When Good Trees Go Bad; The WiBee App for Wild Bees; Building a Better Potato; Snakes Around Town


“Wednesday Nite @ The Lab” Public Science Seminar

Wednesdays at 7pm CT

Room 1111 Genetics Biotech Center, 425 Henry Mall, Madison WI, 


Zoom at go.wisc.edu/240r59


For 13 July 2022    

Hi WN@TL Fans,

In the novel “My Side of the Mountain” a teen-aged Sam Gribley chopped and burnt out a dwelling by expanding a hole at the base of an eastern cedar tree in the Catskills.  It’s a captivating idea, living off the land, holed up snugly in a hollow in a tree, heated by a little wood-burning stove, a deerskin for a door.  Of course, when the blizzards came–and worse, the ice storms–Sam had to cower in his arboral cavity wondering if his tree would stand or split or shatter.

I’ve never lived on or in a tree, but I do have a prized maple tree in my backyard—prized foremost because a limb 15 feet off the ground has supported the swing that has given flight to my kids.  Like Sam’s tree, mine is hollow: an opening about 10 feet off the ground has been a squirrel condominium ever since we moved in 12 years ago.  During three storms in recent years, the maple has demasted itself of branches large enough to require bow-sawing to clear the fallen debris of the tree.

I anticipate that my tree’s days are numbered, and the number is a low one.  My kids have outgrown the swing, mostly; and the tree leans over the garage.  Yet it’s no small cost in dollars spent and in shade-and-swing lost to cut down a mature tree and grind out the stump.

This scenario is echoed all over my neighborhood, and probably all over Wisconsin, wherever land-owners or park districts or municipalities have to balance the delights of trees with the risks of the trees when they go hollow with rot.  This week we get to explore the many angles of this sylvan dilemma.


On July 13 Glen Stanosz of Forest & Wildlife Ecology will speak on “Diseased, Decayed, Defective and Dangerous:  When Good Trees Go Bad.”

Description:  Trees provide a variety of benefits to society. But trees also lose branches or break when forces exceed their structural strength or the root-soil connection. Tree failure can cause severe damage to houses and other structures, deny access or use of infrastructure, and injure or kill people. Landowners have legal “duty of care” for trees on their properties, including responsibility to obtain expert assistance when appropriate. Learn how qualified arborists assess tree risk by estimating likelihood of tree failure and impact, and the consequences to property and people. Dr. Glen Stanosz is the UW-Madison emeritus professor of tree and forest health, and is also a certified arborist with the additional qualification in tree risk assessment.

Bio:  Glen Stanosz is a Wisconsin native and the Emeritus Professor of Tree and Forest Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He studies the biology and management of tree diseases caused by fungi, and is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society.  Glen is an award-winning teacher with students including not just university undergraduates, but also professionals in forestry and the green industry.

Explore More:   https://www.waa-isa.org



On July 20 Claudio Gratton of Entomology returns to Wednesday Nite @ The Lab to speak on “The WiBee App: The Wisconsin Wild Bee Community-Science Project to Count and Learn about Bees!”

Description:  Wisconsin is home to over 400 species of wild bees that are important pollinators of both wildflowers and crop plants such as apples, berries, melons, squash, and cucumbers.  Tracking pollinator activity can help inform local conservation and pollination management practices to improve crop yield or quality.  But wild bees vary a lot across the landscape and through the growing season so we need lots of data from all over the state in order to understand when and where wild bees occur in the landscape.  The WiBee App is a new citizen science smartphone app designed for growers, gardeners, and nature enthusiasts to conduct short pollinator surveys on flowers and blooming crops.  Join us to learn about bees and how you can participate in this state-wide project on Wisconsin’s wild bees.

Bio: Claudio Gratton has been a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 2003.  His research group focuses on the landscape ecology of beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes with an emphasis on bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.  When he is not working, Claudio can often be found perfecting his homemade pizza recipe or cheering on his hometown soccer team, AS Roma.

Explore More:  https://pollinators.wisc.edu/wibee/



Hope to see you soon, in person or by zoom, at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Tom ZinnenBiotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H

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If you’ll be watching the Zoom for the first time, please register for the WN@TL Zoom at go.wisc.edu/240r59. 

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WN@TL begins at 7:00pm Central.

You can also watch the web stream at the WN@TL YouTube channel.

UW-Madison:  5.9 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university. 

Visit UW-Madison’s science outreach portal at science.wisc.edu for information on the people, places & programs on campus that welcome you to come experience science as exploring the unknown, all year round. 

Here are the components of the WN@TL User’s Guide

1. The live WN@TL seminar, every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT in Room 1111 Genetics Biotech Center and on Zoom at go.wisc.edu/240r59 

2. The WN@TL YouTube channel

3. WN@TL on the University Place broadcast channel of PBS Wisconsin 

4. WN@TL on the University Place website 


Park for a small fee in Lot 20, 1390 University Avenue, Madison, WI