The University of Wisconsin-Waukesha (UWW) requests funding to undertake a visioning and planning process that will result in the development of a new 10- year strategic plan for the UWW Field Station (UWWFS). For the past 50 years the UWWFS has been serving the UWW and larger communities without a comprehensive plan for research, education, data storage, funding, and maintenance. In 2014 the first new director in 50 years was hired, and as of July 1, 2018 the UWW campus (previously a 2-yr undergraduate institution) will merge with UW-Milwaukee (UWM), a major research institution (4-yr undergraduate and graduate). These transitions will come with major administrative changes, but also present exciting opportunities to direct the vision of the UWWFS to increase educational, research, and outreach opportunities to the community. The potential impacts of a comprehensive strategic plan for the UWWFS include expanding formal educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines for a diverse and often under-represented population of K-12 and college students in SE Wisconsin, as well as providing field research and professional development opportunities for their faculty and staff in STEAM and related disciplines.
Research at the UWWFS will help in understanding about natural resources as they can be applied to a variety of fields such as climatology, evolutionary biology, restoration ecology, and effective control methods for invasive species. Also, the unique wood-fired Anagama kiln, art classroom, and natural beauty of the station offer myriad opportunities for artists and other users from the humanities disciplines to use the station. The UWWFS resources can provide an ideal outdoor classroom for more informal community STEAM education programming so valuable for citizens in the 21st century. This facility should also serve as a model of sound environmental stewardship in the Kettle Moraine area of SE Wisconsin. Merging with UWM also presents new opportunities such as increased use by researchers from UWM and collaborative projects with the UWM Field Station. This is an opportune time to engage in a strategic planning effort to ensure a sustainable and impactful future for the UWWFS whereby activities at the station will contribute to scientific knowledge and provide environmental education to members of the community.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.