Field Station Natural History Workshops - Winter & Spring 2015

Ecology and Physiology of Plants in Winter: Surviving the Big Chill

January 9 & 10 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor: Dr. James Reinartz , Director, UWM Field Station is a plant ecologist and evolutionary biologist.

The Course: The plants of temperate and boreal regions have several anatomical and physiological adaptations that allow them to survive low temperatures. Minimum temperatures set the range limits for many species, and snow and ice loading can be important constraints on the morphology of northern trees. Some woody plants can photosynthesize in the winter, which is also an important time for seed dispersal. This workshop will explore all of the aspects of plant life in the winter, especially what is known about the special adaptations that allow northern plants to survive the freezing and drought associated with extreme cold. We also spend some time learning the basic characteristics used to identify woody plants in the winter. This class includes a balance of indoor and outoor study, lecture and hands-on activity.

Recommended materials: Hand lens and field clothing. Workshop fee includes a winter fruit and twig key which will be provided.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.5 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. Meals are optional and are extra. Sign up for meals when you register.

Creative Writing About the Natural World

April 17 & 18 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor: Dr. Mary Linton is a wetland ecologist and aquatic biologist with special interest in the predators of wetland communities, particularly amphibians, dragonflies and damselflies, and aquatic beetles. Dr. Linton's ecological articles have appeared in numerous journals including Evolution, Ecology, and the American Naturalist, as well as popular magazines. Her poetry has appeared in many literary journals including Appalachia, Blueline, Verse Wisconsin and Seeding the Snow.

The Course: Persuasive communication about the natural world comes in many forms and the scientific paper is only one of those forms. This course will give students, even those who write little, many opportunities to write creative non-fiction about the particular ecosystems found at the UWM Field Station. Class time will be divided between time spent investigating field phenomena (bogs, fields, forests, ponds, nighttime biology) and time spent reflecting and writing about those phenomena. Writing time will be focused on poetry, including haiku, and the personal essay. Students need no prior experience in ecology or writing to benefit from this course. All levels of expertise are encouraged to enroll.

Recommended materials: Wear appropriate field clothing and shoes – the weather may be sunny, rainy or even snowy. Bring along any of the following if you have them: hand lens, close-focusing binoculars, net, small clear plastic containers for holding live specimens, camera, and shoulder bag or knap-sack. Bring any field guides you enjoy for wetland plants, birds, wildflowers of Wisconsin, trees, and ferns. It is essential that you bring a hearty notebook for writing, several writing utensils, and your imagination. The notebook will contain your field notes and writing exercises. We suggest a standard 100-page composition book that can be purchased at the UWM bookstore or at almost any store with writing supplies (box stores, local office supply stores, etc.). Examples of good nature writing will be provided.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. Meals are optional and are extra. Sign up for meals when you register.