August 17: Guest Speaker Jennifer Javornik of Filament Games Explained the Power of Play

–submitted by Sharyn Alden

Jennifer Javornik, Vice-President of Partnerships & Business Development with Filament Games, an educational games developer in Madison, said her program was interactive, just like play is an interactive experience.

“Games allow you to learn by doing; they give you confidence, help you hone skills, fail in a safe place. These playful experiences help improve people’s lives,” she said.

Filament Games has partnered with numerous companies to showcase topics in a fun, meaningful way. For example, they partnered with PBS Kids on the program “Hero Elementary” which features fundamentals of recycling.

In developing games she said you have to decide who the player (you) are going to be—like in Pac-Man where the player becomes Pac-Man.

After a brief background on how ideas for digital games are developed, she threw a challenge to the audience to become a game developer for the day. Each table was asked to describe a game around the survival of three animals– a gibbon, elephant and turtle. Each animal has unique characteristics like a trunk, long tail or hard shell that have helped them evolve

Javornik suggested young people in the Rotary audience might have good ideas.

She was right. One girl suggested animals could ‘shape-shift’ to change their identifies against predators.

Another child suggested a simple, effective idea. “When objects or predators block the animals, you could have buttons on screen help save them, but you have to hit the right button based on what you know about the animal.”

With a collective, ‘Ohhh” from the audience, it would seem these types of educational games already have interested fans.

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch it here:

August 10: At the 50-Year Mark, the Dane County Farmers’ Market is Still Going Strong!

–submitted by Sharyn Alden

During the August 10 Rotary meeting, Market Manager Jamie Bugel provided an interesting history and updates about the iconic market on the Capitol Square.

When Jamie Bugel talked about the ‘Dane County Farmers’ Market, a fixture on the Capitol Square since 1972, she knew her stats.

“Fifty years ago the market started with 11 farmers, but by the next weekend 85 farmers showed up,” she said.

It didn’t take long for one of Madison’s best-kept secrets to start growing exponentially. Bugel pointed out last week there’s a major difference in how and where vendors are located on the Square compared to when the market first opened.

In its early years, vendors just showed up and took the best spots around the Square they could find. “Sometimes they would arrive at 4 in the morning and sleep on the Square to save a spot and secure the best foot traffic.”

Since 1991, though, that method of ‘finders keepers’ went away. The model since the early 90s the location is based on how many years a vendor has been part of the market.

Bugel said there are currently 230 members (farmers/vendors) of the Dane County Farmers’ Market, yet her staff is “just two and a half’ associates. On an average Saturday on the Square there are about 100 vendors offering products.”  When asked how a business can become a Farmers’ Market vendor she said, “You don’t have to milk the cows that supply milk for your cheese, but you do have to be the owner of the business you represent, and you must be active in the production of the food or goods you sell.”

As the number of vendors has grown, today’s Dane County Farmer’s Market is a unique repository of food and other products that are grown and made locally. Sometimes they are new to shoppers on the Square.

Bugel gave an example of some of the market’s unusual products. “Black currants, which are more common in Europe are now one of the products you might find when you’re at the market,” she said.

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watched it here:

Laura Peck Receives 2022 Rotary Club of Madison Community Service Award

–presented by Joyce Bromley on August 10, 2022

Laura Peck pictured here with Club President Paul Hoffmann

Each year, our club recognizes up to six members for their service to our Club in one of Rotary’s five avenues of service.  This is the third week we have recognized members of our Club for their service.   Oscar Mireles received the Youth Service award, and Lynne Sexten our Club’s Service award.  Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the Rotary Club of Madison 2022 Community Service Award recipient.

Laura Peck, a partner with Axley Brynelson Law Firm has been a member of our Rotary Club since 2002.  She has served in a number of roles in our club over the past 20 years, including on our club’s board of directors and as president of our Madison Rotary Foundation. 

Today, Laura is being recognized for her extensive service on our Scholarship Committee for the past six years, including Chair of that committee for the past three years. 

The commitment to the Scholarship Committee is intense for 3-months in the spring that includes meetings with high school counselors, reviewing student applications, conducting 2 full days of interviews, preparing the annual presentation of the scholars to our club, and many follow-up arrangements with scholars.  And…she has served as a mentor to several Rotary scholars.

She is truly dedicated to her role and committed to helping all of our scholars succeed.  Her dedication has made a big difference in the lives of many scholars over the past six years. 

This year, Laura is using her Scholarship Committee experience to Chair an ad-hoc committee to evaluate the overall scholarship committee process.

For Laura’s outstanding service, our club’s board of directors has named Laura Peck as one of our 2022 Rotary Club of Madison Community Service Award recipients.  The Club has made a $200 gift in her name to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

Congratulations, Laura, and thank you for your “service above self.”

August 3: Dr. James Skibo, WI State Archaeologist, Describes Humbling & Thrilling Discovery, Recovery, and Preservation of 1200 Year-Old Mendota Dugout Canoe

–submitted by Sharyn Alden

James Skibo, PhD. Wisconsin State Archaeologist at the Wisconsin Historical Society, easily mesmerized Rotarians at the August 3 meeting. He described the amazing find in Madison’s Lake Mendota waters, the now world-famous “Mendota Dugout Canoe” discovered underwater last year.

The canoe has been selected as one of the top ten archaeological discoveries in the world in 2021. The largest and oldest boat ever sailed in Wisconsin waters attracted media attention from around the world.

The canoe was found buried in a slope in 27 feet of water about 200 yards offshore near Shorewood Hills.

Tammy Thomson, marine archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society who dives year-round, found the canoe during a pleasure dive. She first thought the 15-foot long dugout canoe looked like a buried stick. During Skibo’s program he showed an underwater photo of Thomson recording the find on her underwater notebook.

The 15 foot-long canoe probably carried two people along with a catch of fish, Fishing artifacts –‘net sinkers’ were found in the boat. Skibo said it likely took hundreds of hours to carve the canoe from the hard wood of a white oak tree. After discovery, the team had only about six weeks before winter set in to figure out to carefully extract the canoe from its resting place. Members of local tribes including the Ho-Chunk Nation, were among those consulted.


On a cold day last November, it took about four hours to bring the intact canoe to shore.

“There were about 100 people on shore clapping and cheering,” said Skibo.”It was a humbling, thrilling experience.”

The canoe will be undergoing preservation efforts in the next two years before eventually going on display.

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch the video here:

Lynne Sexten Receives Club Service Award – August 3, 2022

–presented by Charles McLimans

I serve on the Member Recognition Committee and am pleased to introduce a member who is receiving a 2022 Rotary Club of Madison Club Service Award.  This recognition is part of our Five Avenues of Service Awards Program which recognizes members for their efforts on behalf of our Rotary club in one of the five avenues of service which are club, community, international, vocational and youth.

Lynne Sexten joined our Rotary Club in 2013 and has been President and CEO of Agrace HospiceCare since 2012.

Lynne served on our club board of directors for a two-year term ending last June 30.  Immediately following her term on our board, she stepped into the role of chairing our Ad-hoc Governance Committee. She spent countless hours, pulling together materials and leading meetings for this group. I was part of the group and saw her leadership skills firsthand.  The end result of this group’s meetings was the development of a succession plan for club president, creation of a conflicts of interest policy and disclosure of conflicts for our board, the creation of a board expectations document as well as the restructuring of our Governance Committee. We are indebted to Lynne Sexten who led the group through this lengthy process over the past year. 

For her dedicated service to help strengthen our Rotary Club, we are presenting Lynne with our 2022 Rotary Club of Madison Club Service Award.  The Club has made a $200 gift in Lynne’s name to The Rotary International Foundation as part of this recognition.

Congratulations, Lynne!

July 27 Rotary Speaker: Gary Maier – Meaning of Major Mounds at Lake Mendota

–submitted by Valerie Renk

Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Gary Maier worked 31 years at Lake Mendota Health Institute, becoming familiar with the effigy mounds there.  Mounds and effigies (mounds shaped as animals) were created in our area at the highest rate by the Ho-Chunk between 750-1250 AD.  Golfers and the mental health community seem to be protecting them, as there are major groupings at Blackhawk County Club and Mendota. 

There were hundreds of mounds in this area.  Fortunately, many were documented; unfortunately many were grave robbed. 

Our Rotary Club is working with Maier to plan a respectful future visit to the Institute’s mounds. If you’d like to be added to the list for a tour, contact the Rotary office at 608-255-9164 or

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: