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.

Noel Craig

In his element: A Phoenix soars worldwide because of his Chemistry career

After graduating from UW-Green Bay with a Chemistry degree and laboratory experience in 2016, Noel Craig is in his element at SEAL Analytical—a world leader in design, development and the manufacturer of equipment that aids in analyzing of materials and compounds specifically for environmental applications.

It was perhaps a bit nostalgic for Craig to be back at his alma mater recently, helping to set up new equipment in some of the same lab spaces he worked at while he was a student. His return was to install a new water analyzer and train students how to use it in Assistant Professor Mike Holly’s (Water Science) labs.

Craig’s story is not unlike other students who attend. He had different ambitions when he started at UW-Green Bay…

“I actually wanted to be a dentist! I had a chance to shadow some dental students and I didn’t fare too well. Fortunately, I was taking Organic Chemistry during that semester and fell in love with it. I loved the challenge of balancing an equation and solving the pathway of a mechanism.”

He had many opportunities to explore his new-found passion.

At UW-Green Bay, Craig worked alongside Prof. Kevin Fermanich and a graduate student to collect freshwater samples. “The samples collected were from freshwater streams in the Green Bay Watershed via automated samplers,” he said. “Commonly the water would become very turbid due to rain and we wanted this to test for Total Phosphate. The Total Phosphate was found by performing a Kjeldahl Acid Digestion on the samples and analyzing them colormetrically—which is what it sounds like: the more phosphate in the sample, the more color that would be formed during the analysis.”

After a couple of months, he was able to assist graduate students with their research. He started his own research project, finding the different levels of Water Extractable Phosphorus in soils from different types of tilled farm fields.  He found a relationship between less tilling and less water extractable phosphorus.

Craig says he can’t thank Prof. Fermanich enough for the opportunity and experiences he gave during his time as a laboratory technician. And it certainly helps him with his current role at SEAL—helping customers with the work they do in their labs, troubleshooting their chemistry and instrumentation over the phone or e-mail. This can sometimes take just a couple of minutes or it will take all day. When the questions are a bit more complex, it makes this part of the job extremely rewarding.

During the pandemic he also leads installs and trainings virtually.  The instrument for UWGB that was manufactured by SEAL Analytical is shipped to the customer’s lab and a virtual training is scheduled for one to three days depending on the customer’s prior knowledge.  The first day is spent unpacking the instrument, installing the software, running diagnostic testing, and giving an overview of the hardware.  The next couple of days are spent going over what they would like to analyze like Nitrate, Phosphate, and others.

Craig wanted to work for SEAL for many reasons.

“My drive to constantly challenge myself and work for a company where I’m recognized as a person and not just a number,” he said. “The travel that I’m able to do for installations and trainings is a great perk. Before starting at SEAL, I hadn’t even left the country. Now, I have traveled to Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and almost every state.”

“I never stop learning! I’ve learned so much about engineering.  A majority of my work is with chemical instrumentation.  This instrumentation requires an understanding of electronics, physics, software, and chemistry.”

His advice to current students is to take advantage of the opportunities and resources that are available at the University, including clubs. While it was difficult to push himself to join the clubs that were available on campus, they led to leadership opportunities, which he says kick-started the skills he uses daily. They also led to friends that he will have for the rest of his life.

Story by Charlotte Berg, intern, Office of Marketing and University Communication

Fox River Cleanup Project celebrated at annual Clean Bay Backers meeting, Prof. Fermanich quoted | WLUK

Runoff from agriculture and other sources is another concern. UW-Green Bay professor Kevin Fermanich says after two very wet years, 2020 looks relatively dry.”It’s a very different year this year, in respect to the corn harvest. It happened much earlier than last year, and therefore it will allow the farmers to put on a cover crop much earlier,” said Kevin Fermanich, UW-Green Bay Geoscience Professor.

Source: Fox River Cleanup Project celebrated at annual Clean Bay Backers meeting | WLUK

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.

Researchers (including Prof. emeritus Bud Harris) declare Fox River Clean-up Project a success

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – State leaders today touted the completion of the Fox River Clean-up Project, marking the end of 12 years of dredging operations to remove cancer-causing PCB’s from river sediment. Those whose research helped trigger the massive billion-dollar project say it’s a success. Bud and Vicky Harris have a long connection to the Fox River. Arriving at UW-Green Bay 50 years ago as a young ecology professor, Bud Harris remembers his first boat ride on the Fox River in 1971. Source: Researchers declare Fox River Clean-up Project a success.

UW-Green Bay Environmental Science student Jacob Derenne studying soil health and water quality.

UW-Green Bay students study water quality and soil health

UW-Green Bay Environmental Science student Jacob Derenne is part of a project team working on a study to link properties of soil health (a suite of biological, chemical and physical properties) to the quality of water that runs off the field during rain events. Last week (August 31-Sept. 1, 2020) the team was measuring the infiltration capacity of the soil and collected samples to determine the water holding capacity, the resistance of the soil clumps (aggregates) to destruction by rainfall and the degree of soil compaction, according to Prof. Kevin Fermanich.

The teams in Wisconsin are working on farms near Wrightstown and Greenleaf.

Photo was courtesy of Molly Meyers, project coordinator.

Virtual Panel: Dr. Ashtok Rai, Dr. Jeremy Metzler, Prf. Brian Merkel, Amy Henniges, Fail Sims-Aubert, Caitlin Henriksen

COVID Conversations: Ask the Experts

The virtual panel: COVID Conversations: Ask the Experts was designed to answer questions of UW-Green Bay students specific to life at UW-Green Bay during the pandemic. Students emailed their COVID-19 related questions in to be moderated anonymously and answered by panelists. This is a live recording from Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.

Expert Panelist:

  • Dr. Ashok Rai, President and CEO Prevea Health
  • Dr. Jeremy Metzler, Prevea Health; Medical Director for Phoenix Athletics and The Wellness Center
  • Prof. Brian Merkel, Immunologist, UW-Green Bay
  • Amy Henniges, Counseiing Director at The Wellness Center, UW-Green Bay
  • Gail Sims-Aubert, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Climate
  • Moderator: Caitlin Henriksen, Health Educator, UW-Green Bay

Students with any further questions regarding COVID-19 are encouraged to email covidresponse@uwgb.edu.

Transcript:

Coming soon.

 

 

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.