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Standing room only in Minoqua as UW Kemp and Trout Lake stations put “Science on Tap”

For several decades, the land and lakes of Wisconsin’s Northwoods have been studied by faculty and staff at the CALS Kemp Natural Resources Station and UW-Madison limnology department’s Trout Lake Station. “Too often,” says Trout Lake Station director Tim Kratz, “that research has been out of sight and out of mind in the nearby communities.”

Now staff at the two facilities are partnering to shed new light on the topics being studied at both facilities through in a series of monthly community events called Science on Tap Minocqua. The inaugural event on Feb. 6 was a “rousing success,” says Tom Steele, superintendent and senior scientist at the Kemp Station. “More than 200 people–yes, 200 people–attended the event. It was literally standing room only and another estimated 30 people were turned away at the door. It was a casual setting with folks sitting at the bar, tables, sofas, chairs, even on the floor. The topic was 150 years of landscape change in the Northwoods. Even with the large crowd, there was a great discussion and people really enjoyed the event. They can’t wait to come back.”

Cosponsors include the Minocqua Brewing Company—which provides the venue— the Minocqua Public Library and the Lakeland Badger chapter of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association.

“Researchers have a tendency to focus on their science rather than discussing their results with the public,” Kratz says. “But many of our staff and scientists are year-round residents of Vilas County and, we want to show our neighbors what we do and what we’re learning about the place we all call home.”