Author Archives: Bob Traczyk

A Brief History of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement

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Course Title: A Brief History of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement


Dates:   Wed. Nov. 29, Dec 6, Dec 13, & Dec 20

Time: 4:00PM to 6:00PM

Fees: $30 Discount Fee-$25 if received by Nov. 15th

Location: Hurley K-12 School


Fe University is now accepting registrations for the class titled A Brief History of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.  The class taught by Hurley High School history teacher, Christopher Kelly, will be held for four Wednesdays November 29th, Dec. 6, 13, 20 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at the Hurley K-12 School.

This class will focus on the U.S. Civil Rights movement from the 1890’s through the 1960’s.  Particular attention will be paid to major events of the 1950’s and 60’s including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the Children’s March and the Mississippi Burning case.  The course is intended to highlight major areas of interest.

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Reading Russia’s Past

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Course Title: Reading Russia’s Past


This class is full and we will only be accepting registration for a future class.  If you are interested please complete a registration form and send it to us without the fee.

Dates: Tuesdays, Jan 9, 16, 23, 30,  2018

Time: 9:30-12:00 Noon

Location: Mercer Public Library, 2648W Margaret St.

Fee: $35 with $5 discount if registration is received by Dec. 26th.

Through an examination of select historical moments, this course will identify and assess some of the main themes of Russia’s history.  These themes will include: the impact of geography; the diversity of population; an authoritarian political tradition; an hierarchical social order; challenges to economic development; and a long-established cultural tradition that centers on tension between Russia and western Europe.  Along the way we will encounter such figures as Vladimir the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Nicholas II, Lenin, Stalin, and Vladimir Putin; and we will look at such watershed events as the Christianization of the country, expansion to the Pacific Ocean, the emancipation of the serfs, and the revolutions of the 20th century, and Russia in World War II.

Objectives:  This course will provide students with a broad framework for understanding Russia’s historical development and will introduce them to some major—and often conflicting—interpretations of significant events and trends. Students will also have some practice interpreting primary documents.

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Tracking the American Marten, a Wisconsin Endangered Mustelid

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Course Title:Tracking the American Marten, a Wisconsin Endangered Mustelid

(Course qualifies for Master Naturalist continuing education)

This class is full and we will only be accepting registration for a future American Marten class.  If you are interested please complete a registration form and send it to us without the fee.


Dates:   Wed, Thurs, Fri, January 17, 18, 19, 2018

Time:  17th and 18th –9AM-12PM; 19th—9AM-1:00PM

Location:  17th– Iron County Forestry Highway Dept conference room, 607 3rd Ave. North,      Hurley

        18th-Mercer Library, 2648W Margaret St., Mercer

        19th-Meet at Mercer Library—tracking field trip

Course fee:  $35 with a $5 discount if registered by Jan. 3rd.

Objectives: Deep in the heart of Iron County in Northern Wisconsin, the Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department, along with local high school students, are investigating the linkage between forest types, soils, water, and wildlife.  Through hands-on research the team has been studying Wisconsin’s State endangered American Marten and its habitat, home range, and behavior.  This session will introduce you to the fascinating natural history of the Am. Marten as well as a sharing of data collected about marten habitat and the importance of forested wetlands.   Continue reading

Contest and Controversy; Rome, Ireland, Early Christianity in the British Isles

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Course Title: Contest and Controversy; Rome, Ireland, Early Christianity in the British Isles


Date: Jan 31, Feb 7, 14, 21, 2018

Time: 10:00 am to noon

Location: Mercer Library/Community Center

Fee: $30 with $5 discount if registration is received by Jan 17th.

Objectives: This course explores a fascinating moment in both the early history of the British Isles and early Christianity. Between ca. 400 and 700, a struggle ensued between the forces of “orthodoxy,” with its evolving church hierarchy centered in Rome, and the flourishing Celtic Christian tradition that emerged among the Irish and the Britons, which was to prove remarkably influential in the Christianization of Europe. Though Roman orthodoxy ultimately prevailed, the contest between the two Christian traditions was not finally laid to rest until the twelfth century. Or was it? The course will conclude with a look at how and why that Celtic tradition—or at least an idealized version of it—has survived through the centuries, culminating in a global ecumenical Christian practice that we know today as Celtic Christianity. Continue reading

Conversational Spanish

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Course Title: Basic Conversational Spanish I


Dates:  Mondays and Wednesdays, Feb. 26 – March 21

Time:  3:30-5:00 PM

Location:  Hurley School, Room __415_____

Fee: $41 minus $5 if registered by Feb. 12

Objectives: Useful Spanish conversation for travel or just to enrich will be explored while we also touch on the basics of the language and its structure. This class will start at the beginning for those who need it and provide review for those with previous exposure to the language. Continue reading

Genetics for the Curious: Why are there so many purple lupines?

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Course Title:  Genetics for the Curious: Why are there so many purple lupines?

Dates:  Wednesdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25th

Time:  9 to 12AM

Fee: $30 ($5 discount if registered before September 20)

Location:  Mercer Public Library, 2648W Margaret Street, Mercer, WI

Objectives: Through a study of cell processes students will

  •         Have a good, basic understanding of gene function,  heredity, and mutation
  •         Be able to develop informed opinions on environmental and health policy and legislation
  •         Understand the genetic basis of cancer and other genetic diseases
  •         Realize the importance of avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation, pollution, and certain chemicals, foods and drugs.  

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ACT NOW: Explorations in the art of acting

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Course Title:  ACT NOW: Explorations in the art of acting

Dates:  September 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28: Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10:00-12:00 noon

Location:  Historic Ironwood Theatre, Aurora Street, Ironwood

Course Fee: $50 with $5 discount if registered by August 29, 2017

Objectives:  Students will engage in various acting exercises, scene analysis, and the performance process. They should leave the class with a clearer understanding and appreciation for the role of the actor through exploring their own skills and becoming more confident with their own expression. Focus will be on process—observation skills, assertion of the imagination, ensemble building, and empathic engagement with character. During the last session, students will present a two character scene or monologue for the class and invited friends. on the last day. Class will encourage creative expression, confidence, self-discovery and, hopefully, fun.

Course structure:  The course will be given in eight sessions, each two hours long. The first hour will include physical, vocal, concentration, and observation exercises, including theatre games and improvisation. The second hour will include the process of taking a scene or a monologue from analysis to rehearsal to performance. Activities will include:

  •         Learning the physical basics of stage positions, crosses, focus sharing, etc.
  •         Improvisation and theatre games for building ensemble
  •         Observation assignments and exercises
  •         Vocal work and physical work
  •         “scoring” scenes and monologues; rehearsing to share in the final session

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Natural Resource Management in Northern Wisconsin

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Course Title:  Natural Resource Management in Northern Wisconsin

Course # 17F01

Dates:  Wednesdays, August 9, 16, 23, 30

Time:  Aug. 9, 16– 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Aug. 23, 30 -1:00-4:00 PM

Course fee: $35, with $5 discount if registered by July 26.

Required Reading: Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Outdoors activities will require students to sign a hold harmless disclaimer.

Location:  Aug 9 and 16, Mercer Library; Aug. 23-Mercer Library and Paulik forest. Aug. 30 Little Turtle Flowage Wildlife Area and Mercer Ranger Station

Objectives:  Students will learn about Wisconsin’s natural resource management from its beginning to the present. The need for management and best practices in fish and water management, forest management, and wildlife management.

Course structure:  The course will be given in _4__ sessions, each 2-3 hours long for a total of 10 hours, covering the following topics:
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Future Fe University Courses

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The following classes are currently under consideration, but have not yet been finalized.  Please re-visit this web page for updates.

Early Christianity: Winter 2018-Instructor Mary Magray, Jan 31, Feb. 7,14,21, Location-Mercer

Estate Planning: Winter 2018-Joe Lemke and Ryan Long, Mar 8-29, 4-6pm Location-Hurley

The Two Worlds of Lac du Flambeau: Mar 20, 27, Apr 3, 10, at 10 – 12pm Location-Mercer

Fly Tying: Apr 7, 14, 21, 28 10-12pm Hurley taught by Bob Traczyk, Location-Iron Co Courthouse, Hurley

Cross Country Skiing: Winter 2018 taught by Chad McGrath Location-To Be Determined

Field Ornithology (Regional Birds)

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Course Title:  Field Ornithology (Regional Birds)

Course# 17S03

Dates:  Wednesdays, May 17, 24, 31, June 7

Time:  8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Fee:  $50 minus $5 if registered by May 3

Location:  County Board room, Iron County Courthouse, 300 Taconite St, Hurley, WI

This course satisfies the continuing education requirement for the UW Ex Master Naturalist program.

Objectives:  Students will learn about the birds of the region (northern Wisconsin, U.P. of Michigan, and Lake Superior area). Each session will include a classroom component and field time, when we will visit a variety of habitats to observe and practice identifying birds. By the end of the 4 weeks, students will know how to identify the common breeding and migratory species of the area. Continue reading

Spring Flora of the Northwoods

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Course Title-Spring Flora of the Northwoods

Course#- 17S02

Dates:  May 15, 16, 17, 2017

Time:  9 a.m. – 1 p.m. each day

Location:  Field trips each morning, then reconvening at Mercer Library, 2648 Margaret St.

Fee: $75 ($5 discount if registration received before May 1)

Class size will be limited to 10 students! Register early.

This class has now filled up.  Please send your contact information to FeU if you are interested in a second class at a later date.  We will take your reservation.

This course satisfies the continuing education requirement for the UW Ex Master Naturalist program.

Objectives:  Students will learn how to identify plants by utilizing a dichotomous key, which is nowhere near as hard as pronouncing “di-cot-toe-mus.” Students will also learn about the natural history of each plant – its growth characteristics, its historic uses, its associates, its general ecology. Continue reading

Conversational Spanish II

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Course Title:  Conversational Spanish II

Class# 17Sp1

Dates:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, Mar. 28 – April 20, 2017

Time:  3:30 – 5:00 PM

Location:  Hurley School, Spanish room 415

Fee: $41 with $5 discount if registration is received by March 14

Objectives: Students will build on the foundations set in Spanish I to become more proficient in conversation.

Course structure:  The course will be given in _8__ sessions, each _90_ minutes long, covering the following topics:

Spanish II will be a continuation of the beginning Spanish I class.  We will build on the foundations of grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary to become more conversational.  Also, we will learn one of the past tenses and the future construction so that students will be able to talk about the past, present and future.  Students will also be able to request vocabulary and topics in their areas of interest to be able to be more conversational at work or play. Continue reading

Basic Conversational Spanish I

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Course Title-Basic Conversational Spanish I

Course# 17W3

Dates:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, Feb. 21 – March 16

Time:  3:30-5:00 PM

Location:  Hurley School, Room __415_____

Course Fee: $36 or $41 after Feb 7

Objectives: Useful Spanish conversation for travel or just to enrich will be explored while we also touch on the basics of the language and its structure. Continue reading

The Witch Panic of the 16th and 17th Centuries in the Western World

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Course Title: The Witch Panic of the 16th and 17th Centuries in the Western World

Dates:  Wednesdays, Feb. 8-Mar. 1, 2017

Time:  10:00AM – 12:00PM

Course# 17W2

Course Fee-$25 or $30 after January 25

Location:  Mercer Library, 2648W Margaret St. Mercer, WI

Objectives:  The objective of this course is to examine in close detail the witchcraft panic that spread like wildfire throughout Europe and the American colonies during the 16th and 17th centuries as well as to explore why the phenomenon remains such an endlessly fascinating historical event. If history can teach us anything, it is perhaps something important about human societies—most especially, what they’re capable of doing given a context of profound cultural change and societal upheaval. Continue reading

Anishinaabe History and Worldviews

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This class is full, but we have started a waiting list for the next class.  Please send us your registration form without the fee and we will contact you when the next class starts.

Course Title:  Anishinaabe History and Worldviews


Dates:  4 Wednesdays starting January 11, 2017

Time: 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Location:  Iron County Courthouse-County Board Room -Hurley

Course Fee-$30  or $25 before Dec. 29


Objectives: Students will learn about the history and culture of the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) people. Students will listen to stories covering topics of pre-written history. We will cover the treaty era and what it means for the people today.

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Inside Look at the National Football League

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Course #213

Dates, times and locations:

  • Friday, Oct 7, Tues. Oct 11, Friday, Oct. 14, 3:00-5:00 PM, Mercer Community Center
  • Monday, October 17, 5:00-7:00 PM, Great Northern Motel lobby

Cost-$30 or $25 if registered before September 23

Course objectives: Students will gain a deeper understanding of the game of football, what occurs behind the television screen, coaching, terminology, and the organization of the National Football League.

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Genetics and Evolution

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Course #212

Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sept. 22-Oct. 18

Times: 10 am to Noon

Location: Mercer Library

Cost: $48 or $43 if registered before September 8

Objectives:  Through a study of the process of molecular replication and the components of living cells and their functions, the student will be able to understand and discuss the process of evolution.

Requirements:  A previous exposure to the concepts of elemental biology will be helpful but not necessary.

Course Description:   A short review of cell biology with emphasis on the processes of cell duplication and differentiation.  Use of the concepts of genetics in a discussion of evolution.

Course Duration and Structure:  The course will meet 8 times for two hours each over a period of four weeks.  Classes will consist of varying amounts of lecture, lab and discussion. Continue reading

Land of Lakes-Ecology of the Northern Highlands Lakes

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Course #211

As of 8/29/2016, we have reached capacity and are no longer taking registrations for this course. For more information, call 715-476-2881.

Dates:  Sep 1,6,8,13,15,20

Time:  9:00 am – Noon

Location:  Mercer Public Library Conference Room, (and various field sites to be announced), Margaret St. Mercer, WI

Cost: $60, you may deduct a $10 discount if you send your reservations by August 18.

Objectives:  Students will gain an understanding of the unique relationship between geology, ecology and human settlement in the Northern Highlands region of northern Wisconsin.

Course structure:  The course will be given in six sessions, each 3 hours long, The course will be facilitated and taught by naturalist/biologists, John Bates and Terry Daulton, with guest speakers for many sessions covering the following topics: Continue reading

“Plants in the Landscape”

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Course #210

Thursday, May 5th Springstead Town Hall, 3pm-5pm

Tuesday May 17th ClearView Nursery, Springstead, 3pm-5pm

Objectives:  Plants can be studied from many perspectives.  Our goal in this class will be to help students understand how plants are categorized, and how they fit into natural (ecological) and unnatural systems (“unnatural systems” means gardens). We will discuss the five factors that allow plants to thrive (or fail) in a specific location.  And we will talk about specific plants, both in the natural landscape and in the home landscape and garden.       Continue reading

Electrical Knowledge and Electrical Safety for Homeowners

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Course #209

Dates: Thursday April 28th 6-9pm, and Saturday April 30th 9am – 12pm

Mercer Public Library, Mercer, WI

Objectives:  Participants should gain an understanding of electrical safety requirements in rules promulgated by the State as well as the requirements of the adopted National Electrical Code. Various electrical devices, their installation, use, testing and replacement will be discussed. Students should have a better understanding of the devices they rely on for safety on a daily basis. Continue reading

Democracy and Issues in Contemporary Political Development

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Course Title:  Democracy and Issues in Contemporary Political Development   

Course #207

4 Tuesdays, Mar. 22-April 12, 4-6pm, Iron County Board Room, Hurley, WI

Objectives:  This course is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of what democracy is, and is not, in context of contemporary political issues. Participants will learn about the origins of democracy and the differences between parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential models of democracy. Sessions will explore how executive, legislative, and judicial institutions vary across countries, emphasizing the concepts of freedom and equality. Upon course completion, students will be able to identify how elites, society, culture, modernization, and international relations shape modern-day democratic development.    Continue reading