UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater For 13 December 2021 Hi Everyone,
As the mid-December daylight dwindles, we sidle up to the solstice and peer out at the depths of winter ahead of us. It is a time of determination and resolve. Grit is not just the stuff we put on streets and sidewalks to keep us from slipping and sliding.
And O my god, with O mi cron rising—and likely surging on the upcoming wave of holiday travel and gatherings—we will need it as we brace ourselves for more updates on the current UW policies for working with the public, both on campus and in communities.
Since early February 2019 (11 months before covid) we’ve seen a remarkable stretch of policy changes bearing on outreach to young people. It has been nearly three years since we in youth programming were told that anytime we bring minors to campus we put the university at risk. It has been a year and a half since we were told by zoom that ‘youth programming is not a core enterprise of the university.’ It’s been only since May 6 that the UW System published a news release headlined “UW System campuses preparing for return of precollege and youth programs this summer” that led Wisconsin Public Radio (a part of the University System) to run a story headlined “UW System Bringing Back Summer Youth Programs.” In the event, UW-Madison, the System’s land-grant research & extension university, did not permit in-person youth programming on campus until September 8, except for athletic camps.
Last week those of us in Wisconsin 4-H (the statewide youth development program of UW-Madison) learned that the university will not permit 4-H international travel this coming summer. This will be the third summer of lost opportunities for 4-H youth to travel abroad. Because my mother-in-law and my wife both benefited from such 4-H travels in their youth—my mother-in-law to Germany in the mid 1950’s, my wife to England in the early 1980’s—it hits home how powerful these experiences and exchanges are, and what a hole the policy will leave in the lives of young Wisconsin people who have planned and prepared for years to participate in these programs.
Covid policies more stringent for minors made sense the past two summers, when covid vaccines weren’t available (2020) or weren’t available for people under 16 (summer 2021). But now that kids aged five years and above can be fully vaccinated, and those aged 16 and 17 qualify for boosters, those young people have access to immunoprotection on a par with adults.
If the university permits adult employees and students to choose to travel internationally on university business this summer, one will be left wondering what it will take for minors and their parents or guardians to be able to choose likewise. If youth & their families decide 4-H international travel is a risk worth taking because the rewards are so great and so enduring, then what risks are we at the university willing to run in the name of doing what’s in the best interests of the youth, as determined by the youth & their parents or guardians themselves?
This time of year is a time of reflection on the past and resolution for the future. It is also a time to reassess and reaffirm our commitments to all the folks we engage as part of our mission in science outreach, including the young people—especially the young people.
https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/ for the Updater archive. === Coming Up This Week and This Month 1. During the fall, Science Alliance meets at 10:00 am Mondays, including today, Monday December 13. Please note the location for our fall meetings of Science Alliance: Room 1120 Wisconsin Energy Institute, 1552 University Avenue Please note the Zoom link for the fall: https://zoom.us/my/glbrc.weieducation.vmr?pwd=L2Q0L0g0S3lEd2gyazNscjA1d2JYZz09 The draft agenda for December 13 at 10am includes: • Welcome • Updates • Science Expeditions 2022 PlanningThanks, Tom Zinnen Note: please visit
Friday April 8
Saturday April 9
Sunday April 10
Send reminders and Invitations out now
Teachers (WSST), 4-H, Other
Map and Timetable
https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/.• Next Meeting: To be determined: Dec 20? January 3? As with the #Updater, the meeting notes are also archived on
http://today.wisc.edu/events/tag/science• Badger Talks Live: – https://www.facebook.com/UWConnects/live & https://badgertalks.wisc.edu/events/ Badger Talks Live will resume after the holidays on Tuesday, January 25 • Wednesday Nite @ The Lab Public Science Series every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT by zoom (go.wisc.edu/240r59) or in person in Room 1111 Genetics Biotech Center, 425 Henry Mall, Madison WI. On December 15, Randy Jackson of Agronomy and the Wisconsin Energy Institute/Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center speaks on “Grassland 2.0: Restoring People & Prairie to Agriculture.”2. Recurring Programming Events coming this week and soon. • Remember to Post your science outreach events and to Check for other events presented online and available to all at
3. A Mid-Winter’s Day Garden Series Starts January 22 with Friends of Allen Centennial Gardens
allencentenialgarden.wisc.edu. Jane Cramer Friends of Allen Centennial GardensAllen Centennial Garden, in partnership with the Friends of Allen Centennial Gardens, offers an annual Saturday morning winter program series during January and February on garden-related topics for ACG Friends and volunteers as well as the general public. Last year’s programs were virtual, and we will be using that format again in early 2022. There is a $10/session fee, but they are free for the Friends and volunteers. To register go to
4. The Wonders of Physics Traveling Show Is Backemail@example.com or visit https://wonders.physics.wisc.edu/book-a-program/ to book a program. Haddie McLean Outreach Specialist-Wonders of PhysicsUW-Madison Physics Department firstname.lastname@example.orgOur show is a fast-paced, interactive presentation that can be customized for any age group for maximum comprehension and enjoyment. We want to share our love of physics with all children and inspire the next generation of scientists. We supply all of the equipment and come to you! Email Haddie McLean at
5. Share Your Science with Necedah’s “Cardinal After School” by Zoom on Tuesdays throughout the coming spring semester. Starting on Tuesday February 1 and weekly thereafter, choose a Tuesday to share your science by zoom from 4:00-4:30pm for grades for middle school and high school; 4:30 to 5:00 for grades 3-5. It’s a good way to share existing activities, as well as to invite the students to help you prototype & hone new activities you’re developing. Contact Liz Jesse (email@example.com) or Tom Zinnen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions or suggestions. Sign up at the spreadsheet here.
Register for the 2022 WI KidWind Challenge! The KidWind Challenge is a hands-on wind turbine design competition that engages middle and high school students from across Wisconsin in STEM through the lens of wind energy. Student teams bring small-scale wind turbines to the challenge, test them in a wind tunnel, meet with a panel of expert judges to present their design process, tackle instant challenge activities, and explore green careers. The 2022 WI KidWind Challenge will take place on Saturday, February 26th at the Discovery Building at the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. Learn more and register your teams by January 14th here.6. Events from the Wisconsin Energy Institute
KidWind Coaches’ Happy Hours: Preparing for the 2022 KidWind Challenge or looking to learn more? Join us for a happy hour to chat with other coaches and share ideas. KidWind advisors and organizers will be on hand to answer your questions – from engineering and design tips and tricks, to FAQ about the registration process and what to expect on Challenge Day. Come for the whole hour or just a portion and BYO beverage of choice. January 13, 2022, 4:00 – 5:00 pm Central.
REGISTER for the January 13 Happy Hour HERE. Allison Bender Outreach Coordinator Wisconsin Energy Institute | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center 608.890.0946 email@example.com University Ave, Madison WI, Room 2160University of Wisconsin–Madison
7. UW Arboretum Fall Eventshttps://arboretum.wisc.edu/get-involved/volunteer/work-parties/See the full list of Sunday walks (nature hikes, family walks, and garden strolls), plus monthly night walks, on the Arboretum events calendar:https://arboretum.wisc.edu/visit/events/8. Events from Madison Friends of Urban NatureSaturday work parties, Sunday walks, and night walks Saturday restoration work parties, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Beaver Dam Arts & Peony Festival on June 4, 10am to 5pm is looking for youth activities. Location: Ovan’s Peony Farm, Beaver Dam Partners include Mill House Quilts, and New Sewing with Nancy Store. They expect about 500 people to come through. If interested in providing an Exploration Station in science or the arts, please reach out to Fran Puleo email@example.comFran Puleo Moyer Assistant Director of Outreach ProgramsUW Connects University of Wisconsin-Madisonfran.firstname.lastname@example.org | 920.296.0546 1308 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53715uwconnects.wisc.edu9. STEM Week at Farm Wisconsin December 28-30, 2021, in Manitowoc We invite you to participate in our annual event: STEM Week at Farm Wisconsin, this December 28-30, 2021. STEM Week at Farm Wisconsin is designed to engage visitors of all ages with hands-on activities in the areas of agriculture science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This year’s event will run for three days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – while students are on winter break. At this time, we are seeking businesses, organizations, community groups, and individuals to coordinate an interactive station highlighting STEM in agriculture. Stations may include a demonstration, experiment, craft or activity – the more hands-on, the better! Participants will be expected to staff their station for the whole day (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and may plan to attend one, two, or all three days. Please let me know if you would be interested in participating in our event and/or if you would like to brainstorm possible ideas for a station. Feel free to also spread the word to others you think may be interested in joining us this winter. I have attached a PDF with event details to this email for easy distribution. Thank you, Abigail Martin | Program Manager 920-726-6009 7001 Gass Lake Road | Manitowoc, WI 54220