Field Station Natural History Workshops -- Summer and Fall 2016


Invasive Plant Management Techniques

May 21 (Saturday), 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

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.

Workshop fee: $60.00.  Discounted fee of $45 offered to SEWISC members - contact us for details.  Available for 0.8 CEU. Not offered for college credit.


Field Herpetology: Identification of Wisconsin Amphibians and Reptiles

June 3 & 4 (Friday & Saturday). June 5 (Sunday) is optional.

Instructor: Dr. Josh Kapfer is a Certified Wildlife Biologist ® with The Wildlife Society and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at UW-Whitewater.  He received his Master's degree from UW-La Crosse in 2002 and his Ph.D. from UW-Milwaukee in 2007, where he studied the ecology of Bullsnakes in upper midwestern prairies.  Josh has nearly two decades of professional experience working with wildlife. Josh’s current research projects range from radio telemetry investigations of Blanding’s Turtles to the behavioral ecology of Wolves. 

The Course: This course will give students a sound background in identifying Wisconsin's amphibians and reptiles in both field and laboratory settings.  Students will also receive information on the habitat, ecology, conservation, and status of these species within the state.  Common techniques for field research in herpetology will be demonstrated, including handling, capturing and surveying techniques.  The course can be completed Friday-Saturday, but students will have the option of returning on Sunday for further field surveys.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. 


Sedges: Identification and Ecology

June 10 & 11 (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.

Workshop fee: $115.00. Available for 1.4 CEU. Not offered for college credit


Vegetation of Wisconsin

June 13 - 18 (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.

Workshop fee: $420.00. Available for 5.5 CEU or 2 college credits. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. 


Wetland Delineation

July 8 & 9 (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) and an Assured Delineator with the WDNR Wetland Identification Program. Her delineation work does not require WDNR concurrence.  Her expertise includes wetland delineation, restoration, mitigation and control of invasive species.

The Course:This course is a practical field-oriented guide to wetland delineation. Wetland delineation is the practice of locating the boundary between what is a wetland, and thus regulated by state and federal law, and what is upland. We will discuss what determines a wetland and how we identify and document wetland vegetation, soils and hydrology during a delineation. We will dig soil pits, identify vegetation, look for signs of hydrology, and physically stake the wetland boundary in the field. In the lab we will discuss accurate reporting and regulatory oversight. This course is intended for beginners. You can get your feet wet and decide if you want to learn more and make a career of wetland delineation or understand wetland identification for other purposes. Wetland delineation is an important tool for the protection of wetlands, and is very challenging but rewarding work.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU. Not offered for college credit


Forest Communities of Southeastern Wisconsin

July 29 & 30 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructors: Dr. Gretchen Meyer, Senior Scientist and Manager of the UWM Field Station, is a plant ecologist with extensive experience in forests.  Robert Clare holds a Master’s degree in ecology from UWM, and teaches ecology, botany and biology classes at UWM and MATC.

The Course: Forests covered large tracts of Wisconsin in pre-settlement times, but only fragments of these forests still exist in southeastern Wisconsin.  Present-day forests remaining here retain legacies of the past and are certain to change into the future.  In this class we will explore the forests of southeastern Wisconsin.  We will visit several different forest communities, including the old-growth beech-maple forest at the Field Station.  We will examine the forces that structure forest communities, including historical influences and current conditions, and discuss how future changes might impact our forests.  We will also learn to identify common tree species, and talk about methods used to measure and characterize forest communities.  This class is appropriate for students with little experience in plant identification who want to learn the trees, for teachers who would like to develop class activities in forests, or for anyone who wants to learn more about forests.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. 


Wetland Hydrology

August 5 & 6 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor: Dr. Roger Kuhns is president of SustainAudit, LLC, and a part-time researcher at the Cedarburg Bog.  He has conducted natural resources assessments, site remediation and restoration programs, and sustainable land use planning projects globally.  He has worked on the structural geology, hydrology and natural history of eastern Wisconsin for more than a decade.

The Course: This course will explore a wide variety of wetland and upland habitats as a field laboratory to understand wetland hydrology.  The class will make a detailed examination of the Cedarburg Bog in order to understand surface water, groundwater and storage potential within the Bog’s watershed formation, estimate a water mass balance for the Bog, and build a basic field-based hydrologic model for the Bog.  A wide variety of field investigation techniques will be taught as part of this class project, and historical groundwater and climate information will be used.  We will discuss the implications of water chemistry on development of wetland communities, and the potential threats from, and remediation of, human activities.  This fun and engaging course will provide a basic introduction to hydrology, water chemistry, and the influence of soil and geology.  This class is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as environmental and engineering professionals wanting to better understand field assessment of wetlands.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. 


Unraveling the Mysteries of Bird Migration

September 16 & 17 (Friday & Saturday)

Hours:    7:00 am - 4:00 pm, Friday and Saturday

Instructors: Vicki Piaskowski is an ornithologist and the retired international coordinator of the Birds Without Borders-Aves Sin Fronteras© project of the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Inc and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. She has conducted ornithological field research and training in the U.S. and in Belize, Central America. She will be assisted by Jennifer Callaghan, Research and Citizen Science Coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center. 

The Course: This course will be conducted during fall migration so that students can experience one of the most exciting aspects of the avian life cycle: migration. Students will have an opportunity to learn about bird banding techniques as well as other methods used to study bird migration. Mornings will consist of fieldwork, including the observation of mist netting and bird banding, and demonstration of aging and sexing techniques. Afternoons will consist of lectures that will provide students with basic information on bird banding, bird migration, and how research techniques are used to solve some of the mysteries of ornithology.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit. 


“Wisdom Sits in Places”: Creative Writing About the Natural World

October 14 & 15 (Friday & Saturday)

Instructor: Poet, photographer, and scholar, Kimberly Blaeser, is the Wisconsin Poet Laureate.  A Professor at UW—Milwaukee, she teaches Creative Writing, Native American Literature, and American Nature Writing. Her publications include three books of poetry: Trailing You, Absentee Indians and Other Poems, and Apprenticed to Justice. Her creative work in poetry, creative non-fiction, and short fiction, frequently arises from a relationship with the natural world and has been included in more than fifty volumes whose titles are as varied as The Colours of Nature, Sing: Poems from the Indigenous Americas, and Women on Hunting

The Course: Using the natural areas found at the UWM Field Station and inspired by both Native mythic accounts and the works of natural history writers and eco-poets, this course will invite participants to create works of poetry, creative non-fiction, and mixed-genre arising from their engagement with the natural world.  These writings will include haiku and other poetry, personal nature essays, and works combining artistic genres.  Class time will be divided between expeditions exploring the bogs, fields, forests, and ponds; sessions discussing sample readings and focusing on writing craft; and the process of writing, reflecting, and “translating” our nature experiences into creative works.  Students need no prior experience in ecology or writing to benefit from this course.  All levels of expertise are encouraged to enroll.

Workshop fee: $105.00. Available for 1.4 CEU or 1 college credit. There is an additional tuition fee for college credit.