for the Outdoor Classroom through donations and fundraisers.  Parents raised additional funds through grants from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the Royal Bank of Canada, Whole Foods Market and two anonymous donors. Milwaukee Public Schools, the City of Milwaukee and Midwest Landscaping provided in-kind support. 
“The completion of the Outdoor Classroom is a dream come true for many in our school community who have dedicated significant time and energy toward planning and fundraising over the past few years,” said Vesla Hoeschen, MAM parent volunteer and director of the MAM Fund Board.  “We have a lot to be proud of with this project. It’s an exciting addition to our school, offering new educational, recreational and stewardship opportunities for our children. This is a true success story of what can be accomplished by working together as a community,” added Hoeschen.

The rain garden also offers real environmental benefits to the city’s densely populated East Side where storm water run-off is a problem. It will help divert or slow down the flow of rainfall into the city’s sewers, which could help reduce sewage overflows into local waterways…and local basements during a storm. And, the replacement of asphalt with natural green space and native species of trees and plantings can also help reduce the "urban heat island effect" caused by the high percentage of paved areas in the city which retain more heat than natural areas. 

About Maryland Avenue Montessori School
Maryland Avenue Montessori School is a Kindergarten through 8th grade neighborhood-based Montessori school located in the heart of Milwaukee's historic and culturally diverse East Side. The school, originally called Maryland Avenue School, was one of Milwaukee’s original K-8 schools and has been a part of the neighborhood for more than 110 years. One of seven Montessori schools in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system – the largest group of public Montessori schools in the U.S. – Maryland Avenue features a dynamic learning environment where nearly 350 students work to achieve academic excellence, develop positive character traits and accomplish personal goals as active citizens in our community. 



Asplundh Tree Co.will be doing some power line clearance along the OLT on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2nd & 3rd, 2013.
There will be an interruption to travel on the trail from the North Ave. bridge for about 500' to the north between the hours of 7 AM - 3 PM.
Signs will be posted on the trail indicating their work zone.


Milwaukee County Courthouse

901 North 9th Street, RM 201 • Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: 414-278-4222 • Fax: 414-223-1380


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