Friday, April 9, 2010

Sunday night Star Parties to be held for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois Springfield is holding several Star Parties for people with disabilities throughout the spring in the UIS observatory, located at the top of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Sunday Night Star Parties for people with disabilities are free, but reservations are required.

The dates of the Star Parties, weather permitting this fall are Sunday, April 25, and Sunday, May 16. The events begin at 8 p.m. and will include a short presentation before the viewing. The featured objects for viewing will be the first-quarter moon and the planet Mars.

Sunday Star Parties are conducted by John Martin, UIS professor of astronomy and physics. The sessions use a unique telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky.

The modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope at UIS uses a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube to be able to accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. The telescope is the first one of its kind in the world.

For more information or to make a reservation for a Sunday Star Party event, contact Professor John Martin at 217/206-8342 or jmart5@uis.edu.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Speakers Series: The Open Space of Democracy


2010 UIS Earth Day Event

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speakers Series presents The Open Space of Democracy. The 2010 UIS Earth Day event speaker will be Terry Tempest Williams, known as "a citizen writer," who speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life.

WHEN: Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Brookens Auditorium on the lower level of Brookens Library

(The event will be available via live webcast and video on demand at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html)

DETAILS: Williams is a naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice.

Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Williams is the author of several books including the environmental literature classic Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. In 2006, Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen.

This event is co-sponsored by the UIS Julia J. Henderson Award Fund and the Senate Committee on Sustainability.

For more information and a list of other speakers series events visit http://illinois.edu/goto/speakerseries or contact Kimberly Craig at 217/206-6245 or craig.kimberly@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

10th Annual UIS Science Research Symposium

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Natural Science Division is celebrating the 10th Annual UIS Science Research Symposium featuring student and faculty research presentations and a distinguished keynote speaker.

WHEN: Friday, April 16, 2010 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Brookens Auditorium is on the lower level of Brookens Library at UIS

DETAILS: This year's keynote speaker will be Dr. Andrew Gewirth, from the Department of Chemistry at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his talk will be on the “Behavior of Supported Phospholipid Bilayers”.

The primary goals of the symposium are to share the results of various local scientific studies, encourage scientific dialogue in the community, and to inform the community of the research conducted at UIS and at neighboring campuses. The symposium is open to the public. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty involved in any aspect of scientific research are encouraged to present either oral presentations or poster presentations. Prizes will be awarded to the three best student oral presentations and to the three best student posters.

For more information contact Dr. Matt Evans, Assistant Professor of Biology at mevan4@uis.edu or 217/206-8367. You can also visit the symposium website at www.uis.edu/biology/symposium/.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Lecture at Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon: "Historic Indian Tribes of Emiquon"

WHAT: A public lecture entitled “Historic Indian Tribes of Emiquon” will be presented by Dr. Michael Wiant, Director of the Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, Illinois.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Alfred O. and Barbara Cordwell Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon (formerly the Emiquon Field Station) near Lewistown, Illinois

DETAILS: Wiant will present an overview of the history and way of life for Native American tribes that resided along the central Illinois River between the mid 17th and early 19th centuries. The tribes included the Illiniwek, Kickapoo, and Potawatomi, among other Native American tribes.

UIS’ Therkildsen Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana, IL and Lewistown, IL near the Dickson Mounds Museum. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required. Entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff and a map is also available online at www.uis.edu/emiquon/.

For more information, contact Hua Chen, Interim Director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, at hchen40@uis.edu or (217) 206-8339.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

UIS Star Parties to resume during spring

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Star Parties this spring will be held on the following Fridays, weather permitting: March 26, April 2, April 16, April 23 and April 30. Note that those dates EXCLUDE April 9. There will be no star party on that date. On the other dates, Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory, located on the roof of Brookens Library.

The Star Parties will be hosted by John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics. The observatory’s telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including Mars, the red planet, Saturn, the ringed planet; the Great Orion Nebula, a nearby cradle of new stars; and the Moon, when visible. Other double stars and star clusters will also be viewed.

At a typical Star Party, visitors learn about galaxies, the sun, stars and stellar evolution, as well as star and constellation identification, prior to using the telescopes. These discussions take place in the stairway gallery of astronomical pictures on the way to the observation deck.

Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner.

Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. More information about Star Parties can be found online at http://www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties.html.

For more information or if you have questions about Star Parties, contact John Martin at 217/206-8342 or email jmart5@uis.edu.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

"Expanding Your Horizons" gives girls hands-on lessons in math, science and technology

WHAT: "Expanding Your Horizons in Math, Science and Technology" – a hands-on conference designed for girls in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

WHEN: Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

WHERE: Public Affairs Center (PAC) on the UIS campus

DETAILS: Many cutting-edge careers will involve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and will be wide open to well-prepared young women. Girls who attend this conference can choose three sessions from more than 20 hands-on, experiential workshops in these STEM areas. Separate workshops for parents and teachers will be held concurrently.

Girls’ workshops will allow participants to interact with successful women who are scientists, physicians, engineers, architects and professionals in many other careers traditionally held by men. They will meet other girls with similar interests and learn about career opportunities for women in these fields.

A partial list of topics includes The Fantastic Voyage... Inside our Bodies, Medical Laboratory Investigators Solve a Mystery, Women of the Web – Create a Personal Photo Web Page, Come Fly with us, and Are you Superhero Material?

The workshops for adults are designed to provide information on how to help girls cope with issues common to their age group, keep them on track for success in math, science and technology, and provide links to the resources to help access higher education and career information.

Adult workshop topics include Bridging the Gaps during Middle and High School, Unraveling the Mystery of the ACT and SAT, and “Green” Your Daughter’s Career for More “Green” in Her Wallet.

The event is presented by the American Association of University Women - Springfield Branch, and is sponsored by UIS and The Children's Center, a Memorial Health System affiliate.

Advance registration is required and space is limited for this event. For a brochure and registration information, call 217/787-8078 or go to www.aauw-il.org/springfield.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon to host lecture on mallards

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Alfred O. and Barbara Cordwell Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon (formerly the Emiquon Field Station) will be hosting a public lecture titled “Monitoring mallard movements in the Illinois River valley and beyond” on January 26 at 6:30 p.m. The lecture will be presented by Danielle DeVito and Curt Kleist, waterfowl research technicians with the Illinois Natural History Survey of the Forbes Biological Station in Havana.

The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

DeVito and Kleist will discuss how mallards use the Illinois River valley as stop-over sites during fall migration. They will present capture methods, details about marking procedures such as attaching radio transmitters to mallards, and the multiple methods they use to track the ducks on a day-to-day basis. They will also present results from their research using the technology of radio-telemetry in other parts of the country.

The Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown near the Dickson Mounds Museum. Entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff.

A map is also available online at www.uis.edu/emiquon/about/images/mapToTNCEmiquon.jpg or as a Google map at https://edocs.uis.edu/kmill2/www/map-simple-edocs.html.

For more information, contact Hua Chen, interim director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, at hchen40@uis.edu or 217/206-8339.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

10th Annual UIS Science Research Symposium

The University of Illinois Springfield Natural Science Division will be celebrating the 10th Annual UIS Science Research Symposium on Friday, April 16, 2010. The symposium is an all-day event (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) featuring student and faculty research presentations and a distinguished keynote speaker. This year's keynote speaker will be Dr. Andrew Gewirth, from the Department of Chemistry at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his talk will be on the “Behavior of Supported Phospholipid Bilayers”.

The primary goals of the symposium are to share the results of various local scientific studies, encourage scientific dialogue in the community, and to inform the community of the research conducted at UIS and at neighboring campuses. The symposium is open to the public. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty involved in any aspect of scientific research are encouraged to present either oral presentations or poster presentations. Prizes will be awarded to the three best student oral presentations and to the three best student posters.

Anyone interested in presenting at the symposium should visit the symposium website (www.uis.edu/biology/symposium/) and apply online. The deadline to submit an abstract is March 26, 2010. The registration fee for presenters is $10. Registration is free for students who are members of the UIS Biology, Chemistry, or Clinical Laboratory Science student clubs. For more information contact Dr. Matt Evans, Assistant Professor of Biology at mevan4@uis.edu or 217/206-8367.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

UIS to hold Second Annual Sustainability Week

The University of Illinois Springfield is raising awareness about sustainability and the environment by hosting its Second Annual Sustainability Week from November 9 through November 14, 2009.

UIS is working to be a role model in promoting campus environmental sustainability. UIS recognizes that we are part of a global community with limited resources and that our choices can positively affect the community and campus life.

Sustainability Week will feature a wide range of events including a bike ride, Native American dance performance, recycled art contest, scholarly lecture, poetry reading, and more. One of the unique features of this year's Sustainability Week is a brownbag presentation on Tuesday at noon by a current UIS student, Mandy Altman, who was able to put her passion for sustainability issues into practice this summer through her work with an international grassroots development organization.

“It is our hope that the events of the Second Annual UIS Sustainability Week will be well supported by members of the campus community and will prompt consideration of the link between human practices and ecological effects,” said Mae Marie Noll, undergraduate academic advisor and co-presenter of Sustainability Week.

Activities held throughout the week focused on sustainability include:

Monday, November 9
· A bike ride will begin at 1:30 p.m. in front of Lincoln Residence Hall on the UIS campus and will be led by UIS Bike Enthusiasts.
· Battery Recycling Drive begins – dead batteries will be collected in designated containers in the Public Affairs Center (PAC) Food Emporium and the lobby of University Hall until 12:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13.

Tuesday, November 10
· City of Springfield Recycling and Landfill tour 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. sponsored by the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center. Transportation provided. E-mail volunteer@uis.edu by 11/9/09 to participate.
· UIS student Mandy Altman shares her experiences from her summer working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development – Brown Bag – 12:00 p.m. PAC rooms C/D.
· Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE) will be holding a recycled art contest, and judging will take place in the PAC Food Emporium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
· Battery Recycling Drive continues in PAC cafeteria and UHB lobby
· Kevin Locke’s Native Dance Ensemble Sangamon Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11
· Green Educational Technology Solutions at UIS with Kara McElwrath PAC F 12:00 p.m.
· SAGE Recycled Art Contest Judging in PAC Food Emporium 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
· Battery Recycling Drive continues in PAC cafeteria and UHB lobby

Thursday, November 12
· SAGE Recycled Art Contest Judging PAC Food Emporium 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
· “Examining Sustainability and Sustainable Development” ECCE Speakers Series with Dr. Stefano Longo, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies PAC F at 6:00 p.m.
· Battery Recycling Drive continues in PAC cafeteria and UHB lobby
· Carolos Robson, Slam Poet, presented by the UIS Student Activities Committee (SAC) Brookens Auditorium 9:30 p.m.

Friday, November 13
· Battery Recycling Drive continues in PAC cafeteria and UHB lobby

Saturday, November 14
· Glass Collection sponsored by the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center in partnership with the City of Springfield. For more information contact the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at 206-7716 or volunteer@uis.edu.

For more information about any of the Sustainability Week events contact Mae Marie Noll, undergraduate academic advisor at 217/206-7473 or mnoll1@uis.edu.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

BioBlitz at Emiquon Field Station

WHAT: University of Illinois Springfield BioBlitz at Emiquon

WHEN: Saturday, October 10, 2009
(October 7th – Registration deadline)

WHERE: Emiquon Field Station

ADDITIONAL INFO: Each year members of the UIS community, as well as students from surrounding high schools and colleges, gather at Emiquon to do biological sampling. In other words--playing detective, trying to find different examples of the biological life that is present at Emiquon.

Space is limited to the first 80 participants who sign up, and will be asked to make a $10.00 cash donation on the day of the event to help defray the cost of the lunch and supplies.

For more information on times, transportation and to register for the event log onto: https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/1839369

The deadline to register is October 7, 2009.

If you have questions please contact Dr. Jim Bonacum at 217/206-6035 or Bonacum.James@uis.edu.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday Night Star Parties held for Disabled

The University of Illinois Springfield is holding several Star Parties for people with disabilities throughout the fall in the UIS observatory, located at the top of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Sunday Night Star Parties for people with disabilities are free, but reservations are required.

The dates of the Star Parties this fall are Sunday, September 20, and Sunday, October 18 weather permitting. The events begin at 8:00 p.m. and will include a short presentation before the viewing. The featured objects for viewing will be the first-quarter moon and the planet Jupiter.

John Martin, UIS professor of astronomy and physics, conducts Sunday Star Parties. The sessions use a unique telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky by using a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube to be able to accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. The telescope is the first one of its kind in the world.

For more information or to make a reservation for a Sunday Star Party, contact Professor Martin at 217/206-8342 or jmart5@uis.edu.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Friday Night Star Parties resume for Fall 2009

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Star Parties will begin for the fall on Friday, September 11, and continue every Friday night through October 30, weather permitting. Star Parties are from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory.

John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics at UIS, will host the Star Parties. The observatory’s three telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including the giant planet Jupiter and its moons; the Ring Nebula in Lyrae, a star like the sun which has reached the end of its life; the globular cluster M13 in Hercules, which is a ball of one million stars roughly 13 billion years old; other star clusters and double stars; and the moon, when possible.

On October 2, a special Star Party will be held in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend at UIS that will occur regardless of the weather. If the weather is too cloudy for telescope observing, there will be a presentation at a location still to be determined.

The normal Friday night Star Party on October 23 will be part of the “Galilean Nights” celebration as part of the International Year of Astronomy. That night, UIS will be celebrating the achievements of Galileo and the 400th anniversary of him using his first telescope.

Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner.

Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. For more information about UIS’ Star Parties, contact John Martin at 217/206-8342 or go online to www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties.html.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

UIS Emiquon Field Station display and more at the Illinois State Fair


WHAT: The UIS Emiquon Field Station will have a display at the Governor’s Innovation Tent

WHEN: August 14th through August 23rd from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

(Illinois County Fair Queen Morgan Metz, Governor Pat Quinn, and Emiquon advisory board member Michael Purnell - photo by Jeremy Wilburn)

WHERE: The Governor’s Innovation Tent is located near the intersection of Main Street and Brian Raney Avenue. (Come in Gate One, go straight, and the tent is on the right just pass Ethnic Village. There is a Governor’s Tent and a Governor’s Innovation Tent.)

ADDITIONAL INFO: The UIS display will contain information on the Emiquon Field Station and The Nature Conservancy. There will be a BioBingo game for kids, erosion/wetland demonstration, computer presentations and more. For additional information, contact Keith Miller at 217-206-7327 or kmill2@uis.edu. To learn more about Emiquon, visit
http://www.uis.edu/emiquon/

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Emiquon hosts meteor shower event

A late evening star-gazing event called “Meteors and Thompson Lake – 2009,” will be held at Thompson Lake on The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown, from Tuesday, August 11, at 8 p.m. until Wednesday, August 12, at 1 a.m.

This program is free and open to the public and is presented by the University of Illinois Springfield’s Emiquon Field Station in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy. UIS professor Dr. John Martin will be the guest lecturer, and members of the Sangamon Astronomical Society will also be present to share views of the night sky through their telescopes.

The event will take advantage of the peak display of the Perseids Meteor Shower, the annual mid-August display of “falling stars.” As the sky becomes dark after sundown, the meteor showers should be readily visible.

Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics, will help guide sky-watchers as they view the meteor shower. Dr. Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology and director of the Emiquon Field Station, will be available to share information regarding the station and associated wetland ecological research.

Participants should gather after 8 p.m. at the lakeside entrance to Thompson Lake, located directly off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-half mile north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the entrance. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets.

Everyone entering the property will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Participants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Lemke at 217/206-7339 or lemke.michael@uis.edu.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Emiquon to hold Walk and Talk lecture at Morton site

This month’s Emiquon Field Station Walk and Talk lecture will convene on Wednesday, July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Morton site to explore the excavations of the Morton Village. This is the second year of excavations at the Morton Village, a prehistoric Native American site that dates to about 1300 A.D. The excavations are a joint venture of Dickson Mounds Museum and Dr. Jodie O’Gorman of Michigan State University, with the cooperation of The Nature Conservancy.

The site is located on the west side of Illinois Route 78/97 0.4 miles south of the junction of Illinois Route 24 and 78/97, or if traveling from the south, at the top of the Illinois River bluff.

The Morton Village contains evidence of use by two groups that archaeologists refer to as Mississippian and Oneota. Natives of the Mississippian culture lived in the area for several centuries starting about 1000 A.D.; their living sites and cemeteries are common in the region around Dickson Mounds. Oneota is a cultural tradition centered in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. However, in the last 25 years, several large villages and cemeteries belonging to the Oneota tradition have been identified in the area.

The research at Morton Village seeks to understand why Oneota groups expanded into the region, how they adapted to the new setting and the nature of the relationship between Oneota and Mississippian groups.

The excavations, which began on May 26 and will run through July 3, are being conducted by the Michigan State University Archaeological Field School and Dickson Mounds staff. The remains of several houses and numerous storage and cooking pits have been found as well as artifacts such as pottery, arrow points and stone hoes.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Emiquon to host two presentations about fish and aquatic species

Two public lectures, “Restoring the Thompson Lake Fish Community” and “Aquatic Invasives in the Upper Mississippi River Basin,” will be presented on Wednesday, May 27 at 6 p.m. at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Emiquon Field Station. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

The first lecture, “Restoring the Thompson Lake Fish Community,” will be presented by Nerissa N. Michaels, Emiquon Project Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy. The program will include an overview of the Thompson Lake/Emiquon history starting from the early 1900s to the present. Additionally, information relevant to the Thompson Lake fish community, including stocking efforts, monthly monitoring and additional research, as well as information pertaining to the Thompson Lake aquatic vegetation community, will be shared.

Greg Sass, director of the Illinois River Biological Station, will present the second lecture, “Aquatic Invasives in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.” Sass will discuss the establishment of aquatic invasive species in the Upper Mississippi River Basin as well as their effects on native species.

The Emiquon Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown. Entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff. A map is also available online at: www.uis.edu/emiquon/about/images/mapToTNCEmiquon.jpg.

For more information, contact Mike Lemke, Emiquon Field Station Director, at lemke.michael@uis.edu or (217) 206-7339.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Emiquon hosts lecture on bird migration

“Spring Migration by the Numbers,” a public lecture and nature walk, will be presented at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Emiquon Field Station beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

The program will be led by Jim Herkert, director of conservation science for The Nature Conservancy. Heckert will explore the phenomenon of migration in birds, discussing how many species of birds migrate through Illinois each year, how birds navigate while migrating, Emiquon’s role in migration and more.

“Emiquon is a great place to observe bird migration because it contains a wide variety of habitats, including woodlands, prairie and wetlands, and therefore provides habitat for a wide range of migratory birds,” Herkert noted. “Because of its large size, Emiquon allows for very large concentrations of birds to use the site during their annual migrations.”

The Emiquon Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown. Entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted. A map is also available online at www.uis.edu/emiquon/about/images/mapToTNCEmiquon.jpg.

The program will start with a presentation and then follow with a walk on the nearby trails.
Everyone entering the property will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Participants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. All are encouraged to wear walking or hiking shoes and to bring binoculars.

For more information, contact Mike Lemke, Emiquon Field Station Director, at lemke.michael@uis.edu or 217/206-7339.

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Earth Day speaker to focus on cleaning nation's rivers

The University of Illinois at Springfield will be celebrating Earth Day on Tuesday, April 21, with a presentation by Chad Pregracke called “Making a Difference in the World: My Journey to Clean America’s Rivers.” The program will be held at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. It is free and open to the public.

Pregracke is the founder and president of Living Lands & Waters, a not-for-profit environmental organization based in East Moline, Ill. The organization has involved tens of thousands of volunteers with community-based river cleanups, Riverbottom Restoration Projects, Adopt-a-River Mile Program and Big River Educational Workshops.

Pregracke has been the recipient of more than 40 national awards for his service and is the author of From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers, which chronicles his journey to clean up America’s rivers one tire at a time.

During Pregracke’s Earth Day program at UIS, he will discuss his experiences growing up on the Mississippi River and how it led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River, from underwater shell-diving to open-air community clean-ups.

Sponsors of the event include the ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) Speaker Series and Office of the Provost. Co-sponsors are Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE), College of Public Affairs and Administration, Department of Environmental Studies and the Senate Committee on Sustainability.

For more information, contact Tih-Fen Ting, professor of environmental studies, at 217/206-7876 or tting1@uis.edu.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Astronomy program discusses Pluto - planet or not?

The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a presentation by Dr. Mercedes Richards called “Pluto and the New Dwarf Planets” on Friday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center room F on the UIS campus.

In August 2006, Richards was one of 411 International Astronomical Union members worldwide to vote on a new definition of planets, leading to the demotion of Pluto to the status of “dwarf planet.” Richards’ program will give a first-hand look at the decision to change Pluto’s planet status and will examine the structure of the solar system to understand the different classes of objects that orbit the Sun.

Richards, a native of Jamaica, is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University. In October 2008, she was awarded a Musgrave Gold Medal by the Institute of Jamaica, which is the highest academic honor awarded by the government of Jamaica and is given to scholars who have attained international recognition in their particular field.

Richards’ interest is pairs of stars called binary stars, which are like twin stars. She was the first astronomer in the world to make clear images of the gravitational flow of gas between the stars in any interacting binary pair.

Richards’ lecture is part of the Harlow Shapley lecture series, sponsored by the American Astronomical Society.

Following the lecture, a Friday Night Star Party will be held at the UIS Observatory, located on the roof of Brookens Auditorium, weather permitting.

For more information about the presentation, contact Professor Charles Schweighauser at 206-6721 or cschw1@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UIS hosts 11th annual Health Awareness Day

The University of Illinois’ Masters in Public Health Student Association and Campus Health Services will host the 11th annual Health Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center (PAC) lobby and conference rooms on the concourse level of the PAC.

The event is held to educate the university community and others in the Springfield and surrounding area about positive health practices. Representatives from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Medical Center will be present.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. John K. Lee, a first-year resident in Family Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Lee’s topic is “The secret of supplements: do they really work?” The presentation will be held in conference room F on the lower level of the PAC from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and lunch and drinks will be served.

Screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar, bone density, cholesterol and more will be offered, as well as testicular and prostrate exams given by Springfield Clinic. Information about topics such as healthy eating and decreasing stress will be available. UIS’ Recreation and Athletic Center will also perform fitness testing and give participants a detailed analysis of their health.

Attendees to the event are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food pantry. Attendees who complete an evaluation form about the day will be entered into a drawing for prizes donated by individuals and organizations in the Springfield community.

UIS’ Health Awareness Day is held in coordination with National Public Health Week, which is organized by the American Public Health Association. The theme of this year’s National Public Health Week is “Building the Foundation for a Healthy America.”

For more information about Health Awareness Day at UIS, contact Linda Tait at ltait2@uis.edu or 217/206-6676.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

UIS helps celebrate 100 Hours of Astronomy

The University of Illinois at Springfield will be hosting a series of events called 100 Hours of Astronomy, in partnership with the Sangamon Astronomical Society, from Friday, April 3 through Sunday, April 5.

The events are part of an international 100 Hours of Astronomy celebration in conjunction with the International Year of Astronomy 2009, a global effort to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky.

The series of events will begin with a Friday Night Star Party in the UIS Barber Observatory on Friday, April 3 from 8 to 10 p.m. The observatory will be open for participants to view the night sky through the observatory telescopes.

The observatory is located on the roof of Brookens Library on the UIS campus, accessible by a door on the southeast corner of the library. In the event of uncooperative weather, there will be a special presentation about International Year of Astronomy 2009. The event is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

On Saturday, April 4, the Sangamon Astronomical Society will be holding a star party at Centennial Park from 4 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public; reservations are not required. In the event of cloudy weather, the Saturday star party will be cancelled.

On Sunday, April 5, UIS will host “Sun-Day” from 1 to 3 p.m. at the UIS Barber Observatory. Charles Schweighauser and John Martin, UIS professors of astronomy/physics, will give a lecture about the Sun, featuring photos and video footage of the sun taken through UIS’ 14-inch telescope. The lecture will start at 1 p.m. and will take in the Public Affairs Center, room F.

Weather permitting, the campus observatory will be open following the lecture for the public to look at the Sun through the telescope, and the Sangamon Astronomical Society will also have telescopes set up for viewing. The Sun should not normally be viewed through a telescope; however, special equipment will be installed on the telescopes for this event to ensure safe viewing of the Sun.

“Sun-Day” is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

To complete the 100 Hours of Astronomy celebration, UIS will host a Sunday Night Star Party for people with disabilities, beginning at 7 p.m. at the UIS observatory. A modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope will be used for this Star Party, which has a fixed eyepiece to bring the image to the viewer and can accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair.

Reservations are required for the Sunday Night Star Party. To make reservations, contact Schweighauser at 217/206-6721.

For more information on the 100 Hours of Astronomy, go online to http://www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/iya2009.html or contact Martin at 217/206-8342. More information on UIS Star Parties can be found at http://www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties.html, and more information about the Sangamon Astronomical Society can be found at http://www.sas-sky.org/main.html.

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Day for "Celebration of Animals and Nature in Myth and Legend"

The University of Illinois at Springfield will be hosting an event called “Celebration of Animals and Nature in Myth and Legend” on Tuesday, April 7. The event is presented by UIS’ College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of Undergraduate Education ECCE Speaker Series, along with the Lincoln Memorial Gardens and Illinois’ Nature in Legend and Story.

The event will feature seasoned storytellers, who will explore some of the ways in which cultures define themselves through unique relationships to fauna and flora. The program will look at ways in which nature and culture combine in the construction of human, as well as tribal, identity, so that social issues are inseparable from environmental concerns.

The keynote presentation, “Celebration of Animals & Nature in Legend & Myth,” will be held from 10 to 11:45 a.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. ECCE Speaker Series students will receive academic credit for their attendance at this event only.

A Nature Storytelling Workshop for Educators will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., also in Brookens Auditorium.

From 7:30 to 9 p.m., a Storytelling in the Round, Author’s Reception and Book Signing event will be held at Lincoln Memorial Gardens’ Nature Center, Council Ring 3. The cost to attend the evening event is $5; students with a UIS I-card will be admitted at no cost. Due to limited seating, pre-registration is required for this event by calling the Lincoln Memorial Gardens Nature Center at 217/529-1111.

Speakers include James Bruchac, nationally-known cultural educator and author; Dr. Boria Sax, UIS adjunct professor of the course “Animals and Civilization”; Betsy Irwin, education coordinator at Lincoln Memorial Gardens; and Cathy Mosley, president of the Illinois-based Nature in Legend and Story.

For more information, go online to www.uis.edu/clas/animalsandnature.html or contact Holly McCracken at 217/206-7421 or hmccr1@uis.edu.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Emiquon Field Station presents "Spring Mushrooms and Morels" lecture and nature walk

“Spring Mushrooms and Morels,” a public lecture and nature walk, will be presented at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Emiquon Field Station on Wednesday, March 25, beginning at 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

The program will be led by Dr. James Veselenak, UIS associate professor of Clinical Laboratory Science and Public Health. Veselenak is an experienced mycologist, which is a scientist that studies fungus and mushrooms.

“We will offer a primer on hunting spring mushrooms including the elusive morel,” Veselenak said. “We will learn about the varieties of spring mushrooms seen in this area. Discussed will be tips for hunting - where, when, and more - and the basics of identification.”

The Emiquon Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown. The entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Routes 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted, and a map is also available online at www.uis.edu/emiquon/about/images/mapToTNCEmiquon.jpg.

For more information, contact Mike Lemke, Emiquon Field Station Director, at lemke.michael@uis.edu or 217/206-7339.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

9th annual Science Research Symposium

The University of Illinois at Springfield’s ninth annual Science Research Symposium – featuring presentations on applied or theoretical research by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in science programs at UIS and other four-year colleges in the area – will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 17, on the UIS campus. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Awards will be presented for the best student posters and oral presentations. College-level science presentations are welcome from schools outside UIS. The presentations and a keynote address will be held in Brookens Auditorium, located in the lower level of Brookens Library.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Ward, professor of Paleontology from the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, who will speak on “Extinctions: Past, Present, and Future” from 3 to 4 p.m. A reception for Dr. Ward will immediately follow the keynote program.

UIS began hosting the symposium in 2001 to recognize the growing number of college students engaged in research projects. Dr. Rebecca Landsberg, UIS assistant professor of Biology and symposium co-coordinator, noted, “The symposium aims to encourage scientific dialog and inform the academic community of scientific research conducted at UIS and neighboring campuses. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty involved in applied or theoretical research. We particularly encourage presentations by students.”

Other goals include promoting community interest in scientific research and inviting nationally recognized scholars to share information about their own research.

The deadline to submit an abstract is March 27. For details, including format, guidelines and registration, go to www.uis.edu/biology/. The registration fee for presenters is $10; however the fee is waived for students who are members of biology or chemistry student clubs.

Symposium sponsors at UIS are the Biology, Chemistry and Clinical Laboratory Science programs, the Speaker’s Fund, the Research Board and student science clubs.

For more information, contact Landsberg at 217/206-7338 or rland3@uis.edu, or Dr. Yash Mhaskar, assistant professor of Chemistry and symposium co-coordinator, at 217/206-7336 or ymhas2@uis.edu.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friday night Star Parties to resume Spring 2009

The University of Illinois at Springfield’s popular Star Parties will begin for the spring on Friday, March 27, and continue every Friday night through May 1, weather permitting. Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory, located on the roof of Brookens Library.

The Star Parties will be hosted by John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics. The observatory’s three telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including Saturn, the ringed planet; the Great Orion Nebula, a nearby cradle of new stars; and the Moon, when visible. Other double stars and star clusters will also be viewed.

At a typical Star Party, visitors learn about galaxies, the sun, stars and stellar evolution, as well as star and constellation identification, prior to using the telescopes. These discussions take place in the stairway gallery of astronomical pictures on the way to the observation deck.

Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner.

Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. More information about Star Parties can be found online at http://www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties.html.

For other questions about Star Parties, contact Martin at 206-8342.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Emiquon Field Station holds annual Emiquon Science Meeting

The University of Illinois at Springfield’s Emiquon Field Station, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy and Dickson Mounds Museum, is holding the second annual science meeting titled “Emiquon Science 2009: The Rebirth of Emiquon.” The event will be held on Thursday, March 12, at the Dickson Mounds Museum, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Emiquon Project is one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the nation and was started in 2007. UIS established the Field Station at Emiquon in 2008, which is used for many research and learning opportunities for both the UIS community and general public.

Bill Mitsch, internationally-known wetland ecologist and professor at The Ohio State University, will be the keynote speaker for the annual meeting. His talk, “Restoring the Mississippi River Basin: Wetlands, Rivers, Floodplains and Delta,” will focus on how the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri river basins contribute to Gulf Hypoxia and how restoration may pave the way toward fixing this problem. Mitsch has received numerous awards in the field of ecology, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Wetland Scientists and the 2005 Theodore M. Sperry Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration International.

The meeting will be comprised of both oral presentations and poster presentations related to ecology or research at the Emiquon Preserve. Morning topics include water quality at Emiquon, wetland and waterbird monitoring and more. The afternoon is comprised of poster sessions, and the event will conclude with a tour of the Emiquon Preserve and Field Station. For a complete schedule, go to https://edocs.uis.edu/mlemk1/www/Emiquon2009_final.pdf.

A complimentary lunch buffet will be served. Space for attendees is limited to 130, and advance registration is required. To register, go online to https://edocs.uis.edu/kmill2/www/emiquonScienceInvite09.htm.

For more information, contact Dr. Mike Lemke, Emiquon Field Station director, at lemke.michael@uis.edu.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Expanding Your Horizons encourages young women in math, science and technology

Expanding Your Horizons in Math, Science and Technology” – a hands-on conference designed specially for girls in sixth, seventh and eighth grades – will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield. Advance registration is required, and space is limited.

The event is presented by the American Association of University Women - Springfield Branch, and is sponsored by UIS and The Children’s Center, a Memorial Health System affiliate.

Many cutting-edge careers of the future will involve science, math and technology and will be wide open to well-prepared young women. Girls who attend this conference can choose three sessions from more than 20 hands-on, experiential workshops. Separate workshops for parents and teachers will be held concurrently.

Girls’ workshops will allow participants to interact with successful women who are scientists, physicians, engineers, architects and professionals in many other careers traditionally held by men. They will meet other girls with similar interests and learn about career opportunities for women in these fields.

A partial list of topics includes Online Businesses, Bone Engineering, At the Scene of a Crime, Space Walking, Green Architecture, Protecting the Earth with Ethanol and Digital Photography Editing.

The workshops for adults will provide essential information on how to encourage girls to take classes that will keep their options open as they approach college and choose careers. Topics for these sessions include Your Daughter’s Future – Too Important to Leave to Chance, Stress: How to Help Teens Cope and Be Healthy, and Tools for Planning for College…and Paying for It!

For a brochure and registration information, call 217/529-4165 or go to www.aauw-il.org/springfield.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday Night Star Parties held for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois at Springfield is holding several Star Parties for people with disabilities throughout the spring in the UIS observatory, located at the top of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Star Parties are free, but reservations are required.

Weather permitting, the dates of the Star Parties include Sunday, March 8, Sunday, April 5, and Sunday, May 3. The events begin at 8 p.m. and will include a short presentation before the viewing. The featured objects for viewing will be the first-quarter moon and the ringed planet Saturn.

Sunday Star Parties are conducted by Charles Schweighauser and John Martin, UIS professors of astronomy and physics. The sessions use a telescope designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky.

The modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope at UIS uses a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube to be able to accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. The telescope is the first one of its kind in the world.

For more information or to make a reservation for a Sunday Star Party, contact Schweighauser at 206-6721 or cschw1@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

UIS Emiquon Field Station to host lecture on "Deep Views of the Past"

The University of Illinois at Springfield's Emiquon Field Station will host a public lecture titled "The Emiquon Archaeo-Geological Project: Deep Views of the Past" at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18, at the Field Station, which is at The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

The featured speaker will be Alan Harn, assistant curator of anthropology at Dickson Mounds Museum.

In 2004, before water returned to the historic floodplain, the Ameren Corporation worked to anchor a gas pipeline that stretches across parts of the Emiquon Preserve. The excavations that resulted provided an opportunity for Harn and Sally McClure of The Nature Conservancy to gain new insights into paleo climates, bottomland geomorphology, and their relationships to past human civilizations at the site.

In this talk, Mr. Harn will describe the excavations and interpret the complex array of subsurface information that was revealed. Deep sediment profiles indicated that today's Thomson Lake is only the most recent in a series of Illinois river paleochannels to have occupied the bottomland. Archaeological remains distributed along these water courses allowed researchers to determine when the paleochannels and their associated landforms developed and died away. Uniquely preserved deposits of paleo vegetation on the lake beds also provided botanists with new information about climate more than 10,000 years ago.

Entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff. See a map.

For more information, contact Mike Lemke, Emiquon Field Station director, at lemke.michael@uis.edu or 217/ 206-7339.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Microbial ecologist from Michigan State University to deliver Merck Science Seminar

Dr. Jay Lennon, assistant professor of Microbiology at Michigan State University, will present the third annual Merck Science Seminar at the University of Illinois at Springfield on Wednesday, November 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lennon’s presentation, “Energetic Importance of Terrestrial Carbon in Lake Ecosystems” will be held in Conference Room H of the Public Affairs Center. The seminar is free and open to the public.

Lennon’s research is in the area of aquatic ecology with a focus on the microbial community. During the seminar, he will present on the export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from land to water based on data collected at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station. He will discuss experiments, surveys and theory that examines how terrestrial DOC is used by aquatic microbes, and how this material subsequently moves through aquatic food webs.

The seminar is sponsored by a grant from the Merck Institute of Science Education and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The grant is part of the Merck/AAAS undergraduate science research program started in 2000, and UIS was one of only 11 universities in the nation to receive the award in 2006.

In addition to funding the annual seminar, the grant has supported the research of four undergraduate students each summer for the past three years. The students were mentored in collaborative projects by faculty from the science programs, including Chemistry (Keenan Dungey and Gary Trammell), Biology (Michael Lemke, Amy McEuen and Lucia Vazquez) and Clinical Laboratory Science (Wayne Gade and James Veselenak).

For more information, contact Keenan Dungey, associate professor of Chemistry, by phone at 217/206-7345 or by e-mail at dungey.keenan@uis.edu.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

UIS will offer workshop on basic GIS applications

The Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Springfield will present "Using GIS to Explore Your Community: A Fundamental GIS Applications Workshop" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, November 14, at UIS. Advance registration is required and space is limited.

The program is designed for anyone with a beginning interest in spatial visualization and mapping. Basic computer skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office are the only prerequisites.

In addition to the basics of GIS and how to use the ArcGIS 9.2 software, participants will learn how to: create thematic mapping; display data specific to individual interests; find the best locations for projects; conduct spatial queries and spatial processing; and map addresses, locations, and other points of interest.

Instruction will also be given in downloading and mapping community data, as well as how to work with census data, natural resources data, economic data, housing data, and other specific data.

All participants will receive a comprehensive workbook, including step-by-step instructions, and a copy of Illinois Data Inventory Handbook.

Geographic Information Systems provide a new way to explore the world and offer a dynamic digital environment for visualizing and analyzing geographic information. GIS users can access, acquire, analyze, and display information in the forms of maps, 3-D simulations, tables, and figures.

UIS' Geographic Information Systems Laboratory was established in 2005 and currently supports research and teaching for many academic units.

Cost to attend the workshop (does not include lunch) is $125 for current UIS students, faculty, or staff members, and $250 for all others. A limited number of student scholarships are available.

To register or for more information, or contact Angela Maranville, GIS Lab coordinator, at 217/206-8403 or amara2@uis.edu.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

UIS to host Sunday Star Party for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a special Sunday Night Star Party for people with disabilities on Sunday, November 9, weather permitting, in the UIS observatory. The party is free, but reservations are required.

Featured objects for viewing will be Jupiter, the largest planet, and the moon.

Conducted by Charles Schweighauser and John Martin, UIS professors of astronomy and physics, Sunday Star Parties use a telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky. This is the first telescope in the world designed for, and dedicated to, people with disabilities.

The modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope employs a traditional optical design but with a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube as much as seven inches without refocusing, and can accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. A laptop computer runs the telescope, eliminating the need for a large keyboard and monitor that can emit too much distracting light on the dark observation deck.

To make a reservation, or for more information, contact Schweighauser at 206-6721 no later than Friday, October 31, for the November 9 Star Party.

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UIS Emiquon Field Station will host lecture on "Migratory Waterfowl and the Illinois River"

The University of Illinois at Springfield's Emiquon Field Station will host a free public lecture on "Migratory Waterfowl and the Illinois River," at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 28. The Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown.

The speaker will be Dr. Josh Stafford, waterfowl ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey and director of the Forbes Biological Station in Havana, Illinois. Dr. Stafford will cover a variety of topics, including a brief history of Illinois River wetlands and waterfowl research in the region, trends in migratory duck populations, chronology of migration, and results of recent waterfowl studies at the Emiquon Preserve.

Entrance to the Emiquon Field Station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff. See a map

For more information, contact Mike Lemke, Emiquon Field Station director, at lemke.michael@uis.edu or (217) 206-7339.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bioblitz 2008

Third annual Bioblitz
Saturday, October 11, at the UIS Emiquon Field Station

For members of the campus community who care about biodiversity and want field experience
  • Learn to collect biological samples
  • Work with experts to identify them
  • Picnic lunch provided
  • $10 per person covers lunch and transportation
Space is limited. Sign up in the Biology Department office, HSB 223.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

UIS to host Sunday Star Party for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a special Sunday Night Star Party for people with disabilities on Sunday, October 5, weather permitting, in the UIS observatory. The party is free, but reservations are required.

Featured objects for viewing will be Jupiter, the largest planet, and the moon.

Conducted by Charles Schweighauser and John Martin, UIS professors of Astronomy/Physics, Sunday Star Parties use a telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky. This is the first telescope in the world designed for, and dedicated to, people with disabilities.

The modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope employs a traditional optical design but with a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube as much as seven inches without refocusing, and can accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. A laptop computer runs the telescope, eliminating the need for a large keyboard and monitor that can emit too much distracting light on the dark observation deck.

To make a reservation, or for more information, contact Schweighauser at 206-6721 no later than Friday, September 26, for the October 5 Star Party.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

UIS professors to discuss "most grandiose experiment"

On the border between France and Switzerland, in a tunnel deep underground, a project is underway that promises to be "the most grandiose experiment in the history of science," according to an astronomer at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Charles Schweighauser, professor of Astronomy/Physics at UIS, says that the experiment -- being conducted by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and involving the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – will attempt to answer questions like "What is matter?" "What was matter like within the first second of the Universe's life?" and "Do extra dimensions of space really exist?"

Schweighauser says the scientific community is anticipating results that may very well open up a whole new way of looking at the Universe. "Our understanding of the Universe is about to change," he notes. "A lot of physicists will be disappointed if a whole new Physics doesn't come out of this experiment."

The LHC will be activated on September 10.

To help the public gain some sense of the scope and importance of the experiment, Schweighauser and two other UIS professors will present "Discovering a More Beautiful Universe with the Large Hadron Collider" beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 28, in conference room F, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS. The illustrated program will be presented for a general audience and is free and open to the public.

Schweighauser will facilitate the discussion and will begin the program with "The Large Hadron Collider and How it Works," a discussion of the instrument itself.

Following Schweighauser's presentation, Dr. Hei Chi Chan, associate professor of Mathematical Sciences, will discuss "The Physics behind the Experiment: What they're looking for and hope to find."

Following Chan, Dr. John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics, will speak on "The Physics Involved and How It Relates to the Early Universe," an examination of what the experiment may reveal about many unanswered questions on how the Universe evolved.

A question-and-answer session will follow the three presentations.

The Large Hadron Collider is a gigantic particle accelerator housed in a 27-kilometre tunnel near Geneva, Switzerland, and relies on technologies that until recently did not exist. LHC experiments are expected to provide insights into questions such as what gives matter its mass, what the invisible 96 percent of the Universe is made of, why nature prefers matter to antimatter, and how matter evolved from the first instants of the Universe's existence.

CERN is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. Headquartered in Geneva, it has 20 member nations; six other countries including the United States, as well as two international organizations, have been granted Observer status. CERN is one of the world's largest and most respected centers for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works.

For more information, contact Schweighauser at 217/206-6721.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

UIS will offer workshop on basic GIS applications

The Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Springfield will present "Using GIS to Explore Your Community: A Fundamental GIS Applications Workshop" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, September 19, at UIS. Advance registration is required and space is limited.

The program is designed for anyone with a beginning interest in spatial visualization and mapping. Basic computer skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office are the only prerequisites.

In addition to the basics of GIS and how to use the ArcGIS 9.2 software, participants will learn how to: create thematic mapping; display data specific to individual interests; find the best locations for projects; conduct spatial queries and spatial processing; and map addresses, locations, and other points of interest.

Instruction will also be given in downloading and mapping community data, as well as how to work with census data, natural resources data, economic data, housing data, and other specific data.

All participants will receive a comprehensive workbook, including step-by-step instructions, and a copy of Illinois Data Inventory Handbook.

Geographic Information Systems provide a new way to explore the world and offer a dynamic digital environment for visualizing and analyzing geographic information. GIS users can access, acquire, analyze, and display information in the forms of maps, 3-D simulations, tables, and figures.

UIS' Geographic Information Systems Laboratory was established in 2005 and currently supports research and teaching for many academic units.

Cost to attend the workshop (does not include lunch) is $125 for current UIS students, faculty, or staff members, and $250 for all others. A limited number of student scholarships are available.

To register, go to www.uis.edu/gis. For more information, contact the GIS Lab at 217/206-8403 or gis@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

UIS' Friday night Star Parties to resume

The University of Illinois at Springfield's popular Star Parties will begin for the fall on Friday, September 5, and continue every Friday night through October 24, weather permitting. Star Parties are from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory.

John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics at UIS, will host the Star Parties, which this fall will focus the observatory's three telescopes on a number of celestial objects, including the giant planet Jupiter and its moons; the Ring Nebula in Lyrae, a star like our sun which has reached the end of its life; the globular cluster M13 in Hercules, which is a ball of one million stars roughly 13 billion years old; other star clusters and double stars; and the moon, when available.

Martin noted that this year a number of activities are also planned in conjunction with the observance of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009. "It's an opportunity for people to share in the history of discovery that has led to our current understanding of our place in the universe," he said.

"In 1609, using his first telescope, Galileo discovered the four moons of Jupiter," Martin explained. "These were the first bodies discovered in our solar system that clearly did not orbit around the Earth. This was an important event in astronomy as well as human history because what Galileo saw convinced him that the Copernican heliocentric (sun-centered) model of the solar system was correct.

"However, we'll offer better views than Galileo got," he added.

Friday Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner.

Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party.

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