University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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April 2007

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Along the South Fork

Alumni News

Alma Maters

About People


Alumni Book Club

Check Out These Good Reads by Alumni Authors

bookMichael Norman, ’69, professor emeritus of journalism, has added another book, Haunted Homeland, to his Haunted America series. This latest book contains over 100 stories from the United States and Canada, including a section on college campus ghosts. One of the college stories is about UWRF theatre professor Jim Zimmerman’s strange encounter with what may have been a ghost in Blanche Davis Theatre. Norman has also co-authored two books with Carol (Hable) Roecklein, ’92, a telecommunications coordinator with St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. The two books are WordWise: A Vocabulary Guide to Enhance Your Real-World Conversations, with one volume focusing on cultural studies such as music, politics, and weather, and the other addressing core disciplines typically found in a high school or college curriculum. (View at

bookEvelyn Klein (Evelyn Klein Bader, ’86) is a freelance writer and teacher and has a recently-released book of poetry, From Here Across the Bridge. Through her poetry, set primarily against Wisconsin and Minnesota landscapes, Klein introduces us to early love, the joys and tasks of motherhood, bonding with adult children, and also the eventual loss of love. She also edited and published a multicultural poetry anthology Stage Two: Poetic Lives and has written a linguistics book titled Essentials of Language and Writing. Her poem “A Place Called Home” won a prize with the Family Housing Fund and is part of the exhibit of art and poetry called “Home Sweet Home” that has appeared in the Twin Cities area. (View at

bookPoet Susan Ludvigson, ’65, is the author of nine volumes of poems, the most recent titled Escaping the House of Certainty, released this past November. In a series of prose poems, Ludvigson combines dreams with elements from French villages, creating surprising new revelations forged from the unconscious and the known. For lighthearted relief, she provides an assortment of recipe poems: “Eggplant Provencal: a Homily,” “French Brea,” and “Gratin Dauphinoise” to name a few. Ludvigson is the recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Fulbright, NEA, and Witter Bynner fellowships. She teaches at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. (View at

bookChildren’s book author Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, ’89, will soon publish her first young adult novel, The Compound, due out in 2008. Her award-winning children’s books include a series about Elizabeti, a young Tanzanian girl, that includes Elizabeti’s Doll, Mama Elizabeti, and Elizabeti’s School. Her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania led to her inspiration for the series. Other children’s book titles include We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, The Best Worst Brother and Babu’s Song. She and her husband, Tim Bodeen, ’89, are excited about moving this spring to Gambia in West Africa where Tim will work for the Peace Corps. (View at

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Alumni Embrace Sustainable Agriculture


Sustainable agriculture is a hot topic, and several UW-River Falls alumni are embracing the concept. In an effort to be environmentally responsible, they are engaging in low-input agriculture and producing value-added products.

Peter Lammers, ’01, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in animal nutrition and sustainable agriculture at Iowa State University, is researching the life cycle assessment of pig production in the Midwest.

"Growth and performance of pigs are affected by many things, but two major influences are the diet they eat and the environment they experience," said Lammers. He is seeking answers to how a particular type of barn or a specific diet impacts energy used, resources co-generated, and environmental outcomes.

"This project is an attempt to provide information necessary to improve the sustainability of agriculture in the Midwest," said Lammers. "Energy is finite, environmental impacts are real, and pork production plays a major role in the economy of the region."

Another sustainable agriculturalist is dairy farmer Bert Paris, ’82, who has been rotationally grazing his herd of 80 crossbred dairy cattle since 1993. Since adopting management-intensive grazing, Paris has expanded his herd from 30 to 80 cows without purchasing animals. Benefits of rotational grazing, he says, include improved cow health, fewer calving problems, more free time, reduced fuel consumption, and less labor-intensive work.

"Grazing has introduced me to many new people and provided me with so many opportunities that may not have been available if I were still farming conventionally," says Paris.

He is involved with the Dane-Green Grazier network, a group of farmers who graze their dairy cattle, reducing the need for row and other intensely managed crops. Paris, his wife, and other network members have purchased the Edelweiss Creamery building and milk silos near Monticello, Wis., and formed a cheese coop

The Edelweiss Graziers Coop makes old-fashioned Swiss cheese wheels that weigh up to 180 lbs. as well as grass-based cheddar, Gouda and other cheeses.

Daniel Pearson, ’78, lives four miles outside of River Falls on a fourth-generation family farm. He, his wife Terri, and three kids rotationally graze their 80 milking cows, raise 300 chickens in the summer for meat and egg production, and sell beef and pork.

By the late 1980s Pearson was becoming increasingly concerned with raising a young family around the chemicals used for traditional farming. He did some research and found articles about people trying different farming methods. That sparked his interest in organic farming. In 1989 Pearson used chemicals for the last time and began rotationally grazing his herd. In 1995 the farm was certified organic.

According to Pearson, he feels his operation is better for the environment, soil, and people. "We like to think we are making everything better than when we started," said Pearson.

Current UWRF students can now follow in these alumni footsteps and choose a sustainable agriculture option through the crops and soils major. The new option was approved last fall.

"In this new option students will study economically viable production systems that promote land productivity, energy efficiency, environmental stewardship, and rural community viability," said Mike Crotser, professor of plant and earth science.


McNair Program Mints First Ph.D.s

Three McNair Scholars program alumni have received their doctoral degrees.

Dwight Luhman, from the first cohort that graduated in 2001, earned his degree from the University of Massachusetts and is now doing postdoctoral research at Princeton University under physics Nobel Laureate Daniel C. Tsui. Amelia (Erwin) Versland graduated from Bowling Green State University and is now a postdoctoral clinical fellow at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. And Patricia (Sobiecki) Skinkis, who graduated in 2002, obtained her Ph.D. from Purdue University and is now an assistant professor and viticulture extension specialist at Oregon State University.

While on campus here, all three took advantage of the McNair program, which encourages first-generation, low-income college juniors and seniors to pursue advanced degrees and enter the teaching and research professions. “Faculty mentors are critical in helping them achieve their goals,” says Njia Lawrence-Porter, coordinator of the UWRF program. “Faculty mentors also provide advice and support on the scholars’ undergraduate research, giving them a mini-graduate school experience and helping to build their confidence for the next level.” Some 69 students have participated in the program, with 70 percent currently working or having completed advanced degrees, says Lawrence-Porter.




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