Author Archives: Robert Traczyk

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.  Contact Fe University in advance and we will get you on the class roster.  Call Wendy Thiede at 715-476-2881 or Bob Traczyk at 715-561-3098

Computer and Internet skills taught by area youth,

Native American Literature by Dr. Beth Tornes at Lac du Flambeau

Nurturing Your Creative Spirit by Callie Bates at Mercer Library

Camp Mercer by Jim Bokern

Science Literacy

Swans, Bogs and Wetland Ecology by Annie McDonnell

And more being scheduled.

Cross Country Ski Instruction

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Course Title:  Cross Country Ski Instruction

Fee: $30 (minus $5 if registration received by Dec. 20); Includes $10 discount subsidized by the Turtle River Pursuit, and $10 MECCA trail fee.  Scholarships available.

Dates:  Monday and Wednesday, Jan. 13, 15, 20, 22, 2020

Time:  1:00 – 3:00 PM

Location: Mecca Ski Trail, 4686 Fierick Rd., Mercer WI, 54547

Objectives:  At the conclusion of this course, students will understand the basics of both diagonal stride and skate style skiing, as regards both technique and equipment.  They will be able to stand comfortably on skis, compress each ski and grip the snow, kick off and then repeat with the opposite leg. They will be able to glide forward on the gliding ski after their kick, maintaining balance, as they shift their weight forward over the gliding ski.  They will be able to engage their poles at the proper time and push, assisting forward movement.            Continue reading

Repairing the Harm: The Root of Restorative Justice

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Title: Repairing the Harm: The Root of Restorative Justice, Dr. Jane Nicholson, Instructor

Fee: $30 minus $5 early bird discount if registration is received by December 31. This course is offered for less than half the normal Fe U rate for a 16 hour class to introduce students to the concept of Restorative Justice.

Dates: January 14, 16, 21, 23, 2020

Time: 1:00-5:00 PM

Location: Mercer Library, 2648 Margaret St., Mercer, WI 54547

Overview:  The field of Restorative Justice emerged during the late 1970’s in response to historically high incarceration rates around the world.  Currently, Restorative Justice is endorsed by the E.U. and the U.N., in addition to many nations. In particular, we can recognize its impact globally in peace and reconciliation processes, juvenile justice, and as an alternative to suspension and expulsion in schools.  Restorative Justice is a distinct approach to justice that involves everyone (stakeholders) affected in the particular harm caused; they share their perspectives, determine the appropriate accountability for the harm caused, and determine what resources are available to ensure better future outcomes.  Depending on the harm and its context, Restorative Justice may be mandated as a parallel process in Criminal Justice matters. Continue reading

The Making—and Unmaking—of the United Kingdom: 1283 to the Present

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Course Title:  The Making—and Unmaking—of the United Kingdom: 1283 to the Present

Fee: $38 minus $6 if registered by Jan. 15

Dates:  Wednesdays, January 29, February 5 & 12

Time:  9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Location:  Mercer Community Center, 2648 Margaret St., Mercer


The objective of this course is to survey the long and complicated history of the multinational state known as the United Kingdom. Today the country is much in the news because of the ongoing political crisis caused by “Brexit”—its 2016 vote to leave the European Union. In fact, the crisis caused by Brexit has been building for a very long time: its roots lie in the distant past—in the English Crown’s conquest, over a period of some 500 years, of its nearest neighbors Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Only since the end of that period of conquest in 1801 has the “United Kingdom” as we know it even existed.

Today the future of that multinational state is not assured. For not only did these three conquered countries “make” the United Kingdom, they may yet prove to be the unmaking of it. Committed and well-organized nationalist, independence-demanding movements challenging the very existence of the UK have developed over time in all three countries—and are still growing and active today. Understanding these historical complexities is essential, for only then can we make sense of the current precarious predicament of the first Western nation to develop a representative form of government and one of our oldest and closest allies. Continue reading

Background to the Vietnam War

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Course Title:  Background to the Vietnam War

Dates:  Wednesdays, Feb. 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18

Time:  4:00 – 6:00 PM

Location:  Room 430, Hurley High School, 5503 W Range View Dr., Hurley, WI 54534

Course fee: $40 with $5 early bird discount if registration is received by Feb. 5th. This class is free for Vietnam veterans.

Class size: Limited

Objectives:  To understand the history leading up to the Vietnam War Continue reading

Furbearers of Wisconsin; Diversity, Trapping & Management

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There is still room in this class, please give us a call to register 715-561-3098.

Course Title: Furbearers of Wisconsin; Diversity, Trapping & Management

Fee: $25

Dates:  1/7 & 8/2020

Class Hours: 2 hours in class and 3 hour hike 

Maximum Attendance:  15

Time:  1/7, 1-3 pm (in class), & 1/8,  1-4 pm (hike) 

Duration:  5 hours

Location:  Mercer Public Library and MECCA trail system for hike 

Course Description:   The name Furbearer refers to a diverse group of mammals that have an interesting history of harvest and population management.  We will discuss the different species of Wisconsin’s furbearers, their life histories and adaptations. Following our in-class presentation, we will go to the MECCA trail system for a short hike in search of sign of these interesting mammals.   Continue reading

The Story of Reconstruction

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Course Title:  The Story of Reconstruction

Course: #19F08

Course fee: $35 with $5 discount if registration is received by Nov. 6. Scholarships available.

Dates:  Wednesdays, Nov. 20, Dec. 4, 11, 18

Time:  4:00-6:00 PM

Location:  Room 430, Hurley K12 School, 5503 West Range View Dr., Hurley, WI

Objectives:  Students will gain an understanding of the difficult task of restoring America to its former glory following the Civil War.

Course structure:  The course will be given in _4__ sessions, each _2 hours__ long, covering the following topics:

  •         The closing days of the Civil War,
  •         The impeachment of Andrew Johnson,
  •         Radical Reconstruction and the presidencies of U.S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes.  
  •         The last class will develop the ideas behind the impending Civil Rights movement.  

Requirements: No requirements.

Instructor: This will be the fourth class that Mr. Kelly will be teaching for Fe University.  He previously taught a History of the Civil Rights Movement, the Holocaust Examined, and the Causes of the American Civil War.  He has been a history teacher in the Hurley School district for the past 33 years, holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and has attended numerous seminars, graduate classes and workshops on U.S. History. 

Russia Through the Lens of Short Fiction

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Course Title:   Russia Through the Lens of Short Fiction

Course #19F07

Course Fee: $35 Early Bird Fee $30 by Oct 1st

Dates:  October 14, 21, 28, and November 4, 2019

Time: 10:00 a.m. to noon

Location: Mercer Public Library, 2648 Margaret St. Mercer

Objectives:    Russian literature is perhaps known best for its lengthy works: War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and the like.  This course, to the contrary, will introduce students to four outstanding Russian short stories.  Our study of these works will both illustrate the artistic variety of Russian short fiction and enhance our understanding of Russian life over the span of 100 years. Continue reading

Winter Birds of the Northwoods

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Course Title: Winter Birds of the Northwoods

Course # 19F09

Course Fee:- $25

Dates: Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov 12 and Nov 13

Class Hours: 2 hours in class and 3 hour hike

Maximum Attendance: 15

Time: 11/12 1-3pm in class lecture/discussion, & 11/13 1-4 pm field trip

Duration: 5 hours

Location: Mercer Public Library, 2648 Margaret St. Mercer and field location TBD

Course Description: The Northwoods region is known for its harsh winters, with heavy snow, freezing temperatures and lack of sunlight.  However, despite these conditions a number of bird species call this frozen landscape home.  During this session, we will discuss the winter bird species of the Northwoods and their unique adaptations that enable their survival.  We will also discuss how landowners can provide quality forage, cover for birds, and improve habitat for birds in the Northwoods.  Following the in-class portion, we will go for a field trip hike to observe birds in their natural habitat and expand our identification skills. Continue reading

The Bill of Rights: Its Origins and Evolution

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Course #: 19F03 

Course Fee: $35 ($5 early bird discount if registered by Aug. 28)

Dates: Wednesdays – 11 September through 2 October 2019; 

Time: 4 – 6 p.m.

Location: County Board room, Courthouse, 300 Taconite Street, Hurley, Wisconsin


Objectives: The student will learn the origins and history of the first ten amendments to the U.S.

Constitution and their guaranties of due process and equal protection of the law according with

Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Continue reading

Exploring the History and Legacy of Camp Mercer

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Course Title: Exploring the History and Legacy of Camp Mercer

Course #19F06

Dates: October  8 -3.5 hours, October 15 _3.5 hours, October 17 -3.5 hours,

Time: Classroom instruction and field instruction 2:00 pm-5:30 pm

Class size: Limited to 14 participants.

Locations: Mercer Library and Camp Mercer CCC site

Objectives: Participant’s will:

1.) explore both written and digital historic sources regarding the Civilian Conservation Corps and 

   Camp Mercer.

2.) engage in field work analyzing historic sites (as participants are comfortable).

3.) collaboratively suggest stewardship plan and products that will overview of the historic  

   importance of both the CCC and Camp Mercer

4.) consult with Cynthia Stiles Archeologist who recorded Camp Mercer as a cultural site with the

   State of Wisconsin Continue reading


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Course Title:  American Antiques: 1700-1950

Course #19F05

Dates:  9/30, 10/3, 10/10

Time:  10:00-12:00

Location:  9/30 – Mercer Library, 10/3 –  Thiede home, 10/10 – Antiques N Stuff, Mercer

Objectives:  Following this class, students will have a better understanding of many categories of antiques, what is an antique, and how to tell authentic antiques from reproductions Continue reading

Ceramics for Beginners

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Course Title:  Ceramics for Beginners

Course #19F04

Dates:  September 9-26, Mondays and Thursdays

Course Fee: $35 plus $10 for supplies with early bird discount of $5 if registered by August 26.

Time:  4:00-5:30

Location:  Art room, Mercer School, 2690 Margaret St., Mercer, WI

Objectives:  In the 6 sessions, students will learn three fundamental techniques for working with clay: coils, pinch and slab-work. By the end of the class, students will have made three projects, including a mug they will build out of coils, a multi-purpose bowl utilizing the pinch technique, and a flat dish made from rolling slabs from clay. Returning students will have the options to work in any three of the taught techniques and encouraged to combine techniques into more elaborate creations. Continue reading

Orienteering-Map and Compass Skills

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Class is full.  Submit your registration and get on our waiting list.

Course Title:  Orienteering- Map and Compass Skills

Course #: 19F02

Dates:  August 13, 20, 22, 2019

Course Fee: $35($5 early bird discount if registered by July 30)

Time:  1-3 PM (8/13&20) & 1-4 PM (8/22)

Location:  Mercer Library (Session 1 & 2) Session 3 TBD

Objectives: At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  •        Plan a route of travel to a location utilizing a map and compass
  •        Follow a route to a destination using a compass
  •        Predict a current location using terrain features and a compass
  •        Determine coordinates on a map
  •        Discuss the pros- and cons- of utilizing map/compass and GPS

Continue reading

The Realities of Immigration Today

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Course Title: The Realities of Immigration Today

Course#: 19F01

Dates: Mondays Aug 5 & Aug 19 and Tuesday Aug 13 From 9am – 12pm at the Mercer Public Library.

Course Fee: $40 with $5 discount for early registration by July 22.

Objectives:  This course is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of contemporary immigration developments and policies. Participants will learn about global demographic changes that influence the flow of migration in the developed and developing world. Sessions will explore public perceptions toward migrants in host countries and compare those to reality, in terms of the decision to migrate, the economic impacts of immigration in host countries, and the role of political economy in integration. Upon course completion, students will be able to better assess the central issues raised by immigration today and the trends of tomorrow. Continue reading

Scientific Literacy in the Information Age

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Course Title: “Scientific Literacy in the Information Age”

Course #19S06

Dates: July 8, 15, 22, and 29 – Mondays, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (totaling 8 course hours)

Location: Iron County Courthouse, 300 Taconite St., Hurley, Wisconsin

Course fee: $35 minus $5 if registration is received by June 24, 2019

Course Objective: How do you find accurate and well-researched scientific and medical information online in a world overflowing with misinformation and bias? In this course you will learn how use critical thinking strategies to engage with scientific reporting in the media and online sources. Learn how to identify problematic claims or hoaxes attempting to take advantage of you or your money, in addition to well-informed but misguided information based on personal bias or hidden agendas. Navigate the internet wisely and safely! Continue reading

American Sign Language

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Course Title:  American Sign Language

Course #19S05

Dates:  Tuesday/Thursday, May 28 & 30, June 4,6,11,13

Time:  1:30 to 3:00 pm

Location:  Mercer Public Library

Course Fee: $40, Discount $35 if registered by May 14th.

Students will be required to purchase the following book before class: Signing for Kids by Mickey Flodin.  The book is available new through Amazon for $16.  Used books may be purchased for considerably less through eBay or Amazon.

Objectives:  Students will learn the basics of American Sign Language, beginning with the manual alphabet.  Students will also increase sign language vocabulary along with knowledge of grammatical structure.  Students will be able to hold basic conversations with deaf individuals. Continue reading

Exploring and Documenting the Flambeau Trail and Turtle Portage

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Course is full –no further students will be accepted.

Consider signing up on the waiting list for the next one.

Course Title: Exploring and Documenting the Flambeau Trail and Turtle Portage

Course #19S02

Course fee: $65, early bird discount $55 if registered before April 2nd

Dates: April 16 -3 hours, April 23 _3 hours, April 30 -3 hours, May 7 -3 hours, May 14 -2 hours May 21 –Rain Date as needed.

Time: Varies based on activity, classroom instruction 2:00 pm-4:00 pm, most field instruction 2:00 pm-5:00 pm

Class size: Limited to 12 participants.

Locations: Mercer Library, Mouth of the Montreal River & Oronto Creek, Long Lake & Turtle River Continue reading

Where Two Worlds Meet-Lac du Flambeau

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This Class is now full we will accept your contact information on a waiting list for a future class.

Course Title:  Where Two Worlds Meet—Lac du Flambeau

Course # 19S04

Dates:  Wednesdays, May 15- June 5, 2019

Time:  10:00 AM to noon

Location:  Mercer Library conference room, 2648 W Margaret St., Mercer

Course fee: $35 with $5 discount if registration is received by May 1, 2019

Maximum number of students: 12

Objectives:   I hope that students will come to have a greater perception of and empathy for people of differing racial/cultural backgrounds with a view toward bringing about a better understanding and acceptance of others and differing ways of life. Continue reading

Climate Change: Causes, Effects, Solutions

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Course Title:  Climate Change: Causes, Effects, Solutions

Course # 19W05

Course Fee – $15

Dates:  March 19 and 26, 2019

Time:  9:00 AM to noon

Location:  Mercer Community Center, 2648 W Margaret St., Mercer

Objectives:  Students will learn about climate change effects on life in the Midwest and Wisconsin. Options for reducing the rate of climate change and adaptation to changes will be presented. Continue reading

Poetry Workshop: Words At Play.

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Course Title:  Poetry Workshop: Words At Play.  (Poetry is like dancing with words.)

Course# 19S01

Course Fee-$25 Discount $20 if registered by March 23rd

Date: April 6, 2019

Time:  9:30AM to 1:30 PM

Location:  Mercer Library, Board Room

Objectives:  To acquaint participants in the ease of putting images of people, places, and things that have meaning for them into poetry.  We will discuss terms and techniques, including free verse, prose poems, and structured poems. Everyone’s personal history and aspirations are unique so why not put them into poems.  Poetry is a great way to express yourself in a concise and meaningful form. Continue reading

Causes of the American Civil War

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Course Title:  Causes of the American Civil War

Course #19W03

Dates:  Wednesdays, Feb. 20 – March 13, 2019

Time:  3:30-5:30 PM

Location:  Room 430, Hurley School, 5503 W Range View Dr., Hurley, WI

Course Fee: $35 (minus $5 if received by February 6)

Course Description:

This class will examine the roots of the American Civil War from the founding of the country through the antebellum period.  Particular attention will be paid to the development of the U.S. Constitution and the expansion of the country as it created a nation which was increasingly becoming divided.  The class will definitely explain the confusing controversies which created the conflict that developed following the Presidential election of 1860 and the ascension of Abraham Lincoln. Continue reading

Owls of the Northwoods

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Course Title: Owls of the Northwoods

Course# 19W04

Fee: $35 with early bird discount of $5 if registered by Feb. 25

Dates: March 11, 12, & 13

Time and Location:   Monday, March 11: 1-2 pm, Mercer Library

            Tuesday, March 12: 1-2 pm, Mercer Library

            Wednesday, March 13: 7-9:30 pm, meet at the Mercer Library

Objectives: This course will focus on what makes owls unique raptors and why they’re an important part of our ecosystem.  We hope that students will learn how to identify by sight and sound the 6 most common owls of the Northwoods and gain an appreciation for their natural history. Continue reading

History on the Landscape: Ancient and Medieval Ireland

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Make Up Class February 20th @ 9am-11am.

Course Title:   History on the Landscape: Ancient and Medieval Ireland

Course #19w02

Fee: $30 with $5 discount if registration is received by Jan 9th.

Dates:           Wednesdays, January 23, 2019, to February 13, 2019

Time:            10 a.m.­­–noon

Location:     Mercer Public Library/Community Center

Objectives: Ireland is unique in the Western world for the sheer number of archeological remnants and historical remains still visible upon its landscape, many of them dating back more than 6,000 years. In a country less than two-thirds the size of the state of Wisconsin, there are almost 150,000 such historical “monuments,” from ancient megalithic tombs, temples, and stone circles to medieval ringforts, castles, towerhouses, and monastic ruins. It is impossible to travel through the country without coming upon these silent yet palpable traces of hundreds of generations of human endeavor. This course explores the story of that ancient and medieval world. It will layer onto the chronological story of Ireland’s deep and rich past an exploration of the abundant monuments and historical sites that form a physical, material—and “readable”—record of that past. Continue reading