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!

All Work and No Play…

Wandering around campus during our lunch break

I’ll admit this week went by rather slowly compared to last week but it did feel good to not have to pack a bag for another trip. The week was spent working on readings and honing the focus of my research for this summer. Currently, I am reading about issues pertaining to intellectual property and tribal data protection, which is right up my alley! I am definitely excited to look into this since it applies to what I want to do in the future so well.

I didn’t take the time to mention a lot of the fun stuff I did in my last post, so I wanted to share those as well. The weekend was well spent, going to the movies on Saturday and hanging out at a food truck festival on Sunday. The best part though was that we stopped at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for the Hearts of our People: Native Women Artists exhibit. Free for Native audiences and curated by Native peoples, it was everything I could have wished for and more. When possible, the artist statements were translated to their language and their voices could be heard everywhere you walked. A particular favorite of mine was a reading of one of Joy Harjo’s poems. The recording of her was so much more special, especially after the news of her being named the U.S Poet Laureate. I’ll definitely admit to being on the verge of crying, both because of the themes presented in the exhibit but also because it was beautiful to see so many Indigenous women’s work in one place. Resiliency is in our blood and this exhibit was another reminder of that.

Another personal favorite of mine, the title was both in Navajo for the artist and in Ojibwe because the weaving is a depiction of Lake Superior

Working at home

After the weekly video chat I have been doing work at home (bad weather) and trying to hash out my ideas on how to make my project better. We our planning on going to the field again on Monday and Tuesday, after those two days the cemetery collection of data should be done. The interpretation of the data is next and one of the most important aspects of understanding GPR. My partner jessica is gonna go over it with me again and I also have some books that will help me to better understand. Next week we our also volunteering at the annual powwow to help at a children education booth and should be lots of fun.

Week 3

Weather was poor Monday, but it gave me some time to look into research methods and devise one that would work well with my questions and our study area. Luckily Tuesday was nice and so we could get out into Kickinghorse and finally start working on my research methods. Most of the day was still designated to figuring out which method would work best but I think we finally got it hammered out. Established four focal survey plots and did focal surveys for each. Did not get a whole lot of activity though, hoping for more next week. Wednesday was another lab day/ catch up, had to revise my methods section of my paper. Thursday was gloomy and rainy so again couldn’t get out into the field. With all the lack of excitement this week I’m glad I’m going to Seeley Lake, MT tomorrow for a music festival, and to do a bunch of kayaking and hiking hopefully (weather permitting).

One of the sample sites we’ll be monitoring for bumble bees. (Lupinus sericeus)
An osprey munchin on a delicious bass.

Week Three

We got the ball rolling this week because we were finally able to make it our site to collect data. On Monday it was a good day got three grids done but roasted a little. On Tuesday we went a little earlier and got another three grids done but left before the heat of the day hit. I am finding that its a little harder than it looked but easier than I thought it would be. This is my first BLOG ever.

Week 3 Getting down to business

This week we started off by setting up the grids Carl will need and getting him trained on how to run the GSSI unit. Monday saw us having 3 grids where we were collecting data, tried to do a 4th grid but the units battery died on us half way through the scans. Found out once I got home that I got sun burnt on one side of my body to include a portion of my face. Tuesday saw 3 more grids done taking us to having half the cemetery mapped. Called it early because the sun was starting to get strong and we were feeling it on our burns. Carl also took a shot at setting up the system to run the scans. This coming Thursday is the meeting with the tribal council to get permission to start my project. Excited!!!

Me not dropping 300 dollars into the water

Putting my core sample in the bin, the triumphant moment after my third try (as Alex probably breathes a sigh of relief that I didn’t drop expensive equipment)

This week has been an equally busy and exhausting week, with Monday being the equally calm and boring eye of the storm. Trainings and readings took up my day before a BBQ at one of our mentors place where we met everyone on the project. Then it was time to pack up before we left at 7:00 in the morning for 3 days of field work. It was a four hour drive to the Lac du Flambeau reservation in Wisconsin, a solid two and a half hour drive from my home (so close, yet so far away). The first day we went straight to a site where I was able to watch the coring process and then begin learning about the different samples we would take and how to use the different methods. The next day we held a workshop at the same site for tribal members and I was able to actually get a core sample. Thursday, instead of coring, the other interns and I utilized our newfound skills in setting up and taking the samples from the cores. The days were long, but the good company and the intro to field work really made them fun.

For the sake of bees.

This is a clear-cut area up Bolder with a beautiful view of huckleberries and if it weren’t for the rain there would have been more Bumble bees out. Monday I have experienced the only draw back of this internship, no bug spray allowed. It was a little difficult to concentrate being a walking mosquito buffet but I was able to catch a bee and one very convincing mimic fly. By the end of the day we photographed and cataloged a number of bees, I said hello to a snowshoe rabbit, was bitten 41 times by mosquitos, and still tick free.

Rainy day in the valley.

It raining most of the week so we were stuck inside working on our projects. I must admit that I became a bit obsessed with collecting data and crunching numbers to really put much time in writing my deliverables for the week. One of my goals this next week is to manage my time better. It is hard to function throughout the day when you stay up to the early morning working on your project. This next week I will be finish gathering the historical data of the huckleberry phenology of the Mission valley and schedule more time for my report.

Goose winter 2018 enjoying the sun shine.

Unfortunately, there was no fun stuff this week for me. Goose is 12 years old and was having a bad week. We spent some extra time cuddling and hanging out. She was spoiled with a nice chicken and rice home cooked dinner to go along with her new medication. It is sad that they are only here for a short amount of time but she will live like a Queen as long as she is here.

Beyond the Rhizons: Week 2

This week the Zaaga’igan team and I have become familiar with some methods and processes in the lab and have solidified our research questions. I will be focusing on how sulfates and iron affect algal blooms in water in which manoomin (wild rice) grows. To measure the chemical composition of the water, we take water samples using devices called peepers and rhizons. Peepers are plastic chambers that have 4 wells that capture water through filter paper. 3 of the wells are placed in the sediment and 1 is in the surface water of the experimental tanks at the research farm. Rhizons are similar to straws in that they suck up pore water (water in between sediment grains) into vacuumed glass bottles which create negative pressure.

This week this member of the columbidae family has caused a lot of controversy and has split the team up. Matt thinks this is an albino pigeon but I argue that it is a released white dove which is a rock pigeon bred to be leucistic. There is a big difference obviously. Are you on team Tori or Matt??

For fun this week the lab went to a trendy taco arcade, had a bonfire with many dogs, and played trivia at Pizza Luce! It was a lot of fun and a great way to end the week!

This week has been a little tough for me personally. After almost a decade of chronic kidney failure, my dad received a call from Mayo Clinic on Sunday saying that they were offering him a kidney from someone who recently passed in New York. They had to operate the next day. I was nervous all of Monday morning and afternoon but got news that his surgery was successful and the kidney began functioning after a few hours. It felt like things were finally changing. I told my dad that I felt good about about everything as my intuition is usually right. But the risk of rejection is still high.

Yesterday I got a call from Mayo that my dad had internal bleeding, he was in pain, and his kidney stopped functioning. They did an emergency operation which was successful in removing the hematoma. Today his kidney began functioning again… I really hope that he doesn’t lose his second chance. I’m still optimistic about it but it will continue to be on my mind for the next couple weeks during his recovery.

Week 1

Glacier was a great success! Orientation and meeting new acquaintances could not have gone better. While I must admit attending classroom seminars in such a pristine wilderness was a little difficult stay seated, I can confess I did learn a lot of great information about what SLAWR represents, goal setting, and grizzly bears. Although the park is only right down the road from me, I had never spent so much quality time there with such great company, the early morning fishing trips were the highlight of my week, especially the one to Rocky Point, which was probably the most beautiful fishing hole I have ever been to. I was presently surprised by the friendliness and great character of the Minnesota teams, and look forward to seeing them again soon.Friday marked SLAW’s first official day in the field. The sites we went to were so picturesque it didn’t feel like we were working. Throughout the day we completed focal surveys, bee captures, plant phenology monitoring, and a rapid site assessments. I’m looking forward to start working on my own research questions next week

Unknown Bombus species

One eyed sphinx moth Smerinthus cerisyi

Week 2, Getting down to business

This week I figured out what my research topic is going to be and went out to one of the sites to see what all needed to be done. Got to the Frenchtown site on Sunday and it was over grown with lots of gopher holes everywhere. Tony and I both tripped because of them. We then started taking measurements and realized we were going to have to do it all over again when we got everything cleared. Also found out that the map we had only went half way through the cemetery and so we spent some time figuring out what went where and free hand drawing it in. Monday we went back to the site with Tony’s lawnmower and while he mowed we checked ahead for hidden foot stones. Tony got his mower stuck in a gopher hole and we had to push him out. He finished mowing just before the rain hit. Tuesday I started my paper and I am currently over 1300 words in just on the history of ground penetrating radar, site description, and methods. I know its a work in progress and will be revised again and again but its good to get a jump on everything. Going forward I guess my next goal is getting permission from the tribal council to do my research on the Flathead Indian Reservation (FIR) and help Carl get his grid set up and data collecting started.

2019 REU at Glacier, Week 1

So to start this blog…. The 2019 REU orientation was different from the one I attended back in 2016 and I am happy it was held in my favorite park, Glacier. Monday of the orientation was a little rough as we sat in a classroom most of the day, I am an outdoor girl so I find classrooms stifling to say the least. For me, it was pretty much a repeat from what I can remember so I rather not linger on that part. I really enjoyed the talk held by Tabitha Graves from the USGS on the grizzly bear, that is one of my favorite animals to study. Some of what she said I had learned about in my Ecology class. The little classes held by the Glacier Institute there was okay, they just seemed pretty much geared to a younger crowd though, not really something for non traditional students in college, more like K-12. One thing that bothered me was the fact that when the Glacier Institute instructors did the walks, they would get so far ahead that I was constantly left behind, but I really appreciated my fellow interns who stayed behind to walked with me, and I made sure I had my bear spray on my hip everywhere I went. Two of the days in the early morning hours a group of us went exploring the park before classes and some of my photos will reflect this as they were taken in the light of dawn. On the last day I drove another intern over to the Saint Marys side of the park to see the contrasting beauty of the park from east to west, as well as the disappearing glaciers. This is something that hit home as I was a Geology major before moving to Montana and he is a current Geology major. So for this post only I will load y’all down with pictures of the orientation week. Photography is my hobby so enjoy.

New Beginnings at Glacier National Park

Us at the park entrance.

The REU on Sustainable Land and Water Resources five teams met at the Glacier Institute Campground located in beautiful Glacier National Park. The educational classes were very interesting and the hands on plant identification was important for the huckleberry internship I am a part of this summer. The teambuilding games, bonfire, and outings were fun and allowed us to get to know each other. I enjoyed meeting so many people who are passionate about science. Continuing on into this summer I am looking forward to gaining the hands on experience of the scientific process.

Heading up with Rustin through the Bear grass.

The Friday after camping in Glacier I headed out to the hills for collecting bees and preformed surveys. I had a wonderful time climbing around the Huckleberries and Bear Grass. I only fell twice which is considerably less than I had expected. At the first survey cite there was few Bubble bees and even fewer at the second survey cite. Unfortunately I didn’t find Bubble bees to catch. Luckily Rustin is very skilled at seeing and collecting them, he even caught one from out of the air. I am enjoying a really nice relaxing weekend and am looking forward to more adventures next week.        

Survey site overlooking Flathead lake.

Pages and Pages of Research

After arriving in Duluth around 12:30 am, we quickly set up our rooms and went to sleep. The next morning, we had a great breakfast at Duluth Grill with Diana and Dean before exploring the UMD campus. We then met briefly with Sophie (one of our mentors) and talked some logistics about the Summer. She gave us 7 articles to read about the effects of Sulfates and Sulfides on the Wild Rice populations in Minnesota. Since then, we have done a LOT of shopping for groceries and kitchen supplies and a bunch of reading about these plants in order to gain a background understanding about what our goal is here this Summer.

Gage brushing up on the literature about the precipitation of FeS on roots of Wild Rice.

Hello, Goodbye Montana

It’s amazing to think that just a week ago I was in Okoboji Iowa where I spent a month getting to know new people and building stronger connections with many familiar faces. I had an amazing time there, on the “Iowa Great Lakes”, but I remember thinking about and feeling how comfortable I was. Few times in my life have I left Iowa, a banal locus of comfort and contentment. I was excited to travel over 1,000 miles to a unfamiliar land of bears, cougars, and mountain goats!

I was greeted at the airport with this sign. Looking out the window, I saw the mountains in the distance like a old movie set. I excitedly took pictures not knowing how beautiful the park was going to be.
This is the first group photo we took entering the park. We didn’t know each other’s names yet. I was also having an allergy attack, a nose bleed, and has half deaf from the plane :D.

Evening field trip to Goat’s Lick. There were beautiful views and got to watch mountain goats with their kids climb the rocky terrain.

Waking up early to go fishing with new friends! This was the first time I have fished since I was in elementary school.
The end of our trip. After spending a week with each other we began to understand why each of us are here, our unique qualities, and formed inside jokes. There is a huge difference between the picture we took in front of this sign at the beginning and end of the week! (Check out the park ranger in the back ready to shoo us off).

I had amazing time experiencing the beauty of the park and getting to know everybody! We are all from different places and have different backgrounds, but we are all here for a reason and have more in common than not. I really appreciated this introduction to the next couple of months! I am excited for everything to come. I can’t wait to be reunited with everyone again!

Some Duluth Culture

Since we haven’t gotten into the full swing of conducting research yet, I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with Duluth and some of its art. While waiting for a local performance of the play “Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney to start, I walked down the Duluth Lakewalk and admired some of the artwork in the sculpture garden. The one in the picture above is called “Arising,” It was commissioned to help address violence that was happening in the area. The sculpture represents how it takes an entire community to work together in order create peace. I think the message of this sculpture can be applied to our work as well. Sustainability of land and water resources isn’t something that one person can accomplish, it will take all of us working together and I look forward to being a part of the community that addresses those sustainability issues.

Mountains and Planes and Bears, Oh My!


Group photo up at Avalanche Lake, like no big deal, we just hiked up to a really cool place in an hour or so.

This week has been an adventure, first going from Wisconsin, then a night in Minneapolis, and then a couple days in Montana and now back in Minneapolis. I felt like a giant pinball going back and forth. I hardly know what to say about this week. My phone has about a 100 more photos and I have about a 100 more ideas stuffed into my head. Being a tourist was nice but finally getting started on what I’ll be doing this summer is also nice. Actually that’s a lie, I finally got to go to Glacier National Park.

In general, this was a great introduction to kick off the rest of my summer in Minneapolis now. Next on deck, is further introductions to mentors and the project as well getting ready for field work next week.

Paddle boarding on Lake McDonald with new friends

AVS= Success

Today, we did Acid Volatile Sulfide for sediment samples from Big Rice Lake (2), Twin Lakes and Sand River! This is Josh’s setup- adapted from previous SOPs. When all four stations are going, all the beakers are bubbling, and it looks like we are doing some mad science. We haven’t analyzed the data yet, but it’s looking like our method works and our prep yesterday paid off! Stay tuned for our results!


I Had a Visitor!

My dad came to visit me for the weekend. I took him to many of the places I had been over the past couple months- Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, the National Bison Range, Glacier National Park, Missoula, and Polson. He also was able to spend some time meeting my advisors and seeing what I have been doing for the past couple of months. I think the thing he was most excited about was seeing a bear in the wild, an event which he had a much more positive reaction to than I did.

Team Stream Update <3

Last week, Team Stream went out and collected another round of sediment and water samples for analysis, as well as downloading surface and groundwater data from our instruments. This week is all about running as many of my analyses as possible so I have some good data for my paper and poster. Unfortunately, we’ve had a few snaffus with instruments, so tomorrow is going to be a long day running AVS, sediment iron extractions, and hopefully, cations! The next day should be anions and phosphate for our new samples, and then hopefully, if we have time, head to the other campus and gas chromatography to get aqueous sulfide in porewater samples. All these values are super helpful to build a story about why wild rice is so sparse on Big Rice Lake, so the more I have, the better!

Enjoy some pretty pics from the last few weeks- getting excited to finish up stuff and see everyone here in the cities next week! Good luck with the final push, everyone!

another week, another visit to Glacier

I’ve been steadily finishing my work this week and I’m feeling very prepared and excited to come to Minneapolis next week. I was very happy to leave my power point and excel spreadsheets at home yesterday and join Rachel and her dad at Glacier for a couple new hikes. In the first photo you can see that Rachel joined a small herd of Big-horned sheep. We tried to scare them off but they wouldn’t budge, so they joined us for a good portion of our hike along the Highline Trail!!

Testing the GC!

Today was testing the gas chromatography method to determine concentration of sulfide in water samples from our lakes!

So far, we are having some trouble with water vapor messing with the coils- so next time, we are going to increase the column temperature!

Hopefully, we’ll get our method to work well and get some values before the end of the summer, so we can start figuring out where the sulfide/sulfate is in our water system!

Helping at Journey Garden

These past days we have been helping Erika in the Journey Garden at Fond du Lac. It has been really nice spending time with her harvesting fruits, vegetables and herbs. We also help her with weeding. It’s incredible how been under the sun and ripping that weed out feels good, its relaxing.


More new adventures!

I got visit ZhaaZhaa’s hometown in Marble and met some of her family which was super exciting. I also met her dog Nala! (all of them were really nice and cute) Team Stream went to Gooseberry Falls which was absolutely stunning, we met up LeAnn, Bruce, and Myrna and went to the sandy lake memorial the next day, and we ended our trip with a poster presentation.