Kwanzaa Celebration

Photos: Kwanzaa Celebration, Dec. 7, 2019

UW-Green Bay’s Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) Office, Office of Student Life and the Black Student Union (BSU) welcomed the community for a celebration of Kujichagulia (self-determination) at UW–Green Bay’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Delivering the keynote address was Robyn Davis, president and CEO of Brown County United Way.

Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African and African-American culture and identity, based on the seven principles of African heritage. This year, we celebrate the principle of Kujichagulia, the principle of self-determination and the right of persons to speak for themselves and decide their own destiny. All are welcome to attend regardless of background, faith or culture, as we celebrate the commonalities and values that bring us together rather than the differences that drive us apart.

In addition to a dinner menu celebrating African and African-American heritage and cuisine, the Kwanzaa celebration featured a performance by the Appleton North Step Team.

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Kwanzaa Celebration 2019

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

Hannah Malmberg

Graduating class speaker, Hannah Malmberg, models what it means to be a Phoenix

“The price of success,” the legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said, “is hard work.” But if you were to ask anyone who has had the privilege of working, or just knowing, Hannah Malmberg, they would more likely characterize their experience with her as priceless.

“I’ve rarely encountered somebody so accomplished, yet so unselfish and humble,” says Katia Levintova, professor of Democracy and Justice Studies. “She is always serving others in the most profound ways.”

The proof? A list of accomplishments that would be impressive for two people, including serving as a peer mentor for the Gateways to Phoenix Success (GPS) program. This year-long commitment matched Malmberg with at-risk first-year students to help ensure academic and social success. What’s all the more impressive about this commitment is that Hannah herself faced the challenge of adapting to the college life experience to the extent she left school for a semester.

But she came back and rose from the ashes like a true Phoenix. Not only surviving, but thriving. Levintova notes, “completely turning things around, becoming a super-star student, a role model, and a very accomplished person.”

From that moment on, Malmberg embraced all her opportunities—including a social media internship at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She is also currently a member of Political Science Research Lab (one of 13 students selected for this honor).

Even while gaining experiences on campus, she continued to reach out to fellow students as a resident assistant—receiving additional training ranging from peer guidance, leadership development and more to cope with daily adventures of residence life.

Malmberg also found time to deliver lectures at the Green Bay Film Society and the UW-Green Bay Office of International Education, as well as working in the offices of TRiO and Upward Bound and volunteering for the Model United Nations event that brought local high school students to campus.

Malmberg’s hard work went above and beyond campus life and into the community. Two highly competitive internships included one at Green Bay City Hall and a current internship at NEW Water.

Malmberg also found time to be of service—even in Hawaii, traveling to Maui on a “build trip” with UW-Green Bay Habitat for Humanity. In 2018, she traveled to Ecuador with Associate Professor Marcelo Cruz, visiting indigenous communities in the heart of the Amazon region. Along the way, she discovered that some of the most enduring lessons can be learned far from a classroom.

“Prior to going to Ecuador, I had never traveled outside of the country and was nervous about being far from home, but studying abroad helped me discover confidence in myself that I never realized I had. I am so glad that I went and will forever cherish the memories made, education earned and relationships formed on that trip.”

What may be most impressive is that Malmberg has accomplished so much while maintaining a 3.68 GPA as a double major in Political Science and Communication, emphasis in Mass Media, with a Global Studies minor.

A University Leadership Award recipient in May 2019, she was nominated to serve as commencement speaker by faculty representing Political Science, Communication, Global Studies, Psychology and Public Administration—Katia Levintova, David Helpap, Aaron Weinschenk, Ryan Martin, David Coury, Bryan Carr, Alison Staudinger and Jemma Lund.

Malmberg’s own stated personal goal at UW-Green Bay was to “have a positive experience on this school and community; to have left it even better and stronger than when I started here.” And while Levintova admires Malmberg’s humility, she’s even prouder of her accomplishments. “Her list of achievements is incredible, demonstrating both the depth and the breadth of experiences, both on campus and in the community, sustained over a very long period.”

After graduation, Malmberg plans to further her work experience that combines her double majors before getting a master’s degree in either Public Administration or Public Policy.

Guzmán and Leadership Green Bay team organizes collection for UW-Green Bay’s Campus Closet

Director of Student Life Claudia Guzmán and her Leadership Green Bay team recently organized a collection for the UW-Green Bay Campus Closet. The collection was announced to the whole group on Oct. 8, 2019, and the donations were delivered to the Campus Closet on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. The team needed three vehicles to transport all of their items.

Guzmán was thrilled that her team selected the Campus Closet as a recipient of goodwill.

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Donations from Leadership Green Bay

“I’m really proud that my team selected UW-Green Bay’s Campus Closet for our collection drive,” says Guzmán, “and so grateful to our entire Leadership Green Bay class for their generosity! It was a great way to raise awareness of the needs of our students while also helping to stock the closet with clothing.”

The Leadership Green Bay Class of 2020 consists of 47 participants from local businesses and organizations. The large group is divided into several smaller teams, and one team a month is tasked with organization a collection on behalf of a local nonprofit agency.

The Campus Closet exists to help any member of the UW-Green Bay with clothes. There is also a Campus Cupboard which provides food and basic necessities.

Fireball demo, Cool Chemistry, Sputnikfest 9/7/19

Photos: UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus faculty perform Cool Chemistry show at Sputnikfest

UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus Associate Prof. Amy Kabrhel (Chemistry), Assistant Prof. Breeyawn Lybbert (Chemistry) and Associate Prof. James Kabrhel (Chemistry) performed a Cool Chemistry show at Sputnikfest in Manitowoc on Saturday, Sept. 7. These ‘cool’ events give attendees the chance to experience explosions, color-changing solutions, solid foams, dry ice fog, fire and even more explosions.

Sputnikfest celebrates the moment a 20-pound piece of the Russian Sputnik IV landed in the middle of the street on the corner of N. 8th and Park in Manitowoc. Readers Digest labels Sputnikfest as one of the Top Five Funkiest Festivals in the country, and this funky festival has become a fun event for families region-wide.

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Cool Chemistry, Sputnikfest 9/7/19

– Photos by James Kabrhel, Associate Professor (Chemistry), UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus

GB Welcome community service

Photos: Service Project and Lambeau Tailgate

More than 550 UW-Green Bay first-year students, mentors, student ambassadors and staff made a big difference for Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in Suamico, Wis. on Sept. 2, 2019. Can you imagine what 1,000 hours of volunteerism can do for a small, local community organization? Thanks to members of the Manitowoc and Marinette campuses for joining students and staff from the Green Bay Campus on the day. The service project was followed by a tailgate at Lambeau Field. No need to tell these freshmen to “Get Loud, Lambeau.”

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Service Project and Lambeau - GB Welcome - 9-2-19

Photos by Dan Moore, Office of Marketing and University Communication

Falcon Photo-Op Day (and Naming Ceremony) is also an educational opportunity

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Cofrin Library rolled out the green carpet to greet the latest additions to UW-Green Bay’s feathered family. A flock of nearly 100 bird-lovers gathered in the library pavilion for the third annual debut party of Mimi and Rupert’s offspring. This marks the third consecutive year, with successful nests in 2017, 18 and 19.

At a long table, Greg Septon, “founding father” of Wisconsin Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project and UW-Green Bay Prof. Amy Wolf (Biology) co-hosted the ceremony. Septon extracted each chick, or eyass (pronounced ‘eye-yass’), from a single pet carrier, announced the gender and then attached bands to each leg with a pop rivet. Wolf, christened each with a ceremonial name. Once completed, it was back into the container and the next one fetched for the adoring crowd.

Bird one was extracted from the carrier. A big ball of down perched on near fully-grown legs.

Septon delivered the news: “It’s a male.”

“We’re naming the birds after prominent conservation biologists,” Wolf announced, “so this one’s name is Leopold, for Aldo Leopold.”

For those who have made the trek up to UW-Green Bay’s Provost Office or over to Mary Ann Cofrin Hall to view the webcam broadcast of the blue jay-feather-festooned nesting box (Peregrine’s favorite meal), quickly notice these birds appear much larger face- to-face than on the screen.

Wolf has her theories why blue jays are a family favorite… “They’re very conspicuous and larger, so they’re a good meal.” Adding that on observation of all nesting Peregrine falcons in the area, blue jays are a preferred entrée.

“Alright. One down.” Septon tells the crowd. It’s time for the reveal of bird No. 2. Despite their downy appearance, leather gloves protected Septon from the young raptor’s sharp talons and beaks.

Another male.

“That one’s Muir, for John Muir.” (An influential Scottish-American naturalist also known as “Father of National Parks.”) Wolf informed the crowd.

The next bird out was bigger, louder and considerably more displeased with the events.

“Anyone want to guess the sex?” Septon offered. The crowd laughs a little. “The females are always louder and a little more difficult to deal with.” The crowd groaned a little. He quickly added “Only Peregrine. It’s always true.”

“Rachel,” Professor Wolf announced “for (nature writer) Rachel Carson.”

“OK, one more.” Septon fished out the final falcon, a male, christened Thoreau. Banding completed, it was time for the photo op, but not before a bit of cautionary advice from Septon. “You can get relatively close but every once in a while, a chick decides it’s going to run. If that happens, everyone just freeze,” he advised. None made a break for it while cameras and cellphones record the events.

And as far as getting the birds back to the roof, that task falls to current Biology students Brandon Byrne and Noah Nie. They’ve been in charge of maintaining the nesting box. For them, the process has been both a labor of bird-loving and a serious learning experience.

“They’ve been fun to watch. Going from unhatched eggs to today.” Nie says. “A lot of our research is on nest behavior. How both parents interact with the young.”

Branden also notes that the adult bird interaction has had its dramatic moments. “There was another (banded) female from Milwaukee, named Bratcha, who showed up when Mimi went missing. For a while, we thought, ‘oh no.’ There had been a pretty bad snow storm in January or February. But then Mimi came back and Bratcha left.”

All the televised research and intrigue would have not been possible without the technical expertise of recent graduate Jacob Woulf ’19 (Biology) who devised and installed “Peregrine Cam” with funding assistance from avid community birders Paul and Annie Mueller.

Though the nest will soon be empty, research continues with Byrne, Nie and Woulf assisting Prof. Wolf. “ All three students are continuing to work with me on a research project aimed at describing the behaviors of the Peregrine based on stored video footage. Ultimately, we hope to submit a research paper based on the results.”

It’s obvious these birds did not crave the spotlight. In fact, their celebrity status is fleeting. In a week or two, flight feathers will have completely replaced down and Leopold, Muir, Rachel and Thoreau will have flown their nesting box.

Offspring are not welcomed back home. But one of the benefits of banding is that these birds can be tracked. (One offspring is reported to have a nest in Eau Claire.) Plus the webcam has been a valuable research tool for students studying nesting, incubating and feeding behavior. As for Mimi and Rupert? If recent history is any indication, they won’t stay empty-nesters for long. Stay tuned for next season…

This public event was a quiet kick-off to the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity’s 20th Anniversary year of celebration. Details TBA.

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Peregrine Falcon Banding 2019

– Story by Michael Shaw; Photos and video by Daniel Moore

Bird Banding

Photos: A band of UW-Green Bay birders help with International Bird Migratory Day

Though you might not have noticed, more than 100,000 visitors dropped into Green Bay over the May 11th weekend, just for a quick bite and a rest on their way north. Not snow birds, but real birds. Hundreds of thousands of songbirds “overwinter” in Florida and Georgia (and Central and South America) then fly north to breed in one of the  greatest mass migrations on the planet. The event celebrated as International Migratory Bird Day is every second Saturday in May.

Joining in this year’s celebration on May 11 events at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary included guided bird hikes, family activities to make a bird house or feeder and demonstrations on bird banding by a coalition of UW-Green Bay faculty, staff, alumni and students, with the help of the Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society, UW-Green Bay Audubon student chapter (Green Bay Audubon), U.S. Forest Service and Marinette County.

“This is our fifth year,” said Erin Giese, senior research specialist at the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. “It’s a great way to interact with the public and the birds at the same time.”

Turns out there are good reasons to band a bird—estimating bird populations, tracking migration routes, determining how long birds live, gathering more precise information about individual birds (age and sex) and resighting purposes. Banding is also a very serious and carefully choreographed process. The permits and data base for all things banding originates at the U.S. Geological Survey. “We’re only permitted to band song birds and small landbirds, but you can band almost any kind of bird” Giese explains. (If a hummingbird or goose wanders into the net, they get a free pass.)

But you can’t even net a gnat without having a certified “master bander” on hand, who in this case is Bob Howe, the founding director of UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. It’s under his office and the collective expertise of this band of bird-lovers that others can learn the skills needed and earn sub-permits to also engage in the handling and banding of birds.

Though this particular May Saturday is cloudy, the winds are calm and Howe is expecting they will stay busy. “It’s highly variable, this is shaping up to be a good day. We’ve had as many as 52 birds in one day.”

The net set-up resembles a volleyball game set up in a shrubby march and nearby forest. The birds fly into, and get captured in fine, black “mist nets.” Then the birds unharmed birds are safely and carefully extricated from the net, placed in an individual bag, taken to the banding table, processed and then released.

Busy at the net is UW-Green Bay Biology Professor Amy Wolf and alumnus Greg Cleereman. Extracting annoyed songbirds, especially chickadees, can be an exacting and arduous process. “They make a tight fist and they have very long toes.” Wolf explains while untangling the annoyed ball of feathers. “But better than robins,” Cleereman adds. “They poop on you.” The birds are then carefully (and individually) bagged and taken to the banding station.

From there a steady flow of parents, kids and dedicated birders watch the assembly line as birds move from out of the bag, to banding, to measurements, and eventually to freedom. Among those at the table, Tara Hohman (finishing up her graduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy) is being assisted by underclassman Jacob Shariff (limited on this, his first banding experience, to recording data only, but given an opportunity to hold and release a bird.) “We take a suite of measurements on these birds including height, weight wing length and tail length, bill width and tarsus (imagine part of a bird’s foot),” Hohman explains.

The big send-off happens when the bird is released by an onlooker, which consists of the bird being placed into an open hand to instantly fly away. Occasionally, a bird will sit for a second or two, to the amazement of the crowd.

For the record, the day netted, in no particular number or order, included Gray Catbirds, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Black-and-white Warblers, Black-capped Chickadees plus an assortment of young, two-legged mammals captured by Green Bay Restoration Coordinator Amy Carrozzino-Lyon at the helm of the “kid banding” display ran by the Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society and Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter.

Kids run through a badminton net and get “caught” but it’s not quite the same struggle to extricate them that real birds can be. Once released, their arm length and weight are recorded and they also receive a rubber “band” bracelet. “We’re just demonstrating the same process as the bird-banding booth. To show how and why we band birds.” She explains. And who knows? Maybe a future bird-bander or two was also captured.

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Bird Banding at Wildlife Sanctuary

Story and photos by Michael Shaw, Office of Marketing and University Communication, UW-Green Bay

 

Student using CUE GB

CUE GB poised to help campus communicate, connect and come together

You may have heard the stir about CUE GB.

The new online community service platform launched Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, and is poised to make it much easier for UW-Green Bay students (and faculty and staff) to connect with each other, and to the local community.

CUE GB Graphic
CUEGB.com

CUE GB stands for Community-University-Engagement Green Bay, and is designed to help students make a positive impact on the local community. The platform allows students to find and connect with campus volunteer and service opportunities, and more than 200 local community organizations, from the Volunteer Center of Brown County database.

It also allows UW-Green Bay to track volunteer hours and allows staff and faculty to raise awareness when they need volunteers for events, activities, service, classroom research, and more.

Launched by UW-Green Bay’s Office of Student Life, this new resource gives the University and the local community the opportunity to further communicate, connect and come together. This development is mutually beneficial when it comes to the University and community, allowing students to more effectively learn about needs in the community, as well as giving agencies in the community the chance to tap into potential volunteers that are attending UW-Green Bay.

“Previously, volunteer opportunities were communicated to students by being posted on a bulletin board on campus and using social media,” says Stephanie Kaponya, program coordinator for the Office of Student Life. And the University had a difficult time tracking the full extent of all the great volunteer work students were already active in.

CUE GB was created to address those points, all while trying to make the volunteering process easier for everyone. “CUE GB opens a better channel of communication in regards to volunteer work between students and the community,” Kaponya says.

In addition, student organizations, specific classes, academic units and personnel on campus can utilize this tool as a practical and convenient way to attract student volunteers. For example, if a psychology class needs participants for a psychology study, the class has the option of posting this need on CUE GB.

“I can see this tool being used for Make a Difference Day this coming fall,” Kaponya says. “There are many possibilities for how this tool can be used just on the campus.”

Simply put, merging the resources from the Volunteer Center of Brown County with the dedicated students at UW-Green Bay has resulted in a powerful tool that transforms searching, applying and tracking volunteer work into a streamlined process. As well, finding volunteers for on campus opportunities, whether it’s for a class or an event, has increased in efficiency.

Volunteering made simple

To sign into the system, users simply need to log in using their UW-Green Bay email and password. Students will then be prompted to create an account, which is necessary for agencies to contact them and also tailors their account to their own personal interests. Once a student inputs their volunteering interests, that individual will be ‘matched’ to certain agencies and events right away.

Browsing through agencies is made to be easy and convenient. Students can choose to search through the available agencies by cause, distance and several other factors.

From CUE GB, interested individuals are able to learn a great deal about the agency, the specific event or volunteering opportunity. This includes contact information, places the location on a map, provides helpful links and some agencies even feature photos. Students can also choose to ‘become a fan’ of a specific agency.

With an easy-to-use interface, the platform packs in a wide variety of helpful features. Students are able to sign up for a volunteering opportunity, keep track of all their service hours and employ a calendar view in order to visualize their volunteering schedule. Students can choose to either sign up as an individual or create a team and sign up that way. Students can also see the ‘impact value’ of their service – how much money their volunteering has saved that particular agency or event.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering allows people to interact and connect with their community in a way that lends a meaningful impact. It provides people with the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and develop new skills in safe space, which can lead to personal growth. Those who volunteer also experience an increase in happiness and a healthy mindset. Additionally, volunteering offers the chance to do some networking out in the community.

With CUE GB as a resource, students can connect and engage with the community with more ease and convenience than ever before, hopefully ushering in a new age of volunteering between the University and the community.

Stephanie Kaponya, Program Coordinator at the Office of Student Life, is available to answer any questions about CUE GB at kaponyas@uwgb.edu.

 Story by Alicia LeBoeuf, intern, Office of Marketing and University Communication

Shawano Social Workers

Crisis: On the Frontlines

Training program expands statewide

Crisis. A frantic phone call, or race to the emergency room.

Crisis. A feeling of deep sadness, not knowing how you’ll handle it all.

Crisis. An attempt to take one’s life.

Crisis can come in many different situations, affecting each person uniquely. In every crisis, there is a call for help. An expanding UW-Green Bay training program is helping those on the front lines in Wisconsin, ensures the call is answered. Every time.

This call for help is best answered by individuals with a passion for helping others and life-saving training that prepares them to handle any and all situations that arise. These exceptional people are often the difference between life and death.

Training is critical

Since 2009, crisis counselors have access to training through UW-Green Bay’s Behavioral Health Training Partnership (BHTP). The BHTP provides training, consultation and support services for Wisconsin’s county human services professionals and other community organizations (e.g., schools, foster parents, law enforcement). A Wisconsin Department of Health Services grant created the training partnership more than nine years ago to improve the quality and capacity of crisis services in the region. The team now trains crisis care professionals in 53 of 72 counties in the state.

“Prior to BHTP’s creation, counties were struggling with how to provide 40 hours of crisis orientation training to professionals who were making (potentially) life or death decisions,” said Jessica Delzer, MS, LPC, BHTP Director at UW-Green Bay. Crisis training is needed for emergency mental health certification and in turn, reimbursement for services, per the State of Wisconsin.

Critical classroom training focuses on three core areas: 1. Crisis services overview 2. Suicide and risk assessment 3. Wisconsin mental health laws These in-person training sessions are held once per month, and additional specialized training is offered both in person and online. “We show people how to do this really tough work, but one of the awesome things about the partnership is the relationships that form during this training,” says Delzer. “Providing an opportunity for a 25-year veteran of social work to share experiences with a recent graduate is invaluable.”

Working to prevent crisis

Jenna Hammer '15
Jenna Hammer ’15 CAPSW, SAS
Intervention Services Supervisor
Shawano County Department of Human Services

Jenna Hammer ’15 CAPSW, SAS, Intervention Services Supervisor for Shawano County Department of Human Services has seen crisis come in many ways, unique to every person in need. The training received through the BHTP has been vital in helping her and her team assess and help in all situations. “Teaching what crisis is, possible triggers and responses, and how an incident or situation can affect daily living,” states Hammer. “We use these skills every day — from motivational interviewing to the art of de-escalation, we’re the front line and true gatekeepers for people in crisis.” Not all cases end successfully; Hammer explains that clients have been lost over the years. Successful outcomes are celebrated.

Take Linda (name changed). Middle-aged, living alone and paranoid, Linda was calling law enforcement multiple times a day, insisting that she was in danger. While she did not pose a threat to herself and didn’t need “crisis” intervention per se, law enforcement and family members were frustrated with her taking up so much time and community resources. Linda couldn’t help herself. And those she was calling couldn’t help her either.

Eventually, she wound up in the emergency room and the county’s crisis workers were called in. They found that her struggle with mental health issues meant she wasn’t paying her bills, her home was quite dilapidated and she was in the process of being evicted. Her child had recently been removed from the home and she was clearly suffering from the “snowball effect” of everything happening at once.

Hammer and her staff offered resources — resources that law enforcement and others had previously offered — and this time, Linda agreed to get help. Behavioral health training helped crisis frontline workers to ask the right questions. They learned that Linda had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury, and because of their training, knew how to work with her to effectively support her. They listened to her as a person, and not just someone who was taking up too much time. Linda is now medically stable, attending regular meetings to work through her issues and is looking at getting her own home once again.

“We got a lot of ‘thanks’ from those who had been trying to work with Linda for so long,” says Hammer. The partnership that she and her staff have established with law enforcement and other community professionals continues to flourish, and Hammer is relieved that their training and support could help both Linda and others involved.

“We have to balance listening to the frustrations of our partners with the rights of our clients,” says Hammer. “When things aren’t going right, and we can then get a client to a point where she recognizes her needs and makes a change, it’s phenomenal.” UW-Green Bay’s Behavioral Health Training Partnership is truly answering our neighbors’ calls for help… in a professional and hopeful way. “Our crisis workers see people at their most vulnerable,” says Delzer. “It’s a lot of responsibility. We train staff to work with people in a sensitive and strength-based way, and prevent traumatizing them over and over again.” Providing hope to those in Wisconsin who need it most.

–Story by freelance writer Kristin Bouchard ’93

Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter

UW-Green Bay students take flight with nation’s first Audubon college campus chapter

Erin Giese ’12 (Masters of Environmental Science & Policy), senior research specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, considers herself incredibly passionate about birds and protecting them. In fact, just recently, she and her team rescued yet another Snowy Owl from the dangers of the Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, and relocated it to a safer location for its winter stay in Wisconsin.

While she had sensed that conservation and environmental protection were areas that she was meant to be in, finding a focus took a bit longer for Giese. A songbird banding position in Alabama post-graduation put her in a position to truly discover her love for birds.

Giese remembers specifically the bird that caused that first real spark: A Brown Thrasher. It was the first bird that she was able to extract from a mist net by herself during the bird banding operations, and from that point on she knew that birds were her calling. Giese decided to go on to graduate school at UW-Green Bay to further pursue this interest of hers.

Aside from Project SOAR, an effort dedicated to relocating Snowy Owls from airports, Giese is now serving as the advisor to UW-Green Bay’s Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter, which has gained national recognition for being the very first Audubon college campus chapter organized in the country. Giese and graduate student Tara Hohman (Environmental Science & Policy), president of the Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter, discuss this exciting new development while providing an overview of the work that Audubon partakes in:

All About Audubon

Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter
Promotional Poster

The purpose of the Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter is to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.

“We need to make sure that the next generation of young people are engaged to become leaders in bird protection and conservation in the coming years,” says Giese.

Students who participate in this organization are able to take advantage of numerous opportunities to learn more about birds and bird conservation at a local level. Students also learn to build practical experience, are introduced to jobs associated with birds, and connect with local bird conservation projects and professionals. The student organization welcomes those with any level of previous bird knowledge to join.

Providing volunteer opportunities are a strong component of the organization. The members organized an event at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in which they helped clean and rake the outdoor raptor exhibits, joined by fellow UW-Green Bay student organization Round River Alliance. Members have also volunteered at the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Ashwaubenon to assist in cleaning bird feeders. Field trips this semester have included visiting the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and Ken Euers Natural Area. Members also attended two speaker events, co-hosted by the Northeastern Wisconsin (NEW) Audubon Chapter and Bay Area Bird Club.

Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter birding using spotting scopes
Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter using spotting scopes

“We are currently involved with some small scale projects that we hope will impact the university. One is window collision surveys around campus where we are trying to determine which buildings are the biggest risk to migrating birds. Once we have some data we hope to make some beneficial changes, like putting up deterrents to help mitigate those collisions,” says Hohman. “We are also involved with the Peregrine Falcons which have been nesting on the Cofrin Library for the past couple of years!”

The Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter plans on continuing its momentum into spring semester, with more speaker events, field trips throughout the state and possibly in Minnesota, and a Richter Museum of Natural History specimen prep workshop, among other plans.

“There are many young people who do not even know who or what Audubon is, and that needs to change,” Giese says, “This college campus program is a great way to change that and to engage and foster the next generation of bird conservationists.”

Strong Start

In order to bridge the gap between young bird conservationists and the long-term existing generation of bird conservation leaders, the National Audubon Society has launched an Audubon Campus Chapter Program. This program encourages the creation of Audubon bird clubs on college campuses across the country.

When Giese heard this announcement at the Wisconsin Audubon Council (WAC) meeting this past summer, she was instantly interested.

“As soon as I heard that, I raised my hand and asked if I could start a student chapter here at UW-Green Bay,” Giese says. “Immediately when I went back to work, I spoke with Tara about the possibility of starting a college campus Audubon chapter, and without hesitation, she said she was excited and interested in getting one started here at UW-Green Bay.”

NEW Audubon, for which Giese serves as president, serves an umbrella chapter for the student chapter. The student chapter wholeheartedly received approval and acceptance from the NEW Audubon Board of Directors. In the partnership between the two organizations, the president of the student chapter will always have a seat on the NEW Audubon Board of Directors to maintain a strong connection and encourage collaboration.

“The Green Bay Audubon chapter here at UW-Green Bay will provide students with important opportunities that will help them build their resumes and ultimately move them one step closer towards their dream careers,” Giese says.

National Recognition

To those at the chapter, it was a big surprise to gain the distinction of being the first campus chapter in the country to be recognized by the National Audubon Society.

“I am very excited to be able to connect UW-Green Bay with National Audubon and to get our university on the map nationally with Audubon,” Giese says. She also notes that Hohman and club Vice President, Emily Weber, were instrumental in getting the organization quickly registered with the University.

Hohman recalls that they didn’t know they were the first campus chapter until she and the club Vice President attended a Great Lakes gathering, which includes Audubon societies across the Great Lakes region. There, the National Audubon Society and Audubon Great Lakes informed them that they were the first to register a campus chapter and made it into quite an honor.

“Ultimately, it means that we were the first to send in and be approved and recognized by the National Audubon Society as a campus chapter,” says Hohman.

Worth Protecting

As Giese points out, birds are fascinating creatures.

“They are diverse with an estimated 10,000-18,000 species in the world and are truly beautiful, no matter if it’s a town bird or one found deep in the Amazon. They are found on every continent, even in the harshest of conditions in places like Antarctica, north of the Arctic Circle, places with little sunlight, deserts, and the middle of the ocean. They are resilient, intelligent, and adaptable. All species have their own life histories and ecologies and live out their own secret little lives that we only get a glimpse of,” Giese says.

And they deserve protection. That’s where the UW-Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter steps in.

Story by UW-Green Bay Marketing and University Communication intern Alicia LeBoeuf ’19