UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater – November 14, 2022

UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater

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Monday 14 November 2022

Hi Everyone, 

This time four years ago we were commemorating the centennial of the end of World War I and, with a few notable exceptions, we were continuing to not remember the middle of Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919-1920.

Out of the war came monuments and holidays to honor the war dead, but few if any memorials to or mentions of the even larger number of people who died of the flu.

The Influenza Pandemic was a hard blow on the field of microbiology.  During the run of the pandemic, no causal agent was found, no diagnostic test was developed, no vaccine was invented, no effective pharmaceutical treatments were produced.  I take some instruction from the fact that historians date “The Golden Age of Microbiology” to run from 1857 to 1910 or maybe 1915, but I know of nobody who extends it to 1920.

In contrast, during the three-year run (so far) of the Covid pandemic we have witnessed remarkable microbiological achievements:  researchers sequenced the virus within days of the original outbreak, within weeks research on a vaccine was underway, within months diagnostic tests based on detecting viral RNA or viral antigens were developed, and within the first year the first vaccines were granted emergency use authorization by US federal agencies.

But for the fields of science communication and public engagement with science, it’s been rough.  Even the vaccines became a partisan issue that undercut the effectiveness of one of the foremost ways to slow the spread and lower the impacts of Covid.  With the midterm elections behind us, and with the start the fourth year of Covid just ahead of us, I’m left wondering what lessons we and our colleagues around the world in science outreach will distill from the ferment and foment of the past three years.

Thanks again!

Tom Zinnen

  ===Coming Up This Week and This Coming Month

1.  The UW-Madison Science Alliance meets weekly Monday at 10:00 am, including November 14, by Zoom.

 The Zoom link for the fall meetings of Science Alliance will continue to be: https://zoom.us/my/glbrc.weieducation.vmr?pwd=L2Q0L0g0S3lEd2gyazNscjA1d2JYZz09

The draft agenda for November 14 at 10 am includes:•  Welcome•  Updates

•  The Planning Timeline and the Budget for the 21st Annual UW Science Expeditions April 14-16, 2023

            Review of 2022 People, Places & Programs to Invite for 2023

            Additional Colleagues & Venues to Recruit

•  Some upcoming UW-Madison Science Outreach Events seeking Presenters:

a.       Cardinal After School on Tuesdays from 4pm to 5pm

b.       Healing Labs + Science Alliance Coalition:  “Family Science Starters” at Goodman Madison South Branch Library, Tuesday Nov 15, 4-6 pm.

c.    Southern Lakes Advanced Learner Network’s “Science Immersion Day” Slated for Tuesday February 14 at UW-Madison. About 80 students, 20 teachers.  Theme:  “For the Love of Science”

•  Other Business

•  Decision to make: whether to meet next on Monday, November 21, 10 am, or November 28.  

As with the #Updater, the Science Alliance meeting notes are also archived on https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/.

 2. Recurring Programming Events Coming This Week and Soon.

•  Weekly Reminder: Please Post your science outreach events and Check for Other Science Events presented online and available to all at http://today.wisc.edu/events/tag/science

 Saturday Science Workshops at UW Space Place  every Saturday, from 10 am to 11 am.

These family-friendly events are always free and open to the public every Saturday morning during the school year. This program is held in person only at UW Space Place, 2300 S. Park St, Madison. The workshop starts promptly at 10:00 and is typically over by 11:00.

 Badger Talks Live:  Watch live and in archive at  https://www.facebook.com/BadgerTalks/live_videos/  and check the schedule at  https://badgertalks.wisc.edu/events/.  Tuesday, November 15, noon features Evaluating Health Information Online” with Catherine Arnott Smith, Professor, The Information School.  Click here to view the references for this talk

 “PLATO  Frontiers in Life Sciences” continue its 10-week Fall Series of public talks held every Wednesday at 1pm at UW Space Place, 2300 South Park Street, Madison.  Come listen in live or zoom to the room at go.wisc.edu/27448v.  On November 16 Elizabeth Berryman of Botany will speak on “The Role of ESCRT Proteins in Regulating Plasma Membranes.”

 • “Wednesday Nite @ The Lab” series of public science talks 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.  On November 16 Mark Copelovitch of Political Science & the La Follette School speaks on “Inflation, the Global Economy, and the Consequences of the Midterm Elections.”

3. Inaugural “Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Public Science Engagement Award” 

Dear Colleagues,

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research is proud to be co-sponsoring the inaugural Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Public Science Engagement Award in partnership with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Morgridge Institute for Research.

I’d like to encourage you to share the news of the award and ask you to consider nominating a staff and/or faculty member.

The award will be presented in recognition of a University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and academic staff member (one awarded to each category) who has shown excellence in engaging the public in their work in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) research. Two $5,000 awards will be announced and presented in spring 2023. Nominations are accepted until Nov. 21.

The award is named for Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, emeritus professor of chemistry and the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea, in honor of his “Science is Fun” philosophy and long-term commitment to science education and public engagement.

To learn more about Bassam and how to nominate a staff or faculty member visit: https://www.warf.org/programs-events/innovators-investors-and-researchers/bassam-z-shakhashiri-public-science-engagement-award/.



Steven A Ackerman Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education steven.ackerman@wisc.edu 608-262-1044 Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences stevea@ssec.wisc.edu 608-263-3647

4.  Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers Annual Convention Will Be in Madison on March 9-11, 2023.

See the schedule for submitting proposals for workshops at https://wsst.org/2023-conference.

Deadlines:  Sessions & Snapshots – December 15, 2022Please remember that it is WSST Policy that:– All presenters must register for the conference.– No products for services can be offered for sale at the workshops or sessions.– Half-day and full-day workshop fees cannot include a stipend for presenters to cover transportation/lodging costs.Please contact WSST Conference Chairs Corinne Michor <corinne.michor@gmail.com> or Patrick Mootz <patrickmootz@gmail.com> with any questions.

5. ACRES Moonshot Virtual STEM Coach 

Receive a $500 stipend to attend training plus $1000 for every cohort you coach.

Applications due November 23rd — Sign up today!

Are you an afterschool leader and looking to build capacity for STEM engagement in your afterschool program?

Would you like to train your staff through a live, nationally recognized coaching program?

In partnership with the Million Girls Moonshot, the ACRES team is looking for job-secure afterschool program leaders (i.e. Site Directors, Site Coordinators, STEM Specialists, Professional Development and Training staff) who work directly with frontline staff to be trained to become an ACRES Virtual STEM Coach. As an ACRES Virtual STEM Coach, you will build your organization’s capacity by training 3 to 6 members of your staff in at least 2 ACRES modules. This is your chance to be part of an educational change on how we train and support educators to facilitate high quality, engaging STEM that reaches all youth.

[ACRES = Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM.  Thanks to Dolly Ledin for submitting this announcement.]

6.  Check Out the 2022-2023 “Family Science Nights” Opportunities: 


Researchers & Outreachers, if you’d like to help with Family Science Nights over the coming months, please sign up here.

Parents & Teachers, if you’d like help in inviting UW researchers & outreachers to participate in your Family Science event, please sign up here.

7. “The Physics of Climate Change” Invites STEM Teachers to Collaborate


Are you a STEM teacher interested in incorporating climate science concepts into your curriculum but don’t know where to start? 

The Physics of Climate Change project, a collaboration between the UW–Madison Department of Physics and Wisconsin’s 4-H program sponsored by the Wisconsin Idea Collaboration Grant, has you covered! Adding climate science concepts into your curriculum this school year is made easy with an engaging activity, easy-to-use teacher materials, and in-class support from the project team.

If you are interested in having the project team join your class for a session during the 2022-23 school year, or if you’re simply interested in receiving the activity instructions, please fill out this form. Please reach out to Mallory Conlon (mallory.conlon@wisc.edu) with any questions.

8. UW Science Alliance is continuing its collaboration with the Healing Labs Consortium to present in the underserved communities throughout Madison. 

The newest opportunities have been set up in the Madison Public Library – Goodman South Madison located at 2222 S Park St, Madison, WI 53713 from 5pm – 7pm.

The idea is to have smaller science hands-on events on different dates this fall. We are looking for 3-4 science hands-on stations on each of these dates in this part of the city and to reach out to this side of Madison’s underserved communities:

•Tuesday, November 15 from 5-7pm

•Thursday, December 1 from 5-7pm

To sign up for one or more events to participate with a hands-on station or to volunteer, please contact Ana Garic (ana.garic@wisc.edu)

9.  Fond du Lac County 4-H Family Learning Day is Saturday, February 25.

4-H Family Learning Day is February 25 at the Fond du Lac Campus of UW-Oshkosh.  We are looking for presenters to teach sessions, including in STEM fields. 

Family Learning Day is an opportunity for 4-H members (grades K-12) and the community to learn a new skill. Please help make this day a success by volunteering to teach a session or two. If you need help with your session, invite another person to co-teach with you. The program is held at UW-Oshkosh’s campus at Fond du Lac. Sessions 2 and 3 are 90 minutes, while sessions 1 and 4 are 60 minutes. Indicate the length and time of day that fits your needs. You may repeat your session if you wish.

Here’s the 4-H Family Learning Day Presenter form: https://go.wisc.edu/familylearningday2023presenter. 

Please let me know if you have any questions.


 Tina Engelhardt

Program Assistant

UW-Madison Extension Fond du Lac County


Phone: (920) 929-3171

Fax: (920) 929-3181

Hearing Impaired Relay: 711


10.  UW Arboretum Fall Events

Saturday work parties, Sunday walks, and night walksSaturday restoration work parties, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.: https://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/

Taking a self-guided stroll is one way to explore the Arboretum on your own terms. Some of the most popular routes include the Grady Tract Loop, the Curtis Prairie, or a five mile loop through the whole arboretum. Always remember to stay on the paths to preserve wild plants + wear appropriate shoes.  


You can also take one of the free guided nature walks offered for different skill levels and ages on a weekly basis. Most meet at the Visitor’s Center, located right in the heart of the arboretum.

  • Nature Walks — Every Sunday at 1 p.m., learn about the land, plants, and animals from local naturalists.
  • Nature Hikes — On the first and third Sundays of the month, adults are invited on these longer walks.
  • Family Nature Walks — On the second Sunday of the month, families can explore the arboretum with a guide.
  • Garden Strolls — On the fourth Sunday of the month, gently-paced strolls are offered with wheelchair-accessible routes.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Check out the calendar for monthly night walks, seasonal birding hikes + more family-friendly events.


The arboretum is open daily from 4 a.m.-10 p.m. and is always free. 

UW Arboretum Events

See Arboretum events calendar for details and registration: https://arboretum.wisc.edu/visit/events/


– Saturday, November 19, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Ecological Restoration Work Party: Grady Tract

– Saturday, November 19, 1–3 p.m. Class: History of the Arboretum’s Lost City ($, registration required)

– Sunday, November 20, 1–2:30 p.m. Nature Hike

– Saturday, November 26, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Ecological Restoration Work Party: Core Area and Curtis Prairie

– Sunday, November 27, 1–2 p.m. Garden Stroll

11. Events from Madison Friends of Urban Nature


“Kids Nature Adventures” November Wednesdays 3-4:30pm at Warner Park with Paul Noeldner and UW-Madison Student Volunteers


“Designs in Nature” Sat Nov 19, 10am at Olbrich Park with Master Naturalist JoAnn Riecke

“Prairie Seed Collection” Sun Nov 20, 1:30pm at Warner Park with Master Naturalist Alex Singer

“Masting and Natural Excess” Sat Nov 26, 10am at Aldo Leopold Nature Center/Edna Taylor with Master Naturalist Alex Singer

“Thanksgiving Birds” Sat Nov 26, 1:30pm at Pheasant Branch Prairie with Master Naturalist Paul Noeldner

“Fun Fall Birding” Sun Nov 27, 1:30pm at UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve with Bird Guide Chuck Henrikson

For more events, see https://cityofmadison.com/parks/events/bird-nature.cfm

HOW CAN I JOIN THE Friends of Urban Nature?

* Join the FUN with Friends of Urban Nature Parks and Partner Groups co-sponsored nature outings!

* Outings are FREE, healthy, welcoming, diverse and family and kid friendly

* Just show up, no registration required unless noted, rain or shine unless weather is dangerous;  no pets

* See guided outing details below and at http://CityofMadison.com/Parks/Events/Bird-Nature.cfm

* Find maps, fun facts and activities for self-guided walks at http://Tinyurl.com/MadisonFUNAdventures

* Connect with outing co-sponsor parks, environmental and friends groups for more great nature activities!