Nels Paulson, PhD is a sociologist at University of Wisconsin-Stout. His research generally focuses on the environment and civil society. Past research projects include hunting as a substantive issue among international environmental organizations, disaster relief and religion, and the place of indigenous groups in global environmental advocacy and governance. His publications have appeared in Conservation and Society, Nature and Culture, and Environmental Values, among other academic journals. His current work, for which he Co-Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation sponsored LAKES REU with Dr. Ferguson, is on phosphorus pollution in the Midwestern United States and the place of civil society and farmer social networks in mitigating non-point source pollution. Dr. Paulson regularly gives presentations on this topic, including a TEDx Talk and the keynote address for the National Science Olympiad.
Tina Lee, PhD is a cultural anthropologist whose work examines public policy and inequality in the contemporary United States. For the past three years, she has been a mentor in the LAKES REU program. She has worked with her students to investigate the daily work of local officials responsible for implementing environmental policy; the views and practices of those engaged in working to improve water quality; how impaired watersheds impact local communities, including business and tourism; and how community members remember the watershed and its uses. In addition to her work with the LAKES Project, Dr. Lee is the director of the Applied Social Science Program at UW-Stout, the Co-Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation Funded grant “Exploring, Documenting, and Improving Humanitarian Service Learning through Engineers Without Borders, USA,” and the author of the book Catching a Case: Inequality and Fear in New York City’s Child Welfare System.
Chris Ferguson, PhD is a public economist who studies local public policy issues, human capital, and strategic mechanisms for implementing sustainable economic growth policies. As a LAKES REU mentor, he has worked with his students to use contingent valuation methods to understand the value of clean water to communities, and the economic impacts of water pollution on tourism, businesses, and the housing market. This work has resulted in not only a better understanding of how the communities values water, but has led to a greater understanding of community resources and views that can potentially be tapped to lead to water quality improvement. His work with Dr. Paulson has also been funded by a grant from the WI DNR and the Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to his work on the LAKES project, he is the director of the Honors College at UW-STOUT.
Over the past three years, a team of researchers from UW-Stout mobilized the LAKES project (Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability) to offer new knowledge on a variety of questions regarding the Red Cedar Watershed. This research involved economics, biology, geology, anthropology, geography, mathematics, and sociology. The knowledge we produced with our students has tried to empower a variety of citizens who care about improving their lives and our land and water. Frankly, our research suggests it’s not only possible to have cleaner waters, but probable. But it won’t come from nowhere. This presentation will offer insight into what we know about getting there.
NRCS, in conjunction with many partners, has captured the hearts, souls, and minds of millions of Americans regarding Soil Health. Property managers who pursue soil health principles realize a multitude of natural resource benefits. This presentation will discuss the state of our knowledge related to soil health, and convey on benefits to land managers and the public.
Jimmy Bramblett is the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In this role, he oversees all aspects of NRCS conservation practice standards, specifications, research needs, and applications across the nation.
Prior to serving as Deputy Chief for Science and Technology, Jimmy served as the Wisconsin State Conservationist for four years. While State Conservationist, Jimmy managed over $75 million annually and helped place a greater emphasis on conservation planning, and application, including soil health.
Also while working with NRCS, Jimmy held an Adjunct Faculty (Research Scientist) position in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at The University of Georgia for 10 years.
A native of Georgia, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics, and a Master of Science in Environmental Economics from The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. He has also completed post-graduate work at The University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
“When I was young, I dreamed the Earth was healed and whole again, creatures, trees, and rivers free and wild. Now I am old, I dream the Earth is healed and whole again. The dreams are born forever in the heart of each new child.” The words of Libby Roderick’s folksong call us to action to defend the dreams of children, the rights of rivers, the yearning of future generations of all beings for an enduring way of life -- to rise, every one of us, in defense of all that we love too much to lose. So what are we going to do first? What will we do second? Where will we find the moral clarity and the courage?
Kathleen Dean Moore, Ph.D., is a philosopher, environmental advocate, and essayist, best known for award-winning books about our cultural and moral relation to wet, wild places. Among them are Riverwalking, Pine Island Paradox, Wild Comfort, and Holdfast, winner of the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. Until recently Distinguished Professor of Environmental Ethics at Oregon State University, Moore’s love for the reeling world has led her to a new life of climate writing, speaking, and activism. Her most recent book, Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change, follows the pivotal Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, testimony from the world’s moral leaders about our obligations to the future. Moore’s environmental writing returns to the wild-weather coast in her novel, The Piano Tide, “a savagely funny eco-thriller” about a small town’s dramatic action to defend its freshwater. She writes from Corvallis, Oregon and from a small cabin where two creeks and a bear trail meet a tidal cove in Alaska.
Improving soil health takes more than just a "one and done" approach. Cover crops, reduced tillage, diverse crop rotations, rotational grazing, and enhanced manure management, when used strategically and in combination as part of a whole farm, systems-based approach, can help help farmers achieve their crop production and soil health promotion goals. In this session, we will discuss the soil health promoting practices, their interplay in impacting soil biological, chemical and physical properties, the importance of planning for improved soil health, and project results from agronomic/soil health field studies in northeast Wisconsin.
Jamie Patton, Agricultural Agent and Department Head, Shawano County – UW Extension
Great Hall, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Jamie joined University of Wisconsin Extension in 2013 as the Shawano County Agriculture Agent. Her current research and outreach work is focused on utilizing an agronomic systems approach to crop production and soil health improvement. Prior to joining UW-Extension, Jamie taught soil science at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.
Mr. Isham will discuss the Red Cedar in the context of his tribe’s treaty reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights. He will also discuss the ways his tribe has and continues to use the watershed, and the importance of protecting and restoring the natural resources found throughout the treaty ceded territories.
Michael J. “Mic” Isham, Jr., Chairman, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of the Superior Chippewa Indians
Ballroom AB, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Michael J. “Mic” Isham, Jr. is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and has served on the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board since 1995. He also has served on the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission’s Board of Commissioners since 1995, currently serving as the Board’s Chair, and on the Commission’s Voigt Intertribal Task Force for over 16 years, currently serving as the Task Force’s Vice-Chair. Mr. Isham is a graduate of Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin in Socio/Political Environmental Studies.
This session will discuss opportunities to grow diverse crops and ways that farmers can use perennial crops, small grains, beans, oilseeds, and food grade corn to create more diverse crop rotations and sources of income. We will discuss newly developed grain varieties bred specifically for organic farms that provide farmers with the opportunity to create a resilient system that can be maintained with minimal purchased inputs. The session will highlight opportunities for collaboration and how emerging markets like craft brewing and distilling in Chicago can help farmers capture more of the money people spend on food and drink. Other benefits of diverse crop rotations that will be discussed include: improved soil health and water quality and the potential for integrating livestock.
Bill Davison, Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms, University of Illinois Extension
Cedar/Maple, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Bill Davison is a biologist and farmer and has spent the past three years working as a Local Food System Educator with University of Illinois Extension. Davison has combined his understanding of natural areas and ecological restoration with his experience running his own organic vegetable farm to inform his work building local food systems in Illinois. He started a project called the Grand Prairie Grain Guild which is designed to help re-build a regional grain economy so that farmers can sell food grade grains into local markets. Davison works with a diverse network of farmers, chefs, bakers, entrepreneurs, researchers and non-profit organizations to build the relationships and markets that is needed for farmers to run profitable businesses.
The workshop will have presentations from two farmers who are each developing very innovative, but also very different, approaches to operating profitable, efficient and environmentally responsible dairy farms.
Dave Styer, Owner/Operator, Alfalawn Farms
Joe Tomandl III, Farmer and Executive Director, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship
Great Hall, 10:15 am – 11:15 am
Dave Styer owns and operates Alfalawn Farm in Dunn County along with brothers Randy and Dale Styer. The Styer family has been dairy farming in the area the since the 1860’s. They currently house 2,200 cows, along with young stock. They farm 3,200 acres of land, consisting of corn, alfalfa, some soybeans and cover crops. Dave is a strong proponent of conservation and their family has practiced no-till farming for 20 years. The farm has incorporated many energy and water saving features into a recent expansion that includes a cross-vent barn, 60 stall rotary parlor and robotic feeders for the calves.
Joe Tomandl III is a grass-based Wisconsin dairy farmer who also serves as the Executive Director for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, which is providing innovative, hands-on training opportunities for new farmers. Joe and his family manage a 175 cow home dairy, and a 175 cow satellite dairy on a neighboring farm. Joe’s farm utilizes managed rotational grazing on perennial forages as a way to reduce purchased inputs, maintain animal health and restore soil, water and natural habitats. In 2016, Joe was named in the national Farm Credit System’s Fresh Perspectives top 100.
This session will present the history and current status of clean water management activities throughout the Red Cedar River Basin. The opportunities and challenges of the implementation of clean water management and sustaining those activities will discussed. This session will encourage discussion from participants of how our communities can lead to achieving clean water throughout the Red Cedar River Basin.
Buzz Sorge, Lake Management Planner, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - Retired
Ballroom AB, 10:15 am – 11:15 am
Buzz has worked has worked in the Red Cedar Basin to achieve cleaner water beginning in 1988 and continues to work with communities. He has provided technical guidance on multiple water quality assessment projects in the 1980’s and 1990’s. His work over the past decade has focused on supporting communities and lake groups engaging communities, developing governance structures within organizations, developing community based water quality plans and assisting communities implement projects to improve water quality and aquatic habitat.
An increasing amount of the farmed land is rented from non-operating landowners. It is important to keep the soil on rented land and out of the water to keep our water clean. This will be conversation and how-to session for farm land owners who lease land to farmers to ensure their land is farmed in a way that builds the soil as an asset and helps keep the water clean.
Terry VanDerPol, Community Based Food Systems Director, www.landstewardshipproject.org
Cedar/Maple, 10:15 am – 11:15 am
Terry VanDerPol grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in western Minnesota. After college and working in the Twin Cities in human services, she moved back to western Minnesota and started working for Land Stewardship Project in 1996. She has been involved in LSP’s federal policy work, research on the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable livestock systems, especially grazing, and has worked to promote regional food systems. She currently directs the watershed stewardship work in the Chippewa watershed in western Minnesota and the Root watershed in southeast Minnesota. Through this effort LSP has launched an initiative to help non-operating landowners, especially women landowners enhance stewardship of their land through conservation leasing. Terry also raises and markets grass fed beef on her farm in Minnesota River valley in western Minnesota.