We watched the world strike for action on climate change last month. As we work for conserving prairie and savanna ecosystems in the region, support is growing for taking better care of our global ecosystem.

At an Earth Day celebration in Madison earlier this year, TPE member Ron Endres met Eman Ghanem, a director at Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society. A 133-year-old organization that recognizes excellence in science and engineering, Sigma Xi also promotes research ethics, a strong research enterprise, and the public understanding of science.

Eman invited Ron and other TPE members to Sigma Xi’s Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on November 14–17, 2019, in Madison, Wisconsin. With the theme of Our Changing Global Environment: Scientists and Engineers Designing Solutions for the Future, the meeting is an opportunity for scientists and science supporters to learn about emerging research related to environmental changes.

Sessions are organized by tracks about sustaining water resources, human health, and energy. Other tracks focus on how to best communicate science to the public and other stakeholders, research ethics, and professional development for scientists and engineers. Here is the full schedule.

A group registration discount of up to 25 percent is available to TPE chapters and members. For more information on the group discount, please contact meetings@sigmaxi.org. A one-day pass for non-Sigma Xi members on November 15 or November 16 costs $175 and the full conference is $400.

Sessions include:

The challenges of presenting global environmental problems such as climate change to specific audiences who do not perceive these impacts or are facing more “immediate” concerns, such as economic hardship

A free and public STEM Art and Film Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 17 at Monona Terrace will be the final event of the conference. The festival features more than 10 documentaries, short films, and animations as well as 30 pieces of art relating to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).           

Ron will represent TPE with an exhibit table throughout the conference and sell native seed necklaces, which he makes for people to wear as a symbol for their support of prairies and savannas.

“The carbon sequestration ability of prairies can play a role in curbing climate change,” states Ron’s card that each customer receives with a necklace.


Ron donates his time, materials, and 100 percent of the sales from the necklaces to TPE to help protect prairies.

“The necklaces have become a good vehicle for outreach and education,” he said.


For more information about the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference, contact event organizers at meetings@sigmaxi.org.