What Happens in the Wake of Frac Sand’s Boom and Bust?
Wisconsin is home to some of the best sand in the country, making it a key player in the oil and gas industry. For this episode of Ground Truths, Justyn Huckleberry and Clare Sullivan take a close look at frac sand mining in the state—the lack of regulation and oversight, environmental and health consequences for local residents, the volatility of oil and gas markets, and how some activists are fighting back.
On the heels of the spring crane migration northward and the Annual Midwest Crane Count, Paul Robbins shares why these birds are such an important part of conservation history in Wisconsin and the U.S.
Living with Lead in Milwaukee
In 2021, rates of childhood lead exposure in Milwaukee were nearly double the state average. In this episode of Ground Truths, Juniper Lewis and Carly Griffith learn more about this public health crisis.
Who’s Afraid of Wisconsin Wolves?
With the future of wolf protection being debated on the national stage, Ground Truths editors Clare Sullivan and Marisa Lanker speak with local experts and advocates about wolf stewardship in Wisconsin.
The Slow Erosion of Environmental Protections in Wisconsin
In the first episode of the Ground Truths podcast series, Carly Griffith speaks with environmental advocates in Wisconsin about how they are addressing local issues of contamination from manufactured chemicals like PFAS and industrial agriculture.
This Year, Wisconsin Apple Growers Are Feeling the Squeeze
Apple growers had a historically low harvest this year. Jules Reynolds asks: what does climate change mean for the future of Wisconsin’s orchards?
Beowulf in Teejop
The way early American scholars studied Beowulf reveals their investments in white Anglo-Saxonism and stolen land. Maxwell Gray considers the consequences of white settler scholarship on Native American lands.
The Land Remembers Native Histories
The University of Wisconsin–Madison was constructed through the erasure of Native monuments. But the land remembers. Graduate student Kendra Greendeer (Ho-Chunk) considers histories of settler erasure and contemporary efforts to commemorate Indigenous presence.
The Land Is a Teacher: A Conversation with Jeff Grignon
In his decades of work in forestry and cultural heritage for Menominee Nation, tribal member Jeff Grignon reads the lay of the land to find an ancient trail system.
No, Bats Aren’t Scary: Five Questions for Tessa Collins
This Halloween, consider the wild lives of bats today, adapting to a changing climate and facing a deadly (and spreading) fungus.
Unearthing the Complex Histories of Madison Parks
Histories of park planners like the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association offer a window into the complex pasts and exciting futures of public parks.
Outswimming Extinction in the Great Lakes
Dan Egan's compelling narrative of recent challenges to Great Lakes ecosystems raises intriguing questions about invasion, evolution, and species survival.
Wading out the Kickapoo River Flood
After historic floods devastate Wisconsin's Driftless Area, a team of scientists reflects on their fieldwork in the Kickappo River Valley to make sense of an entangled, multispecies world.
The Science of Seasons on an Out-of-Sync Planet
Phenology, tracking the comings and goings of species each season, provides insight into the disruptions caused by human-induced climate change.
How a $750 Down Jacket is Dividing College Campuses
When students critique outdoor fashion on campus, their views reveal gendered, ethnic, and regional stereotypes at play in the local meaning of international brands.
Citizen Management in a Contested Landscape
An ecologically diverse nature reserve in Wisconsin's famed Driftless Area thrives today because of state, tribal, and local collaboration.
Rural People and Academic Elites Saved Higher Education Once. They Can Do It Again.
Rural resentment is nothing new. When one university reckoned with it a century ago, it convinced farmers that the university worked for them—and improved itself in the process.
The Land Ethic Revisited: Individualism vs. Morality
How can a community implement Aldo Leopold's notion of the land ethic? Kenya's Njuri Ncheke councils offer an example, balancing individual and group agency.
Environmental Resentment on the Political Right
When is political resentment legitimate, and who gets to decide? Two recent books examine the emotional world of politics in rural Wisconsin and Louisiana.
Nature’s Metropolis Turns 25: A Conversation with William Cronon
An urban history nearly devoid of people nonetheless holds lessons for communal human life today.
Excavating the Private Sphere
A photo essay of mid-century domestic relics open a window on a woman's hard, heroic, uncelebrated life.
Six Quick Lessons in How to Read a Landscape
How do you teach someone to re-see a place they know well? Try these tips on introducing students to the practice of treating landscapes as historical documents.
How Activists Are Taking on Factory Farms
Activists gather at a summit over factory farm expansion, offering an economic vision based on the value of clean water.
Wisconsin’s John Muir: An Interview with Michael Edmonds
A traveling exhibit celebrates the life of John Muir and the centennial of the National Parks Service.
Same Place, Different Photograph
Repeat photography is used by a range of scientists and artists as a form of data collection, but also raises deeper questions about the nature of truth.
An Ode to Madison’s Lake Monster
A story about sea serpents, water spirits, and how Madison's lake monster lore invites an ethic of coexistence.
Broadcasting the Wisconsin Idea: A Local History
The establishment of Station 9XM and experimental educational broadcasting is part of a larger story of radio and The Wisconsin Idea.
Rewilding the Badger Army Ammunition Plant
Volunteers and stakeholders bring prairie ecosystems back to life on the grounds of what was once the world's largest munitions facility.
Drip Torch Weddings and Environmental Rituals
Devising a fire ritual for a friend’s wedding inspires one author to consider how environmental rituals connect sacred and ordinary parts of our lives.
“Nature led the way”: The legacy of city planner John Nolen
A new biography of one of the founders of city planning in the US connects urban reform efforts from the early twentieth century with today's environmental issues.
Dwelling with Place: Lorine Niedecker’s Ecopoetics
How can poetry, particularly the "ecopoetics" of Wisconsin poet Lorine Niedecker, help us dwell with our nonhuman places?
The Arboretum Edge
A gallery of photographs that meditate on the lesser-known corners of the UW-Madison Arboretum.
Shifting Gears: Rethinking Bicycling in Wisconsin
From "improved" velocipedes on skis to a Good Roads Movement, the history of bicycling is more surprising and wide-reaching than one might expect.
An Eye for Winter: In Praise of Local Beauty
What is there to love about winter in a frigid place like Wisconsin? Lots, if you're willing to look.
Whatever. . . Never Mind, or Old Torvald Skaalen Died on Saturday
A story at the intersection of truth, lies, memory, and imagination set in the Norwegian-American cultural landscape of Stoughton, Wisconsin.
Reflections on Extraction 2: Whose Risks, Whose Choices?
In a second set of reflections on "Landscapes of Extraction," CHE members explore how communities negotiate the trade-offs of mining: private gain versus public well-being, individual enterprise versus regulatory caution, and economic necessity versus environmental risk.
Reflections on Extraction 1: Mining the Invisible
Reflecting on "Landscapes of Extraction," CHE members explore the challenges of remembering and preserving the buried histories of mining landscapes.
Why Edge Effects?
What’s in a name? Edge effects in the history of ecology, the geography of Wisconsin, and the interdisciplinary values of CHE.