The Extremes of Antarctic Weather & Climate; The Lakeshore Nature Preserve; The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors

For 17 August 2022    

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Two weeks ago I was within a hundred miles of nicking the Arctic Circle.  I was on dry land in a T shirt and shorts.  Had I been within the same distance of the Antarctic Circle, I’d almost certainly be on water, perhaps ice, and would soon be dead in those duds, even in the highest austral summer at those latitudes.

The poles are poles apart.  The North Pole is stuck in the Arctic Ocean, covered with a skin of ice thin enough a submarine can break through and surface.  The South Pole is on a continental landmass covered with 9,000 feet of ice.  The North Pole is rimmed, or nearly so, by a circle of lands, and the Arctic Ocean has but one skinny connection with the Pacific through the Bering Strait.  The South Pole’s Antarctica is rimmed by a circle of oceans, or rather as the Australians will tell you, by a singular Southern Ocean.  Mariners rate the Drake Passage, the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, as the roughest waters on Earth, fueled in part by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that spins west to east.

I’m guessing the weather on the continent itself can be as wild as that in the Southern Ocean.  This week Matthew Lazzara will bring his nearly three decades of explorations and data collection to help us get a grip on the meteorology of Antarctica.


On August 17 Matthew Lazzara of Space Science & Engineering will speak on “Observing the Extremes of Antarctic Weather and Climate.”

Description:   Antarctica offers some of the most extreme weather and climate on planet Earth.  Its breathtaking views and vistas are balanced by extreme cold, strong winds, and storm-force conditions. This presentation reviews some of these extremes along with outlining some extraordinary weather events as captured by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Automatic Weather Station network, now in its 42nd year of operation. The trials and tribulations of maintaining such a network will be illustrated. The value of observations and data will be discussed including the debut of the Antarctic Meteorological Research and Data Center data repository, and a joint project between UW-Madison and Madison Area Technical College, with an ever-growing collection of Antarctic meteorological datasets. The culmination of these efforts provides observations of the extremes in weather and climate of the world’s southern-most continent.

Bio: Dr. Matthew A. Lazzara is a Senior Scientist and Research Meteorologist at the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison). He is also a full-time faculty member and Department Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences in the School of Engineering, Science, and Mathematics at Madison Area Technical College. He is the Principal Investigator of the Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) Program and Antarctic Meteorological Research & Data Center Project that is a part of the United States Antarctic Program. He has worked on-site at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and at UW–Madison from 1995 to the present, with 10 deployments to Antarctica. His areas of expertise include Antarctic meteorology and climate, satellite meteorology, education, and interactive meteorological processing systems. Dr. Lazzara is currently the President of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology.

Explore More:



On August 24 Laura Wyatt and Adam Gundlach of Facilities & Planning Management will speak on “The Lakeshore Nature Preserve:  UW-Madison’s Largest Outdoor Classroom on Campus.”

Description:  The Lakeshore Nature Preserve encompasses 300+ acres of the 936-acre UW-Madison campus, protecting a complex matrix of forests, prairies, wetlands, and former savanna ecosystems as an urban ecology field station. Situated on ancestral lands of the Ho-Chunk Nation, the land has been part of the four lakes region known as Teejop (day Jope) since time immemorial. The Preserve includes 4.3 miles of Lake Mendota’s shoreline from Muir Woods on the east, along University Bay to the Class of 1918 Marsh and out to the tip of Picnic Point; from Biocore prairie and Frautschi Point to Eagle Heights Woods at the west boundary of campus.

Located just steps away from lecture halls on the UW-Madison Campus, the Preserve provides hands-on-experiential learning opportunities for students, faculty, and citizen scientists.

Our presentation will provide a glimpse of the Preserve’s past and share how the Preserve currently shelters natural environments and cultural resources while facilitating its use as a living classroom for teaching and research needs as well as serving as a place of respite and well-being. In the Wisconsin forward tradition, we will close with a glimpse into future planning.

Bios:  Laura Wyatt is the Assistant Director of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve where she works with the Director creating work plans, budgets, and oversees the day-to-day operations including programs and permitted use, facility management, operations, and staff. Influenced by living near Morton Arboretum (Lisle, IL) as a child, Laura has spent her 40-year career supporting positive people-plant connections as an Extension Educator for University of Illinois; Director of Klehm Arboretum;  WDNR Urban Forestry Council Liaison; and staff of Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Garden. Laura has a BS (Purdue) and MS (UW) in horticulture with a specialty in woody plants.  She is a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture.

Adam Gundlach is the Field Projects Coordinator for the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, leading day-to-day field management activities of Preserve staff, interns, contractor crews and campus partners, as well as interpreting the site for academic use by faculty and students. Invasive species monitoring and control efforts form a primary backdrop of daily work, but Preserve staff put significant time toward addressing issues of user safety, maintaining trails and the Picnic Point fire circles, and serving the needs of a diverse user base. Adam received a BS-Natural Resources degree from UW-Madison majoring in Wildlife Ecology. He has worked in the Preserve for the past 13 years and before joining the Preserve staff gained experience working for non-profit organizations, state agencies (WDNR), and private ecological consulting contractors. Formerly Chair on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council, fire ecology is a burning passion of Adam’s, and expanding the safe and effective use of prescribed fire to meet land management goals a focal point.

Explore More:   jk


On August 31 James Edward Mills of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and of The Joy Trip Project will speak on “Closing the Adventure Gap:  Changing the Face of the Outdoors.”

Description:  The nation’s wild places——from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas——belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Mills addresses in his new book, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors.

Bridging the so-called “adventure gap” requires role models who can inspire the uninitiated to experience and enjoy wild places. Once new visitors are there, a love affair often follows. This is important because as our country grows increasingly multicultural, our natural legacy will need the devotion of people of all races and ethnicities to steward its care.

In 2013, the first all-African American team of climbers, sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), challenged themselves on North America’s highest point, the dangerous and forbidding Denali, in Alaska. Mills uses Expedition Denali and its team members’ adventures as a jumping-off point to explore how minority populations view their place in wild environments and to share the stories of those who have already achieved significant accomplishments in outdoor adventures——from Mathew Henson, a Black explorer who stood with Peary at the North Pole, to Kai Lightner, a teenage sport climber currently winning national competitions. The goal of the expedition, and now the book, is to inspire minority communities to look outdoors for experiences that will enrich their lives, and to encourage them toward greater environmental stewardship.

Bio:  James Edward Mills is a journalist and media producer. He specializes in stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving, and practices of sustainable living. He has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, and writer. Learn more about him at

Explore More:


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

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