Who knew that my first year as Trout Lake Station (TLS) Director would include administering through a pandemic! The ground shifted under the feet of so many as the world faced simultaneous health, race, economic, and political turmoil. The procedural and risk assessment skills of TLS staff and researchers were reallocated and the community united to help plan, troubleshoot, and implement protocols that kept long-term research and numerous graduate student projects moving forward safely during the summer and winter of 2020. I feel privileged to have weathered this difficult period alongside the caring, thoughtful, and resilient problem solvers who work and research at TLS and the Center for Limnology (CFL).
While visitor numbers were limited in 2020, we took advantage of the reduced capacity to complete numerous facilities projects. A native rain garden, facilitated by the WDNR Healthy Lakes program, was planted behind Frost House and is looking great as it fills in this spring. Juday House and the all-season cabins received makeovers in the form of new flooring and cabinetry throughout. And, we have started planning for the construction of a National Science Foundation-funded outbuilding that will replace the current garage. The new building will more than double our heated, large equipment workspace and facilitate more full-season limnology.
With vaccines readily accessible, we are excited to have new graduate students and undergraduate researchers join the station community for the 2021 summer. In addition to the new wild rice project highlighted on page 6, this season will have new crews studying parasites of rusty crayfish in Trout Lake, researching community and life history changes in response to early ice off, taking paleolimnology cores on North Temperate Lakes (NTL) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) lakes, and comparing gas exchange measures taken across lake systems. Fortunately, the Trout Lake Station experience includes a lot of field work and social interaction around lakeside bonfires, hikes, and paddles, providing ample opportunity for the community to be together outdoors while maintaining COVID policies in the indoor lab spaces. We all hope for a safe and productive 2021 field season!
Our sincere thanks to all the Trout Lake Station supporters. The extended network of alumni, donors, regional partners, current and prior station users has continued to amaze me with their support, patience, and willingness to add value to the Trout Lake experience for the next generation of trainees. We love hearing from you all so please don’t hesitate to reach out!