Ten years ago, after joining Milwaukee Riverkeeper, I decided to explore my local watershed. I wanted to try to think outside the box or, in this case, the usual civil boundaries that define urban and suburban geographies. What I discovered was an experience of nature that both surprised and delighted me. My quest grew into The Urban Wilderness Project, which seeks to acquaint city dwellers with nature in their midst as well as to promote the preservation and restoration of natural lands along rivers.
After six years of exploration, during which I photographed and wrote about every part of the watershed, we produced Urban Wilderness: Exploring a Metropolitan Watershed. Some of the photographs in this essay were included in the book; some have been added more recently. The issues they deal with are the same issues that face cities all over the country. I have been happy to note that since I began the project the concept of urban wilderness has become part of a larger conversation about living in sustainable cities.
Eddee Daniel's book of photographs and stories, , published in 2008 by the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, received the Kodak American Greenways Award. Daniel has been a board member of Milwaukee Riverkeeper for the past ten years. Read more in his blog and at