My favorite project in 2021 was a workshop I organized at the invitation of the South Central Library System. This organization provides training and support to public libraries in seven southern Wisconsin counties. My colleagues in the workshop were youth services librarians gearing up for the 2022 national summer reading program, which has a theme of “Oceans of Possibilities.”

Anne Moser, senior special librarian and education coordinator

I modified the theme to “Oceans of Possibilities in Our Backyard” because the watersheds that surround us provide a wealth of opportunities to explore literacy and have fun. There is no need to go any farther.

At the workshop, I was honored to be joined by Hannah Arbuckle, outreach coordinator with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. We began with an overview of the Great Lakes and waters of Wisconsin, integrating traditional ecological knowledge into the presentation. We engaged attendees with hands-on learning to explore the terrific properties of water. We finished the morning traveling in a time machine to learn about Great Lakes shipwrecks. We spun the tragic tale of the Silver Lake, a scow schooner that went down in Lake Michigan in the late 1800s.

At the end of the morning, a skilled youth services librarian approached and told me she was thankful for the workshop. The summer reading program recycles themes every 10 or 15 years, and she had already dusted off old storytimes and activities in her files. She now planned to turn to the creek behind the library and use that as her watershed for the summer.

I can’t think of a better outcome!

 

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Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Anne Moser

A new website is available that details what Indigenous communities in the Upper Midwest are doing to conserve and protect water. Named Bimaadiziwin Nibi, Water is Life, the story map is divided into sections, each centered around a different environmental issue. These include wild rice, fish, nonlocal beings (invasive species), mining, contaminants and beach sampling. Within each section are photos, reports and videos from tribal natural resource departments and a summary of interviews with scientists.

The project was created by Brenna DeNamur during her internship with Wisconsin Sea Grant in 2020. DeNamur, a recent University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, partnered with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) to develop the content in a culturally responsive manner.

Image courtesy of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

“It’s my hope that visitors to the site will gain a better understanding of the challenges faced in the intersection of conversation efforts and tribal culture, and that they be introduced to the diverse voices working in this area,” DeNamur said.

For instance, in the nonlocal beings section, DeNamur writes, “Although Indigenous science teaches respect and consideration for all, these nonlocal beings still pose a threat to biodiversity and the individual species, such as manoomin (wild rice) and ogaa (walleye), that Native Americans have had deep relationships with for generations.”

In response, GLIFWC has taken action against nonlocal beings. They conduct surveys, control actions and follow up monitoring for both terrestrial and aquatic species. The web page details how the commission divides its efforts into prevention, early detection and rapid response, control and management, research, and cooperation and coordination.

“This story map is a great tool for understanding how the collaboration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science methodologies can produce strategic and respectful conservation efforts concerning water throughout the Ceded Territories and beyond,” said Hannah Arbuckle, GLIFWC Outreach Coordinator.

Anne Moser, Wisconsin Sea Grant senior special librarian/education coordinator and DeNamur’s mentor, hopes to see the story map grow in the coming years. “I am grateful and honored to collaborate with GLIFWC on this project. It helped me gain a deeper understanding about Great Lakes literacy and how to incorporate Indigenous approaches into my work in education and outreach.”

“Ultimately, teaching Indigenous science is about understanding the world from different perspectives. If more people lived by this, we could sustain a healthier, more prosperous world,” DeNamur said.

To access the story map, visit go.wisc.edu/4n6n3n.

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Marie Zhuikov

Online event will feature poet Moheb Soliman

Wisconsin’s Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks,” a series of informal presentations on science and humanities topics related to the Great Lakes, continues Thursday, Dec. 9, from 7-8 p.m. The evening’s event is titled “Place, identity and the Great Lakes region: A conversation with poet Moheb Soliman.”

The virtual event will be held on Zoom. It is open to all, though registration is required. (Register for this event now.) The hour will include time for audience questions.

Poet Moheb Soliman (photo: Melissa Lukenbaugh)

Soliman is an interdisciplinary poet from Egypt and the Midwest who has presented his work in the U.S. and Canada with support from numerous foundations and institutions. His first book of poems, HOMES (Coffee House Press, 2021), alludes to an acronym used to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. Yet the title has other meanings as well, as Soliman’s writing offers an intimate perspective on an immigrant experience as he drives his Corolla past exquisite vistas and abandoned mines, through tourist towns and Midwestern suburbs, seeking to inhabit an entire region as home.

He will be featured in a conversation-style event with Senior Special Librarian Anne Moser of the Wisconsin Water Library. Moser is also the education coordinator for Wisconsin Sea Grant. Their discussion will be interspersed with Soliman reading from his work.

The cover of HOMES by Moheb Soliman (Coffee House Press, 2021)

Reviewing HOMES for EcoLit Books, Lillie Gardner praised the book as “stunning” and noted that “Soliman reflects on heavy topics with easy-going wit and candor.” She wrote, “An engaging meditation on our world and our place in it, HOMES takes the idea of borders as neat dividing lines and cracks it open, redefining place as a space that is shared and changeable.” To learn more about Moheb Soliman, visit his website at www.mohebsoliman.info.

For Lake Talks event and registration information, visit the Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter. You can register for Moheb Soliman’s talk now.

For questions about the Lake Talks series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.

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Jennifer Smith

Plastic pollution at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area on Lake Erie demonstrates the problem of marine debris in the Great Lakes. Image credit: NOAA

Wisconsin Sea Grant is leading one of six projects recently funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program. The projects, announced today, focus on preventing the introduction of marine debris (trash, fishing gear and microplastics) into coastal and Great Lakes environments.

Wisconsin’s project is, “The Play’s the Thing: Using Drama as an Introduction to Marine Debris Prevention and Meaningful Stewardship Experiences.” Led by Ginny Carlton with help from Anne Moser and Jim Hurley, the project will harness the power of storytelling to engage, educate and inspire performing artists and community members to be committed stewards of their Great Lakes watershed.

The team will work with the American Players Theater to pilot a theatrical piece about marine debris science to educate and motivate change in two Lake Michigan communities (Racine and Egg Harbor, Wisconsin). In addition to the performance, the project includes marine debris prevention workshops, cleanup events, and public outreach and education activities. The script from the play will be available for use for Great Lakes education after the project is completed.

The other five projects are coming from Sea Grant programs in Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois-Indiana and Puerto Rico. They were awarded $300,000 in federal funds, matched by nonfederal contributions, bringing the total investment to approximately $600,000. The activities begin this summer and continue for up to two years.

See the full list of projects.

“The continued effort between Sea Grant and the Marine Debris Program leverages the strengths of both programs to effectively address marine debris challenges nationwide,” said National Sea Grant College Program director Jonathan Pennock. “We look forward to seeing these new and creative strategies for marine debris prevention.”

This is the second year that Sea Grant and the Marine Debris Program offered a joint funding opportunity. Projects funded in the first year were aimed at reducing marine debris across the U.S.

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Marie Zhuikov

Anne Moser. Credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Anne Moser, our senior special librarian and education coordinator, is participating in a conversation about the Great Lakes with several others in Door County on July 2. Organized by Write On, Door County, the in-person conversation about how the arts and science intersect is part of a book tour for Moheb Solimon’s poetry collection book, “Homes.”

Joined by fish biologist Mark Holey, the trio will present, “The Great Lakes: Why we love them and why we need to protect them.” It will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Door County Maritime Museum. For more details, please access this event announcement.

The post An eco-conversation first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

The North Beach area in Racine features several coastal engineering structures and a popular beach that will offer learning opportunities for middle-school students in the community. Image credit: David Mickelson, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program

When Adam Bechle, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s coastal engineering outreach specialist, was growing up in Green Bay, he did not feel connected to Lake Michigan. When he visited the shore during rare school field trips, he enjoyed the outings but there was no one who could tell him how waves worked or why the dike he was sitting on was built.

So, when Sea Grant senior special librarian and education coordinator, Anne Moser, approached Bechle about a project designed to connect middle-school students to their watershed by exploring coastal engineering concepts, he thought it was a great opportunity.

The two wrote a proposal to the Great Lakes Region Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which funds projects that encourage “meaningful watershed educational experiences” for K-12 students and their teachers. Their 17-month pilot project, “Coastal Engineering Education: People, Place and Practice,” was funded through a competitive process and begins soon.

Moser said their Great Lakes B-WET project is unique. “This place-based approach to watershed learning is innovative in its use of coastal engineering as an educational framework to engage students. The other thing that struck the funders was that the project is focused not only on the place and the practice of coastal engineering, but also on the people. It was important for us to include career pathways that introduce students to a variety of coastal engineering, green infrastructure and healthy beach management careers.”

Bechle and Moser plan to work with seventh-grade students and at least four teachers in the Racine Unified School District. Bechle explained that they chose Racine for several reasons. “Racine got hit by a big storm in January of 2020 that did a lot of damage on the lakefront, plus high water levels have been causing problems at North Beach. It’s being inundated frequently and there’s standing water at times. So, there’s ongoing engineering work happening there. We also have a good relationship with the city of Racine, specifically, their public health department. They’ve done great work to bring their beaches up to outstanding water quality and have nature-based features that help with filtering stormwater.”

Crew leaders and a crew supervisor (right) with the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps measure the width of North Beach. Image credit: Anne Moser

Also in Racine is Chris Litzau, president of the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps (CCC), an organization that trains and educates disadvantaged populations in Racine with outdoor projects reminiscent of those conducted by the original Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Litzau’s group has been working with seventh graders in Racine over the past five years on a healthy beaches project on North Beach. The wide sandy beach can average over 1,000 visitors per month during summer. Numerous rock breakwaters, jetties and revetments lie south of the beach and offer examples of erosion and sediment movement.

The new project is multi-faceted and also involves Sea Grant staffers Natalie Chin and Ginny Carlson. In a nutshell, the team will meet with the school district to discuss its needs, create a five-lesson coastal engineering curriculum, bring the curriculum to teachers and to Great Lakes CCC crew leaders through workshops so that they can then teach their students, and work with the students to develop North Beach stewardship projects that use coastal engineering practices. Throughout the project, the students will also have the chance to be mentored by working engineers and other professionals who reflect the rich diversity of their community.

After evaluating how the project proceeds and is received, Bechle and Moser will make the curriculum available for use in other locations and school districts around the Great Lakes through the Center for Great Lakes Literacy. The Great Lakes CCC will be able to absorb the lesson into their regular programming.

Moser expects some challenges in developing the project curriculum. “We really have to start from scratch,” she said. “We need to pick Adam’s brain and take all the great work he’s done and somehow figure out how to engage the kids in a pretty technical field. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

What might the beach stewardship projects entail? Bechle said students could help with protecting fragile dune systems, reducing stormwater runoff, or even by developing social media campaigns to share the issues they learn about through the project. “There’s plenty of ideas where we can connect kids to the beach,” he said.

Readers who are connected to the engineering field and are interested in helping the project can contact Anne Moser. She said they are looking for mentors from Racine, Kenosha or even Milwaukee.

The post Unique costal engineering education pilot project coming to Racine first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Marie Zhuikov

Anne Moser. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

As 2020 winds down, we asked staff members at Wisconsin Sea Grant what their favorite project was this year. Although work was a bit more challenging than usual due to our altered work circumstances, everyone managed to stay productive, and even find fulfillment.

Anne Moser, senior special librarian and education coordinator, said the “Explore Lake Sturgeon” project was her favorite for 2020.

“Having the opportunity to experience a fish dissection was an experience I’ll never forget. Over my years working at Wisconsin Sea Grant, I have participated in several projects that help tell the conservation story of this iconic fish species and this was the best! It gave me deeper understanding of the power of ‘hands-on’ learning and will hopefully be a useful tool for our cohort of talented Great Lakes educators during these months of distance learning,” Moser said.

If you’re not squeamish, you’ve got to check out the video of Anne helping to dissect a young sturgeon.

The post Sea Grant staff project faves, Anne Moser first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

If you’re among the many who are looking for online learning materials for use at home, you might want to check out the Trash Trunk. This new learning kit focuses on trash found in our waterways, otherwise known as marine debris. Its free lessons are applicable for learners at levels kindergarten through adult in both formal and informal educational settings.

Wisconsin Sea Grant Education Outreach Specialist Ginny Carlton explained how the idea originated. “The topic for the trash trunks came from things we were seeing happening across the Great Lakes Basin. Marine debris is an emerging issue. There was consensus among the partners that this would be a worthwhile topic.”

Sea Grant programs in Ohio and Michigan, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Marine Debris Program joined Wisconsin Sea Grant staff in creating the trunks as part of their work for the Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

True to form, the team recycled lessons previously created by other educators, picking the best of the best materials about the impact of trash in both fresh and salt waters. “We used materials from groups like NOAA, the Ocean Conservancy, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and other institutions,” Carlton said.

The kit contains an educator’s guide with 14 lessons, sturdy informational display cards and supporting materials needed to perform the activities. Those activities are organized into three sections, which address the origins of marine debris, its impacts and what can be done. Educators can select a single lesson or develop a unit using Trash Trunk content, supplemental materials and common classroom supplies.

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Senior Special Librarian and Education Coordinator Anne Moser has been doing marine debris activities with children for a while now. “They absolutely LOVE this topic!” she said. “It’s very action-oriented. They can embrace the topic and make changes, especially with their waste and plastic consumption at home, which I think kids find inspiring.”

Trash trunk assembly in process in Carlton’s home. Image credit: Ginny Carlton, Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Carlton organized materials for the 35 trunks at home in her living room, since she is working from home due to COVID-19. “They did take up a little bit of space for a while. It was worth it. I think these resources will be well-used by the teachers and students across the Great Lakes Basin,” she said.

Besides finding space to assemble the trunks, figuring out what would fit inside the trunks was another challenge. “There’s a limit as to what you can fit in the tote box,” Carlton said. “I ordered supplies in waves just to make sure that what we wanted to include would actually fit.” These include tools that teachers might have difficulty in obtaining, such as a digital microscope, thermometers, a 100-foot measuring tape, and a manual luggage scale to weigh collected marine debris. Examples of reusable items are also included, like a mug, lunch totes and beeswax wrap, which is a substitute for plastic wrap.

Much to the UPS driver’s dismay, Carlton distributed all the trunks at the same time from her home to Sea Grant programs in the other states that border the Great Lakes: Minnesota, Illinois-Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. (Five trunks will be available in Wisconsin through the interlibrary loan system.) After some masterful rearranging, the driver was able to fit the trunks into his truck.

The trash trunks ready for shipping throughout the Great Lakes states. Image credit: Ginny Carlton, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Moser explained that due to COVID-19 quarantining requirements, the trunks are not available in Wisconsin right now but that the curriculum is available online. “If you have a student working at home, there are lessons they can use,” Moser said.

For more information about the Trash Trunk and other educational materials, please visit this resources page.

Funding for the trunks came from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/trash-trunk-filled-with-learning-treasures/

Marie Zhuikov

Recordings collected for the Wisconsin Sea Grant book, “People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish,” were recently added to a national archive by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA Fisheries’ “Voices Oral History Archives” seeks to document the human experience as it relates to the changing environment, climate, oceans and coasts through firsthand oral history accounts.

A sturgeon in the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Image credit: Brenna Hernandez, Shedd Aquarium.

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Senior Special Librarian Anne Moser, who curated the 73 sturgeon interviews, is excited by this recognition of the collection’s significance. “It is great to see our materials being featured on the national level. Having the collection included in NOAA Fisheries’ archive is acknowledgement of its scientific and cultural value for scholars, students and the public.”

Follow this link to access the NOAA Voices oral histories.

“People of the Sturgeon” was written by Wisconsin Sea Grant staff members, Kathleen Kline and Fred Binkowski with help from Ronald Bruch. It was published in 2009 by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and has captured a dozen state, regional, and national prizes. The oral histories are courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Museum.

For the book, which is about the culture surrounding sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago, the authors interviewed 69 community activists, sturgeon spearing enthusiasts, spear and decoy craftsmen and scientific researchers.

The recordings are also housed in a permanent collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries’ Digital Collections and they are available for free download. Excerpts are featured on this Wisconsin Water News podcast.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Marie Zhuikov

Anne Moser, senior special librarian and education coordinator at Wisconsin Sea Grant, recently penned this story for the spring 2020 issue of the International Association of Great Lakes Research’s newsletter, “Lakes Letter.” Here’s a reprint for your enjoyment.

While the idea of scientists and art­ists collaborating may sound like a 21st century concept, the history of these disparate disciplines working in tandem dates back thousands of years. Scientists have long used art to document and illustrate, while artists have sought out science as inspiration. We see it in the prehistoric art in the caves of southern France, the hu­man anatomy drawings of the master Leonardo da Vinci, and the exquisite masterpieces by John Audubon. The link continues today, as scientists and artists connect deeply to mutually inform their work. Artists are studying scientific findings to accurately com­municate their concerns and inspira­tions, while scientists are searching for ways to better translate their research through art to engage a broader public in their findings.

Recent education and outreach projects at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute (WSG) have taken this interdisciplinary approach by combining art and science to com­municate Great Lakes research. We have taken inspiration from our work with children, who dive into scientific learning with an open mind, interdis­ciplinary nature and artistic flair.

Anne Moser. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

The three projects featured here highlight opportunities where unique partner­ships were forged and surprising com­mon ground found between artists and scientists. Each exemplifies the cross­ing of disciplinary boundaries, with the goal of a more science-informed society, regardless of age, socioeco­nomic status or education.

We welcome collaborations from across the Great Lakes water­shed. Please contact the author at akmoser@aqua.wisc.edu.

The Poly Pledge

In 2016, J. Leigh Garcia, at the time a student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Master of Fine Arts program, approached the Wisconsin Water Library looking for information about plastic pollution and fish consumption. Although she was originally concerned about the impact plastic might have on her health, her library reference question eventually led to a public art installation on the UW-Madison campus.

Leigh and a collaborator, Pete Bouchard, created a human-powered vending machine that dispensed reusable screen-printed shopping bags in exchange for pledges not to use plastic bags for one month.

About 130 people took the pledge. WSG then held a symposium that featured Garcia and Bouchard talking about their artistic approach and the goals of their public performance. This artists’ talk was paired with a science presentation by Loyola University Chicago Associate Professor Timothy Hoellein, who gave an overview of his research on the sources and impacts of anthropogenic litter (trash) around Chicago.

Ancient Survivors

Inspired to generate dialogue and dis­cussion between art and science, two professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth curated almost 50 black and white images of lake sturgeon to help tell the story of the Great Lakes.

These artistic interpretations formed the basis of several outreach programs, including a collaboration with the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac, Wis­consin. During early 2019, the THELMA mounted an exhibition in conjunction with the winter sturgeon-spearing season on Lake Winnebago.

The exhibition included the artwork as well as artifacts and historical objects never previously collected in one place. Over 10,000 people learned the conser­vation story of an ancient fish brought back from the brink of extinction through newspapers, decoys and spears, audio recordings, scientific papers, sculpture, and drawings.

Under the Surface

At Northwest Passage in northwest Wisconsin, youth in mental health treatment have the op­portunity to go under the surface as part of an innovative curriculum that blends art, science and therapeutic healing using underwater pho­tography.

This WSG-funded project has resulted in a photography exhibition that has traveled to libraries, visitor centers and other public spaces around Wisconsin, showing the power of water to heal and restore. As one visitor to a show noted, “This exhibit took my breath away. I am blown away by how these kids have overcome pain and hardship and channeled emotions and experiences into creating great art.”

An image from the “Under the Surface” project, courtesy of Northwest Passage.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/crossing-borders-art-science-and-the-great-lakes/

Anne Moser

In a few short weeks, the Aquatic Sciences Center (ASC) will bid a fond farewell to Morgan Witte, who has served as a graduate project assistant since fall 2018. Witte, who works mainly with the Wisconsin Water Library, will graduate in December with a master’s degree from UW-Madison’s Information School. Senior Special Librarian Anne Moser has been her primary mentor at the ASC.

Morgan Witte holds a sturgeon decoy made by master carver George Schmidt and her most recent award. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

Witte departs with two awards for her work on sturgeon-related projects that have extended the reach of “People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish,” the well-loved book written by Kathy Kline, Fred Binkowski and Ronald Bruch. This has included cataloging and finding a permanent digital home for related audio files, as well as a well-attended exhibition on all things sturgeon in Fond du Lac. A poster Witte created about the sturgeon work was honored in the “Best Content” category at the recent yearly conference of the Wisconsin Library Association. The poster also won “Best Content” earlier this year at a conference specifically for academic librarians. (Learn more here.)

Said Moser, “Morgan has done an extraordinary job here at the ASC during her graduate program. These awards are well-deserved recognition of her innovation, hard work and contributions.”

Witte, who is graduating a semester early, has found her time at the Water Library eye opening. Robust, statewide outreach and educational programming are a major part of the library’s mission—something not typical for an academic library on a university campus.

The library collects materials one might not expect, such as children’s books and curriculum materials. It also develops STEM kits for kids that anyone in Wisconsin (like classroom teachers, librarians and parents) can borrow for free.

“Because of the materials this library collects,” said Witte, “I think that lends itself a lot to that outreach mission. I really hope to take that with me to wherever I work after this, because it’s so great to see not only the impact the library has on communities, but the impact those communities then have on the library. That influences your collection and what pieces of your collection you choose to highlight at what times of the year. And building those connections in a community can really strengthen the library, as well as the other way around.”

Her experience at the ASC has also given Witte exposure to its two programs, Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Water Resources Institute. “An inspiring part of this job is I’ve had a chance to learn from people who are doing amazing and innovative things in their respective fields.”

When Witte leaves the ASC, she’ll embark on an exciting new chapter of her life: relocating to Colorado to join her fiancé, who recently landed his dream job in Fort Collins as a wildlife geneticist. There, Witte—who is originally from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin—will job-hunt as she puts down roots in her new community.

Whether she lands in a public, academic or government library, she’s eager to apply her background in the sciences with the skills she honed at the Water Library, especially with regard to outreach and public programming.

She’s been a great asset to the ASC for the past year and half, and we wish her well in her future endeavors!

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/morgan-witte-honored/

Jennifer Smith