The Lakeshore Nature Preserve: UW-Madison’s Largest Outdoor Classroom on Campus; The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors; The UW MIA Project’s 2022 Recovery Mission in Belgium

“Wednesday Nite @ The Lab” Public Science Seminar

Wednesdays at 7pm CT

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


Stream at


For 24 August 2022    

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Visitors to a house tend to be welcomed and to come in through the front door, especially first-time visitors.  But some visitors become friends, and if you’re lucky that is especially true of your neighbors.  Eventually, you come to feel more comfortable if the visiting friends come through the backyard to the backdoor, which at least at my current house is the main door.

It’s a good thing for campuses to have front doors, places where first-time visitors with fresh eyes can receive a warm welcome, some answers to questions, and some guidance on directions and destinations.  A few campuses are lucky enough to have the equivalent of a backdoor where people can feel free to come on over and explore.  For me, the Lakeshore Nature Preserve serves as that kind of place for UW-Madison, where folks from the campus or the community or from across the state can come take in some of the great spaces and places of their public land-grant research & extension university.  They can walk along the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path starting at the Hasler Limnology Lab, head westbound beneath Muir Knoll, and onward towards Willow Creek, out to the Class of 1918 Marsh. They can trek to the tip of Picnic Point and amble over to Eagle Heights Woods, Raymer Cove and Frautschi Point.  Some of the best panoramas of Madison come into view, along with an astonishing array of plants, birds and other wildlife, too.

The Lakeshore Nature Preserve says something about things we value, and those include hospitality, exploration, sharing, history, culture, and stewardship. The word “campus” derives from the Latin word for “field” and yet this campus in no small way is defined by the Lake, and the Lakeshore is where the Lake and the Field and the Wood all come together.  Maybe that’s why it’s a place so many of us like to come to gather together.

This week Laura Wyatt and Adam Gundlach will speak on the origins, functions and future of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.  As always, you can attend in person at 7pm Wednesday at the Biotech Center.  If you can’t be in the room you can also attend by zoom at  Maybe you’ll tune in from a favorite place by a lake. Wherever you come from, whenever you arrive on campus, I hope you’ll feel the hospitality, especially when you’re along Lake Mendota.



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 in creating work plans, and 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 the 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 of 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 is 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

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On September 7 I’ll be giving the talk entitled “The Stories Behind the MIA Project’s 2022 Recovery Mission in Belgium” based on the team’s work from June 26 to July 19 searching for the remains of a missing-in-action airman at the crash site of a US Army Air Force bomber shot down in Belgium in 1944.

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

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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 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 

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