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    Guest lecture sponsored by the Department of Geography and Earth Science 

    Monday, October 27, 2014
    2:15-3:15 p.m.
    1309 Centennial Hall

    Health Impacts of Unconventional Fossil Fuel Extraction
    Michelle Bamberger, MS, DVM

    Michelle Bamberger
    Health impacts from unconventional oil and gas extraction continue to be a concern in intensively drilled areas of the US. The lifecycle of a tight oil or shale gas well includes silica mining, trucking, road and well pad construction, vertical and horizontal drilling, high volume hydraulic fracturing, wastewater holding and injection, waste sand disposal, condensate production and storage, flaring, compressor stations, processing plants, pipelines, and gas storage. Exposures to people and animals may occur during any of these phases and may result in health impacts. As animals and children have high exposure rates, they can be viewed as sentinels for health problems. Initial study of cases of food and companion animals showed that reproductive problems were linked to drilling operations, and that in people, acute respiratory, neurological, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms were associated with drilling operations. On long-term follow-up, the distribution of symptoms was unchanged for humans and companion animals, but in food animals, reproductive problems decreased and both respiratory and growth problems increased. Definitive evidence linking health impacts to drilling operations cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing before and after drilling, incomplete disclosure of chemicals and nondisclosure agreements. Without such knowledge, it is impossible to know if this process can be done safely or not.

    Dr. Michelle Bamberger is a veterinarian in private practice in Ithaca, NY and serves on the advisory board of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy. Dr. Bamberger received her DVM from Cornell University in 1985. Before attending Cornell, she earned her masters degree in pharmacology from Hahnemann University Medical College and then worked in equine research for two years at New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. After graduating from Cornell, Dr. Bamberger studied at Oxford University and practiced small animal and exotic medicine and surgery in both Massachusetts and New York. Before opening Vet Behavior Consults in 2002, Dr. Bamberger returned to Cornell for training in the field of behavior medicine as a Visiting Fellow. She has a special interest in educating the public on veterinary topics and has taught adult education courses and written two books on the topic of first aid. She devotes much of her time to documenting and studying the impacts that hydraulic fracturing for extraction of hydrocarbons has on both human and animal health, and has coauthored articles and a book on this subject.

    Welcome, Dr. Paul Reyerson!

    The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest faculty member. Paul received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Geography at St. Cloud State University where his research focused on focused on paleoenvironments of the interior Pacific Northwest.  During his time as a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Geography, Paul conducted research involving soils, geomorphology, and biogeochemistry. His study areas spanned from Nebraska to Illinois, with a special focus on the Driftless Area of the Upper Midwest. As a University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Botany post-doctoral associate, he studied forest-grassland dynamics in the interior of Hawaii's Big Island. As a research associate with the University of California, Irvine, Keck-CCAMS Group Earth System Science Department, Paul researched the presence of carbon in microscopic grains of silica produced by plants, called phytoliths.

    Paul's research is multidisciplinary, connecting the fields of soil science, geomorphology, ecology, and archaeology, and aims to better understand how terrestrial environments have changed through time. He also is keenly interested in linkages between biotic and abiotic systems - particularly plants and soils - and how they can influence each other. Paul will continue his work in both of these research areas, and looks forward to working with students and faculty at UW-L to explore new research frontiers in the Upper Midwest.

    In his off-time, Paul enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, biking, and reading.  

    Congratulations Spring 2014 Graduates!!

    The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to congratulate all of its graduates and wish them all the best in their future endeavors!  Keep in touch!

    Recent Research Talks & Presentations

    Gargi Chaudhuri presented a poster at the NASA LCLUC Spring Science Team Meeting - Focus on Urban LCLUC on April 23, 2014 in Rockville, Maryland.  Her poster was titled Understanding the Effect of Political History on Urban Growth: Cellular Automata Modeling Approach.

    Gargi Chaudhuri gave a talk for the Earth Talk series (a required course for all Geoscience Majors) in the Department of Geosciences at Winona State University on April 14, 2014. Her talked was titled Effects of Policy on Urban Growth and Road Network Change.

    Recent Conferences

    American Association of Geographers Conference - April 2014:  Several faculty member including Rafique Ahmed and Gargi Chaudhuri, as well as two students, Wendy Roider and Steve Oxley, attended the American Association of Geographers Conference in Tampa, Florida in mid-April.

    Other Important News

    Map Competition - December 2013

    The Geography and Earth Science Department hosted its first GIS Poster Competition on Friday, December 6th in the Cartwright Center.  Over 20 students from Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri's GIS courses participated in the competition.  Winners from the entry level competition (enrolled in Geography 385: Introduction to GIS) were Taylor Boardman and Ryan Sands. Winners from the advanced level competition (enrolled in Geography 485: Advanced GIS) were Rachel Wozniak and Spencer Kawell.  Honorable mention awards went to Kerrie Hauser (advanced level) and Michael Keller (entry level).  Each of the four winners will receive a $100 check!  Congratulations to everyone who participated!  For more photos, please visit the Google+ page

    GIS Poster Competition, 2013

    2013 Ryan M. Poehling Memorial Scholarship Recipient

    The UW-L Geography and Earth Science Department is pleased to announce the 2012 Ryan Michael Poehling Scholarship has been awarded to Steve Oxley.  The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to congratulate Steve on this outstanding achievement!

    Steve Oxley - Poehling Scholarship

    Fall Graduates - December 2013

    The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to congratulate our 2013 Fall Graduates: Megan Bain, Edward Bielefeldt, Alec Craig, Daniel DeWitt, Matthew Ernst, Anders Gehrt, Kerrie Hauser, Patrick Moriearty, and Nathan Stephenson. Congratulations on this tremendous achievement and best wishes to each of you in your future endeavors. Be sure to stay in touch!!

    Fall Dean's List - December 2013

    The Geography and Earth Science Department congratulates our majors and minors on attaining the Fall 2013 Dean's List!

    Isle Royal - June 2013

    Several of our students participated in a weeklong research trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.  Students camped out on Passage Island to measure lead contamination in the island's soil and rock pools with the goal of protecting the island's employees, tourists, and wildlife from contamination.  Students also surveyed the island, using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to create extremely high resolution digital elevation models of the area. This survey will be used for further study and reference by both UW - La Crosse and the employees of Isle Royale.