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Introducing Our UEC Cohort

Introducing our new Urban Ecology Network! In collaboration with the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center (UEC) and Red Rock Audubon Society (RRAS), these individuals are following the community model that the UEC created to inspire and educate their communities about the unique ecology of the urban Mojave Desert. As a network of environmental leaders, our mission is to provide equitable environmental education to promote environmental literacy and mitigate the impacts of climate change. With the help of Red Rock Audubon, the Urban Ecology Network is working with the Winchester Dondero Cultural Center to provide more environmental educational opportunities. And this is just the beginning! Learn how and why some of our cohort members are a part of this team by reading the following responses.

We asked the UEC cohort to answer these 5 questions regarding their experience with RRAS and their time in the cohort so far. See what each member has to say!

1. Why have you decided to give RRAS and the Urban Ecology Network your time?

2. What are some ways that you have felt included in the RRAS community?
 
3. What is your biggest takeaway from the Urban Ecology Center intensive?

4. What is a recent moment of awe you've experienced?
 
5. What are some ways you want to give back to your community through the  UEN?

Mario
1. I have been a fan of the RRAS ( Land stewardship, habitat restoration and birding events!) And im excited to collaborate as part of the UEN cohort to better our communities and landscape.

2. The RRAS has been very welcoming from the very beginning and welcomed me with open arms  as part of the cohort.

3. The power of prototypes, guiding lenses, Peter Senge , the fifth discipline- all provided strategies and practices to guide and execute projects.

4. My recent moment of awe- would be watching my children grow - Arielle is 2.5 years of and Noah is 1- they definitely inspire me to be the best human being I can be and help keep and create more multifunctional greenspaces.  

5. I'm excited to use my creative energy ans drive to help the UEN and the RRAS on expanding our mission, developing and achieving our collective goals and connecting community to nature and raising the next generation of environmental stewards.

Casey
1. I have decided to give RRAS and the Urban Ecology Network my time because I love sharing my knowledge and educating about the natural world, and I want to provide resources and a safe space for everyone to enjoy the organisms that exist in the Mojave desert and our own backyards.

2. I have felt included in the RRAS community since my first bird walk, led by Alex Harper at Pittman Wash. Everyone was so welcoming and I was immediately hooked on the feeling of inclusion and a group of people that wanted to share their knowledge and learn together. Then I was offered the opportunity to join the RRAS x UEC Cohort by Anna Gustafson, and my inclusion increased ten fold. I have been allowed and encouraged to share my knowledge and passion for educating about arthropods and I continue to feel as though my voice is heard and my time is valued.

3. My biggest takeaway from the Urban Ecology Center intensive was seeing how passionate, varied, and strong our Las Vegas Cohort is. I am so excited about our future and the impact we will make together.

4. A recent moment of awe I experienced was discovering Smoketree Sharpshooters (a type of Leafhopper insect) on weeds in my backyard. Watching them quickly move to the opposite side of the stems they were on to avoid predation, I must have stood watching for a good ten minutes.

5. Some ways that I want to give back to my community through the UEN are:
    -Providing free resources and learning opportunities
    -Providing a safe, equitable space for everyone to interact with and learn about nature
    -Connecting our community to our desert and inspiring passion and creating moments    
     of awe


Olivia
1. I have decided to focus my time on RRAS and the Urban Ecology Network because I can share my interest, curiosities, and passions with a community that strives toward a natural resilient environment for all in Southern Nevada.

2.RRAS always has a warm welcome, and I have felt that since my first interaction. Each time my fondness grows as they continue to invite me to collaboration opportunities such as the Urban Ecology Network.
3.My biggest takeaway from the UEC intensive was the ultimate goal “to transform the human/nature relationship so that the lifestyles of all humans on our beautiful planet would support the connected relationships of the ecosystems of Earth, which sustain us all.”

4.I recently had a moment of awe: One early morning, I listened to a chorus from red-spotted toads and felt the gentle sun gleaming across the Red Rock Canyons as though they were welcoming me back.

5.The UEN allows me to create a sense of belonging amongst my community while simultaneously shifting towards a more sustainable future by connecting everyone with nature and each other.

Andrea
1. I had just moved to Las Vegas and I wanted to learn more about the community, what it offers, and how we can make improvements. I believe RRA and the UEN is a great way to get involved with all of that.

2.Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful since I moved to Vegas and joined RRA. Since joining RRA, my fellow members have shown me all the great birding spots and helped me learn more about bird identification.

3.I think my biggest takeaway has been that a strong and connected community is really important. By interacting with different organizations around the community I think RRA has definitely grown stronger and we can reach out to more people that we have not reached in the past.

4. I was recently at the Bird Viewing Preserve while it was raining and there were lots of amazing birds. It was so peaceful and calming and a nice moment out of the heat.

5. I would love to reach out to more BIPOC organizations and provide more educational opportunities for those communities.