2021 Communication and Team Facilitation Intern Yusuf Khairulhuda creates a 2021 All-Team Story Map

Yusuf Khairulhuda, a University of Minnesota student majoring in Product Design/User Experience was an IonE Sustainability Intern for the 2021 REU on Sustainable Land and Water Resources. Besides his work providing our participants with a great experience this summer, Yusuf created this story map about the REU SLAWR 2021.

REU SLAWR 2021 created by Yusuf Khairulhuda

Yusuf giving kudos to Michelle and Jackie on their poster at the All-Team Symposium.

Team Zaaga’igan Job Shadowing at Fond Du Lac DNR

For the past two weeks my partner Jackie and I have been doing job shadowing at FDL natural resources dept. We did a variety of activities which included hunting for invasive snails, aquatic vegetation surveys, electro shock fishing, visiting a local abandoned wolf den, and also visiting their manoomin lakes. It is very inspiring how the tribe uses their tribal sovereignty to the fullest extent by creating their own water quality standards, caring for not only their lands but also their treaty territories in the area. We got to hear the stories from many of the FDL staff and why they’re invested in caring for the land. This experienced has peaked both of our interests in working for tribal DNR in the future.

Manoomin lake on the Fond Du Lac reservation

Team Zaaga’igan: Peeper Week!


Peeper extraction setup: white sanitary table covering, blue pH meter up front, deionized water containers, Kimwipes and gloves for sanitation, prepared vials with blue labels, nitrogen filled vacuum bag at back, data sheets, red needle tip disposal bin, and secured black nitrogen tank with a tube running to the bag. Photo at University of Minnesota Duluth Research & Field Studies Center.

Last week’s post described what peepers are used for and what this week will involve. After a team meeting Monday, we decided we were ready to start that morning! We decided to finish five peepers that day, which would mean getting pore water samples into about 80 vials for various measurements; each peeper needs about 16 vials: pH, Iron, and sulfide/sulfate vials for each of the four peeper wells, two composite vials, and two for surface water measurements. The pH is measured immediately and the rest are analyzed at the lab.

Before getting a peeper for sample collection, we began by pipetting the appropriate proportions of acids and reagents into the vials so everything would be ready for the pore water samples. It is important to do everything we can in advance, since this is a time-sensitive process and the pore water samples can be contaminated by the higher concentration of oxygen in the air. We weigh the vials before and after adding sample.

The process of getting pore water from a peeper involves multiple moving parts. Samples are drawn into a syringe in a low-oxygen environment created using a vacuum bag (typically used for storing linens in a smaller space) and stream of nitrogen gas. We start with the most reduced well, number four, that was deepest in the water-saturated ground and work up to the first well. This is because the wells will be more exposed to oxygen closer to the surface and we do not want to risk any contamination. We put appropriate measurements of sample into each prepared vial for separate peeper wells, test the pH, gather surface water samples, and make the composite samples. To do this efficiently we had about five people with their own task to speed the process along.

After each day of sample gathering, the completed samples are analyzed at the lab. Michelle and I helped measure the absorbance of sulfide and Iron on the spectrophotometer. This is done using a tall cuvette that we zero with deionized water then fill with sample and quickly get the absorbance back as a decimal.

Spectrophotometer in Nathan Johnson’s research lab in Voss Kovach Hall at The University of Minnesota Duluth: absorbance measured for sulfide from one of the individual peeper well sample vials. Cuvette used seen centered between the spectrophotometer, vials, and data pages.

The life of a virtual REU student

Zanti Rains

My project is on the erosion of the wetlands at Finley Point on Flathead Lake in Montana. It involves Kerr Dam, which is causing the majority of the erosion, and it involves a request by a community member to build a dock right through Finley Point. This summer, I am researching the issues going on at Finley Point all behind my computer.

Being a virtual undergraduate researcher consists of long hours of studying scientific papers and articles and taking organized notes. It also consists of Zoom and learning programs like StoryMaps and GIS Mapping. My mentor, Peter Gillard, is the GIS program manager with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He has been a big help in getting started and finding resources. I’ve learned a ton about my project and programs to tell the story I’m learning, and I’ve had a lot of fun doing so. Although I’ve been enjoying my research, it has been a challenge taking on this project remotely and I’ve had a hard time finding my voice.

Recently, I realized my purpose and I feel back on track. This summer, I will act as a translator from a plethora of scientific research and history to the community. I understand now that in the field of science, community outreach is needed just as much as research itself. If no one knows that wetlands are important and they’re being degraded, how can we expect policymakers and community members to take action? To address this issue, the community needs an accessible, thorough, and inspiring story to learn about what is going on and how they can help. That is my purpose this summer: to tell the story of the environmentally and culturally important wetlands at Finley Point to inform and inspire the community.

Team Zaaga’igan: What is a Peeper?


Photo example of a peeper from a team email sent by Nathan Johnson.

To the left is a larger version of the peepers placed in many of the wild rice mesocosms at the University of Minnesota Duluth Research and Field Studies Center. The peepers we will be working with have about four wells (the thin rectangles you see) that take in ground water from different depths. This is done by diffusion: distilled water placed in the peepers is replaced by water from the soil. We can then measure for Metals, Iron, Sulfide, Sulfate, and pH at different depths in each tank.

This week, with the team, we are prepping for Peeper week, which involves preparing and labeling about 430 bottles that will hold groundwater samples for analysis. Monday morning, we began helping to write out labels for each individual bottle. Later in the week, we helped to pack all the gear for analyzing groundwater from the peepers, including a pH meter, syringes to draw out the samples, nitrogen bags to keep an low-oxygen environment while drawing samples, and many other supplies. The low-oxygen environment is vital to avoid contaminating the groundwater, since there is a higher concentration of oxygen in the air than in the soil. We will be starting the excitement of peeper week this Tuesday or Wednesday after ensuring everything is ready to go.

Photo example of labels to be placed on all of the groundwater sample bottles. Each label lists the project name, mesocosm number, peeper number, peeper well number, the expected date, and what to measure.

Mesocosms at the University of MN Duluth Research & Field Studies Center.

Lab work at Nathan Johnson’s research lab in Voss Kovach Hall at the University of MN Duluth.

Team Stream – Bdote

Measuring seedling growth and survival in a transition plot on June 16th at Crosby Farms.

This week was the first week in the field for Team Stream down at Crosby Farms. We are part of the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) project and are currently monitoring seedling growth and survival rate of trees planted last year. The ASCC project focuses on implementing three tactics to better propose new forest management techniques for the future under a changing climate: resistance, resilience, and transition. Resistance refers to keeping current forest conditions the same but helping the forest defend itself against a warming climate. This entails planting more native vegetation. Resilience refers to creating an “elastic” environment where forests gain the potential of rebounding back from changes. For example, introduce more flood or drought tolerant species. Transition refers to changing the vegetation to promote growth. This also entails introducing more flood or drought tolerant species but from climates slightly warmer than those introduced in the resilience plots.

We are also working on building individual research projects. Cully plans on analyzing water movement through trees and I, Claire, plan on researching the impact of the microtopography on soil moisture and soil organic carbon contents.

Team Zaaga’igan: How our research is going

This week was focused on gathering water samples from mesocosms containing wild rice and varying levels of sulfur and leaf litter for carbon. The goal is to maintain constant levels of these variables in order to study the affects of mining on wild rice. To keep up the levels of sulfur, water samples from each tank are placed in a spectrophotometer to measure the concentration of sulfur. The measured concentration is subtracted from the goal concentration in order to tell how many grams of sulfur to add to the tanks.

Mesocosms at the University of MN Duluth Research & Field Studies Center.

Lab work at Nathan Johnson’s research lab in Voss Kovach Hall at the University of MN Duluth.

First field day for Team SPAW

Our view of Flathead lake from the road

The local Montana team members of SPAW (Rebekah Brassfield, Antawnna Berthelote, and myself, Aspen Jaeger) went out for the first time on Wednesday, June 16th. We were planning on going to a lower elevation site to conduct a bee capture but unfortunately had to change plans when a very large tree decided to take a nap on the road. We instead went to another higher elevation site, where we took a quick inventory of what was flowering. It was a little too chilly to do a bee capture or Antawnna’s salinity research so we spent the time walking along the road talking about the REU and research project ideas for myself. The drive there and back was beautiful and I managed to snap this picture on the way back down.

the photos above are from our field site

Chris in the Lab

Chris is creating an vacuum chamber for working with oxygen sensitive materials. In reality, he’s holding a Kleenex box. The chamber uses nitrogen to ensure there’s no oxygen in the chamber. Team Stream – manoomin – toured Cara Santelli’s lab in Snyder Hall at the Univ. of Minnesota. Snyder is where Team Stream prepared geo chemistry materials for their first field day on June, 14th 2021.

Progress on Model

Plot and information output from the code.

The model I am working on is built in python and simulates carbon nanotube networks. Previously, you would run them model, save the data to your computer, and put that data into Mathematica in order to plot the points and get the “m value” from plotting the points in a loglog plot. Recently, I was able to add this plot and m value into the python code itself to save some time and the need to run a second program.

Binder Park

There is a small lake just outside of city limits that I went to a couple weeks ago. I drove around and took some pictures but they are to big to be uploaded onto here. People can fish and go boating on the lake. There are camp grounds near the lake, but I’ve never camped there.

New Species!

Making hundreds of slides and going numb after inhaling glue for hours paid off! We were able to uncover many plant axes containing glomeromycotan fungi. Most of my work has been doing literature reviews and making comparison tables, and we believe our material represents a new species. Or if anything, a variation of a species already described. Either way, (new species or not) it is still amazing to recover 400 million year old fungal spores that are less than 100 micrometers. More knowledge on fossil fungi-plant interactions further supports the hypothesis that they evolved together.

Eshlan Cody Henrikson

Holding Red Sea Urchins at Patrick’s Point State Park

Yaghali’du, eshlan Cody Henrikson. Hello, my name is Cody Henrikson and I am of Dena’ina and Sugpiaq descent and an enrolled member of the Ninilchik Village Tribe of the Kenai peninsula in the great land of Alaska. I am a senior undergraduate at Humboldt State University double majoring in Marine Biology and Native American Studies with a focus in Indigenous Food Sovereignty. My passions for the ocean, my traditional foods, and tribe have led me to my professional goal of creating and managing marine aquaculture systems in his home state of Alaska. I hope that in doing so I can provide economic growth and stability, a source of food sovereignty, and research opportunities for my people, community, and all of Alaska. Naqantugheduł, the tide is coming in (good things are happening and you cannot stop it)

New Beginnings!

Jamie Colvin here and ready for this experience. I am so excited to get started this summer with all of the interns and mentors. I absolutely love field work when it comes to conducting research. I believe that is the best part of it all. Pictured is the Haskell Wakarusa Wetlands in Lawrence, KS. I had recently surveyed for important ecological factors that make-up this wetlands at Haskell Indian Nations University for my Aquatic Biology course I enrolled in for the Spring 2020 semester. I was focusing on Typha latifolia or commonly known as Broadleaf cattail. This was just at the beginning of spring, so the cattails were not fully formed just yet as you would normally envision one.

Study Buddy

Here’s a video of me (Tyler) and my buddy (Butter) but we just call her kitty. She was trying to help me out while I open the accessory kit for our GoPros and as you can tell in the video I was a little overwhelmed when opening it up! This video was taken with our GoPros.

Zoom REU

A few months back, it didn’t cross my mind that I’ll be participating in a virtual REU but here we are making the most of it. The students, mentors and my team STREAM all are amazing and I can’t wait for more learning and deepening our friendships.

Hole in the Rock

First week adventures

Week 7

Finished processing the available grids and almost completed my paper. Cool thing is that in the first grid several unmarked graves were found. More will be said on that in my paper and on my poster. Worked on my tiny house some as well. We got the lofts in, the house wrapped, and most of the roof on. Cant wait for the shell to be complete to start working on the inside. This internship is challenging in a way because I have had to learn to balance my family life with what was required of me in my research.

Last sprint to the finish line

On the road to Grand Portage for a MNTEC meeting

The summer has gone by so fast. As it stands, there is one week til my paper is due and two weeks til I head home. Time really flew by and now I just realised how long its been since I posted. So much for a week by week recap lol, but I thought I’d put up some of my pictures (not that I took that many). I went with some of the project leads on a trip up north. We went to Ely then Boise Forte and then Grand Portage. The drive to Grand Portage was the best part because it was all along the North Shore on Lake Superior. Definitely a dejavu moment because of how similar it felt to drives along the Lake Michigan on the way to Petoskey.

I’m sitting in a cafe downtown right now, still working but getting closer to that ideal word count. This Wednesday we were at the Sandy Lake Memorial where Andrea and I canoed across the lake. We also had a preliminary poster presentation with our pals from Duluth and GLIFWC interns. It was good practice on talking about my project. Anyways, it was just a good time with the other interns and I can definitely say that I will miss the friends I have made this summer. So here’s to the next two weeks with these girls.

All of us were stuffed after the vegan food festival

In the Montana Heat

The temperature has been slowly creeping up the thermometer making the field days uncomfortable. Luckily for me my project is just a lot of reading and calculations that I can do inside away from the heat. As it so happens my desk at home is in front of the AC making for a very enjoyable work area. It is has been very interesting reading about the cultural importance of huckleberries to the Native American tribes. For the most part huckleberry harvest was a time for seeing friends and family as they travel to their harvest locations. They would pick during the day and celebrate during the evening. It sounds like a wonderful time.

We joked about us all getting a bumble bee tattoo at the beginning of the internship. As I already had plans for a sleeve and the bee just so happened to fit into my design I took a break to visit a friend. My friend opened a tattoo parlor here in Polson over a year ago and is doing some nice work. it was nice catching up and getting started on my sleeve.

Week 6

The days are going by way to fast! I feel like summer just started and yet we’re already 6 weeks done with the REU. Having too much fun I suppose. It’s been hard to balance a social life with internship work but I have been managing pretty well. The weather is beautiful, and so I have been trying to get out as much as possible considering we only get 10 weeks of summer in Montana, don’t think I’ve even sat on my couch in a week. There are so many people in town on vacation that the night life has been a blast, tons of live music. Saturday night, I saw the best classic rock cover band ever in Bigfork. This weekend Is the blues festival in Hot springs, which I look forward to. Flowering resources have been changing rapidly, right now we are looking at snowberry and spotted knapweed. The results are not what I expected and kind of throws off my hypothesis but that ok, its good information.

Turtle lake by my house
My dog made friends at Flathead Lake

A week at the Lab Part 2

Once again I am writing and writing, it’s a slow process somedays. Today I retrieved the 2018 Huckleberry phenology data and uploaded it into the 2015 to 2018 Huckleberry Phenology. I was able to finish up on the graphs and data sheets for my report. Some of the introduction still needs to filled in. Not much changed still working on everything slowly but surly.

Annual Cherry Festival

My sister and her family made it to Polson for the Cherry Festival Saturday. She doesn’t live that far away but our schedules are too opposite it makes it hard to get together. Then we toured the local Miracle of America museum during live history where we took a ride in a half track and played in a decommissioned helicopter. I really enjoyed spending time with my nephew. Later in the day a friend and I went to a wedding reception of a close friend.

WEEK 5 SPAW-GPR

We were finally able to get all our data collected and started the analysis process. It is a lot of data and is going to take a long time to process. The final two days of collecting data went well but I got a little too much sun and ended up getting sun burnt. My partner Jessica brought her husband and nephew on the final day of collecting data and that made things go way faster. Our original thought was maybe 10 grids and now after its all done, the final count is 20. Next week we our concentrating on analyzing the data.

Peepin’ the Peepers!

This week team Z started at Fond du Lac learning how to use fish as a proxy for water quality. We suited up in waders, equipt with nets, and walked through some thick vegetation to get to our survey sites in Fond du Lac streams. We employed the technique called electroshocking to stun fish, identify and mark their occurrence, and allow them to recover downstream. I noticed that many streams are dominated by one species of fish and usually they are species that are tolerant to many and even poor conditions in streams, generalists. Species like Brook Trout are good indicators of clean, unpolluted waters. We saw some Brook Trout in a couple streams that we surveyed!

Me holding a 10 in Brook Trout in a beautiful stream that we sampled.

The second half of the week was spent in the lab and research farm. We pulled out our peepers this week and had fun extracting the pore water samples. Our experience at the farm caught the attention of local news outlets and we were featured in videos and articles.

At the research farm the day that the media came. I’m extracting water samples using a syringe, poking through a bag filled with nitrogen with the peepers to keep the sample anoxic. Gage is coordinating the sample tubes, Matt is weighing samples and retrieving peepers, and Arianna is taking pH measurements.

Back in the lab we used a spectrophotometer to measure the amount of sulfide and iron in our samples and collected additional data with our samples.

Matt and I using the spectrophotometer.

This coming week we will do data entry and analyze the peeper data!

A week at the lab

Poster time, I must admit that I am a bit intimidated about poster making. I have only made two posters in my student career and although the second poster is considerably better than my first poster I still fear that my third poster will looking like a child created it.

This week was dedicated to lab work, mainly analyzing the historical drought data for the northwest Montana that contains the recorded historical huckleberry patches. Some of the data didn’t download properly, I am not sure if it was something I was doing or what so I ended up taking hours correcting the data. But it all worked out by the end of the day.

First BBQ for the summer.

Luckily, I was able to take a break to cook dinner on the grill and had a relaxing bonfire. Later today I am going to take a break and go watch the Toy Story Movie.

Week 4

Very busy week, little late to write about it, but it was a good week. Had a blast of a weekend camping, hiking and listening to live music. Our hikes included Holland Lake and falls, and then Morrell Falls, all in the Swan Valley. The live music included many local folk, bluegrass and Americana bands, and weather was just right for camping. Then immediately after the weekend I had family come and stay for the week which made it difficult to get anything productive done. The following weekend, my dad, his girlfriend and I went up to glacier, it was their first time and they were amazement the whole time with the beauty of the scenery and wildlife. Couple of good field day, couple of poor weather days this week. For the most part though, temperature is getting hotter, and flowers are loosing and their bloom while others are just getting theirs. Everything is going so fast and changing so rapidly. I learned that this research would be a lot easier and less time consuming if there were more able bodies to help, but for now we are going two at a time into the field because that is the bare minimum needed for this study. Capturing bees is probably the most fun thing, and our record so far is one that was 27 mm, most likely a Bombus Apositus.

St. Mary’s lake
Morrell Falls
Young grizzly on Going-To-The-Sun-Road.

Week 4 and the 4th!

During this short week, I got to help with aspects of Arianna, Gage, and Matt’s projects while I wait to remove the peepers that I need for my data next week. I learned a lot about the methods that my lab partners are using and their cool projects. For instance, sharpie ink and organic matter will vaporize in a nearly 500°C oven!

Helping Gage set up rhizotrons by coating binder clips with Flex Seal ®. Highly recommend. #notsponsored

During the long weekend I worked on some writing including my abstract and SACNAS application. I got to discover a little bit more of the area, watched some movies, and spent some time in nature. Can’t wait for data collection next week!

Rocky beach on Lake Superior!

All is well that ends well.

Top of Boulder.

This week has been another rainy one so there has not been much to do out in the field. We did make it out to the Boulder sites on Monday for focal surveys but the bees must have sensed the upcoming storm and were not out. Rebekah and I heard what sounded like a human screaming. It was a bit unnerving as there was no vehicles in the vicinity. Not sure if there is a wild animal that can make sounds like that. There was several snowshoe hares out today. This one thought it had the drop on me but snapped this shot before he got away.

Snowshoe Hare

The rest of the week was taken up by reading research papers and typing my introduction. I have found scientific writing to be a bit slow, creative writing is more my forte. Thanks to some direction from Tony my report has started to come along. The writing is still slow but at least it now has more direction,

Arlee Powwow

Friday Jessica, Carol, and I spent the day at the Arlee Powwow to volunteer our time for SKC’s stream table. It was a very hot day with lots of people everywhere but it was so much fun watching the kids play in the plastic sand and water. My favorite was watching the kids that just wanted to play and the ones that learned how to change stream currents. All in all I met some really nice people, eat some good food, and had a great time.

Week 4

Arlee Pow-wow 2019 SKC science tent

This week was another week spent fighting the weather but still managed to get some things done. Monday NASA came to our site and did some imaging for us to use in conjunction with our GPR data. Tuesday was bad weather but still went to the site and received some books from Tony to use on my paper. Wednesday as you all know did not go as planned but was still able to get some productive things done. Tony went over our papers and gave us some guidance. Friday was the best day of them all because it was spent at the pow-wow volunteering for the science tent watching the stream table. At first I was a little nervous but soon was comfortable and able to relax. Also talked to a lot of friends and family I have not seen in a while. This coming week we are hoping to finish up the data collecting and concentrate on the analyzing.

Week 4

Well this week I got a lot of writing done. On Monday went out and met with a guy from NASA who is the Chief Pilot, Autonomous Aerial Systems at the University of Montana, he brought a drone out and did some thermal and RBG scans over the cemetery. He said he would send me the data after he processed it to help with my comparison. Tuesday tried to go back out to do more gpr scans but we had a series of storms roll through so ended up just heading back home and working on my paper. I have not done a lot of analysis yet as I am waiting to have all the data collected but yesterday I did a sneak peak at one of the grids to show Carl what we are looking for. So here is a sneak peak for yall.

The red in the grid are different graves with the darker red being closer to the surface.

Better Late Than Never, Right?

Boozhoo, My name is Brena Mullen. I am an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Tribe in Cloquet, Minnesota. I am going into my senior year at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. I’m majoring in Wildlife Biology and am minoring in Wetlands Ecology. Coming into this internship, I have little to no experience with research and research papers, and very minimal Tribal background knowledge and little knowledge of what is going on. However, I was and am very excited to work with everyone and learn more.

To start off, we went to Glacier National Park in Montana. I was terrified but so excited to go so far away from home. My parents were super excited for me as well, but I could tell that my mom was nervous to let me leave. She gets scared any time I fly or anytime I’m gone for so long that isn’t within driving distance that they could pop in if they needed to. I flew out of Duluth, and on my flight, I was sitting next to this girl who look so professional and had all these documents in front of her (Later found out that this was Arianna!) and I had this feeling that she was also part of the REU but i decided not to say anything, just in case. So we touched down in Minneapolis and I realized that my next flight was pretty much on the other end of the airport. In the boarding zone for the flight to Kalispell, MT is where I met the other interns. It wasn’t the full group, but it was interesting to find out where everyone was coming from and to learn that only two of us were actually from MN. Once we touched down in MT, we met up with Dennis and Jessica. Then we traveled to the Glacier Institute in the Glacier National Park where we stayed for the 4 days. I loved it so much! The views were incredible and we even got to go fishing in the mornings. Arianna was the one to catch a fish, but it was fun to fish in such clear waters and feel the breeze so early in the morning.

My second favorite thing, next to the views was the fires we had at night. We sat around and shared stories, dreams, and played question games to learn more about everyone. I was really surprised by some of the answers because I wasn’t expecting that many people to share the same views as I do on climate change and other important topics.

After we got back to Minneapolis, the rest of my team and I went out to get some supplies from the local target and relax before we all got our big tour of the campuses the next day. After our tour was done, we got to be free for the weekend and went exploring that Saturday. We ended up at a food market not too far away where we bought wild rice bread, and where I bought 4 new books (one of which I finished in under a week – it had 3 books in it). My bank account was definitely not pleased with me. The next day, I spent reading my book and relaxing. That Monday we had a meeting with our mentor, Crystal, and a grad student, Alex. They showed us a little more about Tate, the hall we spend most of our time in and went over more details about our trip the next day.

On Tuesday, we met up before 7 am at Tate so we could head to Lac du Flambeau for fieldwork. We spent 4 days there learning more about our research and learning how to perform the pore water sampling, sediment sampling, and coring.

When we got back on Friday, after 4 grueling days of mosquito bites, I decided to head back home and pick up a few more things that I was unable to pack into my luggage. I took a Jefferson Lines bus back home (pretty cheap for a 2+ hour ride) and spent that Saturday at the enrollee day on the FDL reservation. I got to see some family I hadn’t seen in awhile and see some other members of my family before I drove back on Sunday in the rain. I couldn’t find parking near the campus, but I found a great spot about 22 minutes of a walk. But it was pouring so I was soaked all the way through when I got to the dorm finally.

We then spent the next week analyzing our alkalinity samples and writing some parts of our papers while our mentors were out at conferences.

This week will be short because of Fourth of July, but today we had a couple of recap meetings to go over how everything was going and what the next steps are. Tomorrow is vial prepping and then I’m home bound on Wednesday!

First Week in the Field with Goats and Snails!

Most of the week was spent at Fond du Lac where we got Ojibwe history lessons, an understanding of the contemporary environmental issues that affect the tribe, and got our feet wet in the field helping with invasive species removal!

I learned that over 1000 years ago the brothers and sisters of my Lenni-Lenape ancestors traveled westward to escape the prophesied threat of the white race, preserve heir culture, and to find the place where food grew up out of the water, manoomin. The Anishinaabeg people stopped 7 times to settle over their journey. Their 6th stop was here, on Spirit Island, where they first found manoomin. The people who settled here 100s of years ago are now the Ojibwe and I’m honored to learn about their culture, traditional food, and how they continue to care for their beautiful land.
One of the land management practices that the tribe is experimenting with is to use goats as a means to remove invasive plant species like buckthorn, a tough woody plant that outcompetes native plant species. We got to see the goats do what they do best, EAT EVERYTHING, and learn how these practices are a work in progress and require trial and error.
Another invasive is Chinese mystery snails which have a air tight operculum which prevents desiccation for up to 5 days making them a very robust species and tough species to eradicate. However, the tribe’s goal is not to eradicate the species from their waters, instead they want to achieve balance. Collecting them is the best way to reduce their numbers and impact on these lakes. We ended up collecting about 25 lbs of snails in a couple hours in an area that had been picked through 2 times prior! The impacts of these snails are still not well understood… I guess they live up to their name.

Working in the UMD lab and getting to know Fond du Lac and Natural Resource Management

Gage, me, Matt, and Tori at Jay Cooke State Park where the St. Louis River runs through. Our tour guide, Tom Howes, gave us a historical background of Fond du Lac.

We have been very busy with Sophie Lafond Hudson at the UMD lab working on our individual research projects on wild rice. After working through the material last week, we wrote our first drafts of our papers and began our experiments this week. We installed sediment samplers called peepers at the UMD farm where the wild rice mesocosms are located. We also got to go to Fond du Lac Resource Managment and meet Nancy Schultz who is the Water Protection Coordinator. She gave us a historical background of Fond du Lac and the importance of research. It helped us understand the bigger picture of why we are here. We got to work with Natural Resource Management and their Invasive species team. They are using goats to see how effective they would be on buckthorn which is an invasive plant. There is an aquatic invasive species called Chinese Mystery Snail that we hand picked out of a lake. We picked 25 pounds and Matt took some home to see if he can’t make a snail delicacy meal for us all. We have been having some fun while in Duluth too. We ate sushi (Gages first time and he didn’t like it very much), went to the mall for some shopping and eating, went water tubing down Rum River, and we are currently planning a karaoke night and a night at Black Bear Casino where they have all you can eat crab legs. Our team is awesome together!