Kelly O’Ferrell

Kelly O'Ferrell, Hasler Lab CoordinatorCenter for Limnology
Hasler Lab Coordinator
608-262-3014 (phone)
608-265-2340 (fax)

As the Center Administrator, I provide administrative support to the director, faculty, staff and students at the Hasler Lab.

I’m often asked about my accent – I was born and raised in Greensboro, NC.  For the last 30 years, I have lived away from NC – TN, AZ, KY, CA and now WI.  Fortunately a southern accent is not something one can leave behind.

While in CA I received an Associates Degree from Bergin University of Canine Studies and learned to train dogs to be service dogs and teach people with physical disabilities to care for them and use their skills (retrieving, turning lights on/off, picking up dropped items, tugging zippers, opening doors, pulling laundry baskets – and so much more).  From CA I returned to NC for a short while (for lots of fishing from the lake behind our house, off the Long Beach Pier or in the sound for trout with daddy) before coming to WI to work as Program Director at the Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs (WAGS)

I started with UW-Madison in Human Resources in 2008 and joined the Limnology staff in 2014; learning about our lakes, rivers, streams and bogs. I enjoy letting my friends and family know about the amazing research that’s happening here at the CFL.

I grew up with a lake behind the house that my grandfather and his brother Jesse built; catching brim (called blue gill in WI), shell cracker and large and small mouth bass. I even caught a nice size catfish one Mother’s Day afternoon.  Yes, that’s me with Grandma holding that catfish with a paper towel.

We’ve also done our own version of electro fishing – when someone would shoot at a water moccasin in the water and the fish would JUMP out of the water.


I fished many wonderful days with my father at the lake and at the beach (Long Beach, NC) from the pier, from his little boat in the inland waterway, setting out a net at the point before sunrise or casting a net to catch our bait – shrimp.  He taught me how to tie spot rigs (one of the many fish we caught) so I’d be ready to re-string when the line broke from fishing for trout.  And, we ate LOTS of great meaty trout that we’d caught, cleaned and filleted.  Here’s my partner, Kathy Casper (pictured to the left) with a “puffer” fish.  Daddy scratched its stomach and it puffed right up for her.  Made us all smile.

I told my Aunt Carol (pictured to the right), daddy’s sister, about the “fish sticks” I read about on the website.  Little did we know that daddy was doing researched lake maintenance so many years ago when he’d tossed out a cedar in the lake.  Daddy passed away before I started working here, and Carol in 2018.  She enjoyed getting mail from me about lakes.  We never ceased to be amazed at all that’s going on in a lake and the research about lakes.

Mama and my sister, Kim, as you can see from the picture to the left, aren’t big fans of fishing – but they both love to eat them!  One thing we all like to do, fortunately, is READ.  Even on the pier, we’d have books within reach.

Other members of my family have been fishing fans – like Thomas T.  He was a big ‘ol outdoors cat that loved fishing with daddy from the boat or from shore. Now Thomas T, he’d start at the head and crunch his way to the tail.  Daddy and Carol – they liked to start with the fried crunchy fish tail.