Video: In fall semester form, faculty and staff and peers from all four campuses congratulate UW-Green Bay graduates

In true, fall semester form, UW-Green Bay faculty and staff from all four campuses, worked together to send this virtual message to UW-Green Bay’s Fall/Winter 2020 Graduates. The campus community hopes to celebrate with you in spring of 2021. Congratulations! You did it!

Class of 2020, it’s been quite a year, but you did it!

Navigated college, completed internships, exams and term papers while juggling jobs, friends, family, and everything else. And You made it!

You also made this University and our community a better place through your contributions, research, and projects.

You grew during your time here at Green Bay to find your way forward to your next challenge.

But what’s most impressive about the Class of 2020 is that you figured it out. Not only how to attend college during a global pandemic, but also endure.

Watching hours of online lectures without falling asleep, becoming a Zoom master, by wearing your mask and keeping it all together, even six feet apart.

You’ve risen above and beyond, and that’s what makes the Phoenix class of 2020:



And admirable.

We want to say thank you in person this May.  

Because, class of 2020, you did it!

Video: Provost Kate Burns reminds students to reflect on your accomplishments this semester

Hi everyone, I’m Kate Burns, the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs here at UW-Green Bay. I’m here to talk about the end of the semester which is quickly upon us.

I know at the beginning of the semester we are all thinking… How would this happen? How would we engage in a socially distant semester? What would this look like with all of these online classes and hybrid courses? Now we’re almost at the end, we’re finally almost there!

I just want you to take a moment and really think about all you’ve accomplished this semester; how you’ve grown, how you’ve changed, how you’ve pushed yourself in ways that you didn’t think were possible. The good news is that we are so close to the end, so we are counting the moments, we are counting the days.

We might feel a bit overwhelmed at times. I urge you to think about what’s worked well for you this semester and I want to encourage you to reach out if you need help. Talk to your professors. Talk to GBOSS. If you have any questions or concerns we’re here to help you get through.

We’re just going to focus on these moments—these days together. Good luck with all the remaining work that you have to do. We’re here with you and we’re here to help you thrive.

Thank you for all that you’ve done this semester. You should be really proud of all that you’ve accomplished.

We are Phoenix. We are thriving, together.

Photo of the UW-Green Bay Phoenix sculpture with students standing in front making a hand phoenix by interlocking their hands together with the words, "Phoenix Finish Strong by Vince Lowery."

Video: Phoenix Finish Strong by Vince Lowery

UW-Green Bay’s Vince Lowery, director of Student Success and Engagement, inspires students to put their best foot forward as they race to the finish of the semester. Lowery shares a personal story about a cross-country race that taught him the lesson of finishing strong. “When (you’re) in doubt, when (you’re) uncertain… reach out for help, ask for help…reach out to me. As a Phoenix family we will finish strong. Together.”

Video Transcript of Phoenix Finish Strong by Vince Lowery:

This time of year I’m reminded of a story that I always told students when I was in the classroom now that I’m director of Student Success and Engagement. I have the opportunity to bring this story to a much wider audience.

This story is set a long time ago in the year 1994. A high school junior, running cross-country. We made our way to our regional tournament. I’m approaching the one-mile marker and I can hear this voice from the one-mile marker, it’s Coach Larry Smith. You see, I was usually second or third on the team and here I am at a regional event 99th out of a hundredth place. The one person behind me got injured and was walking and Coach Smith is just wondering you know what’s going on. So, he’s shouting are you hurt, are you injured, what’s up? And I’m like no I’m fine, I’m fine.

The reality was I had a terrible start to the race. Worse start ever for me but the thing I understood in that moment was that I could not change the start of the race. I could not go back and re-run the first mile. I couldn’t look back; I could only look ahead. I could only concentrate on the race in front of me left to run. Put one foot in front of the other. Do my best. Kept going. Kept pushing. Kept running hard. Slowly but surely, I moved up in the race.

Now as much as I wish this story ended with the one-shining moment with me crossing the finish line in first, it doesn’t. I finished 16th, which I was really pleased with. It was the best that I could do in that given race, given what happened in the first mile. But I also remember Coach Smith there in the last stretch, cheering me on, right, and here I am with you playing the role of Coach Smith, right, of cheering you on, of encouraging you to keep going.

Your semester is not over just as my race wasn’t over. You still have ground to cover and maybe you weren’t satisfied with how the semester started. Maybe there were some things you missed. Maybe there were some things you stumbled on. We can’t change that. We can’t control that. What you can control is what you put into these last few weeks. Papers, exams, whatever projects you might have coming up, that’s what you can control.

The other thing that you can control is accessing support. Whether that’s peers, faculty, The Learning Center, and advisor, Disability Services, Dean of Students office, MESA, The Pride Center, the places built on this institution to support you. The people committed to playing that role to Coach Larry Smith cheering you on all the way to the finish.

Finish strong. Your semester’s not over.  Your race is not over. And when in doubt, when uncertain, when not sure where to put the next foot, reach out for help, ask for help. Don’t know where to ask for help, reach out to me, I will help you find that place. I will be your Coach Larry Smith. I will cheer you on across that finish line. As a phoenix family, we will finish strong. Together!

Water view of the bluffs of Baraboo Hills

UW-Green Bay science faculty go the extra distance to provide high-impact practices during Covid-19

UW-Green Bay professors and instructors, including John Luczaj (Geoscience, Water Science) is accommodating field trips this season for Natural and Applied Sciences, transforming existing and new trips into virtual interactive experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Spring and Summer 2020, virtual field trips were offered in at least four classes two new excursions are planned for this fall. Students can virtually visit De Pere Lock and Dam, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Baraboo Hills and the Metro Boat Launch, to name a few.

John Luczaj
John Luczaj

Modern technology allowed for COVID-19 friendly virtual adaptations of the Geoscience program’s signature field trips. The goal, according to Luczaj, is for students to experience what they might have gotten in an outdoor laboratory or field trip pre-pandemic, and to give them the exposure and confidence to visit the sites on their own one day.

Assistant Prof. Shawn Malone (NAS) and lecturer Bill Jacobson (NAS) are assisting in the creation of the virtual field trips.

Luczaj explains, “Geology of the Lake Superior Region field course (spring ’20), for instance, is normally a four-day field trip in the spring. Students had seven lectures/trips on different topics throughout the region. While not all trips had video associated with them, I was able to incorporate online tools, mapping, and other information into the photo/video part of the trip for an enhanced experience.”

During the summer, Professor Luczaj was able to take his catalog of photos from past field trip stops to incorporate in the online version. For the new Water Science program, he traveled to all field trip stops around Green Bay and was able to record the footage with his cell phone. He recorded his computer screen for relevant website tools like the Great Lakes Dashboard, aerial photographs, and maps to provide videos of things students would not actually see on a bus trip.

Water Science Field Trip Fall 2020

Watch the UW-Green Bay Water Science Field Trip Fall 2020.

“The Water Science trip demonstrates various water related natural and engineered structures in Brown County,” he explains. The trip starts at the De Pere Lock and Dam along the Fox River. A full cycle of operation of the lock is demonstrated so students can see how the boats can pass through. The next few stops describe the East and Fox River systems and associated flooding.  The last stops are at the Metro Boat Launch to show the geography, shipping, and erosion from high water, followed with a discussion on sewage treatment. We make a quick stop at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary to look at their deep irrigation well.”

The new Geoscience Field Trip to the Baraboo Hills trip will cover an overview of the major mountain building events that assembled Wisconsin, how the original sandstone was deposited in Baraboo before it was turned into quartzite, site specific structural geology where students can view structural fabrics on the rocks during folding and tectonic compression and Paleozoic history. Prof. Luczaj mentored Malone, a new addition to the Geoscience program, to highlight the links between familiar tectonic processes from around the world and Wisconsin’s geologic history while introducing him to the program’s field experiences.

Luczaj says that field experiences are critical for students in the department. Keeping COVID-19 in mind, he didn’t want students who were graduating soon to miss out on opportunities they had before the pandemic.

Story by UW-Green Bay Marketing and University Communication intern Charlotte Berg.

Photos submitted by John Luczaj


Vintage photo of an environmental awareness demonstration political activist ralley circa 1970.

Echos of Eco U—More on the newly formed Office of Sustainability

Portrait photograph of John Arendt
John Arendt

UW-Green Bay has created its first Office of Sustainability and has named John Arendt as director. Last year, working with then Provost and now current Chancellor Alexander, the campus Sustainability Committee identified the need for a dedicated office. Its mission? To address the campus’s sustainability needs and to serve as a conduit between the campus and UW System sustainability representatives.

Arendt sees many similarities between today’s climate and the ‘turbulent 60’s’. “In many respects, the conditions we are operating under seem eerily similar to the planetary crisis going on when the University was founded.” He also envisions the office taking an activist role for the University and the region. “Including a need for new thinking, teachers looking for novel ways to instruct and looking to a younger generation to provide leadership out of the current paradigm.”

One of those current needs will be reporting the campus sustainability efforts to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report, which is due in spring 2021. Surveys consistently show that sustainability practices remain extremely important for students when considering which college to attend.

The STARS report communicates the university’s sustainability rating to prospective college students in publications such as Princeton Review and Sierra Club’s Cool Schools report. The Office of Sustainability will be housed in the Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI), where Arendt will also continue to serve as director. The EMBI office is located in ES 105 and Arendt can be reached via email or on the contact page of the campus sustainability webpage.



UWGB students in the hardwood swamp at Point au Sable Natural Area

Cofrin Center for Biodiversity receives a grant for restoration at Point au Sable

UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity received a $12,715 grant from the WI DNR and USFWS for the project entitled, “Lower East Green Bay: Habitat Restoration Sub-award.” The project is a sub-project of a land acquisition by Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust of property adjacent to Point au Sable, just off Nicolet Drive a few miles from campus.

Point au Sable is a rich outdoor lab for student and faculty researchers. It is one of the few unmodified estuarine wetlands in the entire Lake Michigan ecosystem. Each spring and fall, thousands of migratory waterfowl, gulls, terns, shorebirds, and passerines pass through Point au Sable on their way south. Recent studies have documented more than 200 bird species on or near Point au Sable during a single year.

The restoration will occur in a “sedge meadow,” which, according to the Center’s Natural Area Ecologist Bobbie Webster, is a “wonderful type of wetland community most typically dominated by tussock sedge (Carex stricta) and Canada bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis). The remnant sedge meadow at Point Sable fits this characterization; it also has lake sedge (Carex lacustris), prairie cord grass (Spartina pectinata), water smartweed (Persicaria amphibia), and joe pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum), iris (Iris sp.) and more.”

Sedge meadow was historically a very important community type in the lower Green Bay, and especially at Point au Sable. At Point Sable, there was likely 30 or more acres of sedge meadow but now there is only about 3 to 5 acres of true sedge meadow left. The rest has been taken over by invasive grasses like reed canary grass and Phragmites, as well as hybrid cattail, a hybrid of the native cattail and a non-native cattail. (Typha x glauca).

The combination of low water, excess nutrients from the watersheds flowing into the bay, and habitat fragmentation resulted in the sedge meadow at Point Sable becoming invaded and dominated by non-native, invasive species such as giant reed grass (Phragmites australis) and hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca).

Photo 1

In photo 1: the edge of the sedge meadow with prairie cordgrass on the left, water smartweed blooming, Canada bluejoing and tussock sedge beyond, and then encroachment of Phragmites and Typha (tall vegetation) beyond ( you’ll have to crop out the hand).





Photo 2

In photo 2: UWGB students in the hardwood swamp at Point au Sable Natural Area, preparing to map vegetation in the nearby sedge meadow.





Photo 3

In photo 3: Heart of the sedge meadow with a few Typha in the center of photo, and a wall of Phragmites in the background.





Photos by Bobbie Webster

Peshtigo River

Green Bay fall wild rice seeding planned for late October

Small teams of conservation professionals and volunteers from UW-Green Bay, Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, UW-Madison Division of Extension, and others will seed 2,000 lbs. of wild rice at coastal wetlands in the bay of Green Bay during the week of October 26-30, 2020.

This year marks the fourth year of seeding effort as part of the restoration projects, informed by UW-Green Bay aquatic vegetation research in lower Green Bay. See past efforts. Wild rice or “manoomin” holds important traditional, economic, and spiritual value in the region for Wisconsin’s First Nation tribes.

Wild rice also benefits waterfowl as an important food source during fall migration and contributes to fish nursery habitat and ecological diversity in coastal wetlands. Historical records suggest the wetland grass occurred in the waters of the bay of Green Bay; however, rice has been uncommon to rare in coastal wetlands and tributaries in recent decades. UW-Green Bay graduate student research helps conservation partners learn more about wild rice seeding success and environmental conditions impacting aquatic vegetation.

Rice re-establishment is one of a series of restoration projects in lower Green Bay and along the Green Bay west shore to enhance coastal wetland habitat for fish and wildlife and improve the health of the bay. Participants will hand seed the rice at 6 sites in lower Green Bay and along the Green Bay west shore on the following dates:

  • Monday, Oct. 26: Green Bay west shore: Seagull Bar State Natural Area and Oconto Marsh Wildlife Area & Oconto Sportsmen’s Club Tuesday
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: Lower Green Bay: Duck Creek and Ken Euers Nature Area
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28- Suamico: Sensiba Wildlife Area & Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
  • Thursday and Friday, Oct. 29 and 30, Weather make-up days

Media members may view seeding from an observation point on land at most locations. All participants and observers will be expected to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. For more information about the project or the seeding effort, contact Green Bay Restoration Project Coordinator Amy Carrozzino-Lyon (, 920-465-5029).

A large crane installs An Intermodal Earth Flow composting steel vessel outside the University Union delivery area.

Photos: Earth Flow Composter Installed

It’s a student-funded project that has been in the works for awhile—an Intermodal Earth Flow composting steel vessel was installed outside the University Union delivery area, recently. The composter will handle organic food waste from the University Dining, as well as food waste from plates, and dining operations on the UW-Green Bay Campus. The post-mix will be taken to a site on-campus to cure for between 2-4 months which will then yield compost that can be used. The composter has a minimum processing capacity of At least 2,000 pounds of raw organic waste per 7-day period or 660 gallons.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Earth Flow Composter Installed

– Photos by Grant Winslow


Marinette Campus looks back on strong history of men’s basketball

UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus posted an article following a reunion this summer of men’s basketball players from the 1993-2000 UW-Marinette seasons.Those teams were led by Coach Daren Sommerfeld with great success, including six back-to-back titles and much community support. You can see more photos and the full article on the Marinette Campus facebook page.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐮𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐧'𝐬 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐦 𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐂𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐃𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐝𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝟏𝟗𝟗𝟑-𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞…

Posted by UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus on Monday, September 21, 2020

Photo: MBB reunion 2020
Left to Right:
Mike Verba-Stephenson HS (1995-97)
Coach Daren Sommerfeldt (winningest UW-Marinette MBB Coach – 6 back to back titles)
Bryan Holder-Coleman HS (1995-96)
Tom Granquist-North Central HS (1995-96)
Ashanti Burnette-Clarendon Hills, IL (1995-96)
Jake Polfus-Carney-Nadeau HS (1999-2000)
Kevin Conrad-Coleman HS (1994-95)
Jeff Enders-Florence HS (1999-00)
Bill Taylor-Goodman-Armstrong Creek HS (1994-95)

Action shot: unidentified player.

Patrick Forsythe's students holding a sturgeon and documenting it's information

Fish tales: UW-Green Bay’s Prof. Patrick Forsythe has long loved one of Wisconsin’s most revered fish species

UW-Green Bay Scientist studies prehistoric sturgeon

Studying one of Wisconsin’s most revered fish species has been a love of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Patrick Forsythe since childhood, but now he gets to study whether or not efforts to save the fish are working.

Forsythe, an associate professor of biology, along with the Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries Laboratory, received $300,000 from the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act and WE Energies Mitigation and Enhancement fund to research whether or not lake sturgeon in the Upper Menominee River are passing through fish passageways which are set up to help them migrate to their ancestral spawning grounds.

Forsythe (right) and students tag and measure a sturgeon in earlier research.

Knowing whether or not revered legends are migrating back and forth is important, Forsythe said, not only for the fish species health, but to see whether or not the efforts to bring the giant species back have been successful.

The problem, he said, was the dam system. Built in the early 1900s, the five dams along the Menominee River were originally put in to assist with the logging operations in the area. But as time passed, the dams were converted to hydro-electric dams to help fuel the area through electricity.

In time, however, the dams prevented the sturgeon from getting back and forth from their spawning grounds at Sturgeon Falls, WI to the big water of Lake Michigan that they like so much. Like salmon, Forsythe said, the fish need to return to their spawning grounds on the rocky river beds of the Menominee River yearly. Unlike salmon though, sturgeon aren’t quite as athletic. (Lake sturgeon caught today weigh between 30-100 pounds and grow to 3-7 feet in length. Females live 80-150 years.) While some do make it back and forth, many can’t.

Forsythe said the dams, and other human elements, had a dramatic impact on the fish’s population. He estimates the sturgeon population is 1 to 2 percent of its historic abundance.

So, through a cooperative effort of federal, state and local government agencies, electric companies and others, a fish passage was built. On one side, a fish elevator starts the sturgeon on their trip upstream. On the other, a waterslide takes them downstream.

On the upstream trip fish are taken by elevator to a research area where researchers check on their health, do an ultrasound and take a small clipping of their fins for DNA analysis, he said. Then the fish are trucked to the lake and released.

Now, it’s up to Forsythe to make sure the fish passage is working and that fish that have passed through the passage are returning to their ancestral spawning grounds to find love among the river rocks.

“Within the last 3 to 4 years they’ve really been making an effort to pass quite a few fish on an annual basis,” he said. “The first step was to figure out if those fish would just fall right back down through the dams or would they go upstream. And some fish do just come back through the dams after they’ve been transported, but a large proportion of them were going upstream.”

Now, Forsythe and his team of will be determining whether or not the young fish are the result of fish that stayed in the river, fish that moved through the fish passage, or fish that stayed in the river mating with a fish that went through the passage.

Having caught some larvae, his research team will use their DNA to see who their parents are. Extracting the genetic material and processing should happen later this year, he said.

From there, scientists and researchers will be able to use the data Forsythe’s project to make future decisions. Data will show which adult fish were most successful at spawning and what characteristics they had, so that wildlife management will know how many fish to pass through the passage each year, as well as what characteristics in those fish will give a better chance of success, for example.

The project is not only important to see whether or not the program is working, and to determine how to manage the fish passage in the future, it’s important for the people of Wisconsin, as well, he said.

“You know, they surgeon are highly revered in the Great Lakes. They call them the King of the Fish,” Forsythe said. “Tribes used to sustain themselves based on the surgeon harvest. Actually, Indian tribes locally, they probably knew more about surgeon than what we do because their migratory behavior was tied to the sturgeon migrations as well.

“It’s really a cool fish. And I think they just got hammered by over exploitation and river pollution. They’ve seen a resurgence recently, and I think people just want to see that and see them come back,” he continued. “You know this is just a really cool prehistoric animal.”

By freelance writer Liz Carey.