Notes from the Northwoods

Up in northern Wisconsin, set in a landscape surrounded by forests and dotted with thousands of crystal-clear lakes, sits the Center for Limnology’s Trout Lake Station.

Below are stories from Aisha Liebenow’s summer full of research, events and escapades “on station.”

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Edible Invasives

Aisha Liebenow and Rusty

Northern Wisconsin, or the ‘Northwoods’, is known as a beautiful summer vacation spot with thousands of clear, pristine lakes. Every year, tourists fill restaurants for fish fries, buy homemade salt water taffy at local shops, and partake in all sorts of other outdoor activities, from hiking to fishing to paddling. But there are other inhabitants in this beloved ‘home away from home’ – the brave and devoted researchers “on station.” – Keep reading.

Numb Feet and a Bucket Full of Rusties

Only hundreds more to go. These lucky rusties will soon move into lake-side digs, as research subjects at Trout Lake Station. Photo: A. Hinterthuer

The weather keeps alternating between chilly and warm as Lindsey Sargent, a graduate student from the University of Notre Dame, steers our small boat out into Star Lake in northern Wisconsin’s Vilas County. We’re on the hunt for the invasive rusty crayfish.- Keep reading.

Inspired Students, A Buggy Bog Walk, Loving Nature

My sodden rain boots tentatively stepping out onto the bog. Photo: A. Liebenow

“You love what you know,” said Susie Hoffman, Director of the Center for Conservation Leadership. “You know how when we first came] and you weren’t so fond of bats, and now after our trip yesterday you think they are pretty cool?” Today, this was the exact reaction these students were having to lakes and their ecosystems. Before being exposed to this set of knowledge, they had no idea how interesting or relevant it was to their own lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Keep reading.

Big Adventure on Small Lakes

sam_andy_canoe Sam and Andy demonstrating their portaging skills. Photo by: A. Liebenow

It’s not every day that you get to say you went on an adventure; unless your name is Samantha Oliver or Andy Muench. The two are spending their summer trying to add small lakes to the big picture of what we know about freshwater ecosystems. – Keep Reading

Happy 4th from the North!

Minocqua fireworks to celebrate the 4th. Photo: K. Harberg-Liebenow

My usual Fourth of July consists of a parade, fireworks, and everything red, white, and blue. This Fourth may not have been much different, but this time my family and I had the chance to celebrate our nation’s birthday Minocqua-style.Whether you’ve graduated from high school, have a B.A, or spent several years plugging away at a PhD, I hope your education didn’t stop with your degree. Active learning is so important in keeping your mind at the top of its game, and that’s why I admire the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), and how it provides ample opportunities for its members to continue exploring our world. Keep reading.

Long-term Research, Long-term Learning

The wonderful faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates alike were wonderful helpers as they directed the boats out onto Crystal Lake

Whether you’ve graduated from high school, have a B.A, or spent several years plugging away at a PhD, I hope your education didn’t stop with your degree. Active learning is so important in keeping your mind at the top of its game, and that’s why I admire the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), and how it provides ample opportunities for its members to continue exploring our world. Keep reading.

Wild Blueberries with a Side of “Survivalism”

blueberriesThe Restless Weasels made their way to Trout Lake Station on Tuesday, a great ol’ group of stand-up men. They are retired but, as they put it, “we are restless, and we get into everything.”

The group came for a talk on research at Trout Lake Station, but, after they’d gone, I was left with my own feeling of restlessness. I decided it was time to broaden my own horizons and find my own source of ‘out of the classroom’ knowledge. So I set out to see what I could kick up in the Northwoods. Keep reading.

The Trout Lake Experience

The amazing crew that helped out with the Little Rock Lake curtain removal. Dirty and tired after the all-day event, they graciously allowed me to take their picture to commemorate the accomplishment. Photo: A. Liebenow

This last week was one heck of a week for Trout Lake Station. On Monday, we had our curtain removal at Little Rock Lake, reuniting the two halves of the lake and ending thirty-years’ worth of ground-breaking research. Keep Reading.

 

The following posts were written by Ali Branscombe, the 2012 summer outreach intern at Trout Lake Station

Taking Crayfish for a Walk

Enormous crayfish walking around after it had been “tethered.”

It is not every day that you get to take a crayfish for a walk on a leash. Well, unless you are part of Alex Latzka’s research team.

“This is going to be the best field day of your life!” promised Emily Hilts, his incredibly enthusiastic undergraduate assistant. And so far, it was true.

I was tagging along with Latzka and his two assistants, Hilts and Yuri Caldeira; spending the day studying how invasive rusty crayfish are affected by fish predation in various habitats. This particular morning started by pulling up crayfish traps (which are modified minnow traps baited with beef liver) all around Sparkling Lake. – Keep reading

 

How to Turn a Lake Blue

Ryan Batt dips a bucket into the lake, and pulls up a quarter-gallon of… Gatorade?

At the surface, Ward Lake is like any small bog: tall trees and sedges are reflected on the dark surface and beaver-gnawed branches stick out at odd angles.  Looking down into the water, the lake doesn’t seem that remarkable. But inside the white gallon bucket, the water is sapphire blue, like jell-o or a sports drink. This summer, Batt is turning a lake blue. –Keep reading

 

 

Bug Pickin’


“Alright. Who is ready to get messy?”

Zach Lawson’s question is greeted with incredible enthusiasm. It is all-hands-on-deck in the wet lab and, today, everyone is sorting bugs. –Keep reading

 Gas in the Water, Carbon in the Sky

It is a cold morning with scattered showers and random peeks of sunshine between the dark clouds. Despite this, and a bit of hail, John Crawford and his two undergraduate assistants, Alex Johnson and Nick Jordan, work quickly to set up their equipment next to the Trout River, pulling out trash bags and plastic to cover their machines. – Keep reading