Please consider supporting the WIRC via the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection fund (#112040104).
The purpose of the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection (WIRC) Fund is to support the greatest needs of the collection. Uses include, but are not limited to, supporting collection outreach and activities, field and laboratory museum research, and enhancing educational and research opportunities for students and visiting scientists utilizing the collection.
Your monetary support will help us meet our short-term needs and work towards achieving our longer-term collection objectives.
Ongoing Collection Needs
We are a dynamic and growing research collection. Students and visiting researchers work on a variety of projects that help to achieve our overall research and curatorial goals. This work depends on the availability of curatorial equipment such as functional microscopes and computers. Consumable curation supplies include archival card stock for labels, insect pins, and forceps, among other things. We also regularly add new insect drawers and natural history cabinets as needed.
Long Range Objectives
Natural history collections of comparable size—i.e., over 3,000,000 collection objects—can easily support three to five full-time staff members. For example, such a staff might include a collections manager, a bioinformatician (a database/imaging specialist) and two or three full-time curators. Therefore, one of our longer-term goals is to set up an endowment through the UW Foundation. An endowment would provide the present and future revenue streams that would allow us to sustainably expand our staff.
We also tremendously enjoy mentoring students and providing them with the experience of working in a natural history collection. Recent success in NSF-sponsored projects have allowed us to hire undergraduate student hourly workers. Endowment revenue would provide the financial stability needed for us to hire students without having to rely on the relatively short-term support of project grants.
Finally, we would love to expand our insect exhibits. Right now, they consist only of the wall-mounted display cabinets in our Russell Labs hallway. We currently lack the financial and staffing resources necessary to develop new exhibits. Future endowment revenue will enable us to accomplish this goal.