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Innovative outreach ideas earn 2007 Baldwin Wisconsin Idea grants for four CALS teams

No question that CALS faculty and staff are leaders when it comes to devising innovative outreach initiatives. For evidence of that, consider that four of nine Wisconsin Idea grants awarded for 2007 were proposed by teams or individuals from the College. Successful CALS projects iinclude:

  • Biology Outreach Club: Today’s Outreach, Tomorrow’s Outreachers — Catherine Vrenta, Bacteriology
  • Green Affordable Housing in Indian Country — Susan Thering, Landscape Architecture
  • Improving Nutrition in Uganda — Kenneth Shapiro, Agricultural and Applied Economics/CALS International and Susan Nitzke, Nutritional Sciences
  • Tribal Youth Science Media Camp — Patty Loew and Don Stanley, Life Sciences Communication.

The Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowmentis intended to advance The Wisconsin Idea through the development of new and innovative initiatives and new dimensions to existing outreach activities by creating and strengthening partnerships and collaborations, sharing and applying knowledge, and expanding access to lifelong learning.

Here are abridged versions of the four successful proposals:

Biology Outreach Club: Today’s Outreach, Tomorrow’s Outreachers
Catherine Vrenta, Bacteriology

The Biology Outreach Club (BOC) is a UW graduate student-run group that connects learners across Wisconsin to the science research currently being done at UW-Madison. BOC members, who come from a wide range of life science fields, design and construct hands-on learning modules based on their own research topics and present these to K-12 student, family, and retired adult audiences. The outreach efforts of the BOC connect learners across the state to the research at UW-Madison and train future science leaders in informal science education. Over the next 3 years, BOC members will design new outreach materials on a wide range of biology topics, make written materials available to teachers and learners online, and extend the scope of the outreach efforts to lower-income neighborhoods and beyond Dane County.
Green Affordable Housing in Indian Country — Susan Thering, Landscape Architecture
This project extends an ongoing initiative that partners faculty and students from the UW-Madison Dept of Landscape Architecture with Tribal Colleges and Native American communities in Wisconsin to demonstrate best practices in community planning, conservation design, and housing construction. The initiative will build on our success with these activities with four of our neighboring Nations over the past five years. The results will include demonstration houses and teams of local trades people who understand the principles, and have hands-on experience with construction methods, involved with green energy efficient affordable housing. The final products will include a set of user-friendly technical manuals, construction documents, teaching tools, and a documentary video that illustrate the best of “green” housing construction.

Improving Nutrition in Uganda — Kenneth Shapiro, Agricultural and Applied Economics/CALS International and Susan Nitzke, Nutritional Sciences

This project will improve nutritional health in 165 Ugandan villages with a population of 66,000. It will also build the capacity of the Ugandan health training system to continue this work in the two target districts, and it will undertake evaluation that will provide guidance to ongoing efforts to develop a nationwide, nutrition education program. Uganda reflects the dreadful situation of malnutrition in Africa — one third of her people are undernourished, 40% of her children are stunted, and one in seven Ugandan children never live to see their fifth birthday. UW will expand its partnership with the Makerere University Institute of Public Health (MUIPH) to provide nutrition content and outreach education methods. Nine UW faculty and staff and 5 students will make 17 trips to Uganda, 9 funded by the Baldwin grant, 5 funded by CALS, and 3 funded by our State Department Educational Partnership grant with Makerere University.

Tribal Youth Science Media Camp

Patty Loew and Don Stanley, Life Sciences Communication

In collaboration with Lac Courte Oreilles Community College, the Department of Life Sciences Communication will offer a weeklong science media camp for 48 middle and high school tribal students (24 each year) at LCO College in August 2007 and 2008. With “Land and Identity”” as an organizing theme, LSC will partner with LCO Faculty to provide instruction to Native American children in new media, including digital video, podcasting, and web design. The camp will offer science education within a cultural context. It will use pedagogies structured to meet the collaborative learning styles of Native American children who process information visually and spatially and who learn best by observation and rote. Working in teams, students will create eight scientifically themed media projects that potentially could be seen nationally as part of a major PBS initiative. The goal is to make science culturally meaningful, involve the community, and allow students to express and empower themselves using stimulating methods of inquiry.

Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin were longtime leaders in the campus community with strong ties to the College. Ira Baldwin, a noted bacteriologist, was Chair of the Bacteriology Department (1941-44), Dean of the Graduate School (1944-45), Dean of the College of Agriculture (1945-48), and Vice President for Academic Affairs (1949-66). Ineva served as Assistant Dean of Women (1941-42) and as both Assistant and Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1946-54). Later, she served on the advisory council of the Elvehjem Museum of Art.

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