Selected Recent Projects

Employing methodologies from across the humanities, biophysical sciences, and social sciences–including stakeholder interviews, oral narratives, participant observation, geomorphic surveys, archival research, and media analyses–our funded research takes an expansive, transdisciplinary approach to understanding freshwater ecosystems.

Community-Driven Projects
  • Learning to Make Running Water Walk. Commissioned by the Coon Creek Community Watershed Council (CCCWC) in southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, this oral narrative effort is aimed at gathering community stories about the long history of conservation practice in the home of the nation’s first watershed demonstration project, personal connections to the land, reflections about watershed change, and hopes for the future. Sixty narratives will be shared publicly through the UW-La Crosse Oral History Program and used to inform the future direction of the CCCWC.
National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Whose Land Was “Granted” to the Land Grant? Teaching Indigenous Dispossession in Wisconsin and Beyond. This NEH Humanities Initiatives in Colleges and Universities project brings together Native and non-Native faculty at UW-Madison to create linked educational modules about the expropriation of Indigenous lands in what is now called Wisconsin. This project centers on the transfer of 1,337,895 acres of land across Wisconsin taken through treaties with the Menominee, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Ho-Chunk and redistributed to 30 land grant universities through the Morrill Act of 1862.

National Science Foundation
  • CNH2-S: Interactive Dynamics of Stream Restoration and Flood Resilience in a Changing Climate. 2021-2024. Working with local partners in the Kickapoo and Coon Creek watersheds (WI), this project leverages interviews and online surveys with local decision-makers, land and water managers, and agricultural landowners to learn about changing attitudes towards stream restoration. Interviews and surveys inform the development of new flood models that will be refined through a series of interactive workshops, to contribute to local resilience planning and offer a model for other communities faced with persistent flooding.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Wisconsin Idea Collaboration Grant. 2023-2024. This grant funds a collaboration between the Coon Creek Community Watershed Council (CCCWC), UW-Madison’s Division of Extension, Extension Lakes at UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Madison faculty to leverage Coon Creek’s historic legacy of conservation leadership to build CCCWC’s organizational capacity in the present; position CCCWC as a leader among area watershed councils; serve as proof of concept to grow Extension’s support for cross-sector watershed organizations; and contribute to the development of a toolkit to support community-led groups working on critical community issues.
  • Riparian Forests, Stream Restoration, and Persistent Flooding in the Kickapoo Valley. 2020-2022. Integrating unmanned aerial system imagery with oral histories to better explore biophysical, social, and spatial approaches to stream restoration in the Kickapoo Valley. Funded through the Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences.

  • Greener Pastures. 2020-2021. Hosting a series of thematic workshops on and off campus that asks how humanities experts can help farmers and agricultural landowners envision change while also preserving regional identity and culture associated with livestock agriculture. Funded through a Borghesi-Mellon Workshop Grant.

  • Stream Restoration and Flood Resilience in a Changing Climate. 2020-2021. Exploring multi-scalar impacts of restoration and flooding. Funded through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education’s Fall Research Competition.

  • What is a Healthy Stream? Interdisciplinary Approaches to Stream Ecology and Management. 2018-2019. Funding from UW-Madison’s Global Health Institute supports this year-long inquiry into the most pressing challenges and shared visions for “stream health” in the Driftless region, while identifying the promising avenues in biological research, community organizing, and more for working towards healthy streams.

  • Environmental Justice in Multispecies Worlds: Ethics, Science, and Power. 2018-2020. Hosting a series of thematic workshops thanks to funding from the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, a Borghesi-Mellon Workshop Grant, and the Center for Culture, History, and Environment.

  • Riparian Forests as a Stream Restoration Tool in the Kickapoo Watershed – Differing Perspectives, Scientific Gaps, and Prospects for a Sustainable Future. 2018-2020. Integrating biophysical, social, and spatial approaches to buffer management in the Kickapoo Valley. Funded through the Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences.

  • Extending Postcritical Rhetorical Theory and Public Engagement Through Integrated Water Resources Management. 2018-2020. Linking water sciences–limnology, hydrology, geomorphology, ecology–with rhetorical theory through coursework and collaborative research. Funded through a New Directions Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Rhetoric-in-Action: Community-University Partnerships to Address Wisconsin’s Engagement Challenges. 2018-2019. Strengthening university-community ties between UW-Madison and local organizations through immersive seminars, colloquia, and workshops. Funded through the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

National Park Service
  • Science Communication Outreach for the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network. 2016-2018. Creating engagement materials for a variety of public and policy audiences about NPS science.
  • Post Hurricane Sandy – Science Communication Outreach about Coastal Storms. 2015-2016. Adopted a social ecological systems approach to understand and then communicate about resilience research in the coastal parks.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Identifying Barriers to and Opportunities for Restoration Adoption in an Urbanizing Watershed in Providence, RI. 2013-2016. Conducted qualitative interviews with restoration managers throughout the state about project prioritization and public engagement. Created  a management tool for prioritizing wetland restoration projects based on ecological and social benefits.