Reminder: Empty Bowls Tuesday

If you brought a lunch, save it for another day. If you normally buy your lunch, buy it here. If you don’t need lunch, buy a bowl anyway. The annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for Paul’s Pantry runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday (April 19) in the University Union. Sponsored by the student Art Agency with a big helping hand from Prof. Minkyu Lee and his ceramics students, it’s a chance to leave with a work of art (and lunch, too) for only a $10 donation. Read details.

Back to the land: Students dig in to help on organic journey

Members of SLO Food Alliance travel to VirginiaThey could have gone to Daytona Beach for sun and fun, but instead, five UW-Green Bay students used spring break 2011 to travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains town of Floyd, Va., to sample that region’s growing sustainable agriculture movement.

The students — seniors Leah Korger, Walter Schilling, Nicci Kelley, Evan Groth and Dan Schultz —are all members of the SLO Food Alliance. (SLO is “Sustainable, Local, Organic.”) The student organization is committed to increasing access to healthy food from local sources, with a mission to “Cultivate, Educate, and Advocate.” To this end, the students have managed the campus gardens on the Student Services plaza, sold produce on campus and to local restaurants, advocated for local sourcing of organic food by the University’s food service, and sponsored films, speakers and field trips to educate the campus community about food and sustainable agriculture issues.

The students were energized to see producers, distributors and consumers working together to cultivate a local organic food network. The “Eco U” contingent provided volunteer labor on two organic farms, visited an apiary/honeybee sanctuary, and toured a meadery, a winery and a major organic food distribution operation. They also spent time in community service by assisting Plenty, a local organization that works to provide healthy food to school children and needy families. The UW-Green Bay students pitched in by delivering food to needy families and helping a local charity make and serve healthy snacks at the elementary school.

The students were accompanied by Michael Stearney, the dean of enrollment services and their chapter adviser. Marla Martinez ’97, a former student of Stearney’s, now resides in Floyd, where she works in child protective services. She served as the local “concierge” for the visitors, connecting the students to farms, lodging and organic food venues.

“The students were the talk of the town, and were even featured on the front page of the Floyd Press,” Stearney says. “Most valuable and memorable, however, were the new friendships they made with the kind and generous people of Floyd, Virginia, who so graciously hosted them.”

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UW-Green Bay to host National History Day competition

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will host the 2011 Northeastern Wisconsin Region’s National History Day competition for the eighth consecutive year. The event will be held on Saturday, April 9, and will draw approximately 400 high school and middle school students from 21 schools in Northeast Wisconsin. This year’s competition will be the largest to date.

The event will focus on the theme “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.” The all-day event begins with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by judging from 9:30 to 3:30 p.m. and an awards presentation at the Kress Events Center at 4 p.m.

“National History Day provides students of all abilities and interests an opportunity to learn about a topic of their choosing and present it in a creative way,” said UW-Green Bay archivist Debra Anderson, who is the National History Day regional coordinator.

The projects allow students to dive into research by using diaries, letters, film footage, photos, and oral histories to become experts on their chosen topic. Some students had the opportunity to spend a day at the Cofrin Library using various archival, electronic and print resources.

One student observed, “This is better than the History Channel! I could stay here all day!”

Approximately 226 student projects have been submitted for the competition with topics ranging from the Wisconsin Constitution, Door County cherry farmers to the great Butter vs. Oleo War of the 1950s. Topics even go beyond Wisconsin with projects about the Cuban Missile Crisis, school prayer, women’s suffrage, death penalty, and the 1980 Olympic boycott.

During the day there will be an opportunity for the public to watch performances and documentaries, as well as view exhibits and websites. Exhibits will be displayed at the Kress Events Center. Papers and websites will be available for public display at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall. Documentaries and performances also take place at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall.

It is estimated that 500,000 students this year will take part in History Day events with an estimated five million students taking part in the 20 years the national program has been in existence.

Regional contest winners will move on to the statewide competition and compete for a chance to attend the Kenneth Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. in June.

“You know you have a successful program when a student e-mails and writes: “I would just die if I couldn’t do National History Day this year!” Anderson said.

For more information contact Debra Anderson at UW-Green Bay Archives at (920) 465-2539 or


Students, researchers to gather at watershed symposium

Watershed SymposiumArea high school students, teachers and university researchers will gather at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Tuesday, March 15 for the eighth annual watershed symposium hosted by the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.

The program provides hands-on science education for young people and has yielded important data on tributaries that feed the Fox River and influence water quality on the bay of Green Bay.

The symposium provides a forum for high school students from eight area schools to share their findings, interact with teachers and professional scientists, and learn about research and watershed management in the Fox River Basin.

The annual symposium begins at 8:15 a.m. and continues throughout the day in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall on the UW-Green Bay campus.

Pat Robinson, freshwater estuary specialist with the UW-Extension, will provide the keynote address on “Great Lakes freshwater estuaries: What are they and why should we care?”

Other presentations include:

• Jim Jolly, Brown County Land Conservation Department, “The Green Bay West Shore Northern Pike Habitat Restoration Project”

• Prof. Dan Meinhardt, UW-Green Bay Natural and Applied Sciences, “Skeletal Abnormalities in Frogs”

• Brenda Nordin, Water Resources Management Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, “Aquatic Invasive Species”

• Matt Maccoux, UW-Green Bay graduate student, “Phosphorus in Green Bay and the Great Lakes”

Monitoring program adviser Kevin Fermanich, associate professor of Natural and Applied Sciences, says, “We’re excited to be able to host this student watershed symposium for the eighth year. I’m particularly pleased that many new students and several new teachers will be attending the symposium. One of the those new teachers is Carolina Bacelis, a UW-Green Bay alumna, who will be bringing students from the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay.”

Vicki Medland, the associate director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at UW-Green Bay, says the symposium is the culmination of the students’ research experience.

“It brings together students from the different schools involved in the project to share experiences and compare the scientific data they have collected,” Medland said. “Communication of scientific information to a larger audience is often difficult and is an important learning objective. The students are given the opportunity to teach others about the water quality in their own communities. Many of the speakers are graduate students or professionals working in water quality and they provide further inspiration for students to continue to pursue their interests in water-related science.”

The symposium and Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program are supported in part by a gift from Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd. The symposium is also sponsored by the UW-Green Bay program in Natural and Applied Sciences and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.

For more information about the symposium contact Annette Pelegrin at (920) 465-5031, or or visit

Media coverage for Business Week

An article in last Thursday’s Green Bay Press-Gazette shined the spotlight on “Business Week 2011,” sponsored by the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business at UW-Green Bay. The article highlights how the week connected students to local businesses. “We looked at it as building a bridge between the classroom and the professional world,” said UW-Green Bay Prof. David Radosevich (Business Administration). Read more.

Rinfret and Levintova classes raised money for carbon credits

Here’s a followup to stories last fall about UW-Green Bay students participating in Global Summit exercises and raising a little money in the process. The students, from Prof. Sara Rinfret’s American Government class and Prof. Katia Levintova’s Global Politics class, raised enough donations as a byproduct of the exercise to purchase carbon credits they say will save three tons of power-plant carbon dioxide emissions and play a role, albeit small, in helping protect ecologically sensitive places like New York’s Adirondacks. Jeff Cook, co-president of the PEAC student group, compiled the research that made the carbon-credit activity happen.

Abe Clark, who ran across America, is now heading for Haiti

UW-Green Bay graduate and former Phoenix cross-country runner Abe Clark raised money for Haiti relief last year with his cross-country run across America. (He took 136 days, ran through five pairs of shoes, and generated donations for a charity called Running Water to repair earthquake-damaged wells and water systems.) Clark tells campus friends that his next adventure includes a mission stay in Haiti. Just as he did with his cross-country run, he’ll blog about the experience. If you’re interested, see his group’s site.

Photo gallery: Hand-painted ‘Habitat’ ornaments on sale

The UW-Green Bay student chapter of Habitat for Humanity is selling hand-painted ornaments to raise money for a home-building week in Birmingham, Ala. Look for Habitat students selling holiday ornaments both Tuesday (Nov. 30) and Wednesday (Dec. 1) in two locations: on the second level of the University Union near the bookstore and in the Cofrin Library’s concourse-level alcove. See a feature and snapshots.

Snapshot: Handmade wool-rug piece is initial ‘Laffle’ prize

A handmade wool (not yarn) rug hooking is the initial contribution to the prize stash for this fall’s universitywide “Laffle.” The prizes are intended to generate interest as the Registrar’s Office collects donations for the “Pair and a Spare” charity drive which asks, as people do their own shopping for clothes and personal items this fall, to remember that disadvantaged children are doing without.

See more details on the drive and a photo of the hand-crafted prize.

Arjo Wiggins Appleton’s $740,000 gift extends watershed research

Arjo Wiggins Appleton, gift to UW-Green Bay, July 29, 2010

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay announced today (July 29) that a $740,000 gift from Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd. will extend and expand a highly successful program in which local high school students monitor water quality in area streams.

The gift will fund an additional three years, though 2013, of the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program. It will also increase opportunities for participation by minority and low-income students.

“This is a textbook example of partnership in support of education and the environment,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas K. Harden.

Since its creation in 2003 the watershed program has provided hands-on science education for young people and yielded important data on tributaries that feed the Fox River and influence water quality on the bay of Green Bay.

At a news conference at Lambeau Cottage on the UW-Green Bay campus bay shore, Harden was joined by the faculty coordinator of the program, Prof. Kevin Fermanich of the Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit, and Christopher Gower, the Chief Executive Officer of Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd. The company is the former owner of Appleton Papers Inc. and Appleton Coated LLC.

Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd. provided a $1.5 million startup grant in 2003. The funding supported the establishment of the school-based monitoring program as well as the collection of extensive hydrologic, water quality and biological data on area streams. These activities were a partnership among the UW System campuses in Green Bay and Milwaukee, the U.S. Geologic Survey, the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Oneida Nation. Data from these efforts have played a critical role in the development of new management plans for the Lower Fox River watershed.

That original funding, Fermanich said, supported travel, supplies and equipment for the students, annual workshops and training sessions, teacher stipends, data management and program oversight by the University. With the first grant now nearly exhausted, the program’s scope and future were in doubt before Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd. entered discussions with University officials to finalize their gift.

As it exists today, the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program involves the annual participation of about 80 students and 10 teachers from six area high schools.

Streams currently being studied (and their research teams) are Apple Creek (Appleton East High School); Ashwaubenon Creek (West De Pere); Baird Creek (Green Bay Preble and Luxemburg-Casco); Duck Creek (Green Bay Southwest); and the Spring Brook watershed west of Oshkosh (Oshkosh North High School).

The students monitor stream flows, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, conductivity and nutrients in September, May and August. They monitor amphibian populations starting in April and extending through June, when they also conduct bird surveys. They survey macroinvertebrates and stream habitat in August.

Students share their data with each other and professional scientists and educators at an annual watershed symposium at UW-Green Bay each spring. The program also hosts a summer training workshop for high school educators to model best practices in leading hands-on, community science projects.

Fermanich described the watershed project as a success in pursuing goals identified at the outset.

“A basic goal has been to enhance community understanding and stewardship — ownership, really — of the Fox River Watershed,” Fermanich explained. “These young people truly understand the science behind these issues, and they’re sharing that experience with family, friends and people at their schools.”

The high school participants, he said, represent the “water planners, scientists, engineers, managers and leaders of the future.” A number have since gone on to college for environmental studies and other fields of science, and several from the first years are now pursuing graduate degrees.

“Most important, we said the schools could provide much-needed help in establishing long-term monitoring in some of these watersheds, and their data would be used in supporting resource management decisions,” Fermanich said, “and that has happened. The DNR has told us how much they appreciate that we have student teams out there gathering supplementary data.”

The DNR has responsibility for preparing a TMDL plan — Total Maximum Daily Load — for the river and lower bay inside Long Tail Point and Point au Sable. The DNR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others have long had an interest in reducing phosphorus and sediment levels, which affect algae growth, oxygen depletion and water clarity. The new DNR plan will offer goals and strategies for further improving water quality.

Observers say a key will be continuing efforts to control runoff from both urban and agricultural areas, with special attention to cost-effective stream-corridor protection measures the high school students have observed first-hand.

Along with extending the existing Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program, the gift from Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd. will support new initiatives, specifically:

• Inviting participation from new groups, particularly under-represented populations including students from the Green Bay Boys and Girls Club, and other organizations;

• More intensive monitoring of targeted tributaries where research indicates significant runoff issues or, conversely, significant success or potential success with management strategies;

• Creation of a mentoring program that will match undergraduates in UW-Green Bay’s teacher education program with participants in the watershed monitoring effort. The goal is to educate tomorrow’s teachers in community-based science education while offering additional enrichment for current high school participants;

• Fundraising to establish a designated endowment fund to provide permanent support for the program.

Internally at UW-Green Bay, Fermanich says program management will transition from his academic unit, Natural and Applied Sciences, to the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity and the newly created Environmental Management and Business Institute, both of which have significant community outreach and education missions, and have the potential to spur further expansion.

One goal, he said, is to expand collaboration farther upriver in the Fox/Wolf Basin to involve additional high schools, agencies and university involvement in similar monitoring of Lake Winnebago and its tributaries.

The watershed program, which is based on a similar program in Oregon, is one of the few watershed monitoring programs in the country that involves high school students.

“I’m told that in the area just offshore from campus, every spring and fall, you have a world-class fishery for trophy walleye pike and spotted muskies,“ Gower said. “I know swimming and boating all along Green Bay continue to increase in popularity as water quality improves.”

“The project we’re supporting here is by no means the only reason for those successes, but for the students involved, for everyone, it’s a tremendous lesson in the ability of young people to get involved and help make a difference,” Gower added.