Badger Talks spotlights important topics about our Earth and its environment.

Earth and the Environment

Badger Talks Quick Picks

Building with Nature

Photo credit to Kevin Miyazaki.

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Talk description

Communities across the United States are installing green infrastructure—nature-based practices designed to mimic the water cycle and absorb rain and snowmelt where it falls. Practices range from natural landscapes like floodplains and forests, to highly engineered systems like bioretention (a.k.a. rain gardens), green roofs, and permeable pavement. Come learn how your community can become healthier and more climate resilient by designing with nature.

About the speaker

Julia Noordyk, Water Quality and Coastal Communities Specialist at Wisconsin Sea Grant, has over 11 years of experience in community engagement on coastal resilience and water quality. Originally from Colorado, Julia found her way to Wisconsin by way of UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Sciences and moved back after a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fellowship in Maine to be closer to family. She loves the Great Lakes and working with communities to integrate nature-based designs that improve stormwater runoff, flooding, and public access.

The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal

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Talk description

This talk summarizes the forthcoming State of Carbon Dioxide Removal report, which is intended to regularly inform researchers, policymakers, and practitioners on the state of progress, by systematically collecting and analyzing the vast amount of data and developments in many parts of the world. The main conclusion is that: if we are to meet the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, scaling up novel CDR, expanding land-based CDR and the rapid reduction of emissions are urgent priorities.

About the speaker

Gregory Nemet is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the La Follette School of Public Affairs. He currently serves as Interim Director of the school. He teaches courses in policy analysis, energy systems, and international environmental policy. Nemet’s research focuses on understanding the process of technological change and the ways in which public policy can affect it. He received his doctorate in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley. His A.B. is in geography and economics from Dartmouth College. He received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2017 and used it to write a book on how solar PV provides lessons for the development of other low-carbon technologies: “How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation” (Routledge 2019). He was awarded the inaugural World Citizen Prize in Environmental Performance by APPAM in 2019.

From Lake Mud to Global Biodiversity and Climate Change Research: Building Big Data Through Community Curation

To be released on May 28!

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Talk description

We are currently experiencing climate changes without precedent in human history. How can we help species and ecosystems adapt? Scientists like Jack Williams study ecological responses to past climate change to understand the sensitivity and adaptability of species to changing environments. Lakes, with their steadily accumulating sediments, are natural archives for studying local-scale ecological and environmental dynamics over thousands of years. Now, with tens of thousands of these records available worldwide, we can study ecological responses to past large and abrupt climate change at global scales, and thereby design solutions to help species adapt to current climate changes.

About the speaker

John (Jack) Williams is Professor in Geography and a former director of the Center for Climatic Research at UW-Madison. He studies climate change and ecosystem responses to changing climates, using the end of the last ice age as a model system for understanding the effects of large global rises in temperature. His work ranges from fieldwork and coring lakes to helping lead and build global-scale community databases. He has lived in Wisconsin since 2004 and has raised his family here; he enjoys kayaking, pickleball, running with his dog, and board-gaming. Dr. Williams is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and Kellett Fellow at UW-Madison. More information can be found at www.geography.wisc.edu/faculty/williams/lab/ or via Twitter @IceAgeEcologist

Badger Talks Podcast

Growing Plants In Space

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About the speaker

Dr. Simon Gilroy is a Researcher and Professor in the Botany Department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He works extensively with NASA on understanding how plants grow on the International Space Station and plans for using plants in life support on planetary bases. Dr. Gilroy’s research interests include plant cell biology, signal transduction, lipid signaling, tip growth, and tropisms. He runs the Gilroy Life Sciences Lab, dedicated to understanding, at a cellular level, how plants sense and respond to their environment and how these signals regulate plant development. Dr. Gilroy earned his PhD from Edinburgh University.

Harmful Algal Blooms in WI: A Public Health Issue

To be released on May 28!

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About the speaker

Jordan Murray is a Harmful Algal Bloom Epidemiologist stationed at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, where she manages the Harmful Algal Blooms Program. Her work entails prevention and control of harmful algal bloom-related illnesses through epidemiological research, case investigation, and outreach. She holds a BA in Neuroscience and a Masters in Public Health Epidemiology.