UW System highlights story about virtual field trips

The UW System chose the story written by Marketing and University Communication intern to be featured on their “All in Wisconsin” website. UW-Green Bay professors and instructors, including John Luczaj (Geoscience, Water Science) are accommodating field trips this season for Natural and Applied Sciences, transforming existing and new trips into virtual interactive experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Spring and Summer 2020, virtual field trips were offered in at least four classes two new excursions are planned for this fall. Students can virtually visit De Pere Lock and Dam, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Baraboo Hills and the Metro Boat Launch, to name a few.

Water view of the bluffs of Baraboo Hills

UW-Green Bay science faculty go the extra distance to provide high-impact practices during Covid-19

UW-Green Bay professors and instructors, including John Luczaj (Geoscience, Water Science) is accommodating field trips this season for Natural and Applied Sciences, transforming existing and new trips into virtual interactive experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Spring and Summer 2020, virtual field trips were offered in at least four classes two new excursions are planned for this fall. Students can virtually visit De Pere Lock and Dam, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Baraboo Hills and the Metro Boat Launch, to name a few.

John Luczaj
John Luczaj

Modern technology allowed for COVID-19 friendly virtual adaptations of the Geoscience program’s signature field trips. The goal, according to Luczaj, is for students to experience what they might have gotten in an outdoor laboratory or field trip pre-pandemic, and to give them the exposure and confidence to visit the sites on their own one day.

Assistant Prof. Shawn Malone (NAS) and lecturer Bill Jacobson (NAS) are assisting in the creation of the virtual field trips.

Luczaj explains, “Geology of the Lake Superior Region field course (spring ’20), for instance, is normally a four-day field trip in the spring. Students had seven lectures/trips on different topics throughout the region. While not all trips had video associated with them, I was able to incorporate online tools, mapping, and other information into the photo/video part of the trip for an enhanced experience.”

During the summer, Professor Luczaj was able to take his catalog of photos from past field trip stops to incorporate in the online version. For the new Water Science program, he traveled to all field trip stops around Green Bay and was able to record the footage with his cell phone. He recorded his computer screen for relevant website tools like the Great Lakes Dashboard, aerial photographs, and maps to provide videos of things students would not actually see on a bus trip.

Water Science Field Trip Fall 2020

Watch the UW-Green Bay Water Science Field Trip Fall 2020.

“The Water Science trip demonstrates various water related natural and engineered structures in Brown County,” he explains. The trip starts at the De Pere Lock and Dam along the Fox River. A full cycle of operation of the lock is demonstrated so students can see how the boats can pass through. The next few stops describe the East and Fox River systems and associated flooding.  The last stops are at the Metro Boat Launch to show the geography, shipping, and erosion from high water, followed with a discussion on sewage treatment. We make a quick stop at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary to look at their deep irrigation well.”

The new Geoscience Field Trip to the Baraboo Hills trip will cover an overview of the major mountain building events that assembled Wisconsin, how the original sandstone was deposited in Baraboo before it was turned into quartzite, site specific structural geology where students can view structural fabrics on the rocks during folding and tectonic compression and Paleozoic history. Prof. Luczaj mentored Malone, a new addition to the Geoscience program, to highlight the links between familiar tectonic processes from around the world and Wisconsin’s geologic history while introducing him to the program’s field experiences.

Luczaj says that field experiences are critical for students in the department. Keeping COVID-19 in mind, he didn’t want students who were graduating soon to miss out on opportunities they had before the pandemic.

Story by UW-Green Bay Marketing and University Communication intern Charlotte Berg.

Photos submitted by John Luczaj


UW-Green Bay Prof. Kevin Fermanich named 2020 NEW Watershed Champion

UW-Green Bay Prof. Kevin Fermanich (Water Science, Geoscience and Environmental Science) has been named the 2020 NEW Watershed Champion. He formally received this recognition on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 from NEW Water and the Green Bay Water Utility during the 2020 World Water Day event.

Prof. Fermanich is a lead co-principal investigator on a collaborative project studying the links between edge-of-field water quality, soil health and field management at sites in Great Lakes priority watersheds. Additionally, he is a soil and water resources specialist with Wisconsin Extension.

Fermanich was recognized at the seventh annual World Water Day event hosted by NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Green Bay Water Utility at the Jack Day Environmental Education Center. World Water Day (www.worldwaterday.org) is a commemorative event launched by the United Nations in 1993 to bring awareness to global water issues. The two water entities honor World Water Day to call attention to local water issues, including aging infrastructure and impairments, and to celebrate the efforts of a local champion in caring for the watersheds of Wisconsin.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Water and Climate Change.” Globally, this means an increasing demand for water as populations increase, which can drain natural resources and cause environmental damage.

“The Green Bay Water Utility is adapting to address the water effects of climate change to continue to protect health and safety to our customers,” said Nancy Quirk, general manager of the Green Bay Water Utility.

The World Water Day held in Green Bay also serves to celebrate local efforts to strive toward solutions. Learn more about past Champions here.

Fermanich has worked at UW-Green Bay since 1998. Along with many partners, Fermanich and his students study water quality, watershed management, soil health, Green Bay restoration, and agricultural management issues. He is a lead co-principal investigator on a collaborative project studying the links between edge-of-field water quality, soil health, and field management at sites in Great Lakes priority watersheds. Additionally, Fermanich is a soil and water resources specialist with Wisconsin Extension.

“Our era faces a number of water challenges, not only globally, but here in Wisconsin as well.  Dr. Fermanich exemplifies the spirit of working together to find solutions to the many vexing water challenges we’re facing today,” said Tom Sigmund, Executive Director of NEW Water.

Learn more about Green Bay Water Utility: www.gbwater.org
Learn more about NEW Water: www.newwater.us

This post is written in cooperation with NEW Water. Photo submitted by Tricia Garrison, NEW Water. In the photo, from left to right, Tom Sigmund, executive director, NEW Water; Prof. Kevin Fermanich and Nancy Quirk, general manager, Green Bay Water Utility

UW-Green Bay faculty and staff toured Manitowoc businesses

On Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, UW-Green Bay faculty and staff from Green Bay and Manitowoc campuses toured the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, Grotogut Family Farm and DTE Biomass plant in Manitowoc to discuss educational partnership opportunities.

The attendees were:

  • Mike Draney, Chair of Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Mike Holly, Environmental Engineering
  • John Luczaj, Geoscience and Water Science
  • Patricia Terry, Chair of the School of Engineering
  • Heather Masters, Director of Dietetics Internship Program
  • Tony Werner, Director of Advancement
  • Mike Alexander, Provost
  • John Katers, Dean of CSET
  • Rachele Bakic, Campus Executive Officer, Manitowoc Campus
  • Becky Abler, Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Rick Hein, Natural and Applied Sciences


Chernobyl Liquidator Medal

Faculty note: Professors McIntire and Luczaj journal publication

UW-Green Bay’s Michael McIntire (Associate Professor, Chemistry) and John Luczaj (Professor, Geoscience) had an article published in the journal J (MDPI, Switzerland). The article, “Chernobyl’s Lesser Known Design Flaw: The Chernobyl Liquidator Medal—An Educational Essay” was published on August 9, 2019 and is available online.

Chernobyl Liquidator Medal design analyisis
Chernobyl Liquidator Medal design analysis.

The article presents a mathematical analysis of the famous Chernobyl Liquidator Medal, which was awarded to workers who cleaned up the region after the radiological disaster in 1986. The authors note how “This article documents the unfortunate misrepresentation of a famous scientific experiment on an honorary medal and illustrates the importance of better communication between artists and scientists.” Luczaj discovered the medal’s error while teaching the UWGB course “Radioactivity: Past, Present, and Future”, at which point he sought out the expertise of McIntire who conducted the mathematical modeling and analysis of the radiation pathways depicted on the medal.

See the article

Is clean water achievable in Wisconsin? Prof. Luczaj discusses

Clean Water: Is it Achievable in Wisconsin? WUWM’s Susan Bence, discusses this with UW-Green Bay Prof. John Luczaj (Geosciences) program. “If you’re a fisheries person, you might think of surface water quality. If you live in a house where lead levels are elevated, you probably think of drinking water. I’m a geologist so I usually think of ground water quality,” Luczaj says.

Seven members of Green Bay Nordic ski team named National Collegiate All-Academic

Seven members of the Green Bay Phoenix Nordic ski team were named to the 2019 National Collegiate All-Academic Ski Team:

  •  Jake Ajax (Business Administration)
  • Emily Burger (Human Biology)
  • Quinn Duffy (Communication)
  • Shad Kraftson (Accounting, Business Administration)
  • Maddie McKeefry (Environmental Science, Geoscience)
  • Sam Myers (Business Administration)
  • Sadie Peterson (Elementary Education)

To qualify for the team, skiers must have a cumulative 3.5 grade point average and participate in the NCAA Central Region Championships. Read more.

UW-Green Bay’s new bachelor’s degree in Water Science to help meet demand of water sector workforce shortage

Program underscores region’s important role in addressing water quality

GREEN BAY — (Feb. 19, 2019) The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents has authorized the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to establish the UW System’s first Bachelor of Science Degree in Water Science.

The major will have a principal focus on water’s role in natural processes in Earth’s systems. Students will develop a solid understanding of the chemistry, surface water hydrology, groundwater and biology of freshwater systems.

“Water is arguably the single greatest resource challenge of the 21st century,” said John Luczaj, Ph.D., UW-Green Bay professor of Geoscience. “The world faces significant challenges regarding water quality, quantity and ecological functions that are expected to worsen. The global need for water science professionals to solve critical water issues is accelerating and expected to continue indefinitely.

“From a student’s perspective,” Luczaj continued, “UW-Green Bay’s four coastal campuses cover a unique geographic region of Wisconsin that provides research opportunities in surface water and groundwater that no other University can duplicate. Graduates will be well-equipped to enter graduate school or to start a water science career.”

Many water professionals in Northeast Wisconsin voiced their support for the new program. Executives from the Green Bay Water Utility, NEW Water, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association, the Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Bellevue Public Works Utility and the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin, were among those who wrote letters of support.

“[Having] a source of prospective employees ‘right in our own backyard’ — at UW-Green Bay — is such a wonderful opportunity,” stated Green Bay Water Utility Manager Nancy Quirk in a letter of support to the Regents. “I can say, unequivocally, that the water sector across the United States is facing a significant workforce shortage, especially individuals who have a broad-based education in water-related scientific knowledge and research and skill-sets such as problem solving and critical thinking.”

The undergraduate program will be housed in the Natural & Applied Sciences (NAS) unit of UW-Green Bay’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology. It is expected to welcome its first cohort of students as early as Fall 2019.

The water science program will be primarily designed for face-to-face delivery, but instruction is also expected to take advantage of online and in-field immersion opportunities. Students will have opportunities to work as research assistants on faculty projects, develop internships or conduct their own independent projects. UW-Green Bay faculty are very active in research on water and wastewater treatment, runoff pollution, stream hydrology, groundwater quality, limnology and aquatic ecology. Core courses will be drawn from geoscience, chemistry, environmental science, biology, physics, math and statistics, and public and environmental affairs.

“This interdisciplinary program is not only consistent with UW-Green Bay’s history of research and teaching related to water resources,” said Luczaj, “it complements a proposed freshwater initiative (the nation’s first integrated, higher education, multi-institutional program centered on serving the freshwater economy) being developed by UW-Milwaukee and other UW institutions.”

UW-Green Bay faculty and staff will be integral partners in the UW-Milwaukee-led initiative, which aims to make Wisconsin a worldwide hub for freshwater science to address real-world water-related issues. Examples like the lead contamination crisis in Flint (Mich.), the ongoing arsenic exposure in Bangladesh and the water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa, are examples of the global need for water expertise.

The program will also expand opportunities for collaboration in the region through engagement with business, not-for-profits and government agencies. It will prepare students for career opportunities in private industry, water utilities, geotechnical consulting, natural resource management, state and federal government agencies or environmental policy organizations.
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 more than 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, 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.