Climate RA Trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin

This summer, I got the opportunity to embark on an incredible work trip to the picturesque landscapes of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This journey not only provided an opportunity to reconnect with fellow Climate Resource Assistant interns, whom I hadn’t seen since our orientation, but also to gain invaluable insights into how climate concepts, introduced during our training, are practically applied in the field. The goal of the trip was to witness firsthand the impact of climate change on forests and carbon dynamics and understand how Forest Service research informs solutions to these challenges. Additionally, the trip’s aim is to translate abstract adaptation concepts into actionable strategies by witnessing real-world examples.

The first day after the travel day’s plan began with a gathering at the Lake Superior Estuarium classroom space in Superior, WI, where OSC and hosts of the trip gave us informative presentations about the Great Lakes Region, Great Lakes National Forests, and the week’s plan. Safety protocols were emphasized, and we had the opportunity to reconnect with fellow interns we hadn’t seen since orientation. Then, the day included a visit to Minnesota/Wisconsin Point, where we explored fire history and cultural burning projects, followed by a pleasant lunch at Wisconsin Point. Our exploration continued with insights into restoring wetland forests in the Saint Louis River Estuary. Then we ended the day at taco dinner at the Park Point picnic pavilion, where many of us got to swim in Lake Superior.

The next day, we departed for the Split Rock campground, where we delved into assisted migration work and explored the Split Rock Adaptation Demonstration site. The day provided insights into climate-informed reforestation and assisted migration planting. Afterward, we departed for the Cloquet Forestry Center, where we explored various adaptation demonstration projects. 

On the last day, before we all headed our separate ways, we loaded into vans to visit Marcell Research Center in Bovey, MN. There, we received a comprehensive introduction to the Marcell Experimental Forest, peatlands, and Mercury research. Our day, then continued with a tour of Bog Lake Fen and the EC Site, followed by an exploration of the Harvest and Mercury Study Site. The highlight of the trip was the awe-inspiring SPRUCE site, providing valuable insights into the ecosystem. We concluded our journey back to Duluth/Superior in the late afternoon, with dinner arrangements left to individual preferences.

My work trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin was an eye-opening adventure. Reconnecting with fellow interns and hearing about their unique experiences added a personal touch to the journey. As I reflect on this experience, I eagerly anticipate the future opportunities that will continue to shape my understanding of climate science and its practical applications.

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