Learning Through Research
NCUR 2013 at the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse

Plenary Speakers

Will Steger – Polar Explorer
Category: Adventure
10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 11, 2013

steger_smile_(2)Will Steger(www.willstegerfoundation.org)  is a recognized authority for the polar regions, including their environmental issues, and is an eyewitness to the effects of global warming. He has spent more than 45 years traveling through the Arctic regions, advocating for the earth’s preservation and advising about permanent solutions to our climate crisis.  Steger holds a Bachelor of Science in geology, Master of Arts in education and Honorary Doctorate from University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, in addition to Honorary Doctorates from Westminster College, Northland College, and Franklin Pierce University. As an educator, Steger taught science for three years at the secondary level. He founded a winter school and developed an innovative wilderness program in Ely, Minnesota Steger also established the Global Center for Environmental Education at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and the World School for Adventure Learning at University of St. Thomas. With his ability to blend extreme exploration and cutting-edge technology, Steger pioneered online education during his 1995 expedition – reaching more than 20 million students via online daily journals and delivering the first-ever transmission of digital photography from the North Pole. Steger has been invited to testify before the United States Congress and has advised world leaders on the environmental protection of Antarctica. In 2006, the legendary explorer established the Will Steger Foundation to promote change through education and advocacy and to foster international leadership and cooperation through environmental education and policy. The Foundation’s Global Warming 101 initiative engages and empowers individuals and policy makers to translate their climate concern into action.

Dr. Hazel A. Barton  - Cave Microbiologist
Category: Science
10 a.m., Friday, April 12, 2013

hazel_barton  Dr. Hazel A. Barton(www.cavescience.com)  is an Associate Professor of Biology, and Geology and Environmental Science, in the Department of Biology at the University of Akron.  Her current research is geared toward understanding microbial processes, interactions, and geochemistry in cave environments.  Funding from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) aims to understand bacterial adaptations to the extreme nutrient limitation of cave environments, including nutrient cycling and microbe-mineral interactions; funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service is geared toward understanding the natural history and ecology of Geomyces destructans, the causative agent of White-Nose Syndrome in bats; and funding from the National Park Service is geared to understand microbial adaptations in the extreme nutrient limitations of subterranean lakes.  Dr. Barton is also an avid caver, having explored caves on five continents, is a past director of the National Speleological Society (NSS), the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey, and an award winning cave cartographer. Her cave research has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Forbes, National Geographic Explorer, Outside, Science News, and The Scientist magazineson NPR and BBC Radio, on Animal Planet, the History Channel, the CBS Early Show and in the IMAX movie Journey into Amazing Caves.  She is currently a Fellow of the NSS and the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award.

Bill Miller – Singer/Songwriter
Category: Arts

10 a.m., Saturday, April 13, 2013

bill_miller  A Mohican Indian from northern Wisconsin, Bill Miller (www.billmillerarts.com)has long been one of the most admired figures in the Native American music arena and beyond. As an award-winning recording artist, performer, songwriter, activist, and painter, he's been a voice for the voiceless, a link between two great and clashing civilizations. On SPIRIT RAIN, he walks the path of reconciliation in a set of 14 heartfelt songs and evocative instrumentals. Co-produced by Bill and Michael von Muchow, and written or co-written entirely by Bill, SPIRIT RAIN took the singer back to his roots. It was recorded at Actual Sound Studios in La Crosse, Wisconsin, not far from the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation he called home. Perhaps the album's most touching track is, "Prayers For The Truth," which restates all that the Native American community holds sacred, while offering forgiveness to those that nearly annihilated an entire people. "I don't want anyone to carry around this guilt," says Bill. "All we need is to be allowed to speak, to mourn, to express anger, then be allowed to forgive our oppressors. That could lead to a deeply powerful spiritual change in the U.S. and the world. It could be a statement about the peacemaking that comes with courage." Bill Miller is a two time Grammy award winner and also won the Native American Music Awards for Best Songwriter, Song, Folk Artist and Artist of the Year. He has shared the stage with Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, BoDeans, Richie Havens, and Arlo Gunthrie.