2022 Earth Day Learning Event

Watch videos from each session of our 2022 Earth Day learning event here. Videos will be gradually released over the summer.

Welcome from Paul Robbins, Dean of the Nelson Institute

A Half Century of Environmental Cooperation: The U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

April 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) between the United States and Canada. Explore the history of the agreement, and hear from a panel that includes U.S., Canadian, and Indigenous perspectives during this session. The panel will provide recommendations for protecting Great Lakes water quality in the future and discuss lessons learned from this agreement that may apply to other shared natural resources.

Speakers

  • Mike Goffin, director of water policy, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Sumudu Atapattu, director of research centers, University of Wisconsin–Madison Law School
  • Mic Isham, executive administrator, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
  • Chris Korleski, director, Great Lakes National Program Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Lana Pollack, former U.S. co-chair, International Joint Commission
  • Susan Hedman, visiting scholar, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hosted by the UW–Madison Law School and Laurie Carlson Progressive Ideas Forum

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Climate Resilience in the Electricity-Water Nexus

Water is a crucial player in many of the ways we make electricity, and electricity is necessary for water pumping, treatment, and distribution. Our changing climate is leading to disruptions in water availability and extreme weather events that challenge both our energy and water infrastructure. Join us as we explore this relationship and what we can do to become more resilient and ensure equitable access to these life-sustaining goods.

Speakers

  • Paul Block, associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Line Roald, assistant professor and Grainger Institute Fellow, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Greg Harrington, professor and associate department chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Yiying Xiong, associate director, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
  • Kim Hansen, principal consultant, Kleinschmidt Associates

Hosted by the Wisconsin Energy Institute and Nelson Institute Energy Analysis and Policy Certificate

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The Colorado River Compact at 100

The Colorado Compact was designed 100 years ago to govern water allocations from the Colorado River. This panel will explore the fraught history of the compact, its legacy on the Southwestern landscape, and how governments and citizens are rethinking the Compact alongside a changing climate.

Speakers

  • Anna Andrzejewski, Bradshaw Knight Professor of Environmental Humanities and director, Center for Culture, History, and Environment, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Paul Block, associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Eric Carson, professor, Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Bradford Barham, professor of agricultural and applied economics, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Patty Rettig, head archivist, Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Culture, History, and Environment

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Community Partnerships for the Yahara Watershed

Join a panel of community partners for a discussion of the shared challenges and opportunities surrounding the Yahara Watershed. Builders, farmers, scientists, and policymakers will speak about the decades of work that has been done to address impaired waterways as well as current efforts and their impacts.

Speakers

  • Kyle Minks, watershed manager, Dane County Land and Water Resources Department
  • Martye Griffin, ecosystem services director, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Coreen Fallat, liaison, Bureau of Land and Water Resources, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • James Tye, executive director and founder, Clean Lakes Alliance
  • Tricia Groby, director, Natural Resources Institute, Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hosted by the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability

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Land-Water Connections and the Ecological Impacts of Water Pollution

From local streams and far away seas to bacteria and whales, water supports life across many scales. Join researchers and practitioners for a discussion about the ways that land-water interactions, including inputs from agriculture, are influencing plants and animals on land, in lakes, streams, and oceans. And explore how local actions help biodiversity far downstream.

Speakers

  • Claudio Gratton, professor, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Jennifer Tank, Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
  • Matt Diebel, watershed management coordinator, Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
  • Mitch Reynolds, mayor of La Crosse
  • James Crall, assistant professor, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Alyson Fleming, associate scientist, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Ecology and the Environment

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Mountains and Three or Four Rios (Rivers)

Literary readings and art from the bilingual anthology Montañas, and Three or Four Ríos, will be presented by co-editors Sarli E. Mercado and Lori DiPrete Brown. The session will feature the recipients of the José Emilio Pacheco City and Nature Literary Prize, including León Plascencia Ñol (Mexico), Jorge Gutierrez Reyna (Mexico), Brenda Becette (Argentina), Santiago Acosta (Venezuela/USA), Claudia Cabrera Espinosa (Mexico), and Marco Antonio Murillo (México). Eduardo Santana Castellón, who founded the prize and has catalyzed this collaboration, will share reflections on the nature and significance of this work in relation to Earth Day and the overall movement for environmental justice.

Speakers

  • Sarli E. Mercado, co-director, 4W-International Women Collective Translation Project, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Lori DiPrete Brown, director, 4W Women and Wellbeing Initiative; associate director, Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Ksenija Bilbija, professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Jorge Gutierrez Reyna, poet, academic, and researcher
  • Kata Beilin, professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; faculty director, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Dr. Eduardo Santana Castellón, director, Museo de Ciencias Ambientales, Centro Cultural Universitario de la Universidad de Guadalajara
  • León Plascencia Ñol, writer, visual artist, editor
  • Brenda Becette, writer
  • Santiago Acosta, postdoctoral fellow, State University of New York (SUNY), Old Westbury
  • Claudia Cabrera Espinosa, writer
  • Marco Antonio Murillo, teacher of literary creation, University of Texas-El Paso
  • Carolina Espinosa Cartes, journalist and anthropologist

Hosted by the UW–Madison 4W Initiative

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The Okavango Delta: Opportunities for Regional Cooperation

Join Botswanan Ambassador to the United States Kitso Mokaila and former U.S. Ambassador to Botswana Michelle Gavin for a discussion about the biodiversity value of the Okavango Delta. The speakers will explore potential for regional cooperation through shared water management goals in the Delta, and the potential of university collaborations to foster and support regional cooperation.

Speakers

  • Kitso Mokaila, ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the United States of America
  • Michelle Gavin, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Nyambe Nyambe, executive director, KAZA TFCA Secretariat

Hosted by the Nelson Institute’s Environmental Professional Programs and the UW–Madison International Division and African Studies Program

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Reimagining our Relationship with Water

Water and life are inextricably linked, making it one of the most important resources on the planet. Explore what is being done to protect this critical resource, including new solutions for sustainable water governance and innovative approaches to water preservation. Join speakers Kelsey Leonard, a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Nation, and Sandra Postel, the director of the Global Water Policy Project and 2021 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, for a meaningful discussion of these solutions and how they will impact our relationship with water.

Speakers

  • Sandra Postel, founding director, Global Water Policy Project and 2021 winner of the Stockholm Water Prize
  • Kelsey Leonard, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Waters, Climate and Sustainability, University of Waterloo

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Tribal_University Partnerships for Wild Rice Revitalization in the Western Great Lakes

Join tribal natural resource professionals and university partners for a panel highlighting wild rice revitalization work in the western Great Lakes. The discussion will focus on the cultural, social, and ecological principles that guide this work.

Speakers

  • Amy Cottrell, wetland ecologist, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
  • Anita Thompson, professor and chair, Nelson Institute Water Resources Management Program
  • Jessie Conaway, faculty associate for Native Nations Partnerships, Nelson Institute
  • Andre Virden, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
  • Jessica Ryan, Brothertown Indian Nation

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Water Resources Management program

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Water@UW: Addressing Wisconsin's Water Challenges

Explore the ways Water@UW is bringing together water-focused faculty, staff, and students on campus to foster connection and communication among members of the UW–Madison water community. Learn about the ways Water@UW strengthens bridges between UW–Madison’s water research and research being done across the state. This session will also focus on the urgent water challenges in the state including harmful algal blooms, road salt pollution, PFAS, and flooding.

Speakers

  • Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, associate professor of composition and rhetoric, Department of English, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Grace Wilkinson, assistant professor, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Hilary Dugan, assistant professor, Department of Integrative Biology, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Christy Remucal, associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program, and Freshwater and Marine Science Program; director of Water Science and Engineering Laboratory, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hosted by Water@UW

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Water for Food: Too Much or Not Enough?

Learn more about cutting-edge approaches to evaluate water quantity and quality in food and forage production systems during this exciting session. Findings and trends from Wisconsin and around the world will be discussed as well as computer modeling and field measurement techniques.

Speakers

  • Chris Kucharik, professor and chair, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Mutlu Ozdogan, associate professor of environmental studies and forest and wildlife ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Zhou Zhang, assistant professor, Departments of Biological Systems Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Carol Barford, associate scientist and director, Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE)

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment

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Water, Water, Everywhere, in the Air, in the Ice, in the Ground, and in the Sea: A Conversation About the Science of the Changing Global Water Cycle

Life first evolved in and depends on water, but balance is essential, as too little or too much water creates challenges. A changing climate accelerates the water cycle and patterns of extreme precipitation and drought, melts glaciers, degrades permafrost, and raises ocean levels in ways that impact weather systems, ecosystems, and society. Hear from a panel of expert scientists from UW–Madison’s Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research (CCR), who will provide the latest research on these topics.

Speakers

  • Daniel Wright, assistant professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Andrea Dutton, professor, Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Madeline Magee, water resources management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Till Wagner, assistant professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Ankur Desai, chair and professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Steve Vavrus, senior scientist, Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research

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Working Together to Improve Wisconsin's Water: How Community-University Partnerships Catalyze Water Quality Projects in Wisconsin

Learn more about the UniverCity Year program and its efforts to address community challenges through UW–Madison and local Wisconsin government partnerships. Speakers will share how these partnerships have helped to improve water quality by highlighting projects such as those that addressed blue green algae in the Fox River to those that helped farmers to address nitrates in the groundwater. The speakers will also highlight the role students play in these important collaborations.

Speakers

  • Gavin Luter, managing director, UniverCity Alliance, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Andrea Hicks, associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director of Sustainability Education and Research, Office of Sustainability, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Bret Shaw, associate professor, Department of Life Sciences Communication and Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • David Kolodziejski, student, Environmental Observation and Informatics program, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Ford Freyberg, student, Environmental Observation and Informatics program, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hosted by UniverCity Alliance and UW–Madison Extension

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All views expressed by the speakers are their own and are not necessarily representative of the views and opinions of the Nelson Institute or UW–Madison.