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‘Here at Home’ cultural tour for Wisconsin teachers begins June 21

June 13, 2007

Twenty-five K-12 teachers from around Wisconsin will join several University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty members and students on a nine-day "Here at Home" cultural tour of the state June 21-29.

The group will travel via motor coach from Madison to the shores of lakes Superior and Michigan and end their journey in Milwaukee. Among their stops will be Muscoda, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Drummond, Red Cliff, Bayfield, Ashland, Keshena Falls, Shawano, Green Bay, Kewaunee and Door counties, Port Washington and Wales.

The tour, now in its second year, is co-sponsored by UW–Madison’s Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture. It is designed to promote an understanding of Wisconsin’s varied cultures and help participants become more aware of the environmental and human forces that shape the local cultures. It addresses two specific needs identified by teachers: experiential training in ways to study local culture and simple methods by which to incorporate local culture studies into existing curricula. Topics covered include cultural geography, folklore, history, meteorology and geology.

Accompanying the teachers will be: Ruth Olson, associate director of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures; Steve Ackerman, director of the university’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies; Anne Pryor, folk arts education coordinator for the Wisconsin Arts Board; and Debbie Kmetz, coordinator of Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture.

"Last year’s tour was successful beyond our wildest dreams," says Olson. "It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that for many of the teachers, it was a life-changing experience. They were so enthusiastic about including local culture and community involvement in their curricula that we had a reunion in April so they could share what they had done in their classrooms this past year. We are building a real community of teachers of local culture."

Here is the schedule for this year’s journey:

  • Thursday, June 21, Madison: An introduction to the Park Street Cultural Tour, which was created by former Randall Elementary School students and their teacher Mark Wagler.
  • Friday, June 22, Madison to LaCrosse: Lecture on geology and place by David Mickelson, a UW–Madison senior research scientist in geology and geophysics, who will provide an overview of how geological forces shape local culture; an accompanying trip to Wilkie Gorge; visit with metal artist Ellis Nelson at Muscoda; and stops at the Ho-Chunk Nation Bison Ranch and Norwegian cultural center, Norskedalen.
  • Saturday, June 23, La Crosse to Eau Claire: Visits to Hmong’s Golden Egg Roll restaurant and Hmong healer Dr. Bee Lo in La Crosse; Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden outside of Fountain City; Buena Vista Park in Alma; and St. Bede’s in Eau Claire.
  • Sunday, June 24, Drummond: Visits to the Drummond Historical Museum, Drummond Lumber Company, and the UW-River Falls Pigeon Lake Field Station.
  • Monday, June 25, Bayfield and Ashland counties: Visit with a contract logger and Moquah Homemakers; Bodin’s Fishery in Bayfield; Aquaculture Demonstration Facility on the Red Cliff Reservation; Tetzners’ Dairy in Washburn; and an Upper Thirteen League baseball game.
  • Tuesday, June 26, Ashland to Green Bay: Presentation by Ojibwe musician Frank Montano; pasties from Joe’s Pasty Shop in Ironwood, MI; Burnt Rollways Boat Hoist on the Three Lakes chain of lakes; and Keshena Falls on the Menominee Reservation.
  • Wednesday, June 27, Kewaunee and Door counties: Guest lecture and driving tour by UW-Green Bay professor of regional studies Bill Laatsch on Belgian and Czech cultures in Kewaunee and Door counties; traditional Belgian luncheon; visits to Krohn’s Cheese Factory and Slovan Country Inn, with a presentation by Belgian singer Clete Bellin; and a community polka dance at Agricultural Heritage and Resources.
  • Thursday, June 28, Green Bay to Milwaukee: Free time in Port Washington; Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, including a presentation on Day of the Dead altars by Rosa Zamora; Botanas Restaurant in Milwaukee to view murals by Juan Flores and talk with the artist; and Holler House for a tour of the bowling alley.
  • Friday, June 30, Milwaukee: Guest lecture by UW–Madison German professor Mark Louden on German-American culture in Milwaukee; walking tour of Old World Third Street; cultural presentation and lunch at the African Hut; tour of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Museum and a gospel performance by Queens of Harmony; and a stop at Le Duc Frozen Custard Drive-In in Wales.

For information on the estimated times for the tour stops, contact Ruth Olson at (608) 262-8180, While the group is on the road, you can try to reach her by calling either (608) 215-5404 of (608) 516-7659.

"Here at Home" tour participants include: Eric Anderson, Woodworth Middle School, Fond du Lac; Barbara Bates, Northland Pines School, Eagle River; Karna Cowles, Appleton East High School, Appleton; Rick Cowles, Appleton West High School, Appleton; Joan Curti, Jefferson Elementary School, Plover; Cheryl Flyte, Coloma Elementary School, Coloma; Michele Garnett, Sheridan Elementary School, Sheboygan; Bridget Lyn Grindle, Huegel Elementary School, Madison; Jean H. Johnson, Pelican Elementary School, Rhinelander; Mick Jay Krueger, Lodi Elementary School, Lodi; Karen A. Kruse, Starbuck Middle School, Kenosha; Lisa Lewke, Bluff View Intermediate School, Prairie du Chien; Cindi Matousek, Gilbert Stuart Elementary School, Milwaukee; Pamela Kay Metzger, Madison East High School, Madison; Sylvia N. O’Connor, Jackson Elementary School, Janesville; Kathlene Patten, Coloma Elementary School, Coloma; Arlene Phillips, Madison East High School, Madison; Amy Piaskowski, Madison East High School, Madison; Cynthia Riley, Jackson Elementary School, Janesville; Karyl Rosenberg, Nicolet High School, Glendale; Joan Shahrani, Jefferson Middle School, Madison; Rose Skaletski, Luxemburg-Casco Intermediate School, Luxemburg; Julie Stockinger, Pilgrim Park Middle School, Elm Grove; Susan Tessner, Cooper Elementary School, Sheboygan; Shawn Uttech, Pelican Elementary School, Rhinelander; Josie Lynn Bowman, UW–Madison undergraduate, elementary education; Mary Hoefferle, UW–Madison graduate student, curriculum & instruction; Catherine Vrentas, UW–Madison graduate student, cellular and molecular biology.

The "Here at Home" tour is made possible through funding from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, with additional support from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures and the National Endowment for the Arts.