New WIRC website launched

Today we are excited to announce the launch of our shiny new WIRC website! Although our previous site served us well for over a decade, it has become quite dated—both in terms of design as well as content. The WIRC has also undergone significant changes during that span of time, particularly during the past five years. We hope we’ve created a responsive website that highlights the significant recent and ongoing changes in WIRC.

Probably the most significant recent change is the retirement of long-time curator Steven Krauth in 2014. Nearly two years later, the department hired his replacement, Dr. Craig Brabant (i.e., me). WIRC staff has also enjoyed a streak of successful grant proposals that are—or will be—providing us with the resources to make dramatic changes in the WIRC. Two of these awards, announced earlier this year, will facilitate transformative infrastructure improvements. You can read more about both—an Instructional Laboratory Modernization and a Research Core Revitalization Program award—in separate announcements.

We are continuing our ongoing digitization efforts in the collection with support from two current NSF projects. The Terrestrial Parasites Tracker TCN was launched in September, 2019. Our most recent award officially began just over a week ago. It is a Partnerships in Enhancing Networks, or PEN, grant to join the Lepidoptera of North America (LepNet) TCN.

Lastly, we also wanted our new site to include the WIRC’s mission. We earnestly wanted to acknowledge that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is on the ancestral land of the Ho-Chunk Nation. We also had the strong desire to clearly and explicitly provide a statement on the values of equity and diversity that we strive to uphold for all who visit us in the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection.

WIRC awarded 2020 Instructional Laboratory Modernization (ILM) grant

An Instructional Laboratory Modernization (ILM) grant was recently awarded to the WIRC. This grant, administered through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at UW-Madison, will allow us to enhance our role as an undergraduate teaching laboratory by providing the resources to improve our physical space in Russell Laboratories and to acquire additional microscopes and computers. Students regularly visit and use the WIRC as an integral component of their Entomology coursework, for work on independent or directed study projects, or as interns from the Zoology 405 course: Introduction to Museum Studies in the Natural Sciences. (Funding period: July 2019–December 2019)