The iPat environmental film series screens its first movie of the year with a nod to UW-Green Bay’s 50th anniversary. At 7 p.m. this coming Monday (Nov. 16) in the Christie Theatre, they’ll show the 1965 release “Crack in the World,” with an introduction and discussion led by Assistant Prof. Ryan Currier of the NAS department. The entertaining film portrays the fanciful tale of two geologists, married to one another, who promise the world plentiful, cheap, geothermal energy if only they can detonate a nuclear warhead inside the Earth. Up will come the magma, they say. But magma isn’t all they get. The iPat Film Series (impact = population * affluence * technology) is sponsored by PEAC, The Center for Public Affairs, and the Department of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Remember the grant received by Natural and Applied Sciences faculty members to pilot the restoration of native wild rice, bulrush and wild celery stands in the lower bay? This just in: Researchers have obtained 350 pounds of rice and are targeting Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 17, to seed areas near the mouth of Duck Creek as a first step in returning wild rice to the bay. Adjunct faculty member and environmental researcher Patrick Robinson will head the planting team. Robinson and NAS Profs. Matt Dornbush, Bob Howe and Amy Wolf received the $225,000 federal grant to further the reintroduction of desirable plants in the lee of the new Cat Island Chain breakwater by establishing what size plantings are optimal, at what water depths, and the best means (seeding or plugs). Robinson says the 350 pounds of wild rice should seed about 7 acres of near-shore shallows.
The Natural and Applied Sciences seminar series resumes this Friday (Nov. 6) with the presentation “Often too much but sometimes too little: Phosphorus and dissolved oxygen in Illinois streams and rivers.” Featured speaker Mike Machesky will begin his talk at 3:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Environmental Sciences Building. Machesky is a 1976 UW-Green Bay graduate in Science and Environmental Change who went on to earn his UW-Madison Ph.D. in water chemistry. He has spent most of his career with the Illinois State Water Survey, an applied research unit of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Machesky will describe his team’s effort to continuously monitor dissolved oxygen at over 500 wadeable stream sites throughout Illinois — a modeling study that confirmed the factors responsible for a massive fish kill along the Rock River below Rockford in June 2009. He will also discuss the difficulty of tracking and isolating phosphorous-related impacts. The 3:30 p.m. talk is free and open to the public, as is the preceding 3 p.m. reception with Machesky in ES 317.
This Friday (Oct. 30) Prof. Kevin Fermanich of Natural and Applied Sciences, along with co-investigators from the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, UWEX and LimnoTech, LLC, will be presenting results from the multi-year project “Restoring the Health of Green Bay Ecosystem Under a Changing Climate” at a session they organized for the biennial State of Lake Michigan Conference in Traverse City Mich. Fermanich will present watershed modeling results conducted in concert with UW-Green Bay Assistant Scientist Paul Baumgart and student Alexis Heim. Their work was funded by grants from the NOAA Coastal Hypoxia Program and University of Michigan Water Center.
UW-Green Bay’s John Katers is one of 10 experts quoted by the web publisher WalletHub in its rankings of 2015’s Greenest Cities in America. Katers, chair of NAS and director of the Environmental Management and Business Institute, also provided answers on the site’s “Ask the Expert” page in which he address four questions:
• How do cities benefit by ‘going green’?
• What policies/initiatives offer most bang for the buck?
• How best to attract green businesses?
• Realistic, cost-effective ways for individuals to go green?
Among other things, Katers suggests that recycling is often only the third best option, “after reduce and reuse.”
Biologist Bob Howe, professor of Natural and Applied Sciences and director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, and Erin Giese, the Center’s data manager, are UW-Green Bay’s participants in a newly announced, multi-state, multi-university grant of $10 million to monitor coastal wetlands around the Great Lakes Basin over the next five years. This project expands an existing grant that has involved Howe, Giese and more than 20 UW-Green Bay undergraduate and graduate students since 2010. Coordinated by researchers at Central Michigan University, the project allocates $222,000 to support field activities and data analysis by UW-Green Bay staff and students. The basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program evaluates ongoing and future wetland restoration efforts, as well as fish, invertebrates, birds, amphibians, plant communities, and chemical and physical variables at the majority of coastal wetland areas throughout the Great Lakes basin. Results will be used to prevent further wetland degradation and to set priorities for future wetland protection. Along with Central Michigan and UW-Green Bay, the initiative includes collaborators from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, UW-River Falls, Lake Superior State University, University of Notre Dame, Grand Valley State University, University of Windsor, State University of New York at Brockport, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Geological Survey, Environment Canada, and Bird Studies Canada.
Natural and Applied Sciences Profs. John Katers (of EMBI) and Ryan M. Holzem (of the new Environmental Engineering Technology program) recently wrapped up a three-article series for the Progressive Dairyman magazine. Karen Lee, the editor, asked Katers and Holzem to address considerations for using digesters on large dairy farms. The Progressive Dairyman print and online editions reach more than 25,000 large-herd, forward-thinking producers throughout the United States. The articles are summarized below:
* “Considerations for sizing an anaerobic digester,” published online on April 28, 2015, described the need to properly quantify and characterize the manure and water sources that would end up in the digester, and use the appropriate hydraulic and solids retention times to obtain optimal digestion.
* “Four reasons why anaerobic digesters fail,” published online on June 29, examined issues of poor design and equipment selection, lack of technical expertise, maintenance, and inadequate follow-through.
* “Co-digestion considerations for anaerobic digestion systems,” published online Sept. 30, was created as a tear sheet (found at the link). The article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using off-farm substrates (i.e., distillery waste, dairy waste, food waste, energy crops, and fats oils and greases) in a farms anaerobic digester. The article ends with several important questions that farmers should ask themselves prior to initiating co-digestion with their digester.
The Natural and Applied Sciences Seminar Series is hosting Antxon Olabe Egana from the International Visiting Scholars Program this Friday (Sept. 25). A reception will be held at 3 p.m. in Environmental Sciences Room 317, followed by the seminar “Homo Sapiens and Biosphere: Building Up Hope, Redressing the Climate-Environment Crisis” in ES 301 at 3:30 p.m. The events are free and open to the public.
Steady weather, a warm early autumn and the fact that this year’s hatchlings are big enough by now to spin their own webs, in plain view, are combining to make this seem like a banner year for spiders in Wisconsin. UW-Green Bay’s own arachnologist, Prof. Michael Draney of NAS, is quoted in a Janesville Gazette story. (The story is a little on the silly side but there’s also good info: Draney’s oft-stated reminder that spiders are good, mostly, and few “spider bites” actually are.)
UW-Green Bay has announced its lineup for a “Last Lecture Series” during the 2015-16 academic year in celebration of the University’s 50th anniversary. Presenters were asked to convey what lecture they would give, if it were to be their last. The monthly lectures will take place Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in the University Union’s Christie Theatre. The lectures are free and open to the public. The lineup:
• Sept. 23 — Derek Jeffreys, Professor, Humanistic Studies, “The Mystery of the Person: Teaching Philosophy and Religion in a Maximum-Security Prison”
• Oct. 28 — Jeff Entwistle, Professor, Theatre and Dance, “We All Need Theatre in Our Lives and in Our Future”
• Nov. 18 — Susan Gallagher-Lepak, Associate Professor, Nursing, “E-Learning: The Train has Left the Station”
• Feb. 17 — Lucy Arendt, Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies, “Made to Serve: The Tragic Corruption of America’s Founding Values”
• March 23 — Steve Meyer, Associate Professor, Natural and Applied Sciences, “Forget the Three T’s: Focus on the Six C’s”
• April 13 — Phil Clampitt, Professor, Information and Computing Science, “The Magical Connection between Uncertainty, Innovation, and the Human Spirit.”