University of Wisconsin–Madison

2019 Spring Symposium Information

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WHEN: 8:30am-1:00pm Tuesday, May 7

WHERE: Gordon Dining and Event Center, 2nd floor

EVENT DETAILS: Join us for the 2019 Water@UW-Madison Spring Symposium and hear the latest from Wisconsin water experts on emerging challenges relating to our most precious natural resource! Special highlights:

  • Sequential sessions on “Safe Drinking Water”, “Water and Environmental Change”, “Water Policy and Justice”, and “Water and Wisconsin Life”
  • Featured talks from leaders at Wisconsin agencies and NGOs on emerging challenges in each theme plus over 20 speed talks by water experts at UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and other partners
  • Special water photography and art displays
  • Networking opportunities with others in the Wisconsin water community over coffee and snacks

The symposium is free and open to all, no registration required.


  • Welcome by Chancellor Rebecca Blank
  • Video message from Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
  • Kerry Schumann, Executive Director, Wisconsin Conservation Voters
  • Todd Ambs, Assistant Deputy Secretary, WI DNR
  • Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director, Midwest Environmental Advocates
  • Anne Sayers, Deputy Secretary, WI Department of Tourism

Plus over 20 speed talks by water experts at UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and other partners on the latest in Safe Drinking Water, Water and Environmental Change, Water Policy and Justice, and Water and Wisconsin Life!

For more details, see schedule on the right. Each session will be separated by a 20 minute networking break.




Click here for a link to the schedule as a pdf.

  • 8:30 AM - Welcome
    • Jake Vander Zanden | Chair, Water@UW-Madison
    • Rebecca Blank | Chancellor, UW-Madison
    • Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes (via recorded video message)
  • 8:50 AM - Safe Drinking Water

    Kerry Schumann | Executive Director, Wisconsin Conservation Voters | Overview of Wisconsin Drinking Water Problems

    Speed Talks
    • Ken Bradbury | State Geologist and Director, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey | Growing Crops versus Growing Houses: Impacts on Groundwater Quality Beneath a Rural Subdivision
    • Matthew Ginder-Vogel | Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering | Trends in Wisconsin Groundwater Radium Concentration
    • Joe Grande | Water Quality Manager, Madison Water Utility | PFAS Testing: The Need for Standardization
    • Michael Olson | Program Director, National Atmospheric Deposition Program | Advancing the Understanding of Atmospheric Deposition Chemistry and Impacts Locally, Nationally, and Globally
    • Mark Borchardt | Research Microbiologist, USDA – Agricultural Research Service | Land Use and Risk of Private Well Contamination in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin
  • 9:50 AM - Water and Environmental Change

    Todd Ambs | Assistant Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources | Year of Clean Drinking Water

    Speed Talks
    • Hilary Dugan | Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology | Fresh Water is the Best Water
    • Matthew Ruark | Associate Professor, Department of Soil Science and UW-Extension | Discovery Farms, the Wisconsin Idea, and 125 Site-Years of Edge-of-Field Runoff
    • Daniel Wright | Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering | Flood Resiliency Lessons From a Wet Hot Wisconsin Summer
    • Jeanne Scherer | Outreach Specialist, Aquatic Invasive Species Program, UW-Extension | The Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Partnership
    • Jordan Read | Chief, Data Science Branch, Water Resources Mission Area, USGS | Wisconsin Lakes in a Warmer Future
  • 10:50 AM - Water Policy and Justice

    Kimberlee Wright | Executive Director, Midwest Environmental Advocates | The Role of the Public in Effective Water Policy

    Speed Talks
    • Leah Horowitz | Assistant Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and School of Human Ecology | Water Justice: Indigenous People’s Engagements with Industry, from New Caledonia to the U.S. Midwest
    • Richard Monette | Professor, Law School | Public Trust and Police Powers: A Sea Change for Wisconsin and Native Nations
    • Paul McGinley | Director, Center for Watershed Science and Education, UW-Extension | Learning from the Geochemistry of the Water in Private Wells
    • Ken Genskow | Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture | Extension Engagement in Water Equity
    • Adena Rissman | Associate Professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison | Adaptations to Extreme Storms by County Conservationists
  • 11:50 AM - Water and Wisconsin Life

    Anne Sayers | Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Tourism | Wisconsin Water as a Creativity-Inspiring, Culture-Defining, Economic-Driving Niche Offering

    Speed Talks
    • Karen McShane-Hellenbrand | Faculty Associate, Department of Dance | Dance in Action: Site-Specific Dance Performance Raising Awareness Through Artistic Activism and Environmental Education
    • Caroline Gottschalk Drushke | Assistant Professor, Department of English | Living with Floods: Blending Research, Teaching, and Community Engagement to Build Resilient Futures
    • Dan Phaneuf | Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics | Valuing the Economic Benefits of Water Quality
    • Eric Olson | Director, Lakes Program, UW-Extension | Protecting in Partnership Our Legacy of Lakes
    • Sarah FitzSimons | Assistant Professor, Department of Art | Research in the Visual Arts: Water as Material, Subject, and Metaphor
    • Ian Karl | Experiential Program Coordinator, Northwest Passage | Sadaf Nasir | Photographer and Poet | Wisconsin’s Lakes and Rivers, and Youth Mental Health