Ecology & Culture Field Courses

Information on 2020 Summer Field Courses Coming Soon!

Our 2019 Summer Field Courses

UW Stevens Point “Lake Superior Natural Resources, Culture, and Climate Field Course for Professionals”, June 12-14

Within the Lake Superior basin, global climate change is expected to cause increased annual temperature, decreased snow, and more frequent and extreme weather events. The Lake Superior Ojibwe have traditional ecological knowledge of the environment that has evolved over thousands of years, providing long term place-based supporting evidence of a changing climate. These changes are likely to affect local economies dependent upon the region’s cultural and natural resources such as subsistence and recreational fishing, forest product manufacturing, wildlife, tourism, recreation and agriculture. Lake Superior tribal and coastal communities are already experiencing climate challenges and are implementing culturally relevant strategies to become more climate resilient.

This workshop provides field experience-based climate change training within Lake Superior’s coastal communities and tribal lands. You will learn effective communication and response strategies that integrate qualitative and quantitative knowledge to increase climate literacy and promote resiliency–no matter what the community, audience, or location.

This field course is designed for natural resource professional educators, Extension, and informal educators. Click here for registration information, course itinerary, logistics, and cost. Field course directors are Dr. Shiba Kar-UW Stevens Point and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension.


2019 Climate Strong! Climate Leadership Institute, July 8-12 

Please jump over to the Climate Strong! Climate Leadership Initiative for more details on this Institute and registration information. This institute is open to classroom and community educators or anyone who wants to build their climate literacy and leadership capacity, especially those serving tribal youth.


Carroll University “Ojibwe Culture and Ecology” Field Course, July 29-August 2

Carroll University once again offers this 5-day field course that integrates Ojibwe and indigenous ecological knowledge and culture to build a greater understanding of the environment.

This course is offered at field locations in the Bad River and Red Cliff Tribal Nations, at the Sandy Lake Memorial in Minnesota, and within Wisconsin’s Lake Superior region. This course is offered in partnership with UW-Extension, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Bad River and Red Cliff Tribes of the Lake Superior Ojibwe.Field course co-directors:  Dr. Aaron Rothe-Carroll University and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension.

2019 UW-Stevens Point Lake Superior Natural Resources, Culture and Climate Student Field Course, Sept. 25-28

This field course integrates traditional ecological knowledge of the Lake Superior Ojibwe and place-based observation, with “western” science to examine climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. This course takes a watershed scale approach with field experiences from Madeline Island to Iron County’s Saxon Harbor. Field course co-directors are Dr. Cady Sartini-UW Stevens Point and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension. Partners include the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Bad River and Red Cliff Tribes of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, and Iron County, WI.

See what we learned in 2018…

University of Wisconsin Global Health “Exploring Ecology, Culture, and Health in the Wisconsin Lake Superior Region” Field Course, May 30-June 5 2018

UW Global Health field course students learning about the connections between environment, culture, and health at Frog Bay Tribal Park, Red Cliff, WI

This course challenges students to reflect on their current assumptions and worldviews of health and wellness and be changed by new ideas, viewpoints, and perspectives through a field immersion in the culture, communities, and landscapes of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Region. They will be introduced to Ojibwe cultural knowledge and community-academic partnerships with Wisconsin First Nations tribes, to explore ways they can take what they learned and apply for future engagement with First Nations communities and in their own culture. Field course learning locations include Bad River and Red Cliff tribal communities, Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron Counties, and Madeline Island. Field course co-directors:  Dr. Heidi Busse-UW Madison and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension. See what we learned in this field course: 2018 UW Madison Exploring Ecology, Culture and Health Field Course

Carroll University “Ojibwe Culture, Society, Ecology” Field Course, July 23-27 2018

Carroll University students learning about fire, ecology, and culture with Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Ranger Damon Panek.

This cultural immersion experience integrates western science and traditional knowledge of the Lake Superior Ojibwe people to explore the inter-relationships between tribal sovereignty, culture, and sustainability of natural resources.  Learning sessions include introduction to tribal sovereignty, Ojibwe language, impacts of cultural trauma, a wild rice cultural tour, experiencing how fire is being introduced as cultural tool in the management of Stockton Island, participating in the Sandy Lake Memorial ceremonies, attending the Voigt Task Force meeting of Ojibwe tribal leaders, learning from tribal elders and natural resource experts, can culturally based service learning activities. Field course co-directors:  Dr. Aaron Rothe-Carroll University and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension.

See what we learned in this field course:2018 Carroll College Ojibwe Culture and Ecology Field Course


University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point “Natural Resources, Culture, and Climate Change”, September 14-17 2018

Based on the G-WOW climate change model that integrates western climate science with traditional ecological knowledge of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, participants will evaluate place-based evidence of a changing climate within the Wisconsin’s Chequamegon Bay region. This workshop is designed to expand climate change literacy for current and future natural resource professionals by integrating climate science with place-based economic and cultural perspectives that resonate with learners and engage them in climate change mitigation or adaptive decision-making. By integrating scientific knowledge with economic and culturally relevant place-based research and innovative natural resources management outreach methodologies, participants will gain an understanding of climate impacts and needed adaptations in integrated natural resources management and decision-making.

UW-Stevens Point climate field course students and instructors at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Eighteen natural resource college majors attended this field course and reached training in creating culturally relevant climate literacy that builds community leadership based on a systems approach to mitigate or adapt to climate changes. This program is supported by a grant from Sea Grant. Field course co-directors:  Cathy Techtmann- UW ExtensionDrs. Shiba Karr, Cady Sartini, and Holly Petrillo-UW Stevens Point College of Natural Resources. Click here for more information on this course. See what we learned in this field course: 2018 UW-Stevens Point Lake Superior-Natural Resources-Culture-and Climate Field Course


These field courses are done as a partnership of UW-Extension, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the Bad River and Red Cliff Bands of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, the Superior Rivers Watershed Association, and many other tribal and community partners.