Research identifies wetlands most important for marsh bird conservation, WPR

The most important coastal wetlands to preserve marsh birds in the Great Lakes have been identified from a recent study. Researchers from the National Audubon Society, UW-Green Bay, and the National Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. These Wetlands are critical ecosystems that provide flood protection and filtering out pollutants. Source: WPR.

Faculty and staff note: Giese and Howe co-author publication

UW-Green Bay Senior Research Specialist Erin Giese and Prof. Bob Howe co-authored “Prioritizing coastal wetlands for marsh bird conservation in the U.S. Great Lakes.”It was recently published in Biological Conservation, Volume 249, Sept. 2020, 108708. Alumna Stephanie Beilke ’15, one of their former graduate students is also a co-author. See the abstract.


The Emmy goes to… Coastal Wetland Monitoring documentary takes home an award

Prof. Robert Howe (NAS) and Erin Giese ’12 from the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity have been participating in the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program for the past 10 years. A documentary recently made for this program, titled “Linking Land and Lakes: Protecting the Great Lakes’ Coastal Wetlands,” has just won an Emmy in the Photographer Non-News category. The documentary features how coastal wetlands help in keeping the Great Lakes healthy. You can watch the documentary online on PBS.

Prof. Howe is one of the principal investigators for the Great Lakes Coastal Monitoring Program, and Giese coordinates the field work for Prof. Howe’s crew. They have recently published an article in the Journal of Great Lakes Research on how Great Lakes coastal wetland bird and anuran communities vary across ever-changing water levels and geography in the bay of Green Bay using this project’s data set.


Ruchita Patel and Brooke Breitrick are co-recipients of the Sager Award for Excellence in Scientific Scholarship

On behalf of Emeritus Professors Paul and Thea Sager and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, Prof. Bob Howe is pleased to announce the co-recipients of this year’s Sager Award for Excellence in Scientific Scholarship: Ruchita Patel and Brooke Breitrick, for their poster presentation entitled Evaluating Synergism Between Vitamin D and ω-3 Fatty Acids in Ovarian Cancer Cells. Their work, which was presented at the annual Wisconsin Posters in the Rotunda event, was supervised by Human Biology faculty Paul Mueller, Debra Pearson and Georgette Heyrman. The Sager award, officially named The Paul and Thea Sager Award for Excellence in Scientific Scholarship, is in memory of Edward W. Weidner. It provides a $1,000 award and recognition as the 12th recipient of this honor, which aims to promote undergraduate research in the sciences at UW-Green Bay.

Honorable mention for this year’s competition are LeeAnn Bellow and Jacob Harper (Chemistry), Natasha Clark (Biology), Natalie Gawron (Human Biology), Akanksha Gurtu (Environmental Science), Makenna Pucker, Olivia Claybrook, Kyle Deacy, and Jacalyn Crom (Biology), Claire Stuart (Biology/Environmental Science) and Norah Swenson (Biology).

Congratulations to all participants in undergraduate science research at UW-Green Bay during 2019-20, including CSET faculty judges for the Sager Award, faculty advisors, and campus leaders who continue to cultivate a rich environment for high-impact learning experiences like that recognized here.


Annual Veggie and Plant Sale is this Wednesday; Prof. Meyer has salsa

A mini Heirloom Plant Sale is going to be held at Stone Silo Prairie Gardens, 2325 Oak Ridge Circle, De Pere, Wednesday, May 20 from Noon to 5 p.m. to benefit UW-Green Bay students. The annual event that supports student research and independent projects had to be moved off campus. Organizers hope you will attend and support the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. See the plant list. More, at the Center for Biodiversity page. Once again, Prof. Steve Meyer will be selling salsa with proceeds going to the Katie Hemauer Scholarship.

Here’s a message from longtime organizer Vicki Medland:

“We know how many of  you are missing the plant sale and we have a surprise! Volunteer Dorothy Summers grew over 500 tomato and pepper plants in her brand new greenhouse and will be selling them at at Stone Silo Prairie Nursery on Wednesday, May 20 from Noon to 5 p.m. or until they sell out. Lots of favorites available for our hard-core fans. Please come out and visit Vicki and Dorothy from a socially safe distance, of course.

We will be outside and will be selling contact-free. CASH ONLY and BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINERS. All money goes into the NAS Heirloom Plant Sale Fund. We usually raise enough money to support 8-12 research projects and internships each year. This year we hope to raise $1,000 to support at least one scholarship.

But that’s not all! Steve Meyer will be there with his world famous Heirloom Salsas. All salsa sales support the  Scholarship.

And wait there is even more! We will not have flowers, you can select from a wide selection of beautiful native perennials for your flower gardens from Stone Silo while you are there.

Stone Silo Prairie Nursery is located in Depere, WI at 2325 Oak Ridge Circle. For info on their plants please visit”


Cofrin Natural Areas Grant deadline is Monday, May 18, 2020

Grants amounts vary, but are typically $1,000-$1,500. Funds may be used for supplies, equipment, or travel costs associated with an independent research project. Please, do not request funds for a stipend or hourly wage! Proposed research must be related to one of our UWGB natural areas, or another recognized natural area in Northeast Wisconsin and students will need to give a short presentation on completed research at a future symposium. Read more about the grant and to apply at

73 acres along bay to be protected, used for research and recreation | WLUK

BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) — A wetland area described as “a five-star hotel for migratory birds” will now be protected as part of a recent land purchase.The Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust on Earth Day announced its purchase of 73 acres in the Wequiock Creek Natural Area. The purchase adds to the 6,000 acres already preserved.”This land was slated to be residentially developed, so on Earth Day we feel incredibly excited and fortunate that it will now be permanently protected,” Deborah Nett, executive director of the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust, said in a news release. Together with the Town of Scott and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, the Land Trust plans to restore farm fields to native oak savanna and make other improvements. The land is set to officially open as the Wequiock Creek Natural Area on Sept. 12.

Source: 73 acres along bay to be protected | WLUK

Earth Week and Virtual Earth Day 50 at UW-Green Bay

A cross-University committee has compiled online Earth Week Events and educational resources as well as an online/virtual event on April 22, 2020, Earth Day 50 at UW-Green Bay. The day includes presentations and discussions from the University community, including live videos and panels to celebrate the 50th Earth Day, together, virtually for the Eco U community.

See all virtual opportunities.

Earth Day Events

Here is the current line up for Earth Day 50 at UW-Green Bay, Wednesday, April 22, 2020:

10:30 a.m. – Historical Perspectives on Earth Day, Panel Discussion with Faculty Emeriti

UW-Green Bay Prof. Emeritus H.J. “Bud” Harris (Biology and Environmental Science) 2020 Wisconsin Academy Fellow, Prof. Emeritus Robert Wenger (Mathematics and Environmental Science) and long-time collaborator with the School of the Environment at Beijing Normal University, Prof. Emeritus  Michael Kraft, (Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs)  and U.S. environmental policy expert, Prof. Emeritus John Stoll (Economics and Public and Environmental Affairs) was as UW-Green Bay student at the time of the first Earth day and the co-founder of  Environmental Business & Management Institute (EMBI) and Prof. Kevin Fermanich (Environmental Science and Water Science) and soil and water resources extension specialist, serving as moderator.
Join the discussion via Blackboard Collaborate

Noon – A Virtual Nature Walk

Join Prof. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges live on Facebook

1 p.m. – ‘Earth Talks’

  • Michael Draney, “My life with Earth Day”
    I was 2 ½ years old during the first Earth Day in 1970 so Earth Day and I have gone through life together. I want to reflect on how it’s doing as we enter our fifth decade together.
  • Vicki Medland, “Is nature slipping away?
    Earth Day was in part a response to an environment that the organizers no longer recognized. Today, we are shocked by what seems to be a sudden and massive loss of biodiversity and natural landscapes. Why do we not notice these massive changes to our environment?  
  • David Voelker, “Earth Day 2020 in Perspective”
    How can we understand the 50th Earth Day and the environmental movement that it helped launch in historical perspective, and in light of the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • Bill Davis, “A New Water Agenda for Wisconsin.”
    What would a system look like that could achieve our human health and ecology goal regarding water?
  • Kevin Fermanich, Moderator

‘Earth Talks’ Speaker Biographies:

  • Michael Draney is professor of Biology and chair of the Department of Natural & Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.
  • Vicki Medland is the Associate Director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and teaches courses related to environmental science and sustainability.
  • David Voelker is a Professor of Humanities & History at UW–Green Bay. He teaches courses in environmental history and humanities, and he is the program coordinator for the 2020 Common CAHSS conference, which will focus on the theme “Beyond Sustainability.”
  • Bill Davis is currently the senior legal analyst for the River Alliance of Wisconsin. He has worked in the environmental movement since 1987. He has an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology and a law degree both from the University of Wisconsin. He has served as the executive director of three environmental advocacy organizations: Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade (now Clean Wisconsin), Citizens for a Better Environment, and the State Environmental leadership program.

Join the discussion on Blackboard Collaborate.

2 p.m. Sustainability in Action – What are you doing?

Guest speakers include Kevin Fermanich, Vicki Medland, John Arendt and Ericka Bloch
Join “Sustainability in Action” via Blackboard Collaborator

Staff note: Erin Giese wins award for ornithology project

The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (WSO) recognized Senior Research Specialist Erin Giese (Cofrin Center for Biodiversity) for a project she has been working on.

The WSO Special Recognition Award was created to recognize the collective efforts of a far-reaching project or partnership that increases the public’s awareness and appreciation for birds, their habitats or the need for conservation. This year the award goes to Project SOAR and team members Erin Giese, Janet Wissink, and Frank Ujazdowski.

Project SOAR (Snowy Owl Airport Rescue) (nominated by Carl Schwartz) was the brainchild of falconer Ujazdowski and two leaders of local Audubon chapters, Wissink of Winnebago Audubon and Giese of Northeast Wisconsin Audubon.

In 2018, after Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh shot a Snowy Owl it considered a hazard for planes, Ujazdowski wondered if he could put his expertise to work saving owls. He contacted Wissink and asked if she could set up a meeting with airport managers. At that meeting, he offered to trap and relocate Snowy Owls and other raptors so there would be no need to shoot them. SOAR was born. His work caught the attention of Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, which approached Giese and asked her to work with Ujazdowski to do the same at their facility. Since then, SOAR has relocated many Snowy Owls, Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, a Cooper’s Hawk and an American Kestrel.