More than 400 people attended the recent HKE MKE (Hike Milwaukee) benefit for the Urban Ecology Center, up from about 200 at the inaugural event last year.
“One of the things I think that’s unique about HKE MKE is that it’s not just a hike; there’s different activities along the way, and so there’s something for everybody. It’s a hike with a twist,” explained Jamie Ferschinger, branch manager of the Riverside Park UEC.
Volunteers facilitated activities scattered throughout the paths. Participants were invited to visit the River Revitalization Foundation, which offered educational games. Equipped with binoculars, walkers learned about birds native to Wisconsin at the bird-watching station. At the end of the walk, hikers who completed the 2.5-mile journey assisted in painting a mural to be displayed at the center.
Many of those in attendance, including the Pierce family, were repeat visitors.
“I think we’re lucky that the weather’s been perfect,” said Craig Pierce. We just like to be outside, look at the flowers in bloom at the time, the river, any animals we might see. It’s fun even just following the signs with our little guy.”
Pierce’s son Nash, 4-1/2 years old, added, “My favorite part was going to the river.”