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Tip Sheet for week of April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012

Story/Photo Idea

An honors class will host a Planting Fiesta from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in the Phoenix Community Gardens (across Madison Street from Phoenix Park) in downtown Eau Claire. The 13 students — several of whom are Chippewa Valley natives — in the "Civic Agency: Environmental Stewardship" class have spent the semester establishing Partnerships for Pollinators, a student-initiated project that is dedicated to promoting the stewardship of the pollinator species that are important to the Chippewa Valley's ecosystem. Research shows that pollinating animals — including bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles — are vital to the ecosystem and support wildlife, provide a healthy watershed and pollinate food crops and flower gardens. Yet in many places, pollinator species are in crisis due to habitat loss, use of pesticides, and viruses and mites. There is evidence that pollinators actually thrive better in urban environments due to higher plant diversity. Students want to help Eau Claire residents understand how to create and support pollinator habitats within the city, even in very small spaces. The students have researched pollinator habitats, created educational materials about the needs of pollinator species, and partnered with community organizations, schools, businesses and individuals to build support for their project. They hope community members will begin talking to one another about pollinator habitats, creating neighbor-to-neighbor support for the project. On Sunday, the students and community members will plant a pollinator habitat, which the Girl Scouts organization has agreed to maintain. Dr. Ruth Cronje, an associate professor of English who teaches science and technical writing, teaches the course. Mike Huggins, the recently retired city of Eau Claire administrator, has donated his expertise and many hours of his time to the class, helping students develop the skills to be successful community advocates now and in the future. For details about the Partnerships for Pollinators project, see the project's Facebook page.Dr. Ruth Cronje is available to discuss the project and help reporters connect with students. You can reach her at 715-836-5384 or cronjer@uwec.edu.

Story Idea

More than 500 students will share 284 faculty-mentored student research and scholarly and creative projects Monday, April 30, through Wednesday, May 2, at the 20th annual Student Research Day. Students will display projects via posters from noon-6 p.m. April 30, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. May 1 and 8 a.m.-noon May 2 in Zorn Arena. Students will be at their posters to answer questions from noon-4 p.m. April 30. At UW-Eau Claire, 25 percent of seniors report working on a research project with a faculty mentor outside a class, well above the national average, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement. Each year, faculty and academic staff mentor more than 800 students on research and scholarly and creative projects. Many posters will focus on diversity and inclusiveness, with several projects centered on Wisconsin. Examples include"Playing Through: African American Baseball in Dunn County, Wisconsin" and "Restructuring a Myth: Economic Impact of Casinos in the Chippewa Valley." Many projects were funded by the Blugold Commitment, student-supported differential tuition, which is invested in programs that add value to the Blugold degree through high-impact learning experiences. For more information about the event or research at UW-Eau Claire, contact Dr. Karen Havholm, assistant vice chancellor for research, at 715-836-3405 or havholkg@uwec.edu.

Story Idea

A book written by B.J. Hollars, assistant professor of English, won the prestigious 2012 Society of Midland Authors' Award for Nonfiction. The book, "Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America," will be recognized at a May 8 ceremony in Chicago when the society honors its choices for the best books published in 2011 by Midwest authors. Hollars' book recounts three interrelated, race-related murders that occurred over 50 years in Alabama. The award reaffirms the importance of telling stories, that while troublesome to hear, are necessary, said Hollars, who teaches creative writing, literature and composition. Contact Hollars at hollarb@uwec.edu or 715-836-2667.

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