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.

Hello Everyone!

This week was the last week of feild work for me, which was a little bittersweet. I am happy that everything is coming together, but I’ll miss hanging out in our beautiful study sites. The photo of the van was from our last day of data collection, where we caught an impressive 48 bees in just one survery period!!

Other than rushing out to get our last bits of data, we jumped into the flathead a couple times, went to see Mama Mia 2, and celebrated my 21st birthday 🙂

Fun Adventures in the City!

On a fun solo mission, I visited the Mill City Museum and Farmer’s market today! I got to enjoy a yummy baked good from a local vendor, after an extra long commute walking from the dorms and getting lost a few times 🙂

I explored the bookstore and found so many good books! I even got two new ones to add to my growing stash at the dorm! On my way out of the museum, I saw a sign for the Falling Water Festival, happening on the other side of the river, across the Stone Arch Bridge!

I enjoyed some incredible performances and had lovely conversations with some of the vendors. A happy accident to stumble upon the poster at the museum, for sure!


Busy week

This past week has been really busy with compiling data, taking and prepping samples at the same time. But this is part of the job and the learning process. For fun this weekend, we went water rafting. I did not fell out of the raft, so I am proud of myself. Did not know I could do it. IMG_8028


Holding it down

White-water rafting on the St. Louis River, FUNDAY-SUNDAY.  You’re probably wondering why I have the blue helmet.  That’s because those are given to the more experienced rafters with the big guns.  I definitely look like I know what I’m doing, even though I fell off the raft.  In the third pic, the blue helmet in the water is me.  We got several pics, but I thought you guys might want to see the gun-show in the first two pics.


Ramsey County Fair

It was really exciting to be able to present my work to the public. The kids were especially intrigued when they saw how a bioreactor works (they saw a sample bioreactor that turned colored water to clear water). Definitely good practice for my next poster presentation! Shout out to Susie and ZhaaZhaa for helping me present!


sunsets and waterfalls

pic 1: the BEAUTIFUL sunset just down the street from campus at Ninepipe wildlife refuge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better sunset!!!

pic 2: the team cooling off with the misty breeze from the water after a sweaty hike up to mission falls. It was so excited to finally hike some trails in the area, and was not disappointed!

Floating Cattail Bog and Rising Water Levels at Ogechie Lake

We made the trip to Ogechie Lake at Kathio State Park to collect water level data from the pressure transducer we installed on June 25th. We were lucky enough to teamed up with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe environmental department and others to make the trek in an 18 ft. long cedar canoe! You can see from the photos there is quite a bit of cattail competition along the perimeter of the stream bank, however we did observe small patches of wild rice beginning to emerge from the surface which you can see are starting to regress into open water in the channel. Unfortunately, a floating cattail bog downstream at Lake Onamia has elevated surface water levels and nearly flooded out our stream gauge. Moreover, the Mille Lacs environmental manager sent us before and after photos of the excavation of the floating cattail bog at the outlet of Lake Onamia. We expect the water levels to recede soon and hope to make another field trip to retrieve our data at Ogechie.

New Project!

Along with my bioreactor project, I will be doing a new project with ZhaaZhaa and Dan. It is very similar to ZhaaZhaa’s, but her project consists of rock from the Duluth Complex while my project focuses on pure pyrrhotite. I am waiting on the SRB to culture so no new information on that except that there is a decrease in sulfate concentration. Hopefully, I will be able to do PCR soon!IMG_1800 2.JPG

New Experiences!

As a group, we did our first presentation at the St. Anthony Falls lab for the One Water summit! This was my first time ever presenting a poster to the public which was super exciting. I am glad to be working with all these wonderful people. We also had our first social on Wednesday, I hope to continue to have these fun little adventures with them.

I am still waiting on the culturing of my bacteria, so to keep me busy I will be working on a new project with ZhaaZhaa and Dan. From my data, we see that there are SRB in the microcosms. Now I am just going to take samples once a week and see if there is a change on a weekly basis.

A Week of MATLAB

I spent Monday through Friday this week at my desk on my computer working on developing a model of huckleberry productivity. It may not sound very fun or exciting, but data is my happy place. Here was my view for the week- a computer screen with MATLAB always open, Zar’s Biostatistical Analysis, a first iteration Menger sponge made out of Tony’s old business cards, and a framed picture of Team SPAW.IMG_1287

Adventures and Lab work!

This week was pretty fun! I found a secret bookstore, hiding in Dinkytown. I graciously relieved them of a few books. Also, Team STREAM presented our preliminary research at the One Water Summit, held at the St. Anthony Falls Lab in Minneapolis on Tuesday. The second picture is Diana telling the crowd a little bit about our program, and there’s a great picture of us in front of our poster on LeAnn’s post!

On Wednesday, some of us went out for game night at a local brewery. So far, we’ve been schooled in “Egyptian Rat-Screw”, “B-S”, and the Panda game is still a crowd fave. I’m not sure what the next social event will be, but this was certainly one for the books! On my way to the bus stop a few days later, I saw Sally the Gopher, outside a bar and had to snap a pic, along with the pollinators’ paradises: the mural above Starbucks and the “M” on the St. Paul campus.

Finally, this week was my first two days in the chemistry lab, getting to be a master-pippetter so that I can start processing some field samples from Big Rice Lake (and hopefully others). The styro-foam tray is the one of the fruits of my labor. These little cuvettes go into a UV-Vis to test for phosphate levels in some 2017 field samples. Though I’m not looking specifically at phosphate, I was relieved that we got some reasonable readings off these little guys that someone else will be able to use. Now I’m excited to see what next week brings!

I’ve been continuing my fieldwork throughout the week — collecting and weighing berries — along with our bee and flower fieldwork. I also tried rhubarb for the first time straight from Tony’s garden, which an…interesting flavor.

A busy week of field work for the bee team! On Monday Sarah, Janene and I made some cute horse friends while looking for focal plants, and yesterday we got this killer view while doing one of our bee surveys.

I can’t help but fall in love with these lovely Montana mountains!!

Visit to Fond du Lac

The visit to Fond du Lac’s Resource Management Office from Monday to Wednesday was extraordinary. We went stream fish electroshocking!!! It was hard work specially cause we used wetsuits. Fell like 10 times, got my feet stuck between rocks and got stuck again in mud hahaha. They also introduced us to the Air Quality Staff. It is amazing the amount a job they do with so little personnel. Everybody is wonderful, responsible and organized. Can’t wait to go again.20180710_10153920180710_11060720180710_11070120180710_12025620180710_15331220180710_154234

Assembling Pressure Transducers and the One Water Summit

This week we had more practice soldering the pressure transducers which we deployed at Lake Ogechie, Twin Lakes and Big Rice Lake. The experience at the electronics lab with our mentor Patrick was different but also was exciting and great way to learn more about the fast growing field of electronics and technology. The pressure transducers you see here were developed here at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

We also had the chance to present our research project at the One Water summit at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. The summit included a focus on water and several other programs that the University offers to students.


Minneapolis/Oklahoma Shenanigans

This week was pretty eventful! Over last weekend I made a quick trip to Oklahoma to surprise my family for our tribe’s Family Reunion Festival and powwow. I got to go through the newly renovated Cultural Heritage Center, and visit my family’s allotment for the first time. (The owner had the fluffiest dog!!!) I was really excited to go to the Heritage Center and see a whole exhibit devoted to wild rice (or menomen in Potawatomi)! The diorama looks suspiciously like where we did field work last week 🙂

Zhaazhaa, Kim and I also did some Fourth of July celebrating near the Stone Arch bridge (over the Mississippi River). There was a great band, singing songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, so there was plenty of singing along and dancing before the fireworks were set off at 10.

This coming week hopefully has some more local adventures to be had. So far, I’ve found a great little used bookstore to stock up on books, and a new coffee shop to enjoy said books, but I think we are all going to make a little more of our time here and explore the city.  I will be working on processing our sediment and water samples from our field work and get some preliminary results! Anyway, have a good week everyone!


A Berry Successful Week

My team and I collected berries and caught bees like usual this week, but we also had the opportunity to attend a powwow. It was awesome to experience more of the culture in the area. Between running a stream table, buying jewelry, drinking huckleberry lemonade, and eating Indian tacos, we all had a great time. To go along with our eventful week, we also took some time to tan at Flathead Lake.

Meadow the Bumble

If you’re going to catch bees, sometimes you have to get your hands a little dirty. There was an incident this week where a bee that I caught took a little longer to wake up than the others. I was afraid that I was responsible for our first bee fatality. Fortunately, this little girl woke up eventually! We named her Meadow and brought her back to where we found her. My hands are still clean of bee blood.


Great Lakes Aquarium

Today LeAnn and I visit the aquarium and really enjoyed watching the vast diversity of freshwater fish. We saw and touch sturgeons (big fish), horseshoe crabs and jellyfishes. In addition, we encounter ourselves randomly with a mini fair and finally ate at Grandma’s Saloon and Grill. I drank a Huckleberry Mojito and it was really really good.20180707_12064120180707_12353520180707_12361120180707_13063820180707_130932.

Berries & Bees!

My first huckleberries ripened! We had a few days of collection this week. We also saw some bears at Glacier National Park. And as a team, we all decided to change our bitmojis to look like our study subject for this summer (bees).

Camas Bake

This week, Team SPAW was fortunate enough to watch the beginning of a camas bake. Cooking camas bulbs in the ground is a laborious process and the work is done solely by women. We did not get to come back to try the camas, but any food that people are willing to make despite a 48-hour cooking process must be delicious.

Postcard-like views!

Our diverse work sites are absolutely beautiful! The steep dense forests are a bit of a challenge, but the fresh air and natural surroundings are always a sight worth seeing! Some of these photos are also from our mini adventure to Glacier NP. So much wildlife in such a short time!

Getting mud was fun!

We went to Perch Lake and North Bay to collect mud and it was fun. At first the stink and the look of the mud was disgusting (as you can see in my facial expression) but after a while a got the hang of it. End it up covered all in mud hahahaha. I also got in my first canoe too. 20180627_10585020180627_10555820180627_10554220180627_10551920180627_104839

Team Manoomin updates!

This week has been pretty eventful!

We missed seeing everyone on the conference call on Monday, but we were doing cool things! We got to start our field work! On Monday and Tuesday we visited four lakes in Mille Lacs (Lake Ogechie and Swamp Lake) and Ceded territories (Twin Lakes and Big Rice Lake), and took sediment and water samples from the latter (Big Rice Lake). We canoed on Ogechie and almost made it to the shore before we had a little tumble into the lake. Thankfully, we had a life jacket on and had successfully taken off our waders in the boat, in the middle of the lake. We got to see wild rice at both Mille Lacs locations! On Tuesday, we had a little bit more a chill day, taking hardcore naps in the SUV while Crystal (mentor) and Patrick (grad student) canoed and set up the sensors, since we were down a few canoes.

Anyway, we did our first alkalinity tests yesterday on samples from the cores that Crystal and Patrick took from Big Rice Lake off this ridiculously cool airboat from Fond du Lac. (The precarious looking boardwalk was at Twin Lakes, and it was as dicey as it looks). Probably the best part of getting out in the field is finally putting together the pieces from all the studies we have been reading and putting a face to the names and voices of tribal partners, and getting a better idea of what they are looking to get out of our studies.

For funsies, we have been exploring a little- feat.: a castle! (It’s the armory/ROTC building, but I was still excited); a mural of Dinkytown (where we are living on campus); a cherry in a spoon (at the Walker Museum and Sculpture Garden); and finally, a beautiful library (book nerd forever, this is the library across from our lab and has great study vibes).

Signing off for now! –Susie

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Field Work Begins at Lake Ogechie, Twin Lakes and Big Rice Lake

We paddled away in canoes for our first field experience at Lake Ogechie just downstream of Mille Lacs. Here we installed a stream gauge, pressure transducer and piezometer. As of now, the wild rice is in the floating-leaf stage and was found growing with water lilies. Field work is fun, learning experience which gives us an opportunity to prepare for unexpected events.

like being in a sand box :]

We were tasked with placing new sediment into our water tank, which was kind of fun.  The sand had a nice texture and it felt like playing in a sandbox when you were a kid (well not really since it was a small box).  We also took a lot of samples from the previous sediment and learned how to use the spectrometer.  So, research-wise we had a very productive week.

Monday Funday?

Hey y’all! It was great seeing (almost) everyone in the video conference today. Everyone’s project sound so interesting, I can’t wait to see all the awesome posters at the end of the summer!

I’m missing Montana today (a little jelly of team SPAW) so I finally edited most of the pictures I took during orientation. They can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/156487896@N06/7D36i9

Let me know if you have any problems with the link. I’ll be adding more photos as I finish getting through them.

Wishing everyone a fabulous week!IMG_0811


First Week in Twin Cities

This past week has been filled with a lot of background reading, but I am super excited that I will be working on sulfate reducing bacteria. Besides reading, I was also able to make media this week!  Happily, on Friday we decided to have a mini adventure since ZhaaZhaa had a car.

Work and Play (but Mostly Work)

This week I had my first experience with field work in natural areas. It was very different than what I have done before, but who could complain while working in fields full of beautiful wildflowers! I used to run from bees and now I’m spending time catching them. Team SPAW also had the opportunity to go to Missoula and hike to the peak of Mount Jumbo. You get a great view of the city from the L on the mountain.

Garden Rose

Before coming to Minnesota I already wanted to go to the Garden Rose in Duluth. Today we found it and it was wonderful. There were not so many roses because they’re experiencing problems but still it is a beautiful place. We encountered a wedding photo shoot at the place also.

Montana (:

This week has been full of so many exciting events and amazing sites! From catching over 30 bees 🐝 in a beautiful meadow overlooking the vast mountains, seeing vibrant flowers bloom, and editing my proposal for my project in a cozy coffee shop. Montana has been great!

Highlight of the week: seeing a baby bear!!