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Jun 17, 2024

The History of
Björklunden Vid Sjön:
A Door County Retreat

Tom McKenzie is the Director of Björklunden, Lawrence University’s north campus and 441-acre retreat center located in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. From an idyllic estate to an enchanting retreat center, McKenzie charted the history of this remarkable property located south of Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. Rooted in the vision Winifred Boynton, this site for peace and contemplation provides an embrace of Scandinavian architecture and at its center features an iconic hand carved and painted Norwegian “stavkirke” chapel. Learn about the well-preserved geology and ecology, the flora and fauna, and how the land changed hands and was ultimately generously gifted to Lawrence University. Dive deep into the remarkable artistry of Winifred and Donald Boynton and their intention to bring peace into the world with building of their chapel during World War II. 


Jun 10, 2024

Organ, Tissue & Eye Donation -
The Ripple Effect

Erin Halpin, RN, and mother and colleague Joy Reichenbach, RN, discussed the importance and rarity of Organ Donation as well as help dispel common myths related to all forms of donation. They reviewed advancements in organ donation and transplantation over the past 20 years, and included several stories and follow-up from various donor families and recipients that have been touched by the gift of life. Erin has been an RN for 19 years, having graduated from Creighton University School of Nursing. She began her career in the ICU at Creighton University Medical Center, then worked in the ICU at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay upon returning to Wisconsin, and finally in the ICU at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center - Neenah, where she remained (with additional moonlighting in the ER & 5 years work as a Paramedic) until her transition to the University of Wisconsin Organ Procurement Organization six years ago. Some of her favorite patients to care for in the ICU were the organ donor heroes and their families. Being able to help create a lasting legacy and care for not just the single donor hero, but seeing them as the up to 8 potential recipients who were being given a second chance at life fueled her passion. Her colleague (and mother) Joy Reichenbach has been an RN for 13 years, having graduated from Fox Valley Technical College. She started her career in the Med Surg Unit at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center- Appleton, then worked in the ICU at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah and now also works at the UW OPO. PowerPoint Presentation.

Link to recorded program.


apr 29, 2024

Growing up Farley: A Story of Addiction, Love, and Forgiveness

Tom Farley grew up in Madison and graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Marketing. He began his career in banking and finance, living and working in the New York City area. From 1999 to 2012, he ran The Chris Farley Foundation, a nationally recognized non-profit dedicated to substance abuse prevention. Like his brother, Tom was successful in opening the “eyes and ears” of youth audiences through the powerful and effective use of humor. In 2008 he wrote “The Chris Farley Show”, a New York Time bestselling biography of his late brother, the actor and comedian Chris Farley.Tom chronicled his lifelong journey with his brother, the late actor Chris Farley. Touching on lessons learned from Chris and his struggles with addiction, 


apr 15, 2024

What Makes the Human Brain Unique?

Andre M. M. Sousa, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience at UW-Madison. Sousa presented and discussed the differences between the human brain and the brains of other primate species. This program included the discussion of brain size, number of neurons, brain connectivity, and overall organization of the circuits that govern some of our most complex behaviors. He also discussed how the differences we observe are generated throughout development. Finally, Sousa discussed how some of the differences that likely underlie cognitive differences might have made our brains more vulnerable to neuropsychiatric disorders.

Link to recorded program.


apr 1, 2024

Memory Cafés & the
New Story about Dementia

Susan McFadden, PhD,  is professor emerita of Psychology at UW-Oshkosh. McFadden’s program addressed reasons why we need a new story about dementia that turns away from the dominant “tragedy narrative” in our culture. Her presentation showed how the worldwide memory café movement is creating dementia-inclusive communities where people living with all types of this brain disorder can experience joy, meaning, and friendship. Examples from the work of Fox Valley Memory Project demonstrated the many ways memory cafés ease isolation and create meaningful connections among people dealing with dementia.


MAR 18, 2024

Yes, college is worth it.
For ALL of us.

Andy J. Leavitt, PhD, is the 11th chancellor of UW-Oshkosh. As a public, regional comprehensive institution, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has endured a perfect storm of fiscal, political and unpredictable pressures over the last several years. Yet, this brand of college is resilient and still worth it for both learners, the region it calls home, and the state of Wisconsin. Chancellor Leavitt highlighted UWO’s journey, value, and continuing success in developing and retaining the talented, giving graduates our economy and society require to help Wisconsin thrive.


MAR 11, 2024

Insights on Russia’s War Against Ukraine: Diverse Perspectives

Kirill Iliin, PhD, is an expert with 20 years of experience in business development and crisis management, specializing in WMD non-proliferation, security, and the energy sector. His work on nuclear safety projects in Ukraine, recognized by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) Visiting Fellows Grant from the U.S. Department of State in 2021, helps to address the complex socio-economic and geopolitical aspects of the Russian war in Ukraine. Drawing from his position as a Russian unable to return home, he offered insights into the war's socio-economic and geopolitical impacts. Iliin's analysis challenges prevailing Russian media narratives and examines the broader implications of the war.

Link to recorded program.

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MAR 4, 2024

The King Veterans’ Home:
Early History

Steven T. Sheehan, PhD, is Associate Professor of History at UW-Oshkosh-Fox Cities. The Wisconsin chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the national organization of Union Civil War veterans, established the Wisconsin Veterans’ Home in 1887. They hoped to create a facility that would allow aging and indigent veterans and their wives and widows to live out their final years in honor and comfort. GAR members believed that the presence of women residents, something unique to the Wisconsin facility at the time, would ensure moral probity and a truly “home-like” atmosphere. A number of roadblocks stood in the way of making the facility into the idyllic home that its founders envisioned. Sheehan's presentation traced the founding of the King Veterans’ Home and the struggles of its founders, managers, and residents to make it a true home in its first 20 years of operation.

Link to recorded program.

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Feb 19, 2024

The State of our Water:
Scarcity, Degradation, & Opportunities for a Better Future

Katie Barelmann is the Director of Sustainability Research and Outreach for N-Drip, an innovator in micro-irrigation. Barelmann discussed the current state of our water resources in the United States, including how water challenges impact our nation's supply chains, including food and fiber. She also provided an evaluation of case studies from some of our nation's most iconic watersheds.

Link to recorded program.

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Feb 12, 2024

Foraging for Food and Fun

Kira Morrissey, a MN native living in WI since 2002, grew up with parents who were lovers of all things outdoors, instilling in her a sense of awe and wonder in plants and wild animals. Morrissey has become enamored with how plants in our backyards are often the ones with the most health and healing benefits. She has taken online courses, voraciously read backyard plant medicine books, source-checked articles and websites, and has taken journeys down a plethora of legit and not-so-legit herbology rabbit holes. Morrissey uses what she learns to turn a walk in the woods into a foraging adventure. She discussed easy identification of common weeds plentiful in most backyards that can become part of your diet.  She also addressed some fun things to do with kids on nature walks to instill a love and respect for plants. 


Feb 5, 2024

Maple Sugaring in Wisconsin

Brent Nelson has been making maple syrup at his Waupaca family farm for over ten years. Nelson's program provided a history of maple sugaring in Wisconsin from the beginning when the Native Americans first collected sap. There was an overview of the different maple tree species and the geographical uniqueness to where maple syrup is made. Learn about the maple sugaring process from tapping trees, sap collection, to bottling of the final product and the food stuffs made from maple syrup.

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Nov 27, 2023

The Stormy Kromer Story

Bob Jacquart is chairman of Jacquart Fabric Products which is home of Stormy Kromer. From invention and evolution throughout a century, the stylish and durably designed Stormy Kromer hats are interwoven into Wisconsin culture. The lore is part of the lure. A pull-down ear band stitched to a baseball cap kept a train worker’s head warm and dry amid winter winds. From authentic originals to ever-evolving designs, Stormy Kromer caps celebrate the art of hat and headwear design.

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Nov 13, 2023

Staying on Track in a
Distracted World

Ivan Jay Wayne, PhD, is founder and owner of Voyagerr, a Waupaca based consulting firm. The average American adult checks their phone every 5 minutes and American office workers switch tasks every 3 minutes. This inability to focus was not always prevalent. Are these trends generational, regional, based on personality, or are they universal? This talk included information spanning seven books and current psychological research, spotlighting the main causes of our dwindling attention span. Additionally, Wayne discussed strategies we can utilize to maintain our focus once again.

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Nov 6, 2023

Land Acknowledgment - 
Then and Again

Hugh Kress is an educator and resource leader for Land Acknowledgment for the East Central Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Anahkwet (Guy Reiter), Menominee, is the Executive Director of Menīkānaehkem, Inc.
Land Acknowledgement is an international effort to work in partnership with Indigenous sisters and brothers to apply the principles of a reciprocal relationship to the land as we share its resources. It first recognizes that lands that we occupy are the ancestral home of displaced tribes. The presentation illustrates actions that have been taken and calls for adoption of an attitude that directs present and future respect for the land.

Link to recorded program.

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Oct 30, 2023

Technical Education
for Today and Tomorrow

Chris Matheny, PhD, is president of Fox Valley Technical College. What role does the Wisconsin Technical College System play in educating and training our communities? We discussed the current state of technical education in the State, introduced the audience to some things that may not be known about Technical Colleges, and touched on what the future of education might look like in a very rapidly changing world.

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Oct 23, 2023

Combating Illegal Logging
with Forensic Botanical Science, Policy, & Casework

Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, PhD, is a Research Botanist in the USDA Forest Products Lab’s (FPL) Center for Wood Anatomy Research (CWAR). Alex spoke about the history and the legacy of forensic work on cases including murders, car bombings, arson, transportation disasters, and forest fires. He also discussed the forensic relevance of science influencing policy, presented some civil cases and a few less serious cases where forensic botany was used to solve a mystery or a problem.

Link to recorded program.


Oct 16, 2023

Wandering Curious:
Notes & Photographs from the American Scene

Drake Hokanson, PhD, author and photographer, spent 45 years exploring and taking photos along the Lincoln Highway, small midwestern towns, the endless Great Plains, colorful county fairs, and along the 1st transcontinental railroad. We heard a few stories from the road, examined some of the influences that motivate Hokanson, and considered the nature of photographic art and nonfiction literature, and the brilliance they create when brought together.

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Sept 25, 2023

Why You Can Trust
Wisconsin's Election System

Meagan Wolfe is the Administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), serving as the state’s Chief Election Official. Meagan was appointed by the bi-partisan, six-member Commission in February of 2018 and unanimously confirmed by the Wisconsin State Senate in May of 2019 for a four-year term. Meagan will provided an outline of Wisconsin’s very thorough and decentralized system of running elections. She discussed how our system is different than systems in other states, and why voters should trust it to deliver accurate and fair results.

Link to recorded program

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Sept 18, 2023

The Youth Mental Health
Crisis & You

Linda Hall, director of the Office of Children’s Mental Health for the State of WI, discussed why the youth mental health crisis is real. Research shows the crisis is impacting our young across the span of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Yet research also offers insights into practical strategies that each of us can take to help improve the well-being of children in our communities now, and to increase the likelihood that Wisconsin’s children become healthy adults with bright, healthy, productive futures.

Link to recorded program

Link to PDF of the PowerPoint slides from program

Link to Family of Four Income Chart

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Sept 11, 2023

Blowing in the Wind
Classic Folk Songs from the ‘50s & ‘60s

Wisconsin Folksinger David HB Drake had us singing along with the best songs of love and peace. David reminded us of the powerful anthems and timeless songs that resonate in today’s world from when the times, they were a’changing. This fun program was co-produced along with Winchester Academy by the Waupaca Historical Society and City of Waupaca Parks & Recreation Department.

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July 31, 2023

Are Video Games Saving the World?
Should YOU be Playing Them?

Speaker: Chelsea Lovejoy, PhD

Chelsea Lovejoy, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at UW–Stout, where she has taught the psychology of video games since 2014. Talk about “the dangers” of video games fills the media–they must be right, right? But what does the research REALLY say? This presentation looked at some of the ways video games and game technology help improve the physical and social world around us and enhance human connections. We further examined how they can support well-being, physical health, and healthy cognitive aging as well as ways to start a personal mission of self-improvement, connect more meaningfully with others, and even make the world a better place, were explored.

Link to recorded program.


July 24, 2023

Braiding Sweetgrass: 
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

Waupaca Area Public Library Community Read

Braiding Sweetgrass, is a non-fiction book by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It examines modern botany and environmentalism through the lens of the traditions and cultures of the Indigenous peoples of North America. Through a series of personal reflections, the author explores the connection between living things and human efforts to cultivate a more sustainable world.


July 17, 2023

Who'll Stop the Rain:
Respect, Remembrance, & Reconciliation in
Post-Vietnam America

Speaker: Doug Bradley

Doug Bradley is Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus in the College of Letters and Sciences at UW-Madison. In their 2015 award-winning book, We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner placed popular music at the heart of the American experience in Vietnam. Over the next two years, they made more than 100 presentations coast-to-coast, witnessing honest, respectful exchanges among audience members. That journey prompted Bradley to write Who’ll Stop the Rain: Respect, Remembrance, and Reconciliation in Post-Vietnam America and to further explore how the music of the era, shared by those who served and those who stayed, helped create safe, nonjudgmental environments for listening, sharing, and understanding.

Link to recorded program.


July 10, 2023

All of us

Speaker: Scott Hebbring, PhD

Scott Hebbring, PhD, is the Principal Investigator for All of Us at and a Research Scientist in the Center for Precision Medicine Research at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. He completed his doctoral training at Mayo Clinic with a focus on pharmacogenomics. His current research is multidisciplinary combining statistical genetics and medical informatics with molecular biology. Our environment, lifestyle, and DNA play important roles in our health. By studying these factors, researchers may find ways to improve health for you, your family, and future generations. The All of Us Research Program is inviting people across the U.S. to help build one of the most diverse health databases in history. Scott’s program will explain how and why this project is working in Wisconsin, and what the results may mean to you.

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June 26, 2023

Jews and Muslims
in Christian America

Speaker: Charles L. Cohen, PhD

Charles L. Cohen, PhD, is the E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions, Emeritus at UW-Madison. He has taught and written about colonial British North America, American religious history, and the braided histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The adjudication of religious life in the United States plays out on a field generated by, on the one hand, our Constitution and the political institutions that flow from it, and, on the other, by a religious culture that hugely values religious freedom but that has also been highly inflected by various claims that the United States is a Christian nation. These conditions create a central dilemma: Are there circumstances in which religious beliefs and the practices that issue from them make a group seem incapable of being good citizens, even though the nation’s basic values would seem to preclude religious identity as a condition of citizenship? The United States has been defined in various ways as a “Christian nation”; if so, how do Jews and Muslims fit into American society? American political and culture systems can generally handle most differences, but a few issues are explosive, particularly those that question whether a group’s religion precludes its becoming loyal to the United States, i.e., becoming American citizens.


June 19, 2023

Wisconsin’s Last Wild, Undeveloped Lakes

Speaker: John Bates

John Bates authored ten books and worked as a naturalist in our Northwoods for 33 years. John served on the Boards for the Wisconsin Nature Conservancy, River Alliance of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and he currently serves on the Board of the Northwoods Land Trust. John has a MS in Environmental Sciences from UW-Green Bay. Of Wisconsin’s over 15,000 lakes, very few wild lakes remain. These are rare places where remarkable peace and beauty abounds, and where native wildlife flourishes. Wisconsin only has around 135 undeveloped, publicly-owned wild lakes over 30 acres. Where are they? And more importantly, why should we care about protecting wild places? This presentation spotlighted a few of these lakes and the many values each offers scientifically, recreationally, aesthetically, emotionally, and ethically.

Link to recorded program.


June 12, 2023

Beekeeping and the Honey Industry from a Waupaca Perspective

Speaker: Kent Pegorsh

Kent Pegorsh, co-owner of Main Street Marketplace on Main Street in Waupaca, has been producing honey for 47 years and currently manages over 500 hives. Pegorsh discussed the beekeeping year, how some of the best honey in the world is produced in our area, and how the great migration each year of over three quarters of the managed honey bee colonies in the United States to California insure the sustainability of our food supply. The presentation finished with a tasting of varietal honeys.

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Apr 24, 2023

Common Scams and Frauds

Speaker: Jeffrey Kersten

Jeffrey Kersten with the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection will discuss the details of common scams, the warning signs of a scam, and what to do if you or someone you know falls victim to a scam or fraud. Helpful factsheets will be available. As Wisconsin’s lead agency for consumer protection, the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, provides information and education, mediates complaints, investigates cases, and takes enforcement actions to fight fraudulent and deceptive practices that harm consumers and honest businesses.

Kersten is the Agency Liaison for the Bureau of Consumer Protection within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  As the Agency Liaison, Kersten travels around the state to educate the public, businesses, and law enforcement on privacy protection, data security, identity theft, and other areas of consumer protection. Kersten has over 12 years of experience as a police officer and is a prior Consumer Protection Investigator for the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Link to recorded program.

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Apr 10, 2023

How Does Wisconsin Sound?

Speaker: Susan Cook

Wisconsin has a remarkable musical past, one that shows the individual and collective power of its native and emigrant peoples,

and its regional, national and international connections and relationships. This talk presented snapshots from the state’s historical and current soundscapes identifying the circumstances under which musical practices were made, remembered and changed.

Susan C. Cook, Director of the Mead Witter School of Music at UW-Madison, is a music historian and dance scholar whose published work and current research engages with American musical repertories of all kinds. She is particularly interested in the social contexts of art, musical and dance practices as well as the regional practices of Wisconsin.

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Mar 27, 2023

Design concepts for a
sustainable landscape

Speaker: Marissa Ashbeck

Anyone can create a garden space, but can you create a sustainable landscape? 

During "Design Concepts for a Sustainable Landscape" Marissa talked about thoughtful design concepts, low-impact gardens, low-maintenance landscaping, beneficial plants, and how to attract beneficial insects and wildlife into your yards. She discussed getting back to the basics and what is feasible and sustainable in our yards today. 

Marissa Ashbeck is the Horticulture and Grounds Manager at Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau, WI. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Horticulture- Landscape Design and Management at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls.  Marissa found her niche in connecting people with plants where she is today at Monk Botanical Gardens.

Link to recorded program.

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Mar 13, 2023

Promoting Health through collaborative research & Community Engagement

Speaker: Richard "Rick" Moss, PhD

Moss is Professor Emeritus of Cell & Regenerative Biology in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), and until he retired in December 2021 was Senior Associate Dean of Basic Sciences, Biotechnology and Graduate Studies.  Over the past 20 years, SMPH has pursued a unique vision as the nation’s first medical school to fully integrate biomedical and public health research.  These efforts are designed to improve health through development of strategies that not only emphasize greater effectiveness in treating disease but also feature collaborations with communities to reduce disease and improve quality of life for citizens of our state and nation. Dr. Moss presented examples of SMPH research and community engagement designed to improve health and lead an interactive discussion about how to address disparities in health and healthcare across our state.

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Mar 6, 2023

Be at the table or on the menu

Speaker: Marcia Anderson

Anderson has a rare perspective on military and civilian service. In 2011, she became the U.S. Army’s first African American female major general, a position she held until her retirement in 2016. She will share some of the experiences that helped form her leadership style, as well as provide insight on the military decision-making process, and how the Army values inform the culture of one of the most successful militaries in modern history. Major General Anderson shared her experience with addressing diversity in the Army and the ongoing efforts to reduce and eliminate sexual harassment, as will as how to encourage the next generation to consider military service. 

Anderson, whose career was the focus of a 2012 video produced by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, offered her reflections on public service in commemoration of Veterans Day 2019.

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Feb 13, 2023

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: The Ship, the Storm, & the Song

Speaker: Steven Ackerman, PhD
SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Superior storm on Nov 10, 1975, with a loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes and she remains the largest to have sunk there. The exact cause of the sinking remains unknown, though many books, studies, and expeditions have examined it. Ackerman presented this disaster, how it related to weather at the time, and discussed the Lightfoot song.

Ackerman is currently serving as Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at UW-Madison. Ackerman, along with Professor Jonathan Martin is one of the ‘weather guys’ who appear monthly on Wisconsin Public Radio to discuss the weather and climate. They also write a weekly blog ( and a column for the Wisconsin State Journal which answer people’s weather questions.


Feb 6, 2023

Solving Food Insecurity Utilizing Local Agriculture

Speaker: Tara Roberts-Turner
In 2022, the Biden Administration held the first national conference on food insecurity since 1969. The administration brought stakeholders together to promote a new national plan to combat food insecurity.  Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative (WFHC) has not been new to this challenge, having worked with Hunger Task Force and Feeding America to deliver boxes to Tribal and Non-Tribal pantries during the pandemic. In 2023, WFHC will work within the Local Food for School (LFS) program, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA), and Tribal Elder Box (Feeding America), following along the goals established at the conference.  This presentation described the plan, the challenges, and sustainability of each of these programs. 

Link to recorded program.


nov 28, 2022

The Hidden History of Dickens’
A Christmas Carol 

Rochelle Pennington is an award-winning newspaper columnist and author. This program took a close-up look at the literary genius of Charles Dickens, England's most celebrated Victorian novelist, and explored the hidden history behind the author's 1843 Christmas classic. What events inspired the Carol to be written? Who was it written for? How did Dickens' historical novel "single-handedly resurrect" Christmas at a time when factories were open and churches were closed on December 25th? By 1900, no other book in the world had sold more copies except the Bible. Pennington's narrative offered factual perspective and behind-the-scenes insights into the epic influence of Dickens' immortal characters: Ebeneezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, and a trio of Christmas ghosts.


Nov 14, 2022

Find Your Adventure
In Waupaca

Tim Lencki is the owner of Adventure Outfitters with three locations in the Waupaca area.  Having spent over 20 years in the fitness industry as an author, speaker, and personal trainer, he opened his business in 2013 to help people get active by providing sales, service, and outfitting of outdoor gear such as kayaks, paddleboards, bicycles, snowshoes, and XC skis to locals and people visiting the area.  The Waupaca area offers some of the finest and most diverse recreational opportunities around.  Discover exciting year-round adventure using Silent Sports as a way to refresh and help you be active.  Learn about the proper equipment needed and various locations in our area to enjoy the outdoors. 

Link to recording of program.

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NOV 7, 2022

Russia and Ukraine:
Past, Present, and Future

Tim Crain, PhD, returned to Winchester Academy to discuss the relationship between Russia and Ukraine which has been difficult for decades. Earlier this year Russia invaded Ukraine in an attempt to destroy Ukrainian independence. The Russian assault led to the largest war and greatest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. The Russian conquest of Ukraine has been universally condemned by the international community, led by the United States. The lecture focused on past issues between the two nations, the war in the present day, and what the future may hold for the two East European nations.

Tim Crain received a Ph.D. in modern Europe, modern British and Irish, and modern Jewish history at Arizona State University. Crain taught for 15 years at UW-Madison and Marquette University. Crain delivers over one hundred lectures nationally each year.

Link to recording of program.

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Oct 24, 2022

Refugee Resettlement
in Central Wisconsin

Eric Yonke, PhD, is outreach coordinator for the ECDC Multicultural Community Center in Wausau.  Previously, Yonke served as a professor of European History and Director of UW-Stevens Point's Office of International Education.  In the summer of 2021, a group of individuals from churches and civic organizations in Wausau spearheaded an effort to bring refugee resettlement to Central Wisconsin. The Afghanistan crisis was the catalyst, but the effort had its roots in the Hmong refugee experience of thirty years earlier.  Now a refugee resettlement office has been established and is bringing people from all corners of the world to Central Wisconsin. This presentation examined this first year of refugee resettlement, its challenges, and its promises for the future.


Oct 10, 2022

The Art of Active Listening
“What did you say?”
“Do I really care?”

Dan Naylor outlined the importance of active listening in today’s world of conflict and lack of civility. He presented research, as well as personal and professional experience as a facilitator and mediator to answer the question – “can we truly actively listen to each other with a goal of respect and understanding?”

Naylor, a retired human service consultant, husband, father, and grandfather, served in the Army, and spent 45 years in Human Services including helping develop a Vietnam Veterans’ service center, directing an adult correctional halfway house, and a three-county AODA and mental health treatment agency including a residential center for youth. For 25 years, as a consultant Dan supported Wisconsin counties and tribes in the development of collaborative systems of care for children and adults with special needs. Dan has bachelor’s degree in Management and master’s degree in Public Administration.


Oct 3, 2022

Why Slavery Caused the Civil War &Why That Matters Today
   More than Ever

Brett Barker, PhD, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and International Studies at UW-Stevens Point presented how the Civil War remains the central event in our nation’s history. Historians today agree that the institution of slavery, and how it made the North and South very different societies, was the root cause of the war. Yet for much of the century afterward, some Americans have tried to create an alternative interpretation downplaying the significance of slavery. Confederate apologists and white supremacists continue to deny the role of slavery in the Civil War and in American history more generally. Dr. Barker explored the connections between the Civil War, Confederate symbols, and the continuing struggle over civil rights.

Link to recording of program.


Sep 26, 2022

Bach's Puzzles: Hidden Patterns in the Goldberg Variations

Stacey Berk and Nell Buchman explored the organization of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and beauty hidden in this extraordinary work. Berk is Professor of Oboe and Music Theory/Composition at UW-Stevens Point and narrated. Buchman has an active teaching, performing, and adjudicating career at Lawrence University, Community Music School, and throughout Wisconsin and performed excerpts for our enjoyment.​

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Sep 12, 2022

Passive Acoustic Monitoring
of Gray Wolves

Angela Dassow, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of the biology Department at Carthage College.


The gray wolf population in Wisconsin has increased since first dispersed here in the early 1980s. As wolf counts increased, there was a relative increase in the number of human-wolf conflicts. Tracking packs involved in conflicts allows for proactive, non-lethal management of human-wolf conflict, versus reactive culling and illegal kills. Radio-collaring and tracking individuals is effective, but costly and invasive. Passive acoustic monitoring offers a non-invasive approach to tracking pack movements. Dr. Dassow explained how acoustic monitoring and tracking works and how acoustic monitoring provides insight into wolf pack dynamics.

Link to recording of program.


July 18, 2022

Waupaca Robotics:
Inspiring STEM in our Community

A Lydia Engelbreth is content marketing manager at Waupaca Foundry. She also serves as a mentor to the Waupaca High School WIRED robotics team.

Waupaca High School has had a robotics team for the past six years; as of 2021 the team decided to change from VEX Robotics to FIRST Robotics. FIRST Robotics is a highly competitive international organization that has over 90,000 students competing in 34 countries. In their rookie season, they took home the Rookie Inspiration Award for the team plans for community outreach and their build capabilities. Beyond that, at the second competition they were selected for the 3rd seed alliance and made it to the quarterfinals.

Lydia and members of the team demonstrated the world of STEM by showing how the Waupaca FIRST Robotics teams are developing technical and life skills through hands-on experiences. The program concluded with a live demonstration of their robot.

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July 11, 2022

Chasing a Giant:
Reginald Sutcliffe and the invention of Modern Meteorology

Jonathan Martin, PhD, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison, author of Reginald Sutcliffe and the Invention of Modern Weather Systems Science, and appears regularly on WPR's "Weather Guys" show, discussed how a forecast of the weather for a couple of days was considered a practical impossibility a century ago. In the intervening decades a remarkable revolution has taken place such that today a weather forecast to 5 days is so routinely accurate as to be taken for granted. We are among the first humans in history with access to such precise predictions. This capability is among the most unheralded scientific advances of the last century. This talk recounted the life and scientific contributions of a leading intellectual figure of this revolution, Reginald Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe's story exemplified how education, practical urgency, and creative genius - mobilized by an abiding curiosity - conspired to solve even the most seemingly intractable problems.

Link to the recording of the presentation.


June 27, 2022

Hidden Thunder:
Rock art of the upper midwest

Robert "Ernie" Boszhardt, a professional archaeologist with more than four decades of experience, worked for the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse for nearly thirty years and is now co-owner of Driftless Pathways, LLC and an honorary fellow at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He has authored numerous articles and four books that cover a wide variety of Wisconsin archaeology topics with and emphasis on the Driftless Area.

This program featured the award-winning book Hidden Thunder: Rock art of the Upper Midwest, which Mr. Boszhardt co-authored with artist Geri Schrab. He introduced Wisconsin rock art and juxtaposed archaeological and artistic perspectives to a dozen sites, each interspersed with a variety of Native American reflections. Boszhardt reviewed a sample of the sites with illustrations of carvins and drawings along with Schrab's paintings, while covering aspects of history, geology and preservation.

Link to recording of the presentation.


June 20, 2022

How the Center for Dairy Research supports WIsconsin's Dairy Industry

The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR) is the largest dairy center in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Established in 1986 on the University of Wisconsin campus, The CDR works with dairy processors, packagers, marketers, retailers, food service operations and other users of dairy products to strengthen this vital industry in Wisconsin. By doing so, they contribute to dairy farmers success through increasing the demand for their milk and maximizing the revenue that their dairy products generate which translates into bigger milk checks for dairy farmers.

Speaker Dean Sommer has worked at the Center for Dairy Research for the last 19 years, serving as a technical resource to Wisconsin cheese manufacturers and their customers. Dean obtained a MS degree in Food Science from UW-Madison.


June 13, 2022

Wisconsin The Chemistry of Paint Drying: It's more Fascinating than it sounds! 

Allison Fleshman, PhD, has always loved the arts, so a fun side project of hers is identifying the chemical composition of pigments and inks in medieval manuscripts. She also teaches the chemistry of art to non-chemistry majors. Paintings embody human expression, but they also encompass quite a bit of chemistry. From the optical properties of varnish, to the pigments that produce vivid colors, Allison took us on a chemical adventure into the captivating world of oil paintings. She has spent many years watching paint dry, and assures you, it is quite a fascinating endeavor!

Link to recording of the presentation.


May 9, 2022

Wisconsin Jazz: From the Roots to the Present 

Kurt Dietrich, professor emeritus of music at Ripon College and author of Wisconsin Riffs:  Jazz Profiles from the Heartland  (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018), gave an overview of important jazz artists from Wisconsin and the trends that have led from the early days -- the roots -- up to the rich and complex jazz scene in Wisconsin today.

Link to recording of the presentation.


May 3, 2022

The Roots of Jazz:
A Rhythmic Perspective 

Ryan Korb, lecturer of Jazz Percussion and Jazz Studies at UW-Stevens Point, discussed why and how African percussion became one of the roots of jazz and why it remains so to this day.

Link to recording of the presentation.


Apr 25, 2022

A Durable Dane: The Eddy Hanson Story

A mini-drama written and narrated by Pat Phair with musical accompaniment by Linda Harmon. A master of the keyboard, a composer and musical performer, Waupaca native Eddy Hanson spent the better part of seven decades working in the entertainment world. From the penniless days in Waupaca to the top of the penthouse in Chicago his life was filled with successful adventures and personal mishaps. Through it all he remained true to his local roots and devotion to family. This dramatic presentation followed his career and portrayed several of his works. 

Link to recording of the presentation.


Apr 11, 2022

insect Borne Diseases

Xia Lee is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease with a strong interest in the ecological dynamics of tick-borne disease. He directed a project with collaborators to investigate the effectiveness of host targeted acaricides in reducing ticks and the prevalence of the Lyme disease agent in questing ticks. This project utilized permethrin treated cotton balls that would be gathered and used as nesting material by white-footed mice to reduce tick burdens. For his PhD dissertation, he studied the host-seeking behavior of the blacklegged tick through repeated collections over a period of 24 hours. He has also collaborated with the Mayo Clinic investigating two newly emerging disease pathogens, Erhlicia muris eauclairensis and Borrelia mayonii.

Link to recording of the presentation.

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Mar 28, 2022

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women:
A Historical and Personal Perspective

Andrea Lemke-Rochon, a member of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) WI State Task Force, shared a personal and historic perspective about this tragic epidemic that impacts native families at alarmingly high rates. She spoke in memory of her cousin, Rae Elaine Tourtillott, who was murdered on the Menominee Indian Reservation when Tourtillott was just 18 years of age. Listen and learn how you might help advocate for justice and change for Native women and girls in Wisconsin.

Link to recording of the presentation.

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Mar 21, 2022

“I will always be somebody.”:Dr. Mary Walker,
the Civil War, and the Fight for Women’s Rights

Theresa Kaminski, PhD, is professor emerita of history from UWSP. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker always wanted to be somebody. During the 19th century, that was an unusual ambition for a woman. But Walker was an unusual woman. She wore trousers, graduated from medical school, and in 1861 offered her services to the United States Army. Four years later, President Andrew Johnson awarded Dr. Walker the Medal of Honor for her incomparable medical service rendered during the Civil War. She remains the only woman to receive that recognition. After the war, Mary Walker dedicated her life to the women’s suffrage movement, frequently clashing with its established leadership over ideology and tactics.

Link to recording of the presentation.

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Mar 7, 2022

A Journey Around the World through the Eyes of International Schools: A First-Hand Account

Colin Mitchell, PhD, a native of New Jersey, and Jenny Mitchell, EdD, from the Green Bay area, met in Tunisia nine years ago. Jenny taught on five different continents in a variety of schools. Colin, a former head of international business development joined Jenny on her journey with stops in Europe and Africa. They have visited over 70 different countries in 15 years abroad. Listen as they discuss differences in international schools as they hop from one unique cultural experience to the next from a first post in Colombia to traveling around South East Asia via Singapore; from living on the Rhine in Germany to the Nile in Sudan. Each school provided a unique perspective on the world and the globalization of education.

Link to recording of this presentation.


Feb 7, 2022

Cultivating Creativity as We Age:
Resisting the Pull of Apath

Rev. Thomas Aldworth, PhD, presented strategies for cultivating creativity as found in the seminal work of the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, especially his books Flow, Finding Flow and Creativity. Aging inevitably leads to a diminishing of physical abilities but aging does not necessarily lead to a diminishing in imagination and creativity. Aldworth will explored pathways that lead to flow and enhanced creativity.

Link to recording of this presentation.


Nov 15, 2021

The Artwork at Danes Hall of Waupaca: The Skagen Painter of Denmark

Dr. Michael G. Koehler is a chemist by day, but his passion for the history of Danish American immigrants is seen in his restoration of Danes Hall of Waupaca. Danes Hall was built in 1894 at a time when Denmark was undergoing dramatic social and political change, and Danish
immigration to Wisconsin was peaking. Denmark’s artist of this era reflected this social and political changes of Europe as they moved away from the realistic paintings of grand estates, castles, and noblemen, to adopt the French impressionist forms of rural landscapes, seascapes, and the working farmers and fishermen. Danes Hall holds a historic collection of
paintings from Denmark’s Skagen Painters, representing the impressionist era of the art and culture of the Danes who settled in Wisconsin. 

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Nov 8, 2021

Fantastic Fungi

Glen Stanosz is a Wisconsin native and Professor of Tree and Forest Health at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research group studies the biology and management of tree diseases caused by fungi. Professor Stanosz is an award winning teacher whose students include future foresters, horticulturists, and arborists, and professionals in the green industry.

Fungi are often overlooked, misunderstood, and definitely under-appreciated. Yet these diverse and highly evolved organisms are critical to function of forest ecosystems. Their varied lifestyles are suited to roles as symbiotic mutualists, nature’s recyclers, or disease-causing tree pathogens. Fungi profoundly influence the initiation, development, composition, stability, and change of forests.

Link to recording of this program.

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Oct 25, 2021

History Or Hollywood: 
Ben-Hur and Gladiator

Gregory S. Aldrete, Professor Emeritus of History at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and the author of 7 books and 6 Teaching Company/Great Courses on ancient history.

Gregory's lecture examined two of the most famous movies set in ancient Rome, and analyzed the historical accuracy of their plot, sets, costumes, and characters.  Discover how true-to-life Ben-Hur's (1959) spectacular chariot race and naval battle really are, and find out whether Gladiator’s (2000) depiction of the lives and deaths of Roman gladiators and of the pivotal emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus are more fact or fiction. 

Link to recording of this program.


Oct 18, 2021

The Potential for Stem Cells to Treat Eye Diseases

David Gamm, MD, PhD is Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director McPherson Eye Research Institute. Inherited and acquired degenerative diseases of the retina are a significant cause of incurable vision loss worldwide.  Dr. Gamm sees the impact of these diseases on afflicted individuals and their families in his pediatric ophthalmology practice at the University of Wisconsin. His laboratory at the Waisman Center utilizes stem cell technology to investigate the cellular and molecular events that occur during human retinal differentiation and to generate cells for use in human retinal disease modeling and cell-based rescue or replacement strategies. To meet these goals, they utilize a variety of human cell types, including ES and iPS cells, which have the capacity to mimic retinal development and disease, as well as to delineate the genetic “checkpoints” necessary to produce particular retinal cell types. By understanding the behavior of these cell types in vitro and in vivo, they hope to optimize strategies to delay or reverse the effects of blinding disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and age–related macular degeneration.

Link to recording of this program.

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Oct 11, 2021

Wisconsin English

Joe Salmons, professor and a founder of the Wisconsin Englishes Project at UW-Madison, explored the kinds of English spoken in our state, including pronunciation, words and word forms, and grammar. He looked at how key features of Wisconsin English developed over time, how remarkably recent they are and how they are changing and becoming more distinct today. The Wisconsin Englishes Project is developing a new set of maps about English in Wisconsin and what they can tell us about language in the state. 

Link to recording of this program.


Aug 2, 2021

Myanmar - Days of Hope and Nights of Terror

Steve Wilson and Julie Foote, Wisconsin natives, are living  and teaching internationally. Steve has been an educator for more than 15 years including five years in the Waupaca School District. Julie, who grew up in Waupaca, has been very involved in the community as a member of the Rotary Club of Waupaca. Myanmar was their first international posting, and they immediately fell in love with their new country where people remain generous, kind, and welcoming despite decades of political repression and economic hardship. The couple was living in Yangon, Myanmar when a military coup shattered the country's future. They witnessed the incredible bravery of Myanmar's citizens in their struggle for democracy, as the creativity, generosity, and humor of protesters have been met with unconscionable violence. By sharing their experience of life under the military junta, Julie and Steve hope to amplify the voices of those who have been brutally silenced.

Link to recording of this program.


July 19, 2021

Wisconsin Lighthouses

Barb and Ken Wardius, authors and photographers of the book “Wisconsin Lighthouses--A Photographic and Historical Guide”, offered a slide/lecture presentation that highlighted many of Wisconsin’s historical beacons. This program featured many stunning images in a combination of lecture, story telling, and music. The presentation covered 1/3 of the lights in the state, including Cana Island Lighthouse, Wisconsin Point Light, Sand Island Light, Rockwell Lighthouse, Rawley Point, Wind Point and many more. 


Link to recording of this program.


July 12, 2021

Walk this Way: Stuart Weitzman’s Collection of Historic Shoes

Laura Fiser, the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, shared highlights from the summer 2021 exhibition, Walk This Way, featuring 100 pairs of striking shoes and more than a century of shoe design. This exhibition is drawn from the extensive private collection of high-fashion shoe designer Stuart Weitzman and his wife, Jane Gershon Weitzman. Assembled over three decades, the collection of “inspiration shoes” explores how shoes have transcended their utilitarian purpose to become representations of culture—coveted as objects of desire, designed with artistic consideration, and expressing complicated meanings of femininity, power, and aspiration for women and men alike. From silk boudoir shoes created for the 1867 Paris Exposition to the red carpet’s “Million Dollar Sandals,” every shoe tells a story.

Link to recording of program.


June 14, 2021


Racial Wealth Equity:
How We Can Make a Difference

Chuck Self, CFA , is an Appleton, based registered investment advisor and serves on the board of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Chuck’s talk presented startling facts that clearly outline the reality of the racial wealth gap. The relationships between where one lives, family wealth, and home ownership vs. renting were presented. He reviewed possible causes and some myths surrounding the equity gap. Historic discrimination that trickles down through generations was explained. Chuck finished with a suggestion for positive action to address this national problem.

Link to recording of program.


June 7, 2021

Wetlands as Solutions to our Water Issues in Wisconsin

Tracy Hames is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. His presented about what wetlands are, why they’re important, their current state, and what you can do to care for these natural treasures.  Historically viewed as wastelands, wetland loss was rampant in Wisconsin for many decades.  The legacy of wetland loss has contributed to many of our current natural resource and societal problems such as increased flooding, decreased water quality, and loss of fish and wildlife habitat.  Hames presented wetlands from a new perspective, showing how we can use them as solutions to the water-related issues we face, especially flooding. 

Link to recording of program.


Apr 19, 2021

Summer Diet of Gray Wolves (Canis lupis) in Central Wisconsin

Waupaca native Hannah Butkiewicz covered the research she conducted on wolves in the central forests of Wisconsin during the summer of 2018 and 2019. Hannah earned her BS in Forest and Wildlife Ecology in 2016 from UW-Madison and is currently working towards a master's degree in Wildlife from UW-Stevens Point. Hannah recently accepted a position as the Executive Director of Golden Sands Resource & Development Council, Inc., and has participated in research on Karner blue butterflies, migratory songbirds, freshwater mussels, fish, turtles, wolves, and wild turkeys.

Link to recording of program.


Apr 12, 2021

Prevalent Parasites in the Wisconsin Wolf Population

Lettie Vierk is a Junior Biology student at UW-Stevens Point. She plans to attend graduate school for a degree in epidemiology. Lettie dedicated the summer of 2020 to the Wisconsin Wolf population through studying and analyzing the wolf's prevalent parasites. She gathered over 100 specimens to record the different parasites and stages of development in the life cycle. This original research data will reveal the most abundant parasites in the wolf population. These parasites provide pertinent clues to what is happening in the surrounding environment as well as the wolf.

Link to recording of program.


Mar 22, 2021

Climate change effect on birds

Dr. Alan Haney, Emeritus Professor of Forestry at UW-Stevens Point shared information on climate change and its effect on birds.

Long before the Atlantic Canary, a distant relative of our American Goldfinch, was first used in British mines to detect unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, people observed birds as a way to predict changes in weather. With their small size and high metabolism, birds, especially passerines, quickly respond to changes in their environment, and therefore, can be excellent indicators of climatic shifts. Climate change is different from weather, and it is population trends in birds that inform us. Alan used numerous examples, some common to central Wisconsin, some not, to illustrate ways in which the rapidly changing climate is affecting our birds, most, but not all, in negative ways.

Link to recording of program.


Mar 8, 2021

The Weyauwega Train Derailment - 25 Years Ago

The story of the Weyauwega train derailment on March 4, 1996, was shared by two Weyauwega area residents, who lived through and responded to the resulting area evacuation and 16 day long fire.

Jim Baehnman served as the acting fire chief and liaison with residents and county, state, federal, safety response and railroad officials to direct the evacuation and oversee the extinguishing of the fire.

Richard Wagner, vice president of Weyauwega Milk Products, was responsible for redirecting milk deliveries after that cheese making facility located 400 feet from the derailment site had to be shut down for 18 days. Both Baehnman and Wagner provided details of the event, the evacuation of their families, and their efforts during the emergency. 

Link to recording of program


Feb 15, 2021

History of Gerold Opera House - Weyauwega

Ian Teal, Executive Director of the Weyauwega Arts Organization, which currently owns and operates the Gerold Opera House.

Opera Houses were a source for live entertainment in rural America starting in the late 19th century. This program covered a brief history of Opera Houses and went into depth about the history of the 1915 Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega, Wisconsin. The history of Weyauwega and the surrounding area was addressed as well as what role the Gerold plays in the community today.


Link to recording of program.


Feb 8, 2021

Building the Green Foundry - Sustainability Initiatives at Waupaca Foundry

Bryant Esch, Director of Environmental Engineering at Waupaca Foundry, presented this program. 

Waupaca Foundry, as the largest producer of gray, ductile, austempered ductile, and compacted graphite iron in the world is working to set environmental benchmarks in the metalcasting industry. Waupaca Foundry’s primary sustainable goals, and the environmental activities underway to support them include efforts in the areas of energy use, air emissions, water use and foundry byproduct recycling. The presentation reviewed these historical activities, along with a discussion of environmental successes and challenges recognized for 2021 and beyond.

Link to recording of program.

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Nov 16, 2020

Earth Day:A Journalist Reflects on Earth Day at 50 and the Challenges of Today 

Bill Berry, Stevens Point-based journalist and writer, has covered the environment most of his life. His 2014 book, "Banning DDT, How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way," was named the top nature book of 2014 by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. He writes a regular column for the Capital Times newspaper of Madison, frequently on environmental topics.

Berry reviewed the good, bad and ugly 50 years after the first Earth Day in 1970. He has covered environmental issues for most of those 50 years and looked at how the awareness generated in 1970 has continued to impact key environmental decisions at the state and national level. Examples included issues of local, state, and national importance, such as how the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act affected Wisconsin's natural resources and the public's understanding of environmental issues.

Link to recording of program.

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Nov 9, 2020

Why Westerns Endure

The western movie has been a staple of the film industry since 1903 and, while less frequently produced today, maintains a loyal following in the 21st century. The talk examined several likely reasons for this genre's enduring presence and explore several fundamental themes and plots that have been carried over from the classic westerns into other classic and contemporary film formats.

Jack Rhodes received his PhD from The University of Texas Austin and held faculty positions at Colorado College, The University of Utah, and Miami University (OH), where he served as Chair of the Department of Communication and as Executive Director of Miami's regional campus in Hamilton. While at Miami he taught a graduate class in Rhetoric of Film and has now served for several years as a seminar teacher of Film Studies at Lawrence University's Bjorklunden Campus.

Link to recording of program.


OCT 19, 2020

Record Rain, The Hydro-Illogical Cycle: It's a Busy Time in Water

The last six years have been the wettest on record!  Though the excess precipitation has driven water levels and streamflows to historic highs in some places, we’ll have to worry about how high capacity well pumping is drying lakes and streams when rains become normal.  Wisconsin may be on the verge of a new era of managing groundwater pumping amounts for healthy water bodies – but don’t count on it yet – there’s politics here!


George J. Kraft, a free-range hydrologist and water policy nerd, is working on issues of groundwater sustainability in Wisconsin.  He is also an Emeritus Professor of Water Resources and former Director of the Center for Watershed Science and Education at UW-Stevens Point and Extension. His three-decade long career has been honored with numerous awards, including being named a "University of Wisconsin - System Fellow" and the recipient of the 2017 UW-Stevens Point "University Scholar" award.  His ongoing research and outreach has been devoted to how unmanaged groundwater pumping is drying Central Wisconsin lakes, streams and wetlands.

Link to recording of program.


Oct 12, 2020


American Playwrights

Kathy Fehl, artistic director of the Weyauwega Arts Organization, shared her inside view of plays and playwrights. Kathy Fehl studied theater with Lee Strasberg, one of the founders of the Actors’ Studio. She also worked with Geraldine Page for several years, and has met and worked with many other actors, directors, and playwrights. Fourteen of her plays were produced in small theaters in Manhattan, and she directed both new and classic works.


Plays are markers of the preoccupations of the American public. Though plays tell the story of a group of people, the wider society is a large factor in the rhythm of each piece of theater. All playwrights share this duality. That being said, plays vary greatly in style, and the paths to audiences vary, too.

Fehl's presentation focused on the process of moving from writer to produced playwright. Focusing on several writers’ lives, to see the obstacles overcome on the road to production and success. Playwrights whose lives visited included Eugene O’Neill, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams,Sam Shepard, August Wilson, and John Guare.

Link to recording of program.


Why is Critical THinking so Critical?

Rev. Dr. Thomas Aldworth, author, pastor, instructor in philosophy at Moraine Valley Community College, counselor and pastoral theologian,  presented Why is Critical Thinking So Critical? Dr Aldworth explored why critical thinking is such a vital skill for everyone. Certain cognitive biases were touched upon, such the Dunning-Kruger effect where people who know little about something assume a much greater knowledge that they actually possess. What gets in the way of good thinking was explored along with a few guidelines for making decisions reflective of who we really are


Mar 9, 2020

Mar 2, 2020

Climate Change & Human Health

Dr. Paul Sletten, a family practice physician at ThedaCare Riverside
Medical Center in Waupaca, is a climate activist.

The Center for Disease Control recently published a wide-ranging report
on the impact of climate change on human health. Dr. Sletten’s talk
explored how coal, oil, and gas emit pollution when burned, how that
pollution is changing our climate, and how that in turn affects our


Feb 17, 2020

Animal Use in Biomedical Research

Dr. Peter Gasper, DVM, a local practicing veterinarian and a board certified member of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine spoke on
using animals in biomedical research addressing two important emotionally-charged questions that Dr. Gasper will address. 1) How are human beings different than other living organisms? 2) What are the ethics of using animals in biomedical research?

Link to recording of program

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Feb 10, 2020

50 Shades of Green

Jimmy Olson, president of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association and owner/president of Olson Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Sheboygan, presented an overall look into the green burial movement and how funeral homes can better serve families who choose a more natural option.

Olson helped us understand green burial options and environmental impacts associated with green burials vs traditional burials as well as the products and services available. 


Nov 18, 2019

Apollo 50 Years After –

What Now?

Robert Benada, PhD in Physics, worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA’s Manned Space Program brought Americans into space and ultimately to the Moon. This tremendous technical achievement happened in a time of growing social and political turmoil, particularly the Cold War, Civil rights, assassinations, and the Vietnam war.  The courage and genius that built to the 1969 Apollo 11 landing was the foundation for a world fleet of Earth and planetary satellites.  Currently there is little US movement towards further manned flights beyond Earth orbit (Space Station) so what will our space future hold?

Link to recording of program.


Nov 4, 2019


 How Thinking Like a Geologist

 Can Help Save the World

Marcia Bjornerud, Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies at Lawrence University discussed how our culture has no instinct for the duration of the chapters in Earth’s past – the rates of change during previous intervals of environmental instability. We are navigating recklessly toward the future using primitive concepts of time with little hope of finding a common philosophy to bring all factions together for honest discourse about issues like climate change and economic disparity. But a clear-eyed view of our place in time, a habit of mind called 'Timefulness', might be a start.

Link to recording of program.


Oct 28, 2019

Jewels of the Belle Époque:

French Paintings in the 

Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

Visual artist, musician, piano tuner and de facto art historian, Kevin
Knopp presented an overview of French painting in the Art Institute of
Chicago. He explored the cultural and historical context of French urban
life that gave rise to this extraordinary blossoming of visual art from
1869 to the end of the Great War and beyond. The talk complemented a day
bus trip from Waupaca to the Art Institute on Wednesday, November 6.
Knopp accompanied the trip and provided a guided tour through the
Art Institute’s rooms of French Art.


Oct 21, 2019

The Physics of 

Musical Instruments

Art Stevenson, a bluegrass musician and Senior Lecturer in physics and astronomy at UWSP, was joined by fellow musician Professor Emeritus David Tamres, who taught Physics, including a course he developed on acoustics, at UWSP. Fascinating physical principles of woodwinds and stringed instruments were discussed and demonstrated. The pennywhistle and the guitar are examples of how musical instruments produce sound, and of how they are tuned and played. Principles of resonance, fundamental frequency, harmonics and tone were demonstrated using  the guitar and pennywhistle.

Link to recording of progam.

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Oct 7, 2019

Natural Soundscapes and

the Spirit of a Place

Professor Stan Temple explored Aldo Leopold’s fascination with natural sounds, introduce the new field of soundscape ecology and shared his detailed re-creation of the chorus of birds at dawn that Leopold meticulously documented at his beloved shack in June 1940. Today, it is increasingly impossible to escape human-made noise, even in places designated as wilderness, making it difficult to study or simply enjoy natural soundscapes. Preserving the natural sounds of a place may be just as challenging as conserving its plants and animals. Leopold proved again to be ahead of his time by noting and studying the role of sound in the natural world.

Link to recording of program.


Sept 30, 2019

Chronic Wasting Disease:
It won't be ignored

Patrick Durkin of Waupaca is an award-winning outdoor writer & freelance newspaper columnist. Wisconsin saw its 1st case of CWD in 2002. Its prevalence in SW Wisconsin remained low until 2007. Since 2007 CWD has increased in the core area west of Madison, and spread into adjoining counties and beyond. Today it’s found in wild deer in 26 counties and in captive herds in 7 counties. The DNR confirmed CWD in a record 1,063 hunter-registered deer in 2018. Deer herds in several counties have disease rates exceeding 50%. No other state or province in North America matches our prevalence of CWD. Durkin believes CWD poses a growing danger to Wisconsin’s deer herd and our deer hunting heritage.


Sept 23, 2019

Faithful Geniuses:

A Violin & Piano Recital In Celebration of Clara Schumann’s 200th Anniversary

Violinist Soh-Hyun Park Altino was accompanied by pianist Dr. Jeannie Yu in this beautiful musical program highlighting composers Clara and Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Amy Beach. Each piece was carefully chosen to illustrate the mutual affection and close personal connections sustained between Clara and Johannes after Robert’s sad death. The inclusion of a work by distinguished American composer and pianist Amy Beach was also shared at the program. 

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Sept 9, 2019

Hot Air Ballooning:

Flying the Gentle Giants

Steve Dereby, Pilot, and Jeanne Dereby, Crew Chief Extraordinaire, shared their experiences with all aspects of this exhilarating sport. Their talk covered piloting, the importance of reliable crew members,  leisure/sport and competition flying as well as instruction, certification, and examination. 


Aug 5, 2019

How Wisconsin Abolished the Death Penalty in the 1850S

Brett Barker is associate professor of history at UW-Stevens Point, Wausau campus. Wisconsin abolished the death penalty in 1853 only five years after becoming a state, and shortly after the gruesome hanging execution of a man who murdered his wife in Kenosha. Wisconsin has the distinction of having no death penalty longer than any other state in the nation. Barker will elaborate on the social and political forces that resulted in the historic repeal of the death penalty which at the time was the only sentence available to judges in murder cases.

Link to Recording.

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July 29, 2019

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin

Author, storyteller and historian Jerry Apps gives a presentation is based on his new book, "The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature's Army at Work." (Wisconsin Historical Society press, April 2019). Between 1933 and 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a popular New Deal relief
program, was at work across America.  Young men lived in rustic CCC camps, planting trees, cutting trails, and reversing the effects of soil erosion.  Apps will share some of the rich CCC history in Wisconsin.

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July 22, 2019

A Woman Like That

Soprano Krista Wozniak performs a recital presenting a woman's perspective through songs and arias. She has chosen pieces that represent female experience characterized through a woman's voice. Some are by female composers and some have lyrics written by or taken as quotes from women. The music will consist of some familiar pieces and some new compositions, including an aria written specifically for her, from the opera "Smashed: The Carrie Nation Story."  It's not exactly a "Me Too" concert, but it will be uniquely female, possibly enlightening, and, entertaining!
Krista will be accompanied on the piano by Nell Buchman.

Link to the Facebook recordings of this program - 1st half, 2nd half.

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July 15, 2019

The WWI Christmas Miracle

Author Rochelle Pennington discusses the factual account of the 1914 battlefield Christmas truce, remembered today as “the most extraordinary event in military history” and “the grand human moment.” Pennington's program details the amazing circumstances surrounding 100,000 enemy combatants who “met in the middle” on Christmas and halted a war. She will draw directly from the written memories of soldiers who were there, as recorded in diaries, letters home, and published in newspaper articles. Vintage photographs will be shown, including photos of soldiers exchanging gifts beside Christmas trees lit with candles on the battlefield. Authentic World War I artifacts from the author’s personal collection will be on display.

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June 24, 2019

We Rise Together: Journey to embrace others as Equals

Jonathan Overby, ethnomusicologist, lyric baritone, clinician, conference presenter,  lecturer, and WPR host will discuss seeking and discovering a new pathway to engaging the stranger among us even as we struggle in the face of public policies, deeply seeded religious traditions, ill-gotten privilege, and widespread hatred.

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Past Speakers

June 17, 2019

Arab-israeli conflict: major challenge in the modern era

Tim Crain, Director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University, presented on how the conflict between the Israelis and the Arab world has continued for 100 years and there is no solution in sight. Over the past fifty years, the struggle has degenerated into more of an Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as most of the Arab nations have lost interest. What has made resolution all the more difficult, is that both sides have legitimate claims to the same territory. In the presentation he reviewed the past and present relationship of the two entities, and projected to the future in an attempt to review what steps could be taken to resolve the ongoing strife.

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June 10, 2019

How Does a Film Mean? Style and Substance in the Classic Hollywood Movie

 Jack Rhodes, professor emeritus at Miami University (OH) advanced the theory that the essential success of a classic movie is not necessarily its subject matter alone but rather the craft and style with which the film is put together.  He reminded us that the key question to ask ourselves in evaluating a film is not WHAT it means but HOW it means.

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APR 29, 2019

Dead Presidents: Strange Deaths, Surprising Afterlives

Thirty-nine of our presidents are gone, but there's a world of monuments, memorials & more around our departed leaders. Brady Carlson calls this the world of the 'post-post-presidency,' and for his book, Dead Presidents, he set out to see it all. Carlson traveled to each presidential gravesite, finding stirring - and occasionally stupefying - ways Americans remember and honor their former heads of state. He talks about why presidents sometimes plan out their funerals in elaborate detail, why some late presidents have had their remains buried and reburied and why there's a town in Iowa that plays a sport named for Herbert Hoover.

Link to recording.

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April 22, 2019

Music & Meaning: Isadora Duncan, Modern Dance Pioneer