Trout Lake Station black and white photo of cabins along lakeshore

Connecting the Past and the Future: A New TLS Student Reflects on the LimnoCentennial

by Audrey Hoey-Kummerow

From May 31st to June 2nd this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the “LimnoCentennial” celebration at Trout Lake Station (TLS) as we marked 100 years of limnological research in the Northwoods. As the science communication intern, it was exciting to see our hard work planning the event come to life. But the experience also offered a unique window into the past, present, and future of TLS and was a chance to connect with many generations of Trout Lakers and hear their stories.

Susan Knight leads a group of LimnoCentennialatendees on a bog walk. Photo: A. Hoey-Kummerow

One of the highlights for me was meeting Pat Juday and hearing stories about Art Hasler from his son, Arthur ‘Fritz’ Hasler. Both the “Hasler” and “Juday” names are legendary in the field of limnology, and their family connections to the station are still deeply rooted. Hearing them talk about the early days of research was fascinating.

Also compelling were the stories of Tim Kratz, former TLS director, and John Magnuson, former Center for Limnology director and professor emeritus. I came across their names a lot while learning about the history of the station, and it was exciting to realize that I was working and living in the same place where so many accomplished scientists had conducted research fundamental to what we know about our lakes.

One of my most memorable experiences was the Bog Walk with Susan Knight. Despite the rain, I was excited to venture into a bog for the first time. Susan’s extensive experience was evident as she guided us through this unique ecosystem. We conducted pH tests and examined the many organisms that inhabit the bog, from sphagnum moss to carnivorous plants. It was a hands-on learning experience that deepened my appreciation for these fascinating environments.

Other attendees were able to connect with places that hold special meaning to many Trout Lakers past and present. One group visited the historic site of the original TLS near the Trout Lake State Forestry Headquarters with John Magnuson. Though not much remains of the original camp, John knew exactly where they were going. He pointed out the sites of the original cabin and camp areas and even discovered the old camp road, thoroughly impressing his tour group when they popped out of the forest onto the road that appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

Throughout the weekend, I felt the sense of continuity and change that defines TLS. Listening to the older generation’s stories gave me a respect for the station’s history and the foundational research conducted here. At the same time, engaging with my peers and hearing about their current and future projects filled me with excitement for the future of limnology. Beyond the formal presentations and tours, it was a weekend of shared meals, bonfires, and recreation. Whether we were playing volleyball, boating on Trout Lake, or simply enjoying a meal together, the sense of community was palpable and I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of it.

The stories, knowledge, and experiences shared as we celebrated 100 years enriched my understanding of limnology and deepened my connection to TLS. I look forward to contributing to this legacy and witnessing the continued evolution of our research and community. Here’s to another century of discovery, innovation, and collaboration at TLS as we continue building a community that spans time and connects us all to this special place and to those who came before us.