Green Visions

Rachel Breckenridge

UMD's Masters of Tribal Administration and Governance degree program was developed with the University taking a back seat to tribes.

And Howard Mooers laughs when he talks about it; saying that's a hard thing for a university to do.

But the University worked in response to and as a consultant with tribes in developing the program, just as it's doing now with a new masters degree program in Tribal Natural Resource Stewardship, a program which could be coming along at just the right time.

Tom O'Rourke/Hartley Nature Center

Why isn't there a "Yurts 'R' Us"?

Where do yurts come from, anyway?

Hartley Nature Center still has some unanswered questions after July storms destroyed their yurt, but the 100 schoolkids on their way to Hartley for a field trip today will get to enjoy the new yurt in all its 30' in diameter glory.  Plus it will be open as a learning space for kids year 'round: out at Hartley they also have a lifetime supply of firewood for the yurt's wood-burning stove.

US Forest Service

It makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Everything rolls downhill.

So, depending on the landscape, it may end up in the nearest lake.  In our case, that's Lake Superior.

There's the potential for a fascinating confluence right here in Minnesota: energy efficiency, the development of solar power ... and a unique way to effect social change based on a model in use in rural India.

Lisa Johnson

No one's figured out how to literally plug in students and run lights and power from their boundless energy ... but UMD is coming close.

In addition to all new and renovated buildings being LEED-certified  (like Cina Hall, seen here), Sustainability Month at UMD is designed to educate students and the community about the work and research being done on campus.

But the students already get it.  In fact, many of the new initiatives in their early stages are led by students.

Corey Templeton/Flickr

Dr. Marcos Algara-Siller doesn't mess around.

He's an environmental engineer at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, and he's teaching a class on sustainability communication for environmental scientists - from Mexico - with Dr. David Syring of UMD's Anthropology department.

Kate Brady/Flickr

The aquarium needs cleaning and the kids have lost interest in the fish.  Or the frogs. Or the gecko. 

But flushing or dumping everything outside is a bad idea for two reasons:  one, it's inhumane for the animals and two, it's a really bad idea for the environment.

The same hardiness that makes milfoil and goldfish such great aquarium dwellers means they also excel as  invasive species. 

    Leading up to this Saturday's Lake Superior Harvest Festival at Bayfront Park, we continue our KUMD Sustainability Week series with a conversation with Sarah Lerohl, Environmental Program Coordinator at the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) and we are talking about composting, and non-toxic homecare practices.

Hartley Nature Center

April showers bring May flowers ... and this year, July storms brought August fundraisers.

The community raised over $10,000 for Hartley Nature Center's Yurt Got Hurt event to restore damaged outdoor education centers, but the scramble to get the park back up and running for the over ten thousand kids who come through on field trips every year continues.

Luckily, so do offers of help from local volunteers.

bamonahan [via Flickr]

  Now that the storm clean up has been (mostly) completed, the next big question is what we can do with the now empty spaces in the landscape. We talk with Louise Levy, an arborist and founder of Levy Tree Care in Duluth, about what kinds of trees to consider planting, when is the best time to do it, and what planning and work needs to be done first.

Lisa Johnson

  Before we see the end of our all-too-brief summer in the Northland, there will be possibly more thunderstorms coming.  To help folks be more prepared for storm damages we invited Jennifer Teegarden, a DNR forestry outreach specialist, to talk with us about DOs and DON'Ts in terms of damaged trees -- how to assess damage, how to preemptively prevent future damage, and when to call in the experts.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless - radioactive - gas that seeps up from the ground.  That being said, it's easy to either ignore the dangers of long term exposure or freak out about them.  But there is a middle ground: check out the Minnesota Health Department's new interactive tools - including maps and charts - to help you get a better idea how prevalent radon is in your county.  And another piece of good news: testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes a few days. 

Tom O'Rourke

Hartley Nature Center is closed for the remainder of this week, after straight line winds in excess of 70 mph caused "trees down everywhere" in the park, blocking trails, damaging the nature playscape and the yurt and leaving Hartley still without power almost a week later.  It's a possibly hazardous - and definitely expensive situation as Hartley staff and the city continue to assess the damage and decide what happens next.

Doug Kerr [via Flickr]

  KUMD taks with Brad Parsons, the Central Regional Fisheries Manager for the Minnesota DNR, about the DNR proposal to build a new fisheries facility at Mille Lacs Lake that would include a fisheries management station, fish hatchery and storage. The DNR would be able to more efficiently meet its Mille Lacs management goals and outreach needs with the new facility.

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