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UW-Fox Valley Announces Change in Scholars Series Schedule

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Menasha, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley has announced a change in the Scholars Series program scheduled for Monday, October 11 at noon. Jim Brey, Ph.D., Professor of Geography and Geology at UWFox, will be presenting, “Changing Lake Michigan Lake Levels,” at noon in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Brey replaces the previously scheduled Corey Jaskolski of Hydro Technologies, who was presenting, “The Titanic.”

Brey’s illustrated talk will explore the topic of lake level change in the Great Lakes with particular emphasis on Lake Michigan. “Recent low lake levels have raised concerns for marina operators, shipping concerns and water users throughout the Lake Michigan basin,” he explains. “Global warming has been suggested as the cause of these low levels but long term data does not appear to support that view. Lake Michigan levels are now rebounding.”

He will explain how low lake levels are very costly because lake freighters cannot carry full loads due to lessened vessel draft. “Expensive dredging is needed to keep harbors and marinas open. On the other side of the coin, low lake levels make for wide inviting beaches,” Brey says.

Not so long ago high lake levels were in the news. “High lake levels take away the expansive beach and often go on to take shoreline structures, roads and buildings and do other damage,” he observes. “Distance between water level and bridges is lessened sometimes creating problems. There appears to be a periodicity to swings in lake level within the time that detailed lake level records have been kept that amount to about a meter and a half.”

Brey will explain how, by researching back in time there are significant climate changes. This includes glaciation and deglaciation, “as well as isostatic rebound after glaciation, which has resulted in lake level changes that are much larger than those measured recently.”

He will discuss how the highest levels drowned much of what is dry shoreline now in several miles from the present shore. “The lowest levels left the Lake Michigan Basin with only half the water extent of today. A variety of evidence for this can be found nearby at the Point Beach State Forest and the Two Creeks Buried Forest of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve. These bigger changes and the evidence for them will be explored in the talk, with major emphasis on the Two Creeks story. Implications of future climate change will also be explored,” Brey related.

Brey’s interest in changing Lake Michigan levels derives mainly from the fact that he grew up a very short distance from the lake in Sheboygan. In the course of his boyhood and adult life he’s witnessed several of these lake level extremes and their impacts.

As a professor at UWFox, he regularly engages his students in following the changing face of the shoreline on numerous field trips and outings to the shoreline.

The annual Scholars Series program at UWFox has been well attended and critically acclaimed in the past.

Like all of the presentations, Brey’s presentation is free and open to the public. Seating is unreserved and open.

Below are listed the Scholars Series presentations scheduled for the remainder of the fall 2004 and Spring 2005 Semesters.

October 25: “Environmental Factors in the Classic Mayan Collapse,” presented by Dr. Heather McKillop, Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University;

November 8: “What If?”, presented by Dr. Karen Halbersleben, President of Northland College and Professor of History.

November 22: “Can We Really Measure Discrimination?”, presented by Dr. Stephen Fienberg, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University;

December 6: “Bio-terrorism and the Food Chain: What Should We Be Doing?”, presented by Dr. Ted Labuza, Teaching Professor of Food Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota;

February 7: “The Portage: Reflections of Space, Time and Memory in the Making of an American Place,” presented by Dr. William Cronon, Department of Geography / History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;

February 21: “Criminal Justice System, Corrections and Prisons Law,” presented by Dr. Walter Dickey of the University of Wisconsin-Madison;

March 14: “John F. Kennedy,” presented by Dr. Michael O’Brien, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley;

March 28: presenter and topic to be announced at a later date;

April 11: “Why Medicine Needs Agriculture,” presented by Dr. Irwin Goldman, Department of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;

April 25: “My Literary Life,” presented by Jean Faraca, commentator and on-air host for Wisconsin Public Radio through the University of Wisconsin-Madison;

May 9: “Should We Tell Our Daughters to Become Scientists?”, presented by Talat Rahman, Department of Physics at Kansas State University.

For more information about the Scholars Series, interested individuals can contact Dave Hager, Director of University Relations at UWFox, 920-832-2611 or email david.hager@uwc.edu.

Free parking for visitors and guests attending the Scholars Series is available on the west side of the campus, which is located at 1478 Midway Road, Menasha. Seating is based on a first-come, first seated basis.

Posted 10/7/04