Marcie Gotchie and Sean Dunham – USDA Forest Service, Chippewa National Forest

Name:  Marcie Gotchie and Sean Dunham

Organization (if applicable): USDA Forest Service, Chippewa National Forest

Email: or

Phone:  218-407-1110

Address:  200 Ash Ave NW, Cass Lake, MN 56633

  1. How do you help your community?

We work for the Chippewa National Forest as heritage resource managers. Heritage resources encompass a range of things including archaeological and historic sites; historic buildings; cultural landscapes; and places that have cultural meaning or significance relating to events or practices of the people who live, or who once lived, on the Forest.  On the Chip we also have an obligation to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe based on treaties and our overlapping land base with their reservation.  Our primary responsibility is to ensure Forest Service activities such as timber harvests or campground development do not impact or disturb historic or cultural sites that are within the Forest.

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

Our hope is that an intern could contribute to our team providing their effort and perspective as we plan and carry out our tasks.  We also hope that the intern is interested in developing and working on a project that appeals to their interest as well as contribute to our program on the Forest.

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

We will share our knowledge and experience as we explore different aspects of our jobs with the intern. We will also provide support for them to use the internship to achieve goals or acquire skills that are relevant to their academic and personal journeys,

4. List some responsibilities that an intern might do/projects they might work on.

We are involved with a variety of projects and would like to involve an intern in those opportunities.  We are planning to have the intern shadow us, as well as join us, as we carry out tasks such as archaeological field work, collections management, project planning, and our other regular tasks.  We also work with partners on projects. For example, one involves the restoration of historic structures at Camp Rabideau (a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps Camp) and another involves developing fire histories for different parts of the Forest and Reservation that inform us about the cultural use of fire in shaping and tending the landscape in the past and how that may aid us in the present. We also hope to develop projects with interns that would meet their interests as well as those of the Forest.  These projects could focus on a specific historic site or examine the ways people have interacted with the landscape in the past or present.  More specific examples of such projects could include opportunities to work with historic maps and GIS (digitizing information), the ways people moved through the landscape such as using portages or trails, or looking at traditional resource practices such as maple sugar making.

5. Is there anything an intern should know before working with you? (transportation needs, heavy lifting, allergies, specific technical background (ex. GIS), etc.). 

We are mostly working virtually at this time, so access to a computer or phone for online meetings would be useful.  We are hoping to be able to carry out field work over the course of the warm season, so transportation to Cass Lake would be useful.  The projects themselves will entail certain skills or abilities. Field work can be rigorous and can lead to exposure to things such as poison ivy, insect bites/stings, or tripping hazards. Certain tasks might benefit from experience with spreadsheets or GIS, but those skills are not necessary.