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M. Carol McCartney

Program Leader, Outreach Staff

Contact: Phone (608) 263-7393 | Email carol.mccartney@wisc.edu

Outreach program

Prior to coming to the Survey, I was an environmental consultant, but I have also been a teacher (at MATC, Edgewood College, and a local high school). My position at the Survey allows me to combine my consulting and my teaching skills with my love of geology and of Wisconsin.

I am impressed with the dedication of the Survey’s staff to its mission: “We communicate the results of our activities through publications, technical talks, and responses to inquiries from the public. These activities support informed decision making by government, industry, business, and individual citizens of Wisconsin.” I understand that this is the “Wisconsin Idea” – extending the university’s boundaries to the corners of the state. The fundamental goal of our outreach program is to support the Survey’s mission by increasing access to the natural resources information produced there, to “identify ourselves and state our value.”

Current projects

  • Principal investigator and project manager for U.S. Geological Survey National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program grants and projects. Completed projects:
  • Project leader for updating the WGNHS website to include content that represents the work of our geologists and the geology of Wisconsin.
  • Manage our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) to communicate WGNHS events and activities, to track current geologic issues, and to draw attention to our website.
  • Broaden our internship program to include students in disciplines beyond geoscience and from underrepresented populations.


In 2010 we began a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, a partnership that resulted in their fastest growing collection. They now curate digital copies of all of our bulletins, the Lake Superior Legacy Collection (including the Van Hise notebooks), almost 5,000 historical field photographs, and our historical hydrographic maps.

I am also collaborating with the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, UW System geology departments, the UW–Madison Science Alliance, and UW libraries to extend our outreach program.

Selected publications

Publications available to download

  • McCartney, M. Carol. 2019. Wisconsin water conflicts: Communication lessons learned from climate science. 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Water Resources Association—Wisconsin Section, Delavan, WI. (28 Feb-1 Mar, 2019), abstracts with program, p. 69.
  • McCartney, M. Carol and Chase, Pete. 2019. Wisconsin rocks in your classroom. Workshop. Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers Annual Conference. 7–9 March 2019. Madison, WI.
  • McCartney, M. Carol and Dahlstrom, Michael. 2018. Effective science communication for geoscientists. Workshop at the Geological Society of America North-Central Section 52nd Annual Meeting (16-17 April) W4.
  • McCartney, M. Carol. 2015. Social media at the Wisconsin Geological Survey: Connecting without paper and ink. Geological Society of America North-Central Section 49th Annual Meeting (19-20 May 2015), Paper No. 8, Session No. 15.
  • McCartney, M. Carol, Gottschalk, Brad, Schoephoester, Peter and Deith, Linda. 2015. Old data, new methods: Creating a digital catalog of the Lake Superior legacy collection. Geological Society of America North-Central Section 49th Annual Meeting (19-20 May 2015), Paper No. 9, Session No. 1.
  • M. Carol McCartney. 2014. Geology of the Wisconsin state capitol. Geological Society of America North-Central Section 48th Annual Meeting (24 April 2014).
  • Rawling, J.E., III, Rowley, R., Gultch, B., McCartney, M.C., and Attig, J.W., 2013, Devil’s Lake fieldtrips rebooted: Mixing tradition and technology: Geological Society of America North-Central Section, 47th Annual Meeting (2-3 May 2013) Paper No. 35-3
  • McCartney, M.C., Greer, B.A., and Shefchek, J.E., 2000, River sediment remediation at the Alliant Energy former MGP site in Baraboo, WI: 37th Annual AIPG National Meeting, October 10–14, 2000 Milwaukee, Wisconsin [Conference Proceedings].
  • McCartney, M.C., 1996, Eastern Wisconsin field trip: AIPG Wisconsin Section conference, field trip.
  • Simpkins, W.W., McCartney, M.C., and Mickelson, D.M., 1987, Pleistocene geology of Forest County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Information Circular 61, 21 p.
  • McCartney, M.C., 1983, Stratigraphy of till sheets in part of Northeastern Wisconsin: Geoscience Wisconsin, vol. 8, p.1–21.
  • McCartney, M.C., 1980, Red till stratigraphy in eastern Wisconsin, in R.D. Stieglitz, ed., Geology of eastern and northeastern Wisconsin: Guidebook for 44th Annual Tri-State Geological Field Conference, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, p.59–74. [Field Trip Guide]
  • McCartney, M.C., 1979, Stratigraphy and compositional variability of till sheets in northeastern Wisconsin: Madison, University of Wisconsin, Ph.D. dissertation, 147 p.
  • Mickelson, D.M., and McCartney, M.C., 1979, Glacial geology of Dane County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Field Trip Guide Book 06, plate 1.

Selected professional activities

  • Wisconsin STEM Fellow
  • UW Geology & Geophysics Department Board of Visitors senior advisor
  • Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) Outreach Committee member
  • Wisconsin Groundwater Advisory Committee member and co-chair from 2005 – 2007
  • Past President of Wisconsin Section of AWRA
  • Registered Geologist in Wisconsin and Arkansas.