UW-Green Bay EMBI student interns help make the annual Green Bay Garden Blitz a great success

Caitlin Curtis gives the camera a thumbs up.

Pong Moua (Environmental Science) served as Garden Blitz communication coordinator and Caitlin Curtis (Environmental Policy and Planning) as assistant volunteer coordinator at the seventh annual Green Bay Garden Blitz from May 28-31, 2020. Moua (pictured above), Curtis and 48 volunteers installed 74 raised bed garden boxes at private homes, Kennedy School and Veterans Manor.

Facing challenges due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020 Garden Blitz accomplished its goals safely and on schedule. Kim Diaz, Blitz coordinator, said “working with Pong and Caitlin was a joy because they were so talented, dedicated and willing to learn.”

Fresh veggies? Email Libby at the Campus Garden

Last year, this space shared a feature on student Libby Schmit, interning with the campus garden and hoop house.

This summer, Libby (Schmit) Courchaine, (Senior, Environmental Policy and Planning) continues to manage the gardens, now as the University’s garden technician and produce market manager. Recent items available include: microgreens, kale, swiss chard, beets, chives, basil and more.

To receive updates about the gardens and opportunities to order produce, email ibuakaa@uwgb.edu and you will be added to the weekly veggie sale list. All are welcome, not just the campus community!

Alumna pursues career in agriculture, fights stereotype

Katie Werner ’13 (Public Administration and Environmental Planning and Policy), is not your stereotypical nutrient management planner. She has no farm background, and she is in a field typically dominated by males. However, that hasn’t stopped her in her role with the Country Visions Cooperative, a company in Reedsville that provides services to 14 counties in eastern Wisconsin. Read the full story in The Country Today

Stoll and class helps community keep their eyes on ethics

Kevin B ethics1
Kevin Borseth

The Ethics in Business Awards were held Nov. 9 at the KI Convention Center, downtown Green Bay. With about 700 people in attendance, UW-Green Bay and specifically Public and Environmental Affairs (PEA, Economics) faculty and students were recognized for their work as part of the “research team,” of which Prof. John Stoll (PEA) coordinates. The research team devotes countless hours in reviewing nomination forms of about 100 nominees. The students prepared a report to the award selection committee, an independent group of community members that chooses the recipients. Alumnus Kaitlyn (Gilles) Lindner ’11 (Environmental Policy and Planning and Public Administration) headed the selection committee, and Green Bay Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kevin Borseth, was the featured speaker. Alumnus Tom Hinz ’03 (Interdisciplinary Studies) served as the Ethics in Business Selection Committee Chair. The annual luncheon honors ethical business practices in Northeast Wisconsin.

EMBI collaborates with Alliance for the Great Lakes on two newly funded projects

The Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI) collaborated with the Alliance for the Great Lakes on two newly funded projects; Agricultural Outreach in the Lower Fox Basin and the Lower Fox Perennial Forage Project. To oversee the projects, a joint position was created in partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes and will be filled by newly hired alumna, Molly Meyers (Business Administration ’07 and Environmental Science & Policy ’14). The Agricultural Outreach project brings together groups of farmers, crop consultants and conservation professionals to build relationships and learn from each other about agricultural practices that improve soil health, water quality and farm profitability. The Perennial Forage project will highlight how perennial forages (alfalfa-grass mix plantings) are a win-win for agriculture and water quality. This Perennial Forage project provides technical assistance, cost sharing and outreach to increase the number of regional acres in perennial forage. In addition to the coordination of these projects in cooperation with grant principal investigators and collaborators, Meyers will develop and implement strategic outreach and demonstration activities aimed at building a bridge between agricultural stakeholders and other key sectors impacting and impacted by nutrient pollution in the basin. The addition of both grant projects add to the University’s research efforts currently directed towards nutrient reduction in the Lower Fox River basin and the bay of Green Bay.

UW-Green Bay and partners work on restoring lower Green Bay by seeding 20 acres of wild rice

“We left this bay [Green Bay] to enter the river [Fox River] that discharges into it; it is very beautiful at its Mouth, and flows gently; it is full of bustards, ducks, teal and other birds, attracted thither by the wild oats of which they are very fond.”

Midwest missionary and explorer Father Marquette describes the former abundance of wild rice that once filled Green Bay in the 17th century. Biologists, researchers and others from Ducks Unlimited and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay continued efforts to restore lower Green Bay by reintroducing wild rice in the bay in early November.

They seeded 20 acres of wild rice into the lower Bay and Fox River area known as the Duck Creek Delta. The restoration efforts are being funded by a $225,000 federal grant awarded to UW-Green Bay and Ducks Unlimited in 2014 for “Cat Island and Duck Creek Delta Restoration: Restoring Green Bay Aquatic Vegetation and Avifauna.”

Wild rice has long nourished both people and wildlife. It benefits water quality, supports biodiversity, and provides habitat for many of the birds and fish important for recreation in Green Bay. However, erosion, pollution, and eutrophication at the mouth of the Fox River began degrading aquatic vegetation and animal life about 70 years ago.

As the Cat Island Chain was restored, it gave vegetation once native to the area a chance to grow again, however, not necessarily repopulate. That is where Ducks Unlimited and UWGB students and researchers come in. The wild rice reintroduction project began in January 2015 and appears largely successful. Three separate areas were seeded this year including the original tributaries. The areas were chosen based on the characteristics beneficial to wild rice establishment including appropriate sediment type, degree of protection and water flow. A minimum of five acres will be reseeded for five consecutive years in efforts to establish a viable population of wild rice.

The seeding process is unique. According to Brianna Kupsky, a master’s student and researcher in UW-Green Bay’s Environmental Science and Policy program, groups of three to four individuals travel to seeding locations by boat. They then seed about three acres of rice at a time completely by hand. Each three-acre area takes approximately one hour to seed. The wild rice is purchased from vendors in Wisconsin and Minnesota in September and October. However, seeding does not occur until the waterfowl are past migration (early November), as they may disrupt the process.

Kupsky says partners see restoration of lower Green Bay as a tremendous opportunity, and she believes UW-Green Bay should be a major player in that opportunity.

“Wild rice is a really charismatic species and often targeted for restoration,” said Kupsky. “If we can re-establish wild rice in the lower Bay, it will build immense interest and investment in the restoration. Restoration of the coastal wetland habitat in the lower Bay is not only important for intrinsic value and biodiversity, it’s also really important for our local economy in terms of recreation dollars, improved water quality, and the port of Green Bay.”

The lower Bay and Cat Island Chain restoration would not be possible without other agencies including the Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Brown County Port Authority, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, UW Extension and UW-Sea Grant. See more on the Cat Island Restoration project.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
Wild Rice Planting

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication, story by editorial intern Amy Bauer.

Faculty note: Robinson, Fermanich

Patrick Robinson (adjunct faculty ES&P, UWEX, office in Biodiversity center) and Kevin Fermanich (NAS, Environmental Science and Geoscience) were invited speakers at the International Joint Commission’s (ILC) science roundtable — “Great Lakes Successes and Challenges: What is a Healthy Lake Michigan to You?” Tuesday, Oct. 18. Four of the international commissioners were in attendance.