Field Station Natural History Workshops -- Summer and Fall 2015


Registration for these courses will open in March 2015.


Wildlife Inventory and Monitoring

May 29 & 30 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor:  Dr. Gary Casper  is a regional ecologist and past collections manager at the Milwaukee Public Museum.  He serves as a science adviser to the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and is an Associate Scientist with the UWM Field Station.  He manages the Wisconsin Herp Atlas and conducts wildlife research throughout the western Great Lakes, mainly on amphibians and reptiles.


The Course:   This course will give students a sound background in the theory and practice of wildlife inventory and monitoring (I&M), with an emphasis on (but not limited to) Wisconsin amphibians and reptiles, and regional programs. The course will review the essentials of sampling design, study planning and data collection, standard techniques for I&M, analysis of data, and the importance and value of I&M. Students will learn how to design I&M programs specific to various objectives, and understand the differences between inventory and monitoring. Common techniques for I&M will be demonstrated in the field. The course is appropriate for researchers involved in wildlife sampling, persons performing inventories (such as for agencies, environmental consulting, or preserve management), and persons involved in adaptive management for ecological restoration projects.  Come prepared to get wet and/or muddy for a field sampling component, and plan to stay Friday night for a frog calling survey.

Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit


Vegetation of Wisconsin

June 15 - 20 (Monday - Saturday)

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


Schedule:    This course will be a week-long field trip throughout Wisconsin.  We will meet at 9:00 am Monday, return to the Field Station Friday night, and finish by mid afternoon Saturday.



The Course: Following "The Vegetation of Wisconsin" by John Curtis (1959), we will visit and study all of the major plant communities in the state.  In addition to study of the ecology, development, and dynamics of the original vegetation types of Wisconsin, we will explore plant communities which have developed as the result of disturbance, and the challenges associated with management of natural areas representing pre-settlement vegetation types.  This will be a week of good old-fashioned ecology and botany with a group of others very interested in the topic.  The course fee covers all transportation costs and lodging.

Available for 5.5 CEU or 2 college credits.


Sedges: Identification and Ecology

June 19 & 20 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor:  Dr. Anton Reznicek,   Curator of Vascular Plants, University of Michigan Herbarium, has studied Cyperaceae, especially Carex throughout North America and in the tropics, and has a special interest in the Great Lakes region.


The Course:   Identification of sedges, especially Carex, will stress not only keying skills, but using ecological and vegetative characters to identify species and species groups.  In addition to identification we will explore the importance of sedges in a variety of different communities, and gain an appreciation of the dynamics of some of the communities and the role of sedges in these dynamics.

Available for 1.4 CEU. Not offered for college credit


Aquatic Invertebrates

July 17 & 18 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructors: Dr. Gretchen Meyer,   Senior Scientist and Manager of the UWM Field Station, is an ecologist and entomologist who studies the interactions between plants and insects. She has long been interested in aquatic invertebrates. Robert Clare holds a Master’s degree in ecology from UWM, and teaches ecology, botany and biology classes at UWM and MATC.


The Course:   This course will introduce participants to the diversity of aquatic invertebrates inhabiting Wisconsin’s waters. After an introduction to the ecology and taxonomy of major groups of aquatic invertebrates, we will visit a variety of field sites to collect and identify invertebrates. Topics to be covered in the workshop include the challenges of living in water, sampling methods for aquatic invertebrates, use of keys and other resources for identification, and aquatic invertebrates as bioindicators. This course is appropriate for anyone who would like to learn more about aquatic invertebrates and their role in freshwater systems.

Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit


Ecological Geology

July 27 - 31 (Monday - Friday)

Instructor:  Dr. Roger Kuhns  is a geologist, environmental scientist and sustainable practices expert managing his own firm SustainAudit.net.  He has worked globally on geology, the environment, sustainable practices, water and mineral resource assessment, and natural resource management.  He currently is focused on sustainable practices for businesses and governments, water and ecology in the Great Lakes region, Niagara Escarpment and coastal water issues, the use of ecological geology in land and water use planning, renewable energy, and ecosystem restoration from mining projects.


Schedule:   Monday - Friday (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)



The Course:   The Cedarburg Bog is a marvelous natural laboratory in which we can study the interactions between geology, ecology, hydrology and sustainability.  The bog is thousands of years old and represents an ecosystem that came about due to climate change, and it is experiencing pressures from changing climate processes today.  We will take field trips to the bog and surrounding environments, and will examine the composition and structure of bedrock, glacial till, outwash deposits, and soils to reconstruct the geological and ecological history of the area.  We will also collect sediment cores from the bog and study them in the laboratory.  Sections of the cores will be carefully evaluated for their plant and animal signatures (micro and macro flora and fauna, insects, and pollen), sedimentary variations, carbon content, and other attributes. We will use these data to explore how geological, ecological, and hydrological processes, time, and anthropogenic influences have shaped the bog. Course participants will work in teams, and present their findings at the end of the week.  Participants in this course will learn field methods and assessment techniques useful in a wide range of field investigations and environmental studies. 

Available for 3.5 CEU or 1 college credit


Grasses: Identification and Ecology

August 7 & 8 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor:  Dr. Robert Freckmann,   Professor Emeritus of Biology at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has primary interests in the grass flora of Wisconsin and in the evolution of the genera Panicum and Dichanthelium.


The Course:   We will survey the evolution and diversity of the grass family, emphasizing grasses of the local area and reviewing grass structures, terminology, and differences between grasses, sedges, and rushes. Field and microscopic identification, use of keys, characteristics of tribes, and ecology of grasses will be covered.

Available for 1.4 CEU. Not offered for college credit


Invasive Plant Management Techniques

September 19 (Saturday)

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


The Course:   Many of us work to control invasive plants in the areas we care about.  Take this class to ensure that you are using the most appropriate, efficient, up-to-date, and least environmentally damaging methods in those efforts.  This is a hands-on class.  After an introduction to the general ecology of the five functional groups of invasive plants (Shrubs, Perennial forbs, Clonal Perennials, Grasses, and Annuals/Biennials), we will discuss, demonstrate and practice all applicable control methods (chemical and non-chemical) for these five plant types.  Topics will also include: 1) Identification of our common, and relatively new invaders, 2) Planning and strategy for an effective control program, 3) Use of hand tools and herbicide application methods, 4) Herbicide concentrations, mixing, and safety, 5) Restoration strategies for badly infested sites, and 6) Record keeping.  Safe chainsaw use for woody species will be demonstrated only.  Several handouts and reference materials will be provided.

Available for 0.8 CEU. Not offered for college credit.


Wetland Restoration

September 25 & 26 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor:  Alice Thompson   is a wetland ecologist and owner of “Thompson & Associates Wetland Services”, where she consults on wetland issues and projects. She holds a Master’s degree from UWM and is a certified Professional Wetland Scientist (Society of Wetland Sciences).  Her expertise includes wetland delineation, restoration, mitigation and control of invasive species. 


The Course:   This course is a practical hands-on survey of wetland restoration practices and is intended to provide the participant with the tools to begin restoration investigation on their own land. We will discuss the principles of wetlands and wetland restoration, review a restored wetland site in the field, and get really dirty digging soil pits and looking for evidence of hydrological manipulation on a potential restoration site in the area. We will discuss the challenges and realities of restoration in the mix of degraded agricultural, industrial and urban landscapes that challenge design. Each participant will receive their own copy of the Wetland Restoration Handbook that Thompson co-authored.

Available for 1.4 CEU. Not offered for college credit