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Wisconsin Weather Stories Wins Prize From American Folklore Society

November 1, 2004
Jen O'Leary, 608-263-6178 jaoleary2@wisc.edu

WI Weather Stories
Go to the Wisconsin Weather Stories web site
MADISON - The American Folklore Society has awarded the 2005 Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize to Wisconsin Weather Stories, a University of Wisconsin-Madison project that explores weather concepts through personal narratives.

Wisconsin Weather Stories springs from the idea that narratives are an excellent way to approach the science of weather and weather prediction, explain how weather affects our lives, and uncover cultural beliefs and traditional practices related to Wisconsin weather.

Visit the project at the Wisconsin Weather Stories web site - weatherstories.ssec.wisc.edu

The free, online project contains a series of K-12 lessons developed by a team of folklorists, meteorologists and classroom teachers. It provides high-quality resources for teachers and students to explore severe weather stories, weather sayings and the occupational folklore of weather scientists such as UW-Madison scientist Verner Suomi, "the father of satellite meteorology."

Partners in the project include UW-Madison's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), the Wisconsin Arts Board and the UW-Madison folklore program. Undergraduate students collaborated with professors and professional teachers to develop weather story lessons and help translate complex ideas into usable K-12 materials.

Steven Ackerman, director of CIMSS and professor in the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, says that science and folklore are often set up in society as oppositional forces. "One project goal was to model a new kind of interaction between folklore and science, showing that both are based on careful observation of one's environment," he says.

The society's reviewers recognized that element in Wisconsin Weather Stories, saying the project "complements rather than debunks the value of folklore concepts' interaction with science concepts."

Wisconsin Weather Stories is a result of a 2003 grant from UW-Madison's Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

For more information, contact -
Steve Ackerman, 608-263-3647 steve.ackerman@ssec.wisc.edu

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