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Two University of Wisconsin Oshkosh research teams have been awarded seed grants from the Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT).

UWO’s SIRT launched the grant program this fall to support the advancement of research, teaching, creative activity and outreach on topics of sustainability. Faculty members from UWO’s three campuses were encouraged to apply. Upon review of applications, members of SIRT’s internal advisory board selected two groups of applicants to receive $7,500 each.

One grant has been awarded to faculty members Melissa Bublitz, Sara Steffes Hansen, Kristine Nicolini and Maria Novotny. They will develop and deliver an informative and interactive workshop designed to help faculty hone their skills to communicate their research to external stakeholders, ranging from citizens to policymakers and the media. The workshop, planned for May 2019, will focus on empowering faculty to be more effective in sharing their research and knowledge to educate the public, building a supportive community for advancing sustainability in the region and state.

The second grant has been awarded to UWO faculty and staff members Stewart Cole, Misty McPhee, Lisa Mick, Brad Spanbauer and Linda Pereksta, as well as community member Anita Carpenter. This group will systematically assess avian species diversity and abundances on campus, record species that die from window strikes, analyze relationships between overall species abundances and proportions of window strike fatalities; and determine which windows on campus are most likely to be associated with bird deaths. The ultimate goal of this work is to propose potential solutions to the campus. In a novel approach, the final manuscripts from the project will be written in a way that encompass the discussion of species diversity through a humanistic lens.

SIRT launched in 2017 to support the University’s commitment to sustainability by engaging stakeholders from Wisconsin and beyond to build healthy communities, inclusive economies and ecologically sound environments through inquiry, education and action. SIRT pursues these goals through a combination of efforts: planning events like the recent Earth Charter Community Summit; collaborating with nonprofit, corporate and governmental organizations; producing educational materials to build understanding of sustainable practices; and bringing together faculty and staff to investigate and discuss topics in sustainability.

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