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SOMERS – The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is receiving more than $40,000 from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (FCW) to enhance its water-related academic programs.

FCW is a partnership of Wisconsin’s 13 public universities (Uw System), 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 funding for UW-Parkside includes support for the following projects:

  • Freshwater Camp (Freshwater Career Related University-Introduction Summer Experience) – Student Experience for High School Juniors
  • The Root Magazine – WATER issue
  • Human Interactions with Lake Michigan Coastal Ecosystems – Field-Study Course
  • Principles of Freshwater Informatics – Laboratory and Field-Study Course

“Water is a such a relevant topic across academic disciplines,” Dr. Lesley Walker, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at UW-Parkside, said in a news release. “For example, UW-Parkside students who produce The Root magazine may not typically be taking advanced courses in biology or environmental science. Working on the stories, they become more aware of water-related issues and might pursue additional education in these fields. At the same time, the magazine draws in a more diverse community of readers.”

The Freshwater Camp

The Freshwater Career Related University-Introduction Summer Experience is designed to enrich students’ understanding of the natural sciences and local environmental issues.

“Connecting high school students to the Great Lakes and local waterways is particularly important,” said Dr. Jessica Orlofske, associate professor of biological sciences at UW-Parkside. “With partners at UW-Whitewater, the Freshwater Camp will help students become familiar with careers in freshwater, develop scientific skills, and learn about real-world issues with local impact.”

Human Interactions with Lake Michigan Coastal Ecosystems

A nine-day field study explores the land-sea interface with a focus on urban vs. rural changes. Students will engage with local practitioners and community partners to become more familiar with local Great Lakes water-resource management along the western shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Principles of Freshwater Informatics

This is the century of big data, and the water sector is no exception. “Technological innovations have made it easier than ever to collect massive amounts of data,” said Dr. Orlofske. “The next generation of freshwater professionals needs to be prepared to make the most of these data. The freshwater informatics course will help address this urgent need.”

This course prepares students for the big-data work environment with the background and skills they need to develop and effectively manage a wide range of data sources.

Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin

Throughout the UW System, the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin will support 42 grants to further develop 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 are available at Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.

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.


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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...