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Reception to honor volunteers who updated university's bird museum

RELEASED: Oct. 11, 2010

students working with birds
From left, UW-Eau Claire alumnus Steve Betchkal and students Robert Rohloff and Joy Rako have completed improvements to a number of displays in the universitiy's J. Newman Clark Bird Museum. (UW-Eau Claire photo by Bill Hoepner)

EAU CLAIRE — A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 21 in Room 326 of Phillips Science Hall to celebrate the completion of new and updated displays in the J. Newman Clark Bird Museum in Phillips Hall. The work was completed by students who received the Gritzmacher Science Education Award through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. The award is given to students conducting education outreach activities.

The students, Joy Rako, Platteville, and Robert Rohloff, New Berlin, worked with a well-known bird expert, UW-Eau Claire alumnus Stephen Betchkal, and were supervised by Lynn Janik, UW-Eau Claire's biology department greenhouse and animal care manager. The group also worked with graphic design student Lee Wegener, Hartland, to create a large poster about bird conservation and a self-guided tour book for the museum.

Betchkal, Rako and Rohloff worked with Janik to make improvements to many of the display cases housing the birds. One case, displaying warblers perched on tree branches, now includes examples of mnemonic devices that represent the birds' songs. In another case, a large map of North America, which identifies the four migratory flyways and key national wildlife refuges, was added. A number of cases also have been painted and have had photos added. Nameplates have been placed above the cases, birds were reorganized into taxonomic groupings and labels were corrected.

"We are very grateful to our alumnus Steve Betchkal for making time to volunteer to help the students and for providing the expertise to help us improve the museum," Janik said. "We also are thankful for donors like Christine Gritzmacher who provide opportunities for service-learning activities for our students and for the volunteer help of student Lee Wegner."

Betchkal and the students will be recognized at the reception and will be on hand to answer questions about the displays. The museum will be open to the public during the reception. Admission to the museum is free.

For more information about the museum or to make a donation to the Gritzmacher Science Education Fund, contact Kimera Way, executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, at 715-836-4735 or by e-mail at waykk@uwec.edu.

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KH/DW

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