Lake Superior region climate change project recognized by US Forest Service

G-WOW Team Receives USFS Honor Award‘Guiding for Tomorrow’ looks at potential impacts from Ojibwe culture, natural resource perspectives


Contact: Cathy Techtmann, UW-Extension, 715-561-2695,

A project that explores potential cultural and natural resource impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes region has been recognized with a US Forest Service Honor Award.

The Forest Service awards highlight outstanding projects in the US Forest Service Eastern Region that illustrate “Courageous Conservation.”

Titled Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban (Guiding for Tomorrow) Changing Climate, Changing Culture Initiative (“G-WOW” for short) was honored by the Forest Service in the “Connecting Citizens to the Land” category.

The award-winning project consists of a 200-sq.-ft. interactive exhibit developed at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (NGLVC) near Ashland that integrates Ojibwe perspectives, such as the effect of climate change on wild rice—a keystone of the Ojibwe culture—with climate science.

G’WOW team members receiving the U S Forest Service Honor Award included UW-Extension’s Techtmann; Jason Maloney, USFS; Sue Erickson, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC); James St. Arnold, GLIFWC; and Neil Howk, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

G-WOW was developed through a new partnership between UW-Extension, the NGLVC, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), the U.S. Forest Service and other partner agencies, including the National Park Service and the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) provided climate research. Funding partners include the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

Cathy Techtmann, state environmental outreach specialist with UW-Extension, explains that the G-WOW initiative takes a unique approach by combining scientific climate change research with real-world evidence of how climate change is affecting traditional Ojibwe culture. “We’re bringing Native perspectives and involvement to help people of all cultures better understand how climate change may affect them and what they can do to address it,” she says. “The G-WOW model lets people decide for themselves if climate change is real and encourages local action to reduce potential impacts.”

The team recently developed the G-WOW online climate change service learning curriculum and installed a large climate change kiosk at the NGLVC that features the G-WOW curriculum in a touch screen format. Techtmann says that professional development institutes using the G-WOW model are scheduled for this summer.

A website at offers more information about the G-WOW initiative, the full G-WOW curriculum, and regional impacts of climate change. More information about 2013 G-WOW professional development institutes is available at



Photo by Charlie Rasmussen-GLIFWC

Left to right: Jason Maloney, USFS; Sue Erickson, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC); James St. Arnold, GLIFWC; Neil Howk, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; Cathy Techtmann, UW-Extension

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