Tag: Environmental Science

‘Eco U’ makes Green Colleges Guide for fourth straight year

UW-Green Bay is one of the 353 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada as recognized by Princeton Review.

The education services company profiles UW-Green Bay in the 2015 edition of its free downloadable book, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges.”

The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey it conducted in 2014 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure the schools’ commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The institutional survey included questions on the schools’ course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

Published April 16, a few days before the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, the 218-page guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.

The school profiles in the guide feature essential information for applicants — facts and stats on school demographics, admission and financial aid — plus write-ups on the schools’ sustainability initiatives. A “Green Facts” sidebar reports on a wide range of topics from the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

In the guide’s profile, The Princeton Review says “Eco U has historically strong academic programs in environmental science and environmental policy and planning at both bachelor’s and master’s levels,” mentions various UW-Green Bay courses and research opportunities, along with “green” building design feature and the University’s Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI).

UW-Green Bay is one of five of the UW System’s 13 four-year campuses to be included in the 2015 edition. The others are Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Stevens Point.


UW-Green Bay in top 20 of website’s Environmental Sciences Schools

Take it with a grain of salt — the website EnvironmentalScience.org is relatively new and lightly trafficked — but it’s always nice to see your name listed in any national ranking. UW-Green Bay appears at No. 15, right between the University of Vermont and the U.S. Military Academy on the site’s list of “Best Colleges Advocating Environmental Science.” The rating appears to be based on plausible criteria: The website took publically available data from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and sorted primarily on the basis of highest percentage of total students graduating with an environmental science degree.

Meet top NAS students benefitting from expanded scholarship program

The best-of-the-best students in Natural and Applied Sciences programs were honored at an annual scholarship reception held Jan. 30. Twenty-five students were awarded a total of $31,150 in scholarships that nearly doubled last year’s total of $15,200. The scholarships recognized student achievement in academics, research, and overall excellence. The new scholarships introduced this year include the Todd and Julie Bartels Scholarship, the Chad Moritz and Beth Meyer Scholarship, and the Faith Technologies, Inc. Scholarship for Engineering Technology. (Next year, NAS will introduce five additional scholarships.) Students selected to receive awards are:
 Kristine Berry, Environmental Science major; Krystal Clark, Environmental Science; Matthew Malcore, Environmental Science and Environmental Policy and Planning; Ashley Morin, Biology; Molly Dederich, Mathematics; Christa Kananen, Geoscience; Angela Smet, Environmental Science major; Jessica Finger, Biology; Brianna Messner, Mathematics and Spanish; Michael Pietraszek, Biology; Roberta Reif, Biology; Jeremiah Shrovnal, Environmental Science; Gabriel Michaels, Mathematics; Tiffany Marshall, Pre-Professional Engineering Program; Hanne Guthrie, Environmental Science, Pre-Professional Engineering Program, and Spanish; Reed Heintzkill, Pre-Professional Engineering and Chemistry; Matthew Nichols, Individual Major (related to environmental engineering) and Chemistry; Caroline Nakanwagi, Chemistry; Jordan Marty, Biology; Christi Branham, Chemistry; Samuel Frisbie, Engineering Technology (Environmental) and Geoscience; Shannon Mackey, Environmental Science; Amanda Nothem, Chemistry; Michael Xie, Mathematics major. For more on each student and the scholarship received.

Senior earns Sager award for work on Marinette County aquifer

The winner of this year’s Sager Scholarship is Christa Kananen, a senior majoring in Geoscience with a minor in Environmental Science. Her paper “Drawdown of the Potentiometric Surface of the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer in Marinette County” was based on her undergraduate research project under the guidance of NAS Associate Prof. John Luczaj. The Sager Scholarship for Scientific Writing was established by retired UW-Green Bay faculty members Paul and Dorothea Sager in memory of Chancellor Emeritus Edward Weidner and his commitment to UW-Green Bay and the Cofrin Arboretum. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a UW-Green Bay undergraduate who has demonstrated excellence in scientific writing resulting from a classroom or extracurricular academic activity. Students receiving honorable mention for this year’s competition were Reed Heintzkill, Courtney Pagenkopf, Holly Plamann, Alex Stenner and Timothy Zietz.

2012 grad Morgan Gantz works to study and protect our nation’s wilderness

top-story-gantzFor the millions of outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking on the trails, kayaking down the rapid rivers, and biking through national parks, forests and wildlife refuges, there are the few who work to both study and protect the natural landscape of our public lands.

Morgan Gantz, a 2012 UW-Green Bay Environmental Science graduate is working to do just that in an Interagency Wilderness Fellowship program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and American Conservation Experience.

“Generally speaking, Wilderness Fellows are educators and advocates of wilderness stewardship,” said Gantz. They have much to steward with over 100 million acres set aside in a land preservation system since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into the law the Wilderness Act 50 years ago.

Gantz is spending six months working at two national wildlife refuges in Minnesota, Rice Lake and Tamarac. Out of 250 applicants for the fellowship, Gantz was one of eight selected. Her position began in May 2014.

Through this position, Gantz is working to establish a baseline condition and long term monitoring protocol for each refuge based on the five qualities of wilderness character. She is identifying measures specific to each location that quantify change over time. The goal is to create a tool land managers can use to better understand the wilderness they manage and to track trends over time.

“So my job is to evaluate a broad suite of biological indicators relating to water quality, air quality, climate change, and composition of native and invasive species among others,” Gantz said.

The program has also given her the chance to gain experience working with federal land management agencies.

gantz-story-2“As Wilderness Fellows we are exposed to all aspects of land management from office work and project management, to interacting with and educating staff, to fieldwork and regular maintenance. I have assisted biologists with counting bird population’s productivity success, banding birds, blowing up beaver dams to alleviate water flow, invasive plant surveys, ecological restoration activities, visitor services, and numerous education and outreach events.”

The broad range of practices that Gantz has taken part in have provided her with new challenges and learning experiences.

“It has really been a challenging position because I’ve had to independently identify what wilderness character means to each location. There is no ‘black and white’ on how to measure and assign values to the qualities that make up a wilderness within the framework, there can be a lot of greyness to creating protocols and is often left up to a judgment call of the local staff.”

Previous to this experience, Gantz worked on the Exotic Plant Management Team in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska during the summer of 2013, which actually has the largest wilderness in the whole National Wilderness Preservation System.

“Hiking along glaciers and enormous mountains was unreal,” Gantz, said, “It felt like a huge fantasyland up there. It was actually my mentor from that position, who is the ecologist for the Park that emailed me the job announcement for the Wilderness Fellowship program and urged me to apply because she thought it was a good fit.”

Gantz had several experiences during her time at UW-Green Bay that helped her to achieve what she has today. Of those, Gantz served as a terrestrial invasive species intern with the Shawano County Land Conservation Division, which she feels was the stepping-stone to achieve her position in Alaska.

gantz-story“I took Restoration Ecology as my senior thesis class and it was one of my favorites,” she said. “The concepts learned in that class I am constantly using and applying to my career development. I was fortunate to serve as a research assistant under Professor Mat Dornbush, which enhanced my technical skills and made my resume more competitive when applying for science related jobs.”

The relationships Gantz formed while a student here have influenced her as well.

“I made lasting connections with UWGB faculty, many of which I still use as references on job applications and whom I contact for professional advice. My education at UWGB was very rewarding and gave me all of the valuable skills that are helping me succeed in this fellowship today.”

When looking to the future, Gantz is interested in various options.

“I am currently looking for job opportunities within the field of wilderness management, habitat restoration and management, or conservation related work but also considering further education into graduate school. I have been enjoying traveling and working seasonal jobs but often times I am looking for more of a challenge and feeling an eagerness to learn more.”

Gantz is thankful for the opportunities that she’s been given.

“As a Wilderness Fellow, I am proud to support our nation’s most wild lands,” she said, “The Wilderness Fellows program has been the opportunity of a lifetime for me, and a valuable resource for our federal land managers.”

For more information.
Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication
Photos submitted

Good to GRO: We’ve got more on student’s $50K fellowship

We told you here recently about UW-Green Bay senior Robyn Nielsen, who is the University’s first-ever student to earn a $50,000 Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As part of the award, the Environmental Policy and Planning and Environmental Science double-major receives $20,700 per year of academic support for two years, as well as $8,600 for an internship at an EPA facility. Our recent press release introduced Log readers to Nielsen, and our expanded feature story includes more about her background, motivations and plans for the future. Read story.

From farm to fellowship: Student earns $50K EPA award

nielsenWisconsin has quickly become No. 1 in the country for organic dairy and beef farms. Public demand has led to rapid development of organic farms across the state. While organic agriculture produces a quality product that consumers can feel good about, the fact remains that organic agriculture still produces waste. And that’s where UW-Green Bay’s Robyn Nielsen comes in.

Nielsen is a senior Environmental Policy and Planning and Environmental Science double major who just received final award notification for a $50,000 Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The GRO Fellowship is designed to enhance and support quality environmental education for undergraduate students enrolled in an environmentally related field. The overall objective of the GRO Fellowship Program is to encourage undergraduates in these areas to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level and pursue careers in fields that address environmental problems and issues. Nielsen is the first UW-Green Bay student to receive the GRO Fellowship.

Nielsen’s experiences growing up on a non-commercial dairy farm in Newton, Wis. have increased her awareness of some of the challenges organic dairy farmers face when dealing with nonpoint source pollution.

“I saw some of these concerns firsthand in my neighborhood,” Nielsen said, “and knowing what I know now, I want to work with conventional farms to improve their footprint.”

Nielsen’s interests still focus around zero waste, resource recovery and recycling, but she is also interested in alternative agriculture. Nielsen hopes to intern with Glacierland Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. in Green Bay in the spring.

“I’m hoping those two programs, plus my internship this summer with the Clean Water Action Council, will all come together into some kind of cohesive conceptual unit,” Nielsen said. “I got away from that when I became enchanted by new concepts in solid waste management (that sounds bizarre) but recently I came in contact with someone who has really helped me to remember why I came to school in the first place. Of course, all of these ideas are really part of a greater whole of just living more sustainably, but either way, here I am.”

Nielsen is excited to tackle new territory.

“My subject area was nonpoint source pollution,” she said, “and I hope to be posted somewhere that is doing something with agricultural runoff or something like that.”

Story by Daniele Frechette 

Eco U’s integrated curriculum made big impression on Northwoods naturalist

top-story-naturalistUW-Green Bay’s integration of higher education and the environment has imprinted a lasting impression on alumnus John Bates ’74 of Communication Action.

Bates used lessons learned at Eco U to forge a successful career as a Wisconsin naturalist, writer, blogger, professor and nature guide in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Bates looks back on his days at UW-Green Bay as a dynamic time to be on campus.

“I attended UW-Green Bay at a time of great energy and excitement. It was a time of converting cornfields into a vision of what an environmental campus should look like,” says Bates.

His writings include several books on nature in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region. He uses observations of the seasons, plants, animals, phenology and ecology as inspiration for his work. Bates was initially attracted to UW-Green Bay by the ecologically oriented curriculum and the school’s commitment to the environmental sciences.

“I relished the many field trips – all the hands-on, get your feet wet learning that we were exposed to. Those perhaps were my best memories at UW-Green Bay,” Bates recalls.

He credits the faculty at UW-Green Bay with sparking his interest in environmentalism and steering him toward a rewarding career as a naturalist and author. Bates reminisces about his favorite classes at UW-Green Bay.

“I took every class I could from Dr. Keith White, and sat in on several classes for a second time just to hear it all again. His introductory Vegetation of Wisconsin class launched a lot of young students into the ecology field. I also really enjoyed and benefitted from Dr. Paul Sager’s freshwater invertebrates class, Dr. John Reed’s botany class (co-taught by Gary Fewless), and Dr. Richard Presnell’s many environmental education classes. They were all superb professors and made a lasting impression on me,” Bates says.

He returned to UW-Green Bay and received his Master’s Degree in Environmental Science in 1986. Bates and his wife, artist and fellow UW-Green Bay alum, Mary Burns ’85 of English and Natural History, live on the Manitowish River in Iron County where they own and operate the Manitowish River Press, a publishing company devoted to producing books that celebrate the natural world. Bates is currently working on his eighth book, Old Growth Forests of Wisconsin. The work Bates is most proud of is “A Northwoods Almanac,” a regular column for the local newspaper in Minocqua. This is his 25th year writing it, and he feels it seems to have mattered to a lot of folks.

“I post their sightings, discuss what’s going on currently in the natural world — the flowerings, nestings, migrations, and try to truly celebrate the beauty of this place we call the Northwoods. Hopefully I’ve helped some people fall more deeply in love with, and understand more thoroughly, their home,” Bates says.

UW-Green Bay senior earns $50K EPA research fellowship

post-story-nielsenUW-Green Bay senior Robyn Nielsen is the University’s first-ever recipient of a Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Nielsen, who is double-majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning and Environmental Science, recently received final notification of the $50,000 fellowship, which provides up to $20,700 per year of academic support for the student’s junior and senior years and $8,600 for an internship at an EPA facility in the summer between the student’s junior and senior years.

The GRO Fellowship is designed to enhance and support quality environmental education for undergraduate students enrolled in an environmentally related field. It is designed to encourage undergraduates in environmentally related fields to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level and pursue careers in fields that address environmental problems and issues.

Nielsen’s strong organic agricultural background has steered her toward a career working with agriculture and sustainability, she said. Growing up on a non-commercial dairy farm in Newton, Wis. has increased Nielsen’s awareness of some of the challenges farmers face when dealing with nonpoint source pollution.

Nielsen’s interests include zero waste, resource recovery and recycling, as well as alternative agriculture practices. Along with her fellowship, she will receive a paid internship with the EPA in the summer of 2015. The prospect of working with the EPA is exciting for Nielsen.

“I am not sure where I will be working, or what kind of work I will be doing,” Nielsen said, “but I can’t wait for this excellent opportunity.”


Twelve UW-Green Bay faculty members earn academic promotions, tenure

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved promotions or tenure for 12 UW-Green Bay faculty members during its meeting June 5-6 at UW-Milwaukee.

The following faculty members promoted from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure: Gaurav Bansal, Cofrin School of Business; Caroline Boswell, Humanistic Studies (History); Michael Knight, Cofrin School of Business; James Loebl, Cofrin School of Business; James Vincent Lowery, Humanistic Studies (History); Sampathkumar Ranganathan, Cofrin School of Business; Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz, Humanistic Studies (Spanish); Christine Vandenhouten, Nursing; and Lora Warner, Public and Environmental Affairs.

The Regents also promoted the following individuals to the rank of full professor:

Heidi Fencl, Natural and Applied Sciences, teaches Modern Physics, Introductory Physics, and Astronomy, and is a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty. She received her B.S. in Physics from Nebraska Wesleyan University, her M.S. in Physics from the University of Nebraska, and her Ph.D. in Nuclear Astrophysics from the Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Physics faculty at UW-Green Bay in the fall of 2001, Fencl taught physics and astronomy at Concordia College Moorhead and was concurrently founding director of the UW System Women and Science Program and coordinator of UW Oshkosh’s Science Outreach Program. Fencl also was the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at UW-Green Bay.

Fencl’s scholarly interests are in physics education, and in particular she studies pedagogical approaches and out-of-classroom support for effective problem solving process and development of self-efficacy in physics. In addition to the enjoyment she takes in teaching, Fencl enjoys gardening, knitting and making vegan cheeses.

Cristina Ortiz, Humanistic Studies (Spanish), is chair of the Modern Languages program and coordinator of the Spanish program at UW-Green Bay. She joined the faculty in 1993 after receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. Ortiz has authored a monograph on Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges and has published her research on contemporary Spanish and Latin American female writers in top-tier journals in Spain and the United States. Her area of research focuses on issues of gender, nation and nationalism in contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature and film. Her work has also been included in several edited collections, most recently in Across the Straits: New Visions of Africa in Contemporary Spain.

Ortiz is a member collaborator of the American Academy of the Spanish Language and a special contributor to the academic journal of this organization. In addition to teaching a wide range of courses at UW-Green Bay, Ortiz has been instrumental in the creation of a Visiting Spanish Scholar in Residence program and the Spanish in the Professions program at the University, as well as in establishing numerous local internships for UW-Green Bay students and institutional connections with the Hispanic/Latino community. She also has led study abroad programs to Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Australia and Cuba. Ortiz is the recipient of two UW-Green Bay Founders Awards. She received the Founders Award for Excellence in Institutional Development in 2004-05 and, most recently, for Excellence in Community Outreach (2013-14).

Michael Zorn, Natural and Applied Sciences, teaches Chemistry and Environmental Science courses and is a member of the graduate faculty of the Environmental Science and Policy program. He was chair of the Chemistry discipline for six years from 2006 to 2013, and he is currently the vice chair of Natural and Applied Sciences.

Zorn’s research interests include development and application of real-time environmental sensors; studying the cycling of nutrients and oxygen in the lower Fox River and Green Bay; utilization of catalysis and photocatalysis for conversion of undesirable organic compounds to non-toxic products; and development and evaluation of alternative energy technologies. Since coming to UW-Green Bay, Zorn has been directly involved in research projects totaling more than $1.6 million in funding.

Zorn has participated in several international travel opportunities associated with UW-Green Bay, including travel to Panama (to set up a January travel course); Finland (to establish research collaborations); and the Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile (to further collaborative activities between the two universities).

Zorn began his UW-Green Bay career as an assistant professor in fall 2001, and received promotion to associate professor in 2006. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from UW-Green Bay and his Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry and Technology from UW-Madison.