A recent infusion of funding from two sources has re-energized the Wisconsin GLOBE Partnership


Butternut School Teachers, Dr. Michael Notaro (Assistant Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Climate Research) and Prof. Ankur Desai (UW-Madison, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) at the tower.
Butternut School Teachers, Dr. Michael
Notaro, Rose Pertzborn,
and Prof. Ankur Desai at the tower.

Winding across the heart of Wisconsin is an s-shaped area known as the Curtis Tension Zone. Marked by a distinct separation in the landscape, this zone is where the southern prairie region and deciduous forests meet the northern coniferous forests. It’s also where scientists have noticed pronounced impacts of climate change, something co-collaborators Michael Notaro, associate director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research (CCR), Rose Pertzborn, outreach program manager/GLOBE partnership coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Space Science & Engineering Center, and a group of students and citizen scientists plan to investigate as part of a three-year Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment initiative.

The grant through the UW-Madison Ira and Ineva Baldwin Foundation is to conduct GLOBE workshops over the next three years in collaboration with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Center for Climate Research (Associate Director, Michael Notaro) and in partnership with school districts along the National Ice Age Trail (through the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail Alliance).  “This program will offer students the opportunity to experience hands-on inquiry as they learn more about the changes occurring in their community,” said Notaro. “They will learn to observe and measure changes in the earth systems including the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and soils.”

The first session of GLOBE training with the Butternut, WI School District has been completed.  The Partnership will do a final training in September (Pedosphere) with follow-up throughout the school year.  Following the initial training and experimentation in the Butternut School District, which is north of the tension zone, Pertzborn and Notaro will partner with districts south of the Curtis Tension Zone, including those in the Cross Plains area.  During this time, Pertzborn and Notaro will also be working with the Ice Age Trail Alliance, which includes a number of volunteers who will be studying the trails and providing meta-data, or observational data, from areas around the Curtis Tension Zone.

The second grant is for two years as part of an NSF project with Professor Ankur Desai at UW-Madison's Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department. This project will identify 18 different data collection sites within and along the corridor between the Chequamegon and Nicolet National Forests in Northern Wisconsin.  The referenced Butternut School District is almost exactly in the middle of these forests and just a few miles north of a segment of the Ice Age Trail so they are the ideal starting point. The district will actively collect GLOBE data in support of Professor Desai's NSF project.

A 1500 foot WLEF tower is ground zero for the NSF project. This is the tower for Wisconsin Public Television in the area and they have allowed installation of several NOAA and JPL instruments to collect atmospheric data (water vapor, ozone, boundary zone temperature).  An additional 18, 100-foot portable towers will be installed within a 10-mile radius to collect boundary zone data during 4 aerial data collection exercises beginning next July-September 2019 and again in 2020. The school will work on development of Special Measurement activities focused on vegetation/land cover for student directed research on the ground adjacent to the data collection sites in addition to their primary site(s) adjacent to the school--just an outstanding team all around and truly exciting to be able to directly integrate GLOBE into some of UW-Madison's research!!

 Credit: Janet Vail, Midwest U.S. Partner Forum Representative, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, MI

This project has already received considerable media attention. Check out some of the articles here:



News origin: United States of America


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