Kurt Kipfmueller – University of Minnesota Dendroecology Laboratory

Name: Kurt Kipfmueller 

Organization (if applicable): University of Minnesota Dendroecology Laborator; Department of Geography, Environment, & Society

Email: kurt@umn.edu

Phone: 651-399-1089

Address: 414 Social Sciences Building, 267-19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

  1. How do you help your community?

Our lab group develops fire and climate histories from tree rings to better understand the ecological and cultural relationships between fire and the environment. Our work spans much of northern Minnesota with some specific projects reconstructing fire on Chippewa National Forest lands and Itasca State Park. Our work helps better understand how, when, and where fire was used as a tool to carefully manage resources in the past to better understand the present and future. Our research aims to provide actionable information to our partners to reconsider fire use and helps reconnect present-day fire practitioners with the past.

  1. How do you hope an intern will contribute through the Niizhoo-gwakochigewin program to helping your community?

Our lab group would like to engage more directly with an intern while doing field work in the area around Itasca State Park and the Leech Lake area. An intern would assist us directly (and learn) how we conduct data collection for fire history in the field and process this data to assign calendar dates. We would hope that an intern would be interested in learning these techniques while sharing stories and observations of the landscape. We envision this as a broad interaction and contribution.

  1. How will you contribute to the education of your intern?

We will use a group mentoring model where graduate students and faculty members will interact with the intern in the field, spend time in the laboratory to teach an intern the processes, and facilitate the development of independent projects. We will also read and discuss articles and scientific papers related to our research to facilitate dialogue surrounding fire use in the Upper Great Lakes.

  1. List some responsibilities that an intern might do/projects they might work on.* Assist with field data collection. Assume responsibility for developing fire history for at least one site.* Present results of fire history to interested stakeholders (CNF, Leech Lake Tribal College, LLBO, etc.)* Geolocate information from surveyor field notes developed in the 1800s and create GIS data layers.
  1. Is there anything an intern should know before working with you? (transportation needs, heavy lifting, allergies, specific technical background (ex. GIS), etc.)

-Must be willing to work in the field during sometimes inclement weather

-Field work requires long periods of sometimes demanding physical activity (hiking off trail, working with crosscut saws, etc.)

-Some overnight camping might be required (although this is flexible as well)

-Proficiency/experience with GIS is desirable

-Transportation to field sites (Itasca State Park, Cass Lake Area) is preferable, but not required (we have some potential work-arounds).