Tag Archives: UW-Whitewater

Summer Stream Monitoring Continues

Written by Ashley Roscoe

Happy Summer! My name is Ashley, and I am the Stream Monitoring Coordinator at the UW-Whitewater Sustainability Office. I took over the monitoring program last fall, and have enjoyed every minute of it! Our program has run under the Water Action Volunteers program since 2013, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Normally, we will have volunteers come out to sessions to learn about the program and participate in conducting tests. As soon as the University switched to remote learning due to COVID, we suspended volunteer participation. I have still been going out three times a month (each stream gets monitoring once a month), sometimes with the help of garden and greenhouse manager, Cam.

Cam emptying the net full of pebbles and critters. This is used to conduct the biotic index portion of the Stream Monitoring program.

A new addition to our program has been nutrient monitoring! While we are out at our three creeks (Spring Brook at Willow Brook Golf Course, Bluff Creek at Hwy P, and Whitewater Creek at Fremont St Bridge), we now collect a sample of water. We mix in a small amount of Sulfuric Acid, and then send the sample to the State of Wisconsin Hygiene Lab. From this water sample, the amount of nutrients are able to be calculated. This data is used to determine trends in the waterway, and are able to establish a baseline nutrient level.

Plain Pocketbook Mussel (Lampsilis Cardium)

Along with baseline monitoring and nutrient monitoring, we also participate in the Mussel Monitoring Program through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We mainly search for mussels in Whitewater Creek. Over half of the 52 mussel species in Wisconsin need conservation assistance or we need more information on the location of the species. Through this program, we locate mussels, take photos of the mussels, determine species located, take counts of numbers per species, and then we report these mussels to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This program helps track mussel populations throughout the state! Mussel populations in Wisconsin were decimated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to the button industry. This program helps ensure populations are staying at consistent, healthy numbers. 

To learn more about the stream monitoring program, watch our youtube video that outlines more of the program! You can also visit https://wateractionvolunteers.org or https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/SurfaceWater/monitor.html for more information! If you are interested in volunteering with us for stream monitoring, contact the Sustainability Office at sustainability@uww.edu

Gearing Up for Garden Season

As we head into the sixth season at the Campus Garden we reflect back on our mission to serve the Whitewater Food Pantry with fresh, organic produce, as well as to educate the campus and community about the benefits of organic gardening. A majority of the produce grown gets donated weekly to the local food pantry. To date we have donated over 5,000 pounds of produce; with roughly 1,400 pounds donated last year and 1,700 pounds donated in 2016. By adding a small orchard with a wide variety of fruit trees, we hope to reach the goal of donating 2,000 pounds of fresh produce per year.

A variety of fruit trees were added to the Campus Garden during Earth Week events with Honors Program students in 2016.

Updates from the Garden Manager

As the weather gets warmer and the spring season approaches, activity in the Upham Greenhouse and the Campus Garden is rapidly increasing. The seedlings planted in early March (onions, leeks, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli) are craving the outdoors, awaiting the early planting sessions. The daily indoor watering and care of tomatoes, peppers, beets, chard, herbs, and brassicas will soon be replaced by the natural water cycle and some irrigation in the garden. Soon, we will be planting the seeds of cucurbits (cucumbers, melons, and squash). After some bed prepping, edging, and maintenance, all the seedlings will be ready to be planted throughout the month of May. This is a yearly routine with a strict schedule.

Though the schedule is demanding, we are introducing some new additions to the garden with inspiration from permaculture design. Our orchard is becoming much vaster with a wide variety of fruit trees and exotic shrubs. From native elderberry to plum trees, the diversity within the Campus Garden is growing each season.

This time of year, the amount of work needed outdoors is accumulating. We aim to plant crops outdoors in early May, and the full planting will take place after the last average frost date in late May.  Volunteer hours continue from May through late October or early November, depending on first frost.

Visiting Honors Program students planting beet seeds.

Honors students helping transplant basil.

Pepper seedlings growing strong in the Upham Greenhouse.

How to Get Involved

The best way for you to support the Campus Garden is to volunteer your time and energy by joining us for the work needed to keep up with the garden. Gardening tasks that regularly need our attention include bed prep/turning, weeding, watering, seeding/planting, harvesting, transplanting, cleaning/sanitizing, and more. Without the helping hands of our volunteers, we would not have the time available to maintain the garden and keep it going, so any and all help is greatly appreciated!

All skill levels are welcome.  Tools and gloves are provided, but we recommend any experienced gardener to bring your tools you are most comfortable using (and maybe show us how you do it)!  Volunteer hours are tracked for reporting to a number of different organizations that require them.

Upcoming Events

Join us at the Campus Garden, located between the Moraine Bookstore and Ambrose Health Center on Starin Road (764 W. Starin Road, Whitewater, WI 53190).

Planting Party

  • Lend a hand planing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, squash, peas, beans, radishes, greens, carrots, and herbs! Check out our Facebook event for more information.
  • Tuesday, May 29 from 3 – 7 PM

Volunteer Sessions (May)

  • Tuesdays: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursdays:  2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Fridays:  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Volunteer Sessions (June – August)

  • Mondays 3-6 PM
  • Tuesdays 3-6 PM (Harvesting!)
  • Wednesdays 9-11 AM
  • Thursdays 10 AM-1 PM

UWW Campus Garden on a sunny August day.