UW-Green Bay awarded 2022 Climate Changemaker award
Since its beginning, UW-Green Bay has been committed to protecting the natural resources that surround the university. Nestled on the shores of the bay of Green Bay – part of the largest freshwater system in the world – university researchers have taken full advantage of their location. And now, the recent research collaboration with local technology company Cellcom is receiving national attention.
UW-Green Bay researchers, with support from the wireless technology experts at Cellcom, have deployed buoy platforms armed with wireless high-tech sensors in lower Green Bay, to track water clarity and identify pockets of low oxygen in the bay. University researchers believe the collaboration will yield important insights to help protect the region’s freshwater ecosystem. View the video showcasing this project here.
As a result of this innovative work, on Monday, January 9, UW-Green Bay was presented the 2022 Climate Changemaker Award by CTIA Wireless Foundation. The Climate Changemaker Awards are given to researchers and organizations using wireless technology to address climate change.
“CTIA Wireless Foundation is proud to award the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a 2022 Climate Changemaker Award. We are thrilled to recognize the work they are doing with Cellcom, to leverage the power of wireless to monitor water quality in the bay of Green Bay,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, President of CTIA Wireless Foundation and President & CEO of CTIA.
John Katers, Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology spoke to the university’s “Eco-U” roots, noting that while great strides have been made to reduce pollution and preserve the quality of the bay, there is much work to be done. “UW-Green Bay continues to take on a leadership role,” said Katers. “Our ongoing work, combined with the recent addition of the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering, provides the opportunity to utilize new technologies to create what I describe as a more modern version of Eco-U.”
Cellcom CEO Brighid Riordan echoed the importance of preserving this incredibly valuable natural resource. “As a local provider, we care about the community and the health of our local environment,” said Riordan. “Being able to use a leading technology to support critical research that can make a difference for the environment was an incredible opportunity for us.”
Cellcom is providing the network that supports the sensors used in the research projects. Cellcom built a LoRaWAN network around the bay for the university specifically for this research. The network is paired with long-life battery-powered sensors to monitor parameters in real-time and over an extended period time, making it easier to collect data, map trends and empower research and action.
“Data and monitoring can help manage, restore and protect this vital resource. Combining the University’s commitment to climate research and Cellcom’s passion for wireless technology is a powerful combination,” continues Riordan. “The research the University is embarking on is world changing.”
Associate Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Mike Zorn spoke to the impact on students that this award and accompanying $25,000 grant will have on the student research experience. “It will also allow us to provide our students high impact research experiences, working on an important real-world problem that affects our region,” said Zorn.
The buoy project is one of a number of new initiatives that university researchers are focused on including ongoing work to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in the bay of Green Bay, the recent establishment of a Water Science major at UW-Green Bay, collaboration with the UW Freshwater Collaborative and additional research on non-point pollution, PFAS contamination and other water quality issues.
Collaboration, innovative research and the drive to improve the community are what make this recognition extra special. “When I became the founding Dean of the college in 2016, I shared a vision that focused on people, programs, and partnerships,” said Katers. “This CTIA Wireless Foundation Climate Changemaker Award demonstrates that those three areas continue to be important. In particular, it takes great people to make partnerships work.”