Wetlands Ecology finds a new home on campus

“EVERY CONSERVATION battle, great or small, must be won over and over and over again. But lose it once and it’s lost for good.”  – David Brower


Due to budget cuts, the UW-Madison Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies decided to cut the Wetlands Ecology course which has been taught by noted wetland scientist Quentin Carpenter since 1994.  This was not the first time administrators had decided to axe the class.  Before Dr. Carpenter, the course was taught by Dr. Jim Zimmerman, who founded the course in the early 1970’s, and taught it until his death in 1992.  At that point, the dean of the College of Agriculture vetoed continuing the course.  But it was picked up by IES.  Now, IES has decided it had no money for a little class teaching wetlands ecology – who would need that?  Never mind the growing demand for wetland delineation, wetland mitigation, wetland restoration, the growing need and recognition for the “green infrastructure” services that wetlands provide (clean water, flood prevention, wildlife, waterfowl, fish, recreation, not to mention sequestration of carbon).

It looked like the only course at UW-Madison focused on wetlands was about to disappear again.  But in an ironic twist, the Dept. of Landscape Architecture in the College of Agriculture – which cut the class almost 25 years ago – is now giving it new life.  LA stepped up to sponsor the class and save it from oblivion – again.  If you want to talk about science education, job creation, job training or the role that UW has in promoting the Wisconsin economy, start with classes like Wetlands Ecology that provide necessary training for good, high-paying jobs in Wisconsin.  I call it a bargain.