Discussion Panel to replace Sept. 17 Lawton Small Talks

The Lawton Gallery would like to announce the Discussion Panel for its current exhibition Museum of Natural Inspiration: Artist’s Explore the Richter Collection. This discussion panel will focus on the topics of art and science and how they can collaborate. The panelists include select artists from the Museum of Natural Inspiration exhibition, they will be answering questions about their process and how science and art can help each other. This event will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 from 4 to 5:30 p.m  in the Christie Theatre.

All Lawton Gallery events are free and open to the public. If you have a disability and would like to discuss accommodations, please contact the Curator of Art, Emma Hitzman at hitzmane@uwgb.edu or visit www.uwgb.edu/lawton.


Artwork inspired by Richter Museum of Natural History is at center of Lawton Gallery exhibit, Sept. 5-Oct. 3

Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Lawton Gallery announces the opening of the first exhibition of the year, “Museum of Natural Inspiration: Artists Explore the Richter Collection.”

Museum of Natural Inspiration<br /> Artists Explore the Richter Collection
Museum of Natural Inspiration
Artists Explore the Richter Collection
Sept. 5 – Oct. 3

This exhibition, in collaboration with the Center for Biodiversity’s Richter Museum of Natural History, features artists who have created artwork inspired from the Richter’s collection of specimens. These specimens will be displayed alongside the artwork they have inspired in a true partnership of art and science.

The opening reception is Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Lawton Gallery Theatre Hall, (Room 230), UW-Green Bay and at a satellite location, Artless Bastard Gallery in De Pere, Wis. from 6 to 8 p.m.

The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Center for Biodiversity.

The exhibition will run from Sept. 5 through Oct. 3. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Lawton Gallery events are free and open to the public. If you have a disability and would like to discuss accommodations, please contact Curator of Art, Emma Hitzman at hitzmane@uwgb.edu or visit the Lawton Gallery website at www.uwgb.edu/lawton.

Lawton Gallery note:
Warhol Screenprints on Loan to The River Arts Center, Prairie du Sac

The Lawton Gallery announces the loan of the Andy Warhol screenprints to the River Arts Center, located on the Wisconsin River in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. Nine screenprints by Warhol, donated to the University in 2008 by the Andy Warhol Foundation, will be on display from Sept. 3 to Nov. 22, 2019.  More information about the exhibition or the River Arts Center can be found on its website at www.riverartsinc.org.

For more information, contact Emma Hitzman at hitzmane@uwgb.edu.

About the University of 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, D-I athletics, 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 www.uwgb.edu.



UW-Green Bay student chapter honored at national Audubon convention

Grad student Jacob Woulf, undergrad Brandon Byrne and UW-Green Bay Senior Research Specialist Erin Giese (Cofrin Center for Biodiversity), were surprised to be recognized at the National Audubon Convention in Milwaukee, for starting the very first Audubon Student Campus Chapter in the country—the Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter. Only three awards were given during this plenary session with more than 600 in attendance, and UW-Green Bay received one of them. According to Giese, during the plenary session, organizers also showed a photograph of recent graduate student Tara Hohman ’19 (Environmental Science & Policy) to recognize her as being the first Audubon Campus Chapter student hired by Audubon. (She started her job in early July of this year.)


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 www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/anniversary/.

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

Rid the Cofrin Arboretum of garlic mustard, Wednesday, June 27 (Courtyard also needs help)

Join The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity to help remove garlic mustard from the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum Bay Shore Woods unit. Led by Restoration Assistant Sam Hoffman, volunteers will be continuing efforts to hand-pull garlic mustard that is invading the forest floor and displacing native vegetation. Extensive efforts have been completed the past three field seasons. Your help is important to maintaining the progress. The Bay Shore Woods unit of the Cofrin Arboretum is one of the largest tracts of northern hardwood swamp in the region and is highly valuable bird, amphibian and pollinator habitat. Please meet at Lambeau Cottage, 2479 Nicolet Dr. Green Bay WI 54311. Feel free to stay for as little or as long as you would like. All necessary equipment will be supplied, but feel free to bring your favorite pair of work gloves if you prefer. Long sleeves, pants, water, and sturdy shoes are recommended. Contact Bobbie Webster or Sam Hoffman if you plan on attending, or contact Bobbie Webster with any questions websterb@uwgb.edu 920-465-2030.

Monday June 25, 9 am – 12 pm & any other time you are available:
The Lenfestey Courtyard at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall needs your help! Join our Restoration Assistant Sam Hoffman to thin plants, remove invasives, and transplant plants. The Lenfestey Courtyard is a showcase of native plants. Please bring work gloves if you have them. Please meet in the Lenfestey Courtyard.

Become a Scientist for a Day – Door County Pulse

Conservation organizations invite the public to participate in a day of scientific discovery and research at the BioBlitz event June 21 at the Three Springs Nature Preserve. Join the staff, scientists and volunteers of the Door County Land Trust, UW-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, Friends of Toft Point, The Ridges Sanctuary and Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center in discovering and collecting species to document the health of our land. Community members are invited to become scientists for a day free of charge. Details and registration are available at doorcountylandtrust.org/BioBlitz.

Door County conservation partners are working together to study the Door Peninsula coastal wetlands. Community participants will assist researchers using mammal traps, cameras, bird-mist nets, acoustic bat detectors, snake boards, insect sweep nets and aquatic sampling nets to discover and document species. Results of the BioBlitz measure the health of the Door Peninsula’s coastal wetlands’ ecology and provide data on populations of particular species.

via Become a Scientist for a Day – Door County Pulse.

Could Wisconsin be the ‘Silicon Valley of Water’? UW campuses trying to make it happen | madison.com

Could Wisconsin establish itself as the “Silicon Valley of Water”? That’s what the University of Wisconsin System is trying to do with the launch of a Freshwater Collaborative that will bring together its 13 campuses into a first-of-its-kind research hub focused on water topics.

via Could Wisconsin be the ‘Silicon Valley of Water’? UW campuses trying to make it happen | Higher education | madison.com.

2019 Retirees Spring Arboretum Walk

2019 Retirees Arboretum Walk

Fourteen UW-Green Bay retirees enjoyed the 9th annual Retiree Association Cofrin Memorial Arboretum walk held Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Bobbie Webster, natural areas ecologist for the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, led the group which began at Lambeau Cottage.  As they walked along the bay the group identified spring plants, plant communities, invasive plants and how the arboretum is managed.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

2019 Retirees Arboretum Walk - 5/21/19

– Photos submitted by the UW-Green Bay Retirees Association

About the UW-Green Bay Retiree Association

Established in 2008, the UW-Green Bay Retiree Association was founded to promote and nurture mutually beneficial relationships between the University and its retirees. The Association provides a voice for retirees, and strives to support and enrich the campus community while providing members with opportunities for continued intellectual, creative and social engagement. Membership is open to all retired employees, their spouses or partners, and to anyone with a special connection to the University. Learn more at www.uwgb.edu/retiree.

Center for Biodiversity needs your help with garlic mustard removal, June 11 and 14

Join The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity to help remove garlic mustard from the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum Bay Shore Woods unit. “Led by our Restoration Assistant Sam Hoffman, we will be continuing our efforts to hand-pull garlic mustard that is invading the forest floor and displacing native vegetation. Extensive efforts have been completed the past three field seasons and your help is important to maintaining our progress. The Bay Shore Woods unit of the Cofrin Arboretum is one of the largest tracts of northern hardwood swamp in our region and is highly valuable bird, amphibian and pollinator habitat. Meet at Lambeau Cottage, 2479 Nicolet Dr Green Bay WI 54311, Tuesday June 11, and/or Friday June 14. We will be working until approximately noon., but feel free to stay for as little or as long as you would like. We will supply all necessary equipment, but feel free to bring your favorite pair of work gloves if you prefer. Long sleeves, pants, water, and sturdy shoes are recommended.”

Please contact Bobbie Webster if you plan on attending, or with any questions at: websterb@uwgb.edu or 920-465-2030.  If you want to be a rockstar, you can sign up on GBCue at www.cuegb.com