2018annual meeting

Wisconsin’s Green Fire’s 2018 Annual Membership Meeting: “The Art of Effective Science Communications – Reaching Outside the Echo Chamber”

So many activities, so little time. Our annual meeting was a chance to connect with friends and colleagues, partake in great local food, enjoy a Big Top Chautauqua performance of Wild Woods and Waters, visit and learn through our local field trips.

We explored our meeting theme with our keynote speaker Patty Loew, and panelists. Patty encouraged us to build relationships with groups and individuals to make our communications more effective and gave us welcome insights to reaching out to Native American nations. She stressed that many groups need scientific data and the kind of expertise in Wisconsin’s Green Fire. Our panelists gave us much to think about to improve our communications. In this age of polarization, it serves us all to listen to others, consider cultural understandings, and appreciate that a love for our natural resources crosses cultural and political divides.

On Saturday afternoon, we heard from the work group chairs about current priorities and issues these groups of volunteers are tackling.
See the Fall 2018 Newsletter for highlights.

Photos courtesy Lucy Tyrrell and Jim Perry


Patty Loew, Ph.D., is Director of Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University and a professor in the Medill School of Journalism. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Dr. Loew is a former broadcast journalist in public and commercial television. She is the author of Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, now in its second edition, which won the Wisconsin Library Association's 2002 Outstanding Book Award; Native People of Wisconsin, also newly revised and expanded, which is used by 18,000 Wisconsin school children as a social studies text; and a Teachers Guide to Native People of Wisconsin. Her latest book, Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, won the 2014 Midwest Book Award for Culture. Loew has produced many documentaries for public and commercial television, including the award-winning Way of the Warrior, which aired nationally on PBS in 2007 and 2011. ). She works extensively with Native youth, teaching digital storytelling skills as a way to grow the next generation of Native storytellers and land stewards

 Patty provided the following suggested readings: Braiding Sweetgrassby Robin KimmererNative Scienceby Greg Cajete, andSeventh Generation Earth Ethics, by Patty Loew.

Dean Bortz is the Editor of Wisconsin Outdoor News.
Dean Bortz has worked as a reporter, editor and outdoor journalist since 1986. Bortz is a Wisconsin native who grew up in southern Ashland County before serving three years in the U.S. Army, followed by 11 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. After leaving active military duty, Bortz attended UW-Green Bay where he earned a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and a minor in Environmental Science. He has been the editor of Wisconsin Outdoor News for the past 23 years. He is a member of the Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association and the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. He was the editor and publisher of Wisconsin’s Great Outdoors weekly newspaper in 1995 and 1996. From 1986 through 1994 he worked at the Lakeland Times in Minocqua as an outdoor editor, sports editor, and editor.

Paul DeMain is Editor of News From Indian Country and IndianCountryTV.com located on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin. News From Indian Country continues to publish a hard copy, electronic issue and has a web presence with many social media outlets and growing video library. DeMain a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and of Ojibwe descent has a long history of social and political work in order to advance the cause of Native American issues impacting Indigenous communities. DeMain is currently the chairman of the Board of Directors for Honor The Earth, of Minnesota, a non-profit educational organization fighting to protect environmental resources and Chairman for the Navajo Times Publishing Company of Window Rock, Arizona. He has previously served as President for two different terms with the Native American Journalists Association. DeMain currently works part time for FNX (First Nations Experience) producing news programs for online and cable television and with the Intertribal Agriculture Council as a special projects coordinator overseeing efforts to increase food sovereignty and utilization of treaty reserved resources in tribal communities.

Robert J. Griffin is professor emeritus in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He earned his Ph.D. (1980) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in mass communication research with an emphasis on energy and environment.  Throughout his career, he has focused much of his teaching and research on communication about energy, environment, health, science, statistical reasoning, and risk.  He has been principal investigator or co- principal investigator for various federally funded research projects concerned with how people use communication to make judgments about environmental and health risks.

Because of this career-long program of research in risk communication, he was elected in 2007 as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society.  In 2016, he was elected a Fellow of the international Society for Risk Analysis (SRA).

Susan Hedman is of counsel to Clean Wisconsin, the State of Wisconsin’s oldest and largest environmental citizen group. She has served as Regional Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager at US EPA, as Environmental Counsel for the Illinois Attorney General, as First Legal Officer for the environmental tribunal at the United Nations Compensation Commission and as senior attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest. Susan holds a PhD from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, an MA from the La Follette School of Public Affairs and a JD from the Law School at the University of Wisconsin.