Category Archives: Winter 2021 Courses

Courses offered from December 2020 through March 2021

Ireland through the Ages: A Virtual Tour

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Course Title:  Ireland through the Ages: A Virtual Tour

Dates:  Thursdays, January 21 through February 11

Time:  10-11:30 a.m.

Location:  Zoom class

Class Size limited to 12; Please contact instructor before adding more to class

Class Fee: $15

Objectives:  In this course we will be going on a whirlwind virtual tour of Ireland, one of Europe’s smallest countries and—in terms of the sheer number of historical sites and archeological remnants still present on the cultural landscape for the armchair visitor to see—one of its most fascinating. Nowhere in all of western Europe do these historical and archeological remnants survive in the concentration that exists in Ireland—hundreds of thousands of them in a country not even two-thirds the size of Wisconsin. This is often explained by pointing to the country’s traditionally rural culture, and more specifically to its dearth of tillable agricultural land. While about 80% of the total land area of Ireland is devoted to agriculture, most of it grazing of livestock, just 6% is tillable, compared with anywhere from a third to half elsewhere in western Europe. That’s meant that ancient temples and tombs, medieval castles and towerhouses, religious settlements and artifacts from the dawn of Christianity, and forts and other defensive dwellings of an age long past were never churned up or plowed under. Rather, they remain where they were constructed, “monuments” of the past—the physical, material, and “readable” record of a long and rich history that has lain largely undisturbed despite the many political, social, and cultural upheavals that have occurred in the interim. Experiencing these amazing monuments in person can be as close to time travel as we will ever get. Until that is again possible, it is my hope that this virtual visit will go some way toward sustaining the curious traveler in each of us.

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

“Day” 1: The South (Leinster & Munster)

“Day” 2: The West (Munster & Connacht)

“Day” 3: The Northwest (Ulster) & Northern Ireland

“Day” 4: The Northeast (Leinster)

Requirements: Only an interest in travel and history. Handouts provided on the website.Instructor: Dr. Mary Magray has an MA in European history and a PhD in British and Irish history, with a focus on women and religion. She has been teaching a wide variety of European history courses to students of all ages for more than thirty years, including the history of early Irish and British Christianity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of The Transforming Power of the Nuns: Women, Religion, and Cultural Change in Ireland, 1750-1900, published by Oxford University Press in 1998, and is currently an instructor in the Division of Continuing Studies at UW–Madison.  Dr. Magray, a popular instructor, has taught four other classes for Fe University.

Civil Discourse

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Course Title:  Civil Discourse

Dates:  Jan. 25, 2021

Time:  10:00-11:30 AM

Location:  Zoom

Objectives:  Students will learn about what makes difficult conversations difficult, how to hone skills for coping with personal reactions to difficult conversations, ways to engage others in dialogue and some advanced skills for managing challenging circumstances.   

Course structure:  The course will be given in 1 session, 90 minutes long, covering the following topics: 

This non-partisan, non-political class is about ways to connect, understand, and have civil conversations when it seems there are no paths through the thickets. Pick up some fundamental skills in how to converse with people with whom we disagree. Learn a bit about how our brains work (stories vs. facts and data), how to ask a great question, plus a couple of strategies for keeping cool. 

Requirements: NoneInstructor: Jane Banning earned her Masters of Science in Social Work from UW-Madison in 1979. She worked in heath care for twelve years and then directed the Clinical Teaching and Assessment Center at UW School of Medicine and Public Health for sixteen years. Following retirement, she was an adjunct faculty member for Nicolet College, taught at the YMCA of the Northwoods and worked as a contact tracer for Oneida County Heath Department. She enjoys reading, writing and pickle ball.

On Viruses and Vaccines

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Course Title:  On Viruses and Vaccines

Dates:  February 15th and 22nd, 2021

Time:  3:00-5:00PM  with a 10 minute break.

Location:  Zoom

Fee: $10

Objectives:  The student will leave understanding the structure and function of viruses and vaccines with the goals of being able to make better informed health care decisions and to be able to understand and interpret media claims and articles about the pandemic.     

Course structure:  The course will be given in 2 sessions, each 120 minutes long, covering the following topics:

·   The characteristics and molecular structure of viruses

·   The co-evolution of humans and viruses

·   The structural and reproductive powers of DNA and RNA

·   How viruses enter the body and cells and what they do once there. Are viruses alive?

·   The mechanisms if immunity; antigens, antibodies and vaccines.

·   Discussion of the “politics” of vaccines.  The anti-vaxxer argument.

Requirements: The course is structured for students with limited or no scientific background who are intellectually curious about biology, viruses and vaccines.  Students who have had high school biology and have forgotten everything are welcome.  Scientific vocabulary used will be limited and simple.  Out of class viewing of a few videos on biology and evolution will be optional.  No homework will be required, and class discussion and questions encouraged.

Instructor: Richard Thiede is a resident of Oma, Wisconsin.  He has a BS degree from Southern Methodist University and extensive post-graduate work in science, medicine and education at UWM, University of Colorado, University of Texas Southwest Medical School, Dartmouth College, University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University.  His major field of study was molecular biology.  He taught biology, chemistry and physics at SMU, Mount Hermon School and Greenfield High School (Greenfield, MA)

Baffling and Breathtaking Bogs, the ecology of nature’s pickle jars

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Course Title:  Baffling and Breathtaking Bogs, the ecology of nature’s pickle jars

Dates:  2/8/2021 & 2/9/2021

Time:  Zoom program 2/8: 10-11:30am, In-person Hike 2/9: 10am-12:30pm

Fee: $10 for zoom class and hike or $10 for zoom sessions only of Bog Ecology and Winter Ecology classes. Please indicate if you want to register for the hike, as space is limited to 10.

Location:  Meet at the Discovery Center parking area, and we will caravan to the fieldtrip site

Objectives:  There a number of different types of wetlands in Wisconsin, but no marsh or swamp is as unique and captivating at the Bog!  In this program, we will discuss the characteristics that make a bog a bog, from their hydrology to their peculiar plant communities.  We will explore a bog and the fascinating adaptations of the plants and animals that thrive in the harsh conditions of this special landscape with both a PowerPoint presentation and a visit to a Bog in our own backyard. 

Course structure:  The course will be given in __2_ sessions, each __90 – 150_ minutes long, covering the following topics:

·   Wetland characteristics

·   Bog hydrology

·   Bog plant communities

·   Bog animal communities

·   Bogs and landscape succession

·   Interesting current research and climate change in relation to bogs

·   Notable bogs of Vilas County

Requirements:  An interest in the Northwoods environment and ability to walk ~1.5 miles on flat terrain for a 2.5-hour fieldtrip.  The instructor will provide a list of resources for further reading and more details for participants who desire more information. The number of students participating in the field trip is limited to 10. An unlimited number may sign up for the zoom class only.

Instructor:

Annie McDonnell is the Naturalist, Citizen Science & Volunteer Coordinator at North Lakeland Discovery Center since 2016.  She earned degrees in Biology and Wildlife Ecology and has spent 5 years researching grassland songbirds, waterfowl, and owls throughout Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Winter Ecology & Mammal Tracking

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Course Title:  Life on the Edge: Winter Ecology and Mammal Tracking

Dates:  2/17 & 2/20

Time:  2/17: 10-11:30am, & 2/20: 10am-12:30pm

Fee: $10 for zoom session and hike or $10 for zoom sessions only for Winter Ecology and Bog Ecology. Please indicate soon if you wish to register for the hike, as space is limited to 10.

Location:  Meet at the Discovery Center parking lot, and we will caravan to the trailhead

Objectives:  Winter in the Northwoods is a time of quiet and tranquility for us humans, but its harsh conditions present immeasurable challenges to our plants and animals.  We will explore everything winter, from the physics of snow and ice, to the fascinating survival strategies of our wildlife and plant communities.  Join us for a PowerPoint presentation discussing the basics of winter ecology and a fieldtrip in search of winter-active mammals.    

Course structure:  The course will be given in _2__ sessions, each _90-150__ minutes long, covering the following topics:

·   Intro to winter ecology & snow/ice dynamics

·   Survival strategies of plants and animals

·   Life under the ice

·   Mammal tracks identification

Requirements: An interest in the Northwoods environment and ability to walk ~1.5 miles on flat terrain for a 2.5-hour fieldtrip.  The instructor will provide a list of resources for further reading and more details for participants who desire more information. 

Instructor:

Annie McDonnell is the Naturalist, Citizen Science & Volunteer Coordinator at North Lakeland Discovery Center since 2016.  She earned degrees in Biology and Wildlife Ecology and has spent 5 years researching grassland songbirds, waterfowl, and owls throughout Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.