Nelson and Nolte Awards

Katherine Greacen Nelson Award

The Weis Earth Science Museum established the Nelson Award to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to earth science in Wisconsin or Wisconsinites who have made outstanding contributions to earth science in general.

The award is named for the late Dr. Katherine Greacen Nelson, geologist and educator.  After receiving the first doctorate in geology from Rutgers University in 1938, Katherine began teaching at Milwaukee-Downer College, where she also became curator of the Greene Geological Museum.  Following a stint as a petroleum geologist during World War II, she joined the fledgling Department of Geological & Geophysical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1956, serving as its first chair.  She remained there until her death in 1982. 

In her long career, she received many honors, including fellowship in the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical & Geological Societies Educator of the Year Award, the first woman recipient of the Neil Miner Award from the National Association of Geology Teachers, and she was elected as the first female president of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts & Letters.

Katherine enjoyed teaching and mentoring college students, but she equally enjoyed sharing her knowledge of earth science and, in particular, Wisconsin geology, with the public, from schoolchildren to members of the Wisconsin Geological Society, which she helped found.  She also helped to establish the Ice Age Scientific Reserve in Wisconsin for all to enjoy and learn about Wisconsin’s glacial legacy.

Because of her vast knowledge of Wisconsin geology and her commitment to sharing that knowledge with others, the Weis Earth Science Museum decided to honor her one more time by naming this award for her.

Nominations for the Nelson Award may be sent to the Director, Weis Earth Science Museum, UWO Fox Citites Campus, 1478 Midway Road, Menasha, WI 54952, or via e-mail at  Nominations are due December 31, and the award is announced at our annual “Fox Rocks” show held in mid-March. The Weis Earth Science Museum is the official mineralogical museum of Wisconsin.

Donna Nolte Inspiration

The Donna Nolte Inspiration Award is presented to individuals who have been inspirational or innovative in encouraging others, especially young people, to appreciate Earth’s mineral and fossil treasures and to enjoy geological hobbies.

The award is named for the late Donna Nolte (Omro, WI), in honor of her long-time service to the hobby of geology, as well as for the inspiration and innovation she has shown in encouraging people to understand and enjoy Earth’s treasures. 


Wednesday - Friday: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
10 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.

Closed Sunday-Tuesday and national holidays


Weis Museum

UW Oshkosh Fox Cities Campus
1478 Midway Rd
Menasha, WI 54952
Phone: (920) 832-2925



(by recommended donation)

Adults: $3.00
Children: $1.00