Nick and Stephanie doing field research

Roots and Wings: 20 Years of Biodiversity

Two decades ago, a group of visionaries insisted that with the right resources and opportunities, UW-Green Bay could become a regional conservation leader. They were right. With a physical presence and intellectual capital, the University’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity took flight, and this year friends are celebrating its tremendous progress and accomplishments.

UWGB Cofrin Center for Biodiversity planting with Amy Wolf

Planting the seed

Visionaries for the biodiversity center included faculty members Paul Sager, Keith White, Bud Harris, and Bob Howe; staff members Les Raudenz, Gary Fewless, Tom Erdman, and Michael Van Lanen; philanthropist Dr. David A. Cofrin and the University’s founding Chancellor, Ed Weidner. The idea was supported by then-Chancellor Mark Perkins and Dean Carol Pollis.

The “Eco U movement” at UW-Green Bay goes back even further. With a strong leadership core during its early years, UW-Green Bay quickly became recognized for its environmental focus. In 1968, through a donation from The Nature Conservancy, the University secured its first off-campus natural area—the spectacular lake-front property of pioneer conservationist Emma Toft and family in Door County—who sought to preserve her family’s lake-front property as a natural area. Even earlier, the Cofrin family had created an endowment that enabled the University to develop a system of trails and plantings that would one day become the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum—a natural boundary of 290 acres encircling one of the Midwest’s most picturesque campuses.

The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity staff now manages about 1,600 acres across five natural areas in three counties. Recently, the University and its partners secured funding to add 73 acres to the Point Au Sable Nature Preserve, a peninsula just a few miles from campus, visited annually by more than 200 migratory bird species.


A budding concept

But the Center is far more than a land manager. While University officials were acquiring acreage for study and field work, UW-Green Bay undergraduates Tom Erdman and Gary Fewless were building collections. In the late 1960s Erdman began working with local ornithologist and collector, Carl Richter, facilitating the donation of a massive natural history collection of biological specimens that would become the Richter Museum of Natural History. Around the same time, Fewless began adding his own plant specimens to a small, existing teaching collection of pressed plants. By 1996, two small reconfigured classrooms would hold more than 40,000 animal specimens, hundreds of irreplaceable bird eggs and skins, and 20,000 scientific plant specimens.

As he watched the development of the arboretum and the various collections, Weidner’s personal friend, Dr. David A. Cofrin, son of Austin E. Cofrin (founder of Fort Howard Paper Company), sought to provide a headquarters for the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum; at the same time, the University was in dire need of more classroom space. Cofrin provided a sizeable gift that was combined with state funding to create a state-of-the-art green building, dedicated in 2001, and named for David’s wife, Mary Ann Cofrin.

While plans for the new building were being drawn up, several other pieces needed for the envisioned headquarters fell into place. Prof. Paul Sager described it all as “working out beautifully.” Natural and Applied Sciences program leaders, with support from Dean Carol Pollis, were able to create permanent positions for the curatorial positions (mentioned above). Pollis and Sager wrote the charter for the new campus center to serve the University by managing the natural areas, natural history, and plant collections and by supporting biodiversity research and education.

“MAC Hall,” as it is affectionately known today, would house new headquarters for the Richter Museum of Natural History and Gary A. Fewless Herbarium, along with University classrooms, labs and gathering spaces. In addition, Cofrin provided long-term support for the Center’s activities through his new philanthropic foundation‚ The 1923 Fund. The resulting Cofrin Center for Biodiversity was approved in summer 1999, with Professor Bob Howe named as director. So, while conservation had always been in the University’s DNA, the Center for Biodiversity made it official. Students, faculty researchers and community members were, and continue to be, the long-term beneficiaries.

Freedom to bloom

Mary Ann Cofrin Hall
Mary Ann Cofrin Hall opened in 2001

Mary Ann Cofrin Hall opened in 2001 and Center faculty and staff moved into its new offices managed by administrative assistant Kimberlee Mckeefry. The collections were now accessible and organized instead of packed into a small room and were adjacent to a new classroom allowing specimens to be easily used for teaching. Faculty developed more field biology and taxonomy courses at UW Green Bay at a time when other universities were dropping their “ology” courses. The Cofrin Arboretum and the natural areas continued to important outdoor classrooms, allowing students to gain hands-on knowledge of field techniques. Thousands of students across the campus have benefited from Center resources in the last 20 years, whether it was access to binoculars for field trips, specimens for science or art courses, computers for research, or even data collected by previous students and archived at the Center.

If resources were the foundation of the Center, it is the students that provide the energy to drive the momentum. Students are integral to the research and restoration done and under the guidance of faculty and staff, crews of undergraduate and graduate student technicians to get the hard work done monitoring birds and frogs, removing invasive plants, and planting and restoring habitat. These opportunities are essential for students in an increasingly competitive job market. Director Bob explains: “Especially for science students, college is more than just attending classes and earning grades. In order to compete for the best jobs, students need to build a competitive resume. The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity helps students do that. During the past 20 years, we’ve provided opportunities for hundreds of students through our annual research grant program, student employment in the Richter Museum, Fewless Herbarium, and natural areas management, and engagement in faculty-guided research grants.”

Student with a clipboard standing by a marker

Additionally, the Cofrin Research program started in 1989 and managed by the Center allows students to take their own questions to the field to study plants and animals on the natural areas and provided students to share their results with their peers at an annual symposium. Since 1999, 131 students have conducted independent research projects, with several resulting in scientific publications.

A collaboration fostered by Dr. Cofrin in 2006 to link local students to educational and research opportunities with the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute resulted in a highly successful research course coordinated between faculty at UW Green Bay and Saint Norbert College. More than 100 students have traveled to Panama to learn about tropical conservation first-hand and several have gone on to focus on conservation careers.

At the time of this writing (Summer 2019), sixty-six graduate students have been supported since 1999 and have been an integral part of the success of the Center, with graduate students taking leadership roles as teaching and research assistants, forming partnerships within the community, and running outreach programs. Further funding by the 1923 Fund created two biodiversity research assistantships.

Bruce Snyder (’02 Biology, ’04 ES&P), now an assistant professor of biology at Georgia College attributes his success to his experiences at the Center.

“The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity helped shaped my career in innumerable ways throughout my time at UW-Green Bay, including an early job on the arboretum, lunch seminars and discussions, and personal connections that helped me get into a PhD program,” he said. “The most crucial contribution to my development as a scientist was that the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity provided the impetus—and funding—for my first experience in undergraduate research through the Cofrin Research Grant program. This ultimately set me on the path to where I am today. As faculty, I have been able to influence ~150 undergraduate researchers through directing a REU program and mentoring in my own lab.”

Sager, who has been witness to the growth and transformation said Founding Chancellor Edward Weidner would be proud.

“Ed Wiedner would be really pleased to see how this has evolved,” said Sager. “He took great pride in the arboretum and the interdisciplinary focus of the program and the gathered resources that fostered ecological collaboration and partnerships at the University.”

Students working with Bobbie Webster in the Arboretum

Fertilization with collaboration

A perhaps unexpected but extremely important center to the Center became the big conference table in the office suite. Students, staff and faculty were able to easily meet and learn from each other. Whether it was student study groups or club meetings, the weekly “ecolunch” scientific paper discussion, or large meetings between local environmental agencies, there was always collaboration.

Under Director Howe’s direction the Center became sought out for expertise in ecological research, especially for ecological monitoring and restoration. Collaborative efforts with local conservation organizations and agencies resulted in more student powered research including bird monitoring in Wisconsin’s northern forests, wetland indicator species, restoration and invasive species control research, and most recently understanding and restoring ecological impairment in the Bay of Green Bay.

Collaborations with researchers working on a Smithsonian program focused on long term monitoring of forests began to expand globally. The Center, working with UW Green Bay faculty and partners in the National Forest Service created the Wabikon natural area, one of the first northern temperate forest plots in the United States. Student crews tag and measure thousands of trees, monitor seedlings and birds and mammals at the site.

New research generated through collaboration with local, regional, national, and international agencies and organizations, compounded by increased stress from invasive species in the natural areas, demanded more technical support, and with help from the 1923 Fund, the Center was able to hire a natural areas manager and data manager in 2010, greatly expanding opportunities for students to participate in conservation research.

Its impact is undeniable.

The Center has received more than 45 grants and gifts totaling $8,136,013 since its establishment and an additional $15,000,000 in multi-institutional projects in which faculty, staff, and students have participated. Research by Center-supported faculty, staff, and students has resulted in more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and more than 100 posters and presentations at scientific meetings.

Cofrin Center for Biodiversity birdwatching

Unprecedented growth

Sager is thrilled with the success of the Center. “It’s everything we envisioned and we predicted that if we created a place centered on conservation education, management and research that it would succeed. It was the efficiency that was gained by consolidation, and creating a space for conservation to happen that gave us momentum to go on. And that momentum is still gaining speed.”

Director Bob Howe is continuing to build on the work he has fostered over the past 20 years by strengthening existing partnerships, land management, and restoration. He argues that the importance of the land to preserving biodiversity has historically not been appreciated, but as we learn more, we are realizing how precious those lands are. The Center is already looking forward partnering with organizations to improve and continue to restore our natural areas. Improvements to the Arboretum trails will begin thanks to generous support from the community. The Point Au Sable Nature Preserve will be expanded by the Wequiock Creek Coastal Wetlands recently acquired by the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust. Center faculty are seeking to use new technologies like Environmental DNA to study biodiversity. But the one thing will not change is the Center’s reliance on quality education and strong collaboration.

Amy Wolf posed with students by a waterway

Recipe for success

Howe describes it as “A recipe for student success really works.” And the result is now often momentum driven by new partners who are former students. Howe described a recent meeting at the big conference table at the Center.

“I participated in a conservation planning meeting for lower Green Bay, attended by 11 professionals representing a private environmental consulting company, National Audubon Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin DNR, UW-Green Bay, and Ducks Unlimited. Amazingly, nine of the 11 participants were UW-Green Bay graduates, and all nine of these had previously been involved in a project or field course connected with the Biodiversity Center. The hands-on opportunities that we provide not only help students obtain good jobs, they help students become effective leaders.”

“It’s everything we envisioned…” Sager says. “It was the efficiency that was gained by consolidation of all the resources and collections, and creating a space for conservation to happen that gave us momentum to build on. And that momentum is still gaining speed…”

– Story by Vicki Medland

Cofrin Center for Biodiversity trip to Panama


Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Mission Statement

The primary purpose of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity is to promote education, research, and community services that contribute to conservation of the western Great Lakes fauna and flora.

Cofrin center for biodiversit students helping Bobbie Webster with a controlled burn in the arboretum

Center for Biodiversity 20th Anniversary Events

Watch for these Cofrin Center for Biodiversity 20th Anniversary events. More events will be added including tours of the museum and hikes at the many natural areas. Look for a winter 2020 dedication event. Keep current of anniversary events at

Month Event
June 2019 Door Peninsula Coastal Wetlands Bioblitz
September 2019 “Museum of Natural Inspiration: Artists Explore the Richter Collection” Art Show Prairie Festival
Art Bomb in Arboretum
October 2019 Cofrin Arboretum Anniversary Commemoration
January 2020 Panama Field Course March
Cofrin Research Symposium
April 2020 Earth Caretaker Award in partnership with the Environmental Management Business Institute (EMBI)
Academic Excellence Symposium
May 2020 Peregrine chick banding
Festival of Nature

Iconic art will depict ‘Phoenix rising’ at UW-Green Bay

Update: Dedication of the sculpture “Phoenix Rising” will be Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at the Cofrin Library Circle. Chancellor Miller, Eric Arneson and artist Carl Vanderheyden are on the program to speak. 

Phoenix Sculpture
“Phoenix Rising” by Carl Vanderheyden

Come late summer, there will be a new location for visitors and members of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay community to hang out, and a special Phoenix to hang with. It’s a new sculpture created by regional metal artist Carl Vanderheyden.

“Our students have shared their desire for an iconic place on campus to gather and also for that signature ‘UW-Green Bay photo,'” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Climate, Eric E. Arneson. “This incredible work of art will serve as a focal point and sense pride pulling together the entire campus community.”

The Phoenix, of course, is a creature from Greek mythology, which regenerates every 500 years, rising from the ashes of its predecessors. At UW-Green Bay, Phoenix is always singular, meaning collectively, those who associate with the Phoenix (students, alumni, faculty, staff, fans, community members, etc.) are a collective Phoenix—and, of course, a member of the Phoenix family.

The location for the piece will be in a newly landscaped area in the center of the Cofrin Library circle on the Green Bay Campus. Details of an installation and celebration will be forthcoming. In the meantime, this video gives a sneak peek of the 13-foot steel and stainless steel Phoenix, which will be able to stand hurricane-type winds, and what inspired the artist in its creation.



Allman commencement speaker

Allman asks grads to consider ‘servant leader’ approach

With an energy level akin to the official christening of a new ship or rolling a new car model off the assembly line, Jan Allman, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine, encouraged graduating seniors to live a life of servant leadership and to do so with their whole hearts.

Allman concluded her enthusiastic remarks, her first ever to a graduating class, with the following advice:

“Today is your day. Be proud. Enjoy being the center of attention. You deserve it.

But tomorrow is not about you. It’s about those you will serve. Endeavor to be that teammate, colleague and friend that everyone wants. Inspire those around you to be better. Lift others up. Encourage others with your personal example of servant leadership.

In the end, your name and reputation mean more than what you make or what kind of fancy title you have. To serve with your whole heart is what it is all about.”

Allman shared her advice and thoughts with family and friends gathered to honor more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students who participated in the University’s 99th Commencement Ceremony.

Allman’s full remarks:

“Good afternoon, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and congratulations!

Chancellor Miller, distinguished guests, parents, family and graduates: Wow. The excitement in the air is palpable – what an extraordinary honor it is to be here today.

It’s clear that today marks a new chapter in your life. Some of you will be entering into the workforce, joining the military, continuing your education or taking many other paths.

Will Rogers once said: ‘Even when you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.’

Whatever your next move, it requires you to take action in making that decision. Spend some time refining your path because throughout the rest of your life, you will be required to grow, reevaluate your goals and potentially pivot. You will encounter many unexpected opportunities along the way, and I encourage you to experiment and follow what you love doing. I smile when I think back to my initial master plan, and I am thankful for the unanticipated disruptions along the way.

My approach to early education was non-traditional. By the time I finished high school, I had moved more than a dozen times and lived in two different countries because of my father’s job. I would stay in one school a few months, then pack up and move to the next. This constant change forced me to adapt to new situations, focusing on both short term goals like adjusting to a new school, making a positive impression with new teachers, and integrating into new friend cliques, while continuing to focus on my long term ambition to be the first kid on either side of my family to attend college and earn an engineering degree. While attending three different high schools in two different countries, I concentrated on math, physics and chemistry.

I was in the automotive industry for almost 30 years. I began my career with Ford at the age of 19 as a CO-OP student at GMI, now called Kettering University. As a CO-OP I worked while obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I took accelerated courses followed by full time employment at 12 week intervals. During my CO-OP, I gained significant experience through working in a variety of departments and positions such as production supervisor, maintenance supervisor, quality/process/industrial and facilities engineering.

After working 26 years with Ford, I joined Navistar as VP of Global Manufacturing building International Trucks and Buses. I had been with Ford most my life and it was a daunting task to step out of my comfort zone and enter into a different company and culture. This was a great growth experience for me. It taught me that there was life outside of Ford and there were many other opportunities and experiences I could do as long as I was willing to step out and do them.

Then, after spending nearly 30 years learning everything there is to know about automotive, I decided to make the most dramatic change in my life –and began building combat ships for the US Navy. I am now President and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. A naval shipyard located just 1 hour north of where we stand today. We are currently building one of the US Navy’s most technological advanced war ships, the U.S. Freedom Class, Littoral Combat ship. I am one of very few people who can claim that I build FREEDOM every day. How cool is that?

Building combat ships is extremely rewarding; it’s also very challenging. I could have never accepted the challenge of switching careers if I hadn’t spent 30 years actively developing my own talents, and refining my decision making process.

I’m also honored to be serving on a presidentially-appointed committee called NIAC, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.

In my life, I have had a lot of time to see various leadership techniques applied in a multitude of settings.

You may ask how one stays focused while always considering the next move or opportunity. I am a true believer that the only way to do that is by developing a strong system of personal values and leadership style. And that’s what I’m here to talk about today. Its called Servant Leadership.

A servant leader energizes and influences others by focusing on their individual needs, and what they require to be successful. The leader joins the team in working towards the common goal, instead of commanding or telling them what they need to do from afar. This type of leadership can be described as “The skill of influencing people to enthusiastically work toward identified goals, with character that inspires confidence and excellence.” Think about someone in your life who focuses on you as an individual and developing your skills, who continuously encourages you, motivates and builds your confidence. Much like a coach. I bet you will remember that person throughout your life because they earned your trust and loyalty, and guided you to excel. This is servant leadership. This leadership approach is practiced at many extremely successful companies including Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Best Buy, KwikTrip, Marriott, Nordstrom, the U.S. Military, many of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and over a dozen of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Organizations.”

John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Although I have received countless hours of both formal and on the job management training, the truest example of servant leadership that I have ever witnessed was illustrated to me by my father in law, Lieutenant Albert Allman. Through his story, I would like to give you some tangible examples of how to emulate this honorable approach to human interaction.

Albert lived a life of civil service and activism, with a long string of achievements starting with serving for three years in the Navy during World War II. He was a Lieutenant on a sub-chaser. Operating with a crew of only 30 sailors, they learned to depend on each other for their lives. While in port at Hong Kong doing an emergency repair on one of the two engines on the ship, a typhoon hit. Albert was ordered to stay in port. Both he and the crew knew if they stayed in port their ship would be destroyed, putting them all at risk. Albert knew the safest place for a ship to be during high winds was at sea. Rather than risk the ship being destroyed by remaining in port, he took her out of the harbor, operating with only one functioning engine. Throughout the devastating storm he had to remain constantly vigilant while at the helm in order to keep the failing ship pointed into the waves, and to protect his fellow crewmen. He and the crew were commended for their bravery and saving the ship. That commitment and call to action was a guiding principle he practiced throughout his life.

After the war, Albert became a leader in his community. He inspired others to get involved, and actively participated in many organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Club, Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Elks, and his local church. Most importantly, he left an imprint on his local community resulting in a better future for Tiffin, Ohio. When people describe Albert, they say he was a selfless leader willing to take on any job or help in any capacity. Words used to describe him are coach, mentor, promoting strength in unity, giving credit to others, and generating enthusiasm for anything he pursued. Albert is no longer with us, however, his legacy will continue to inspire those who knew him.

Hopefully through sharing my experiences, you will develop an interest to learn more about servant leadership and how you can incorporate the tenants into your own personal journey.

Today is your day. Be proud. Enjoy being the center of attention. You deserve it.

But tomorrow is not about you. It’s about those you will serve. Endeavor to be that teammate, colleague and friend that everyone wants. Inspire those around you to be better. Lift others up. Encourage others with your personal example of servant leadership.

In the end, your name and reputation mean more than what you make or what kind of fancy title you have. To serve with your whole heart is what it is all about.

Finally, once again I want to issue my congratulations to the UW-
Green Bay Class of 2019 and I wish you the best in all your endeavors. Thank you!”

Video: No longer marked with an x, UW-Green Bay Prof. Ryan Martin’s talk is now TED official

UW-Green Bay Professor and Associate Dean Ryan Martin (Psychology, CAHSS) can drop the “X”. His TEDx FondduLac Talk video presentation, “The Upside of Anger,” has officially moved to TED Talk status. That means the TED  organization has recognized Martin’s presentation as one that should be spread nationally, and even globally!

TEDx FondduLac founder and license holder, Sarah Spang, shared the good news on March 20, 2019.

“Having an official TED Talk means that the idea given on the TEDx platform was so valuable that TED wanted to make it more easily accessible and available to all individuals around the world,” she said. “While all TEDx Talks are recorded and uploaded for worldwide viewing, a video being on is more easily searchable, is translated into more languages, and embodies the true spirit of TED’s ‘ideas worth spreading’ mission. For Ryan to have his Talk at this level shows the amount of work, research, and passion brought forth with his idea.”

TEDxFdL Ryan Martin
UW-Green Bay Prof. Ryan Martin

Martin, the psychology chair and associate dean for UW-Green Bay’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, said having his talk get picked up by the TED organization was a “secret dream” but he didn’t really think it would happen. “I found out Novemberish that the talk was being considered for, but since I didn’t hear anything after that, I assumed it wasn’t happening.”

To be part of the TEDx and the TED process has deep value for Martin.

“I love what TED is all about,” he says. “To me, there is little more valuable than creating a space to share ideas (that’s why I work on a college campus). For years, I actually watched a TED talk every day and I’ve made some big life changes based on ideas that I took from them.”

Spang said that Martin’s talk is the first in the region to move to TED status.

“Ryan’s is the first TEDxFondduLac Talk to become an official TED Talk, the first for the Fox Cities region, and, I believe, the first for Wisconsin TEDx events,” she said. “To put the difficulty into better context: it’s someone’s job at TED to watch every single TEDx video that happens around the world. For an idea to stand out from the countless ideas being watched every day, that’s huge!”

Other speakers (Brene Brown, for example) have been launched into stardom because of their talk.

“The idea that people are watching it globally is both exciting and nerve-wracking,” Martin says.  “I just hope people like it and feel like it’s personally valuable to them.”

Now that he could be on his way to international fame, Martin is moving into the next TED phase — he has been named a coach for the next TEDx UW-Green Bay, which had its inaugural program at the University’s Weidner Center in November of 2018. A call for speakers for the 2019 event will released soon.

“I’m really excited about being a coach this year,” Martin said. “My coach, Kristi Wilkum, was so important to me in the process of preparing my talk. She had great ideas and helped me work through a lot along the way.  I’m happy to try and be that person for someone else.”

Photo submitted from TEDxFondduLac, Brian Kolstad photographer

Green Bay and Marinette campuses team up to study Chromium-6 in drinking water

Chromium-6 (Cr VI) is an odorless and tasteless metallic element. In industry, it is used as an additive, endowing alloys to improve strength, hardness, temperature resistance and preventing corrosion, for instance.

But it is also a contaminant that is toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic. It’s safe to say that one would prefer to avoid Chromium-6 in drinking water.

Chromium Testing-2
Professors Mark Klemp and Patricia Terry

Student and faculty researchers at UW-Green Bay’s Marinette and Green Bay campuses, have teamed up to take a closer look at how cyanobacteria (often called blue-green algae) might be able to biologically filter the toxic element out of water. This could lead to both safer drinking water and could one day inform companies in various industries how to recycle and reuse the element.

What started as a grant proposal for former Marinette Campus student Sarah Klemp (now enrolled in the Chemistry at Green Bay), has become a full-fledged research opportunity for Klemp and fellow UW-Green Bay student researcher Becky Berry (Environmental Science). Working closely with the students are Marinette Campus Associate Professor Mark Klemp (Sarah’s father) and Green Bay Campus Professors Patricia Terry and Michael Zorn.

The project will compare removal of Cr(VI) from water using live and dead algae to determine if the removal is purely surface absorption or if there is a metabolic component.

“Our research is testing cyanobacteria’s bioremediation capacity of hexavalent chromium and the mechanisms responsible,” explained Klemp and Berry. “To do this, we expose both living and dead bacteria to various known concentrations of chromium solutions. After the exposure, we filter out the bacteria and test the new concentrations of the chromium solutions. The difference in concentration shows how much chromium the bacteria removes, if any.”

“By virtue of receiving the grant (officially a UW System Water Research Advisory Council Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the UW System Water Research Collaborative), the students will be presenting their research among their UW colleagues at the Research in the Rotunda event in April of 2019,” said Terry. “In addition, we believe their research paper will has the potential to be published, which bodes well for their college portfolios and future opportunities. Plus, it could have future implications in industry settings.”

Prof. Klemp says the collaboration between the faculty, students and two campuses has gone smoothly.

“This collaboration was not only exciting by having the opportunity to work with faculty from different disciplines, but the ability to work with colleagues from different campuses was a great way to integrate our new institution.”

Renee Richer Photo-01
Renee Richer

Assistant Prof. Renee Richer, who was on sabbatical last semester, mentored the students last year.

Klemp and Berry explain where the idea for the research began. “Living in northeastern Wisconsin has revealed many issues of pollution particular to our area. We decided to focus on the two primary concerns: heavy metal pollutants and agricultural runoff. Luckily, our biology professor, Dr. Richer, has an extensive background knowledge of cyanobacteria (blue-green “algae”) and was a major pioneer of the project. With an environmental scientist and chemist on the team, we decided bioremediation (the use of living organisms to consume or break down pollutants) would not only be relevant but serve our community. After attempting the project in Marinette with professors Richer and Klemp, we realized more resources were necessary to continue.”

Chromium Testing-3Reaching out to UW-Green Bay’s professors Terry and Zorn, helped them see this issue from a different perspective and provided the students with additional opportunities and resources. “Dr. Terry’s previous work with cyanobacteria and heavy metals allowed us to utilize her successful techniques. Prof. Zorn helped us tremendously with the operation of lab equipment that could better analyze our samples.”

The undergraduates are excited about their project which has provided a school-of-hard-knocks from time to time as they saw some setbacks.

“The project is going very well now because of all the advising we receive from the professors involved,” they said. “There were even a couple moments when we thought, ‘This is it! We actually see good results!’ only to find that we did not actually see meaningful data, instead we made a mistake and had to start over. We follow our own procedure, so every failure we encounter is new and difficult to anticipate but so obvious in hindsight. That is the hardest part… trying so hard with so many different techniques and improvements but still without success. The smallest breakthroughs provide enough momentum to keep us motivated.”

Their hypothesis is that living cyanobacteria will remove more chromium from the solution than dead cyanobacteria due to its ability to adsorb and metabolize, as compared to the dead which will only be able to remove through adsorption.

“We believe this is a possibility and run tests that will either support our reject our hypothesis. Either way, we conduct ourselves and the project without bias and accept the results.”

The transition between the Marinette and Green Bay campus comes with both benefits and challenges, they say.

“Green Bay has opened the door to so many more opportunities, resources, and intelligent people willing to aid us in the process. We do work at both campuses since half of the team is from Marinette and the other half is from Green Bay, so the hardest part is traveling between here and the Marinette campus.”




Kaity Lindner ’11

EMBI helps ‘Eco U’ Bridge Ecology and Economics

A decade ago, UW-Green Bay launched a collaborative effort to bridge a perceived gap between the business world, the natural environment, and the role public policy plays in sustaining both. The University now has more than 100 graduates in the field with certification that helps them connect business and their environment and lead in both areas.

The collaboration was formalized in 2008 and was named the Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI). Economics professor John Stoll ’73 (Regional Analysis) and Environmental Sciences professor Kevin Fermanich were named co-directors. Along with professor John Katers ’91 and ’93 (Business Administration, Environmental Science and Environmental Science and Policy), now dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, recognized that each of these worlds had a significant influence on the sustainability of the other two, and that the symbiotic aspects of their relationships could be used for mutual benefit.

As an article in the April 2009 Inside Magazine put it, EMBI marked “a renewed declaration to (UW-Green Bay’s mission) that ‘eco’ means both ecology AND economics.” John Arendt ’88 and ’12 (Business Administration and Environmental Science and Policy), the program’s current director, said Stoll, Fermanich and Katers realized the environmental focus that was at the heart of UW-Green Bay’s founding could be amplified through this multidisciplinary program.

Kaity Lindner ’11
Kaity Lindner ’11

“It had been nearly 40 years since the first Earth Day had been celebrated,” said Arendt, “and we had learned a lot about how business and the environment depend on each other. EMBI was a natural extension of the University’s historical focus on the environment and public policy and integrated our on-campus expertise so we could connect to the community and make leaders and future leaders more aware of each other’s worlds.” That awareness effort is what drew Kaity (Gilles) Lindner ’11 (Environmental Policy and Planning and Public Administration) to the program soon after it started. Lindner, a former environmental engineer at Green Bay Packaging, now works at Treehouse Foods in that role, and she credits her experience with EMBI for getting her there.

“I came to Green Bay from my home in the Madison area for an orientation tour,” Lindner recalled. “I knew right away it was the right place for me, but, like most freshmen, I had no clear idea of what I wanted to study. I took an environmental science course and loved it. That led me to pursuing the Environmental Policy and Planning major and my introduction to EMBI’s Certificate in Sustainability.

“The EMBI experience opened my eyes to what was possible for me,” said Lindner. “As part of the Certificate in Sustainability, I was set up as an intern with UW-Green Bay’s Sustainability Committee, which in turn, provided experience in collecting sustainability metrics, participating in meetings and initiatives.” This led her to a sustainability communications internship and eventually a full-time job at Green Bay Packaging (GBP).

“The opportunities and people that were introduced to me because I was involved in EMBI led me to where I am today in my career.” Lindner continues to give back to the program and the community. She serves as chair of the selection committee for the Ethics in Business award program, which includes, among other criteria, social responsibility and ethical environmental behaviors.

EMBI has evolved over the decade, but its mission has remained largely unchanged: Advance UW-Green Bay’s historic mission of studying environmental issues and developing multidisciplinary solutions to problems, where those solutions recognize the critical interconnections between science, policy and business, and the social contexts within which they occur.

“I am proud of the role we play,” said Arendt. “The certificate program we started 10 years ago just graduated its 100th recipient and is going strong. The internship program we started in 2010 with Aurora BayCare Medical Center is still going, and we’ve expanded internship opportunities into other companies in Northeast Wisconsin, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We continue to give out the annual Earth Caretaker Award to UW-Green Bay graduates who have distinguished themselves in their field,” he said. “These are people who are widely recognized for accomplishments in sustainability, environmental management, environmental policy and related areas.”

“Employers find the certificate very valuable, so expanding the program into a minor seems like a natural progression and an added value to our students,” Arendt said. “We’d also like to dive into the emerging ‘smart cities’ concept. Our focus on sustainability and the use of technology ties nicely into the efficiencies in energy and transportation smart cities seek as a way to improve urban living.”

“We’d like to continue growing that aspect of the program, so where there’s an environmental policy or sustainability component to a grant, we’re invited to participate or even manage the grant. That builds awareness of the links between business, the environment and policy, and gives our students opportunities to learn.”

– Story by freelance writer Jim Streed ’05

Weidner Center announces cast for ‘Lombardi’

First fully-produced show is Feb. 22 through March 10, 2019

Green Bay, Wis. — As the Green Bay Packers celebrate their 100th Season, the Weidner Center wanted to offer their own tribute to the team. The legacy of Packers’ coach, Vince Lombardi, remains strong in the streets of Green Bay. Everyone knows the inspirational story of his rise to fame with the Green Bay Packers, but the Weidner Center sets out to tell a different story: What inspired the man himself. The first professional production in Green Bay of this 2010 Broadway title will premiere in the Weidner Center’s Fort Howard Hall on February 22, 2019 at 7:30p.m., “Lombardi” by Eric Simonson is a show you don’t want to miss. Tickets are on sale now at or call Ticket Star at 800-895-0071.

Under the direction of Greg Vinkler, longtime artistic director of Peninsula Players, the Weidner Center takes on the new challenge of producing a play from the ground up. Vinkler is thrilled for the production and its impact on the community, “I’m excited to see this wonderful play come alive in its first full professional production in Green Bay. It’s a great opportunity to see why Vince Lombardi was such an inspiration to so many people and why he’s had such an enduring legacy.” The script is based on the David Maraniss book “When Pride Still Mattered” and tells the story of not just a coach, but of the man, in all of his complexity.

Kelli Strickland, Executive and Artistic Director at the Weidner Center is especially excited about the show stating, “We have engaged top creatives to fully realize this production just for Green Bay. Our designers and cast have worked on Broadway and in many of the most prestigious regional houses, so the process has been a joy. No audience member will be more than 75 feet from these extraordinary actors. We are transforming the space in Fort Howard Hall to bring a taste of that intimate, charged experience that Chicago theatre is known.”

The cast has been announced and rehearsals will start in Chicago on January 29. Neil Friedman and Carmen Roman have been hand selected to play Lombardi and his wife Marie. Supporting cast includes Geoff Rice as Michael McCormick, Eliott Johnson as Dave Robinson, Kevin Christopher Fox as Paul Hornung, and Evan Michalic as Jim Taylor. In addition to Vinkler as director, the creative team includes Scenic Designer Keith Pitts, Costume Designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke, Lighting Designer Jason Fassl, Sound Designer Christopher Kriz, and Props Designer Mealah Heidenreich. More information about the cast and crew can be found at

Don’t miss your chance to see the Weidner Center’s first fully-produced show February 22 through March 10, 2019. Tickets are available through Ticket Star by calling 800-895-0071 or order online at

Featured Artistic Biographies

Greg Vinkler (Artistic Director) Greg Vinkler is the artistic director of Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County. He has been with the company for 30 years and has done over 80 productions on its boards, performing in 50 shows and directing 32 productions. He also helms the Players’ winter play reading series, “The Play’s the Thing” presented at Björklunden in Door County. For his work with the Players he was honored with the inaugural Door County Artist of the Year award. Greg works extensively in Chicago as well, having performed at Chicago Shakespeare (38 productions), Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court, Writers, Northlight, Marriott Lincolnshire and Victory Gardens theaters. He has received three Joseph Jefferson Acting Awards and has been nominated twelve times. He also has two Artisan Awards, an After Dark Award, a Thespie Award and the Elizabeth Baker Award. He recently directed the Jeff-nominated production of “The Rose Tattoo” for Shattered Globe Theatre. Regionally he has performed at Milwaukee Rep, Paper Mill, N.J.; Fulton, P.A.; Pittsburgh Public, BoarsHead, Mich.; and Milwaukee Chamber theaters. Greg appeared on Broadway as Doc in the Tony Award-winning revival of “West Side Story,” as Falstaff in “Henry IV” at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, as Scanlon in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with Gary Sinise at London’s Barbican Theatre, as Ergaste in “The Moliere Comedies” with Brian Bedford at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago and also with Vienna’s English Theatre and Singapore Repertory Theatre.

Neil Friedman (Vince Lombardi) Chicago area credits include: The Goodman Theatre, Theatre at the Center, The Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Porchlight Theatre, Steppenwolf, Drury Lane, The Marriott Theatre and Peninsula Players. Regional credits include: The People’s Light Theatre, Pa.; The Fulton Theatre, Pa.; Utah Shakespeare Festival; Capitol Repertory, N.Y.; The New Victory Theatre, N.Y.; Flat Rock Playhouse, N.C.; Coconut Grove Playhouse, Fla.; The Clarence Brown Theatre, Tenn.; Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis; Austria’s Vienna English Theatre, Adirondack Theatre Festival, N.Y.; Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Mo.; and The Arts Garage, Fla. Neil is a proud recipient of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards. Please visit

Carmen Roman (Marie Lombardi) Theater credits include: “Scientific Method” at Rivendell, “Angels in America” at Berkeley Rep and “Native Son” at Yale Rep, “The Audience” at TimeLine, “My Fair Lady” at Chicago Lyric Opera, “Sotto Vocce” by Nilo Cruz at Portland Stage in Maine, and “Botanic Garden” by Todd Logan, “Angels in America,” the national tour, “The Iphigenia Cycle” with the Theater for a New Audience from The Court Theatre, Chicago, “The Mysteries’”with Classic Stage Company and 13 seasons with Peninsula Players, Wisconsin. She played opposite Hal Linden in “Moon over Buffalo” at The New Theater in Kansas City. Other credits include: “Wit,” “Black Snow,” “Brutality Of Fact” (Goodman Theatre, Chicago) “Side Man” (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), “The Price” (Syracuse stage and Geva), “The Importance Of Being Earnest” (Centerstage Baltimore), Film/Television: “Proven Innocent” (Judge Licata), “Chicago PD” (Susan Williams), “Betrayal” (Connie Mrozek), “Boss” (Dr. Gabriella Reyes, recurring), “All My Children,”  “Early Edition,”  “Law and Order” (Judge Einhorn, recurring), “Law and Order SVU” and “Criminal Intent,” Awards and Honors: 2002 Fox Fellow, Sarah Siddons Award, Florence Herscher Award, Joseph Jefferson Awards for Master Class and Wit.

About the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts is known for its elegant design and the acoustic excellence of its 2,000-seat main hall, Cofrin Family Hall. It also houses two smaller performance spaces, Fort Howard Hall and the Jean Weidner Theatre, along with the Grand Foyer and a dance studio. The Weidner Center has a distinct benefit in being part of a leading institution of higher learning. The Center is home for UW-Green Bay Music and Theatre and Dance programs, community events, and performances by visiting artists and touring companies. Beyond the national touring productions that grace the stage, the Weidner Center also focuses on scholastic development with an impactful education series — Stage Doors. For more information visit, call 920-465-2726 or 800-895-0071, or follow ‘Weidner Center for the Performing Arts’ on Facebook, Twitter (@WeidnerCenter) and Instagram (@weidnercenter).

About the University Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to nearly 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit

Professors Zorn and Fermanich among ‘soothsayers’ working on predicting dead zones on the bay

“They are diverse group — a geoscientist, limnologist and natural resources educator. Also on the team is a water chemist, biologist, civil engineer and watershed scientist. As collaborators on a Sea Grant-funded effort to envision conditions in Green Bay, you could also say they are soothsayers.” 

This story by Moira Harrington of Sea Grant describes the important work of UW-Green Bay faculty members, Associate Dean Michael Zorn (Chemistry) and Professor Kevin Fermanich (NAS, co-lead investigator).

Writes Harrington, “It’s a project called ‘Transitioning Science to Management: Developing Models and Tools to Restore the Health of the Green Bay Ecosystem,’ which is seeking to understand and evaluate alternative approaches to meet water quality goals for the Green Bay watershed under current and projected climate. It builds on prior work that assembled a comprehensive set of linked models of watershed loading, biogeochemical cycling and hydrodynamics.”

“For me as a chemist, I like to see how all those things — different inputs — interact. How the prediction looks,” said  Zorn. “It really helps to visualize it through models.”

If Zorn and his six co-researchers are, in fact, termed soothsayers then they want to expand their ranks of seers. Their work will enable others to visualize watershed conditions as well

Writes Harrington, “Beyond the already extensive list of stakeholders who could directly use the models, it’s almost certain this work will resonate with average folks touched by projects such as the $7 million Bay Beach restoration in the city of Green Bay. There are plans for a new nearly 3-mile beach, beach house and boardwalk. A fishing pier will stretch into the water by 450 feet, bringing anglers that much closer to prized yellow perch and other desirable catches.

Water-quality issues have plagued this area since the 1940s and despite recent improvements, there is little to no public access to the bay. Thanks to modeling, ongoing restoration can be informed by different scenarios and projections.

You don’t have to be soothsayer to foresee this could lead to many happy people.”

Read the full story.




Phlash Alone

Don’t miss this Phoenix take on a Holiday Classic

When the Phoenix Family left for winter break, it forgot one minor detail… Phlash.

UW-Green Bay reimagines a holiday classic in this must-see video greeting. It’s the holiday season and the Phoenix Family is busy finishing the semester and preparing for winter break. When UW-Green Bay mascot, Phlash, is forgotten and alone on campus, there is mischief to get into and fun to be had. But watch as the story unfolds and the beloved mascot learns the value of Phoenix Family.

Top 10 UW-Green Bay news stories of 2018

Thank you to our readers for another great year. UW-Green Bay news editors are grateful to the UW-Green Bay community for reading and sharing UW-Green Bay news. Take a look back at top headlines of 2018 (based on web analytics).

1. Commencement Speaker Xiong tells graduates, ‘Create your own paj ntaub story’


Tears of pride and joy, for her family, her Hmong heritage, her UW-Green Bay family, flowed freely as graduate Bao Nhia Xiong ’18 spoke at the UW-Green Bay Spring Commencement ceremony at the Kress Events Center, Saturday, May 12, 2018. She was chosen to speak on behalf of her graduating class by UW-Green Bay faculty.

Comparing the student journey to a paj ntaub story — the Hmong art of adding intricate embroidery to traditional Hmong clothing — Xiong encouraged her fellow students to hold onto three distinct threads as they create their own paj ntaub: Family, university community and the spirit of giving back. See more.

2. UW-Green Bay offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing starting in 2020

The University received approval from the UW Board of Regents August 24, 2018 to move ahead in offering a prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, paving the way for students to begin in fall 2020. The program will expand UW-Green Bay’s ability to fulfill unmet student demand for a high-quality BSN degree at an affordable tuition cost. See more.

3. UW-Green Bay names leaders at Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses

Provost Greg Davis announced Friday, July 20, 2018 the new leaders of the branch campuses — Cindy Bailey at Marinette, Rachele Bacik at Manitowoc and Jennifer Williamson-Mendez at Sheboygan. See more.

4. UW-Green Bay Mechanical Engineering gets the green light

Engineering control panel

UW-Green Bay’s efforts to establish an in-region resource for developing highly needed mechanical engineering talent in Northeast Wisconsin took a gigantic step forward Feb. 9, 2018 with the UW System Board of Regents approving the University’s request to offer the new program on its campus. UW-Green Bay began accepting freshmen into the program in Fall 2018. See more.

5. ‘Future 15’ members have UW-Green Bay ties

Future 15 Trio

Out of the thousands of young professionals in the Greater Green Bay area, hundreds are nominated and 15 are highlighted to represent their peers. They are selected because they have the potential to lead their communities, their places of work, their families. They are Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Current Young Professionals Future 15. More impressive, three of the 15 chosen this year are employees of UW-Green Bay and four are UW-Green Bay alumni. See more.

6. UW-Green Bay alumna provides purrrfect comfort, delicious drinks and cat cuddles

Elizabeth Feldhousen at Cat Café

Imagine relaxing in a comfortable chair after a long day. Sipping a delicious beverage and taking in the calm atmosphere around you as you nuzzle a warm, furry feline purring on your lap. The Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary and Cat Café, owned by UW-Green Bay alumna Elizabeth Feldhausen ‘15, gives the Green Bay community the opportunity to experience it all.

Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary and Cat Café is a non-profit, no-kill, no-cage pet sanctuary that rescues cats with special needs from euthanasia. The Cat Café is the first in the region. The cats are given a home in the Cat Café, a cozy cafe that allows customers to interact with, and be surrounded by cats. According to Feldhausen, the goal of the cafe is to create a psychologically pleasing atmosphere to encourage healing, and to build confidence in cats. See more.

7. UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center hosts Inaugural TEDx Series in Green Bay

Speaker Composite Image

UW-Green Bay brought its first independently organized TEDx series titled TEDxUW-GreenBay to the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 1 2018. The theme was RISING. “We are often faced with barriers and unanticipated challenges,” says TEDxUW-Green Bay organizers. “Rising above challenges is the hallmark of resilience and the pathway to a brighter future. The series featured eight established speakers discussing various topics.” See more.

8. UW-Green Bay footprint grows as it is joined by campuses in Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan


On July 1, UW-Green Bay, UW-Marinette, UW-Manitowoc and UW-Sheboygan joined together as one university with one mission. The new UW-Green Bay is a four-campus university with a 16-county footprint, 700 ongoing employees and an enrollment of about 7,700 students. See more.

9. UW-Green Bay prepares to roll out State’s first Impact MBA Program

UW-Green Bay received approval on Friday, August 24, 2018, to move ahead with an “Impact MBA” administrated by the University’s Austin E. Cofrin School of Business. An Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, the Impact MBA prepares working, experienced professionals to lead their organizations forward through the modern era of accelerating technology, disruptive business landscapes and growing social and environmental opportunities. UW-Green Bay’s program offers a unique approach to business leadership training in the state of Wisconsin. The program will begin in Summer 2019.

10. UW-Green Bay students network with Kohler executive leaders


On Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, UW-Green Bay students had the opportunity to have lunch at Lambeau Field and network with Kohler executive leaders from across the globe. Twenty-six students participated in the mentoring event, and were given the chance to interact with the executives to learn about career pathways, qualities and skills for success and overall thoughts on the global employment and marketplace. See more.