Tag: Door County

Registration now open for wide range of Björklunden summer seminars

Summer seminar participants gather on the deck of the lodge at Bjorklunden during the summer of 2019.
Bjorklunden will host 37 seminars from mid-June to mid-October.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Björklunden, Lawrence University’s pristine northern campus in Door County, is once again beckoning visitors for summer seminars that feed a desire for lifelong learning.

Registration is open for 37 Bjorklunden summer seminars, presented by Lawrence faculty, alumni, and other experts. It’s a chance to learn while enjoying the peace and beauty of the 425-foot campus along the Lake Michigan shoreline, just south of Baileys Harbor.

Topics range from wildlife photography and the study of the stars to exploration of America’s racist past and the anatomy of a murder trial. The seminars begin in mid-June and carry through much of October.

“The seminar program embodies one of the most unique aspects of a liberal arts education — a commitment to lifelong learning,” said Alex Baldschun, an assistant director at Bjorklunden.

Visitors to the seminars, he said, come from all walks of life.

Some commute to the seminars. Others are Björklunden residents for the week, housed in the estate’s 37,000-square-foot lodge. Participants are able to explore the grounds and engage with the beautiful scenery in Door County.

Most seminars, which include meals prepared by Björklunden’s resident chef, begin Sunday evening and end Friday afternoon. Classes meet weekday mornings and some evenings, with remaining time available to enjoy Björklunden’s mile-long shoreline and wooded walking trails or to explore area cultural and recreational opportunities.

Megan Pickett, associate professor of physics, is among the Lawrence faculty leading seminars this year. She’s presenting an astronomy-focused seminar, The Stars: Mansions Built by Nature’s Hand, July 26-31. It’s something she’s wanted to do for years, calling the surroundings “singularly contemplative, especially for astronomy.”

To be able to do it in a relaxed atmosphere with a cross-section of deeply curious people, all the better.

“There’s something very freeing about being in a learning environment where there are no grades, just the love of learning,” Pickett said.

Complete seminar information, including registration, dates, course descriptions, and information on instructors, can be found at www.lawrence.edu/dept/bjork/ or by calling 920-839-2216. Questions can also be directed via email to mark.d.breseman@lawrence.edu.

The 2020 summer seminar lineup

Terry Moran leads a session during the 2019 summer seminars at Bjorklunden.
Terry Moran ’82 will be back to lead another summer seminar. The ABC News correspondent will present “The 2020 Verdict” Aug. 2-7.

June 14-19

Listen to the Birds / Don Quintenz

Wildlife Photography: Turning Passion into Productivity / John Van Den Brandt

June 21-26

Two Irishmen, Two Novels, Two Portraits / Robert Spoo ’79

July 5-11

Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp / Bob DeRosa

July 12-17

Give My Regards to Broadway – The American Musical / Dale Duesing ’67

The Great Patriotic War: World War II Through Soviet Eyes / Victoria Kononova

July 17-19

Family Weekend/Grandparent-Grandchild Weekend / David Stokes

July 19-24

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present / Susan Pappas ’69

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present / Joe Patterson ’69

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present / Jerald Podair

Poignant, Prosaic, and Possibly Pointless: The Stories of Anton Chekhov / Peter Thomas

Richard M. Nixon: The Triumph and Tragedy of an American Politician / Tim Crain

July 26-31

Stitches in Time: The Genius of Medieval Embroideries and Tapestries / Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg ’65

The Stars: Mansions Built by Nature’s Hand / Megan Pickett

Water Cycle: A Journey Around the Science and Policy of Earth’s Most Precious Resource / Peter Levi ’01 and Titus Seilheimer ’00

Aug. 2-7

The 2020 Verdict / Terry Moran ’82

The American Civil War in Historical Perspective / James Cornelius ’81

Aug. 9-14

Is Belief in God Rational? / Terry Goode

The Fall of Rome: From Caesar to King and From Jupiter to Jesus in 500 Years / Nikolas Hoel ’99

Aug. 16-22

Creative Photography / Philip Krejcarek

Family Ties – The Case of King David / Bill Urbrock

Watercolor: The Expressive Medium / Helen Klebesadel

Aug. 30-Sept. 4

Flirting with Disaster: Turning Personal Obsession into Memoir / David McGlynn

The Original Book Club: Literary Legacies of Medieval Women / Catherine Keene and Danielle Joyner

What Happens Next?: The Importance of the Strong Storyline in Classic Hollywood Films / Jack Rhodes

Sept. 13-18

Which Way to the White House? Presidential Campaign Parades from 1896 to 2020 / Charlie Schudson and Steve Bruemmer

Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms / Don Quintenz

Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms / Charlotte Lukes

Writing Poetry in Forms / Marilyn L. Taylor

Sept. 27-Oct. 2

A Brief History of Creatures that Rule the Earth (Hint: They’re not humans) / David Hines ’76

Anatomy of a Murder Trial / Steve Licata ’75

Hollywood Votes: Images from the World of Politics in Films of the Classic Era / Jack Rhodes

Oct. 4-9

SPQR: The Senate and the Roman People / Daniel Taylor ’63

The 2020 Elections: What Next for American Foreign Policy? / Christopher Murray ’75

Watercolor: A Fresh Start / Helen Klebesadel

Oct. 11-16

The Weimar Republic: Grandeur and Disaster / Jon Greenwald

Oct. 18-23

World Religions in the Contemporary World / Brian Smith

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Collaboration keys research into invasive weevils along Lake Michigan shoreline

Weevils crawl on a Pitcher's Thistle plant in Door County.
Weevils are seen on a Pitcher’s thistle plant in Door County.
(Photo: Jakub Nowak ’20)

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

If you’ve ever taken a summer walk in picturesque Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, perhaps you’ve admired the incredible Pitcher’s thistle, an endangered flowering plant found on the sand dunes of the Great Lakes shores.

If you’ve taken a closer look, maybe you’ve spotted the invasive weevils that threaten the rare plant’s survival.

Lawrence University Assistant Professor of Biology Alyssa Hakes has been studying this plant-insect relationship since she heard about it in 2013. For a few weeks each summer, Hakes and a group of students conduct field work at Whitefish Dunes State Park, located 10 miles south of Björklunden, Lawrence’s Door County satellite campus. Their goal for each trip is to measure weevil distribution and behavior and assess its damage on the plants.

This year, Hakes wanted to create decoy Pitcher’s thistles to use as weevil traps to test their attraction to the visual cues of the plant. To put her plan in motion, she received the help of biology major Harsimran (Hari) Kalsi ’21, who created impressive 3D-printed decoys of the Pitcher’s thistle as an independent study project.

Harsimran (Hari) Kalsi ’21

Hakes had received a recommendation to work with Kalsi from David Hall, assistant professor of chemistry, and Angela Vanden Elzen, the reference and learning technologies librarian and assistant professor who oversees the Makerspace wing of the Seeley G. Mudd Library.

In his freshman year, Kalsi received 3D printing training from Vanden Elzen. He has since done 3D printing projects for Hall, designing and printing virus structures.

“Hari had the experience I needed in a collaborator,” says Hakes. “I had never worked with a 3D printer before, so I needed Hari and Angela’s help and expertise for everything.”

Kalsi was enthusiastic about taking his 3D printing experience to a new level.

“I was excited because I could use my skills to make a difference and potentially save a living organism on the verge of extinction,” he says. “I’m a huge proponent of translational science research and this is a great example of recognizing a problem in the world and designing an intervention to study and fix it.”

Field work in Door County

The weevils (Larinus carlinae) were introduced to the U.S. in the 1970s to control area populations of weedy thistles. However, it turns out that no thistle, even an endangered one, can avoid the weevils’ destruction.

The Pitcher’s thistle dies after flowering, so it only has one chance to reproduce. But the weevil comes along during egg-laying season and pierces the flower with its snout and lays her eggs within. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the seeds, destroying the plant’s only chance to reproduce. That’s trouble for the Pitcher’s thistle species and for the ecosystem.

“It is one of the only flowering plants on the sand dunes, making it an important nectar resource to bees and butterflies,” Hakes notes.

A photo of pitcher's thistle on the dunes along the shore of Lake Michigan.
Pitcher’s thistle is an important part of the ecosystem in dunes along the Great Lakes. (Photo: Jakub Nowak)

The weevils must be tracked and studied in their interactions with the Pitcher’s thistle in order to solve this problem. How do they choose a plant to lay their eggs in? How do they move about the dune landscape?

To find out, Hakes and her team use the mark-recapture method. This involves catching weevils and marking their backs with multicolored dots (Hakes calls these “weevil makeovers”) in order to track and identify them when they reappear in the wild. Here’s where Kalsi’s decoy plants come into play.

The faux Pitcher’s thistles are designed to trap weevils for study. They are coated in a sticky spray to snag the insect as they land to lay their eggs in the bud. The ability to manipulate the placement of the decoys makes them helpful in understanding how the weevils choose their host plant.

“This summer we tested whether weevils were attracted to our 3D-printed traps,” Hakes says. “Some traps were near real plants, and others were not. Our preliminary data on the mark-recapture study suggest that the traps are potentially more effective near real plants.”

Alyssa Hakes

She’s already setting goals for future field work based on this summer’s success with the decoys.

“We caught a few this summer. Ultimately, it would be great to use them to trap evil weevils en masse. The prototype will need to be improved if it is to be an effective tool in the future.”

Since the appearance of the decoys can be manipulated, she also hopes to use them to assess the weevil’s preferences for bud size, bud number, color and scent in the future. The possibilities are endless. Luckily, Kalsi says, “the decoys are easy to print, economically feasible and easy to transport and deploy in the field.”

In the end, the collaboration between professor and student, and ecology and tech, indicates a bright future in research.

“I love how projects like this help students and faculty collaborate across the campus and think creatively about solving problems,” says Hakes. “It’s been such a fun way to combine art and science.”

And the benefits go both ways. Kalsi’s 3D printing work has rewarded him as a student.

“I think the research I conducted with Alyssa supplements my educational path at some level,” he says. “Being a biology major who tends to focus on the molecular side of things, it was nice to work on an ecology-oriented project.”

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Director/producer of award-winning documentary “Escarpment” to attend campus screening

What was the land like where Lawrence University’s northern campus — Björklunden — now stands several eons ago?

Roger Kuhns

The award-winning documentary film “Escarpment” will take viewers on a fast-paced journey through billions of years of natural history and the geologic and biologic past of eastern Wisconsin and the Niagara Escarpment region of the Great Lakes.

The screening, free and open to the public, is Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Warch Campus Center cinema. Roger Kuhns, who directed and produced the film, will attend the screening and be available for a question-and-answer session at the end of the film.

Winner of the 2017 Hollywood International Independent Documentary Award, the 92-minute film was shot on location along the entire length of the Niagara Escarpment, with a focus on Door County. Incorporating some animated sequences, it reconstructs ecosystems that existed when the Niagara Escarpment was formed, considers whether dinosaurs ever called what  is now Door County home and traces the path of glaciers as well as numerous other major events in the area’s geologic past.

Beyond just its geological narrative, Kuhns made the film as a way to educate, enlighten, and guide society toward better stewardship of the land and its resources while providing a glimpse of what a sustainable future might look like.

Roger KuhnsKuhns, who splits his time living in Door County and Mystic, Conn., is a man of multiple interests. A geologist by trade — he holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in geology from Beloit College and Washington State University, respectively, and earned his doctorate in economic geology from the University of Minnesota — he also writes books and songs, makes movies, and is both a naturalist and a sustainologist.

He has lived throughout the world, including eight years in Africa. An active teacher and workshop leader, Kuhns remains current by conducting science and practicing sustainability as the director of his own company, SustainAudit, LLC.

Last fall, Lawrence received a significant grant to enhance sustainability efforts on campus.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.