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12-year-old turns passion for nature into volunteer role at Urban Ecology Center

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 18:40:32-04

The Urban Ecology Center is a one-of-a-kind organization that connects people with nature.

One of those people is a 12-year-old girl who first started with the Center a few years ago when she took part in the Young Scientist Program.

Today, Analiese Rosales-Garcia sits at the front desk.

"I still come here whenever I have free time," she said.

Analiese's passion for nature has turned into a volunteer role at the Urban Ecology Center's Menomonee Valley branch a couple of days a week.

"It's just a place like, once you come, you want to keep coming back."

And keep on coming back she does. Even if it means waking up early.

"She would come out at six o'clock in the morning with us to check our small mammal live traps," said Maggie Steinhauer, the Center's research and community science coordinator. "She would come religiously every morning."

Steinhauer says Analiese would then stay all day and help with summer camps.

"It's amazing to see her and her friends come and hang out and use the space."

The Urban Ecology Center is also a safe place for Analiese to just be herself.

"I don't really have that many friends at school and all that, but when I come to this place I can actually be myself and not just have to act all perfect at school. And I can just be me," she said.

She is a 12-year-old volunteer now with her sights set on an even bigger role.

"A lot of people call me junior branch manager and even the branch manager says one day I'll be the branch manager and I really want to be actually."

HKE MKE benefits the Urban Ecology Center and its many programs.

The hike is 2.5 miles and is family-friendly.

The hike is Sunday and waves begin at 9 a.m. at the Urban Ecology Center's Riverside location.

Click here to register.