Posted 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 29, 2022
UWL receives $88,600 from Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin to train next generation of water scientists
UW-La Crosse will receive $88,600 from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin this year to develop water-based courses and a river adventure camp for students considering college.
The overall $3.42 million in funding to enhance water-related academic programs is part of a statewide initiative. The efforts, backed by the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers, aim to tackle 10 grand water challenges and support curriculum development, undergraduate research opportunities, career development and field training experiences for students interested in studying water-realted fields at all 13 UW Schools.
Projects funded at UW-La Crosse include:
$59,137 for a “My River Adventures” pre-college camp
The camp will target students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds to foster recruitment, access, and aspirations for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) — specifically water-related sectors such as biology, ecology, and aquatic science. Learning will be centered through fieldwork, activities, and mentorship to develop K-12 and undergraduate students' research skills in water conservation. Camp activities will provide connections with community leaders and educators who will introduce students to different career paths to increase student interest in STEM post-high school and during college. The project leader is Monica Yang, UWL Multicultural Student Services Office.
$19,600 to develop a course on Wisconsin Water-based Sustainable Tourism
The first-of-its-kind course will build on an existing hybrid course at UWL to examine water-based tourism in Wisconsin. It will become a requirement for UWL students earning an emphasis in tourism and event management. The grant will also fund online course options for other campuses to expand collaborative opportunities to other institutions and industry partners. The course developer is Dan Plunkett, UWL Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation Department.
$9,863 to develop a course on Managing the Mississippi River in conjunction with UW-Platteville
The course will connect students to watersheds and foster an understanding of how changes in one part of a hydrologic system impact those upstream and downstream. Students will examine how land-use change and river management have resulted in both the infrastructure and the environmental impacts that threaten natural waterways. Course leaders include Alysa Remsburg, UWL Environmental Studies Department, and Rebecca Doyle-Morin, UW-Platteville Biology Department.
UWL will also be part of a collaborative project with the Madison, Eau Claire and Platteville campuses providing summer research experiences for UW System undergraduates.
Overall, the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin will support 42 grants to further develop UW System-wide water science programs, internships and research opportunities. High school and undergraduate students will have opportunities to participate in hands-on field and research experiences with faculty throughout the state, allowing them to develop a diverse range of skills. The collaborative is also partnering with industry, nonprofits and community organizations to increase career development opportunities for students. Grant descriptions available at freshwater.wisconsin.edu.
“Water is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy,” said Marissa Jablonski, executive director for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. “With these funds, the 13 UW Universities can expand training opportunities for students and prepare them to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s workforce and address our state’s biggest water challenges.”
Wisconsin has abundant water resources; however, factors such as invasive species, pollution and climate change could significantly impact water safety and economic growth. The State of Wisconsin and the Freshwater Collaborative have identified 10 grand water challenges facing the state and are currently focusing research efforts on the top two: Agricultural Water Management and Water Quality Safety/Emerging Contaminants.
Startup funding for the Freshwater Collaborative was provided in 2019 by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the UW System. In July 2021, the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Evers approved $5 million in the current biennial budget to expand the Collaboration’s ability to train water professionals and establish Wisconsin as a leader in water-related science and economic growth.
About the Freshwater Collaborative
The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is a partnership of Wisconsin’s 13 public universities, connecting with industry partners, local communities, policymakers and advocacy groups. Its mission is to establish Wisconsin as a world leader in freshwater science, technology, entrepreneurship and economic growth. The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is training the next generation of scientists to solve global water resource problems through academic programs, collaborative research and career development across the UW System. Learn more at freshwater.wisconsin.edu.