Spring Workshops


Introduction to Bird Song

Wednesday evenings, February 6 – March 27, 7:00 – 8:30 pm.

Instructor: Bill Mueller is Director of the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory, in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. Bill is currently serving on the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative’s Steering Committee and is the co-chair of the Issues Committee.  He has had many other leadership roles in bird conservation projects, including serving as Conservation Chair of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (2002 – 2012), as co-chair of the Midwest Aerial Insectivore Working Group, and as Project Coordinator for the Milwaukee BIOME Project.

The Course: This course will introduce students with varying prior skill levels to bird song identification.  We will also cover how and why birds sing, how they “use” song in their reproductive cycle, and incorporate the ecological and evolutionary functions of song. We will briefly survey current research on bird song, and how bird song is being used by science to understand many aspects of avian behavior and ecology. An overview of resources for studying bird song will be made available and demonstrated. The aesthetics of bird song will also be explored. A final skill test and methods and resources for further study will end the 8-week class period.  This course will be valuable to students who are just beginning to learn the bird songs, as well as those students who want to hone their skills and delve more deeply into an understanding of bird song.

Recommended materials: Please bring a laptop or tablet to the first class.

Click here for the syllabus.

Workshop fee: $80.00. Available for 1.2 CEU. Not offered for college credit.

“Wisdom Sits in Places”: Creative Writing About the Natural World

May 3 & 4 (Friday & Saturday).

Instructor:  Poet, photographer, and scholar, Kimberly Blaeser, was the Wisconsin Poet Laureate from 2015-2016.  A Professor at UW—Milwaukee, she teaches Creative Writing, Native American Literature, and American Nature Writing. Her publications include three books of poetry: Trailing You, Absentee Indians and Other Poems, and Apprenticed to Justice. Her creative work in poetry, creative non-fiction, and short fiction, frequently arises from a relationship with the natural world and has been included in more than fifty volumes whose titles are as varied as The Colours of Nature, Sing: Poems from the Indigenous Americas, and Women on Hunting.

The Course:  Using the natural areas found at the UWM Field Station and inspired by both Native mythic accounts and the works of natural history writers and eco-poets, this course will invite participants to create works of poetry, creative non-fiction, and mixed-genre arising from their engagement with the natural world.  These writings will include haiku and other poetry, personal nature essays, and works combining artistic genres.  Class time will be divided between expeditions exploring the bogs, fields, forests, and ponds; sessions discussing sample readings and focusing on writing craft; and the process of writing, reflecting, and “translating” our nature experiences into creative works.  Students need no prior experience in ecology or writing to benefit from this course.  All levels of expertise are encouraged to enroll.

Workshop fee: $110.00. Not offered for college credit. Available for 1.4 CEU. Meals are optional and are extra. Sign up for meals when you register.