The Minnesota Population Center is seeking a post-doctoral scholar to work on its National Science Foundation-funded project, Terra Populus. The position will have responsibilities for conducting substantive human-environment interactions research utilizing the TerraPop data collection and integration tools, as well as performing associated data preparation tasks.
The goal of TerraPop is to integrate, disseminate, and preserve data describing the human population and environment spanning broad spatial and temporal scales. Integration is performed primarily through location-based linkages enabling transformations among individual- and household-level microdata, area-level data describing characteristics of places defined by boundaries, and raster/gridded data. The initial TerraPop data collection included census microdata for over 20 countries (including historical data for many), extensive aggregate census data for the United States, multiple land-use/land-cover datasets, agricultural land use data, and long-term average climate. The collection is continually expanding, and priorities may be influenced by the post-doctoral associate’s particular interests and research direction.
To learn more, see the official announcement.
Last Thursday the Institute on the Environment became a soundscape of woodland noises and improvised music meant to recreate the natural and anthropogenic sounds of the University’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Reserve. “Sounds and Visions of Cedar Creek” was the culmination of several months’ work by graduate students in the School of Music who had used their keen ears and plenty of recording equipment to collect sounds and observations during their stay on the reserve last summer.
Throughout the evening guests from the University and outside community strolled through the IonE atrium, stopping to look at visual art pieces and “mini-cinema” stations with video of Cedar Creek’s natural scenery. The musicians meandered like the audience, improvising in concinnity with the natural sounds coming from surrounding speakers. Sophomore Louis Mielke particularly appreciated the movement of the audience and performers, “I really enjoyed incorporating audience movement into the piece,” he said, believing the changing setting enhanced the effects of the sounds and sights.
The musicians took care to represent not only the sounds of nature, but also the sounds of human visitors and scientific machinery. To Mielke, this created a sense of tranquility as well as concern. “I envisioned going in and out of the water, storms passing, and wind blowing eerily at twilight, [but one station] made me think about the noise that humans make because of the sounds like footsteps on a gravel road. Now I wonder to what degree our noise pollution impacts the ecosystems that we are a part of.”
The melding of natural and man-made sounds also helped Dr. Elizabeth Borer, ecological researcher who assisted the musicians at Cedar Creek, take a new perspective on her own work. “I could hear wind in the grass, birds, and insects in that music, and I thought about those sounds in a new way… There was definitely an interweaving of human and natural sounds,” she said, surprised to have heard a truck motor and the dinging of heat lamps represented by instruments, “I don’t explicitly think about the things I’m hearing when I do fieldwork… It was really interesting to close my eyes and peer at those sounds– a very new experience.”
From mimicking the call of an aphid to recreating the rumble of a pickup truck in a windblown field, the musicians of “Sounds and Visions of Cedar Creek” immersed their audience in Cedar Creek’s environment and the unique interaction between humans and nature taking place there. By giving a musical voice to a complex scientific center, they demonstrated the compatibility of arts and science and inspired a new appreciation for the reserve among enthusiasts for science, music, and nature alike.
The Maplewood Nature Center is looking for several interns to fill positions for this summer’s duties. Maplewood has a long tradition of adopting landscaping principles and practices that help protect the environment. Maplewood Nature Center’s campus models water management techniques to capture and treat storm water runoff.
These paid positions will give interns experience in sustainable yard management, identification of native plants and weeds, safe tool operation, installation of plants, and more! Work would commence two to three days a week from mid May through August 2014,
Apply by Tuesday, April 1st for consideration. Instructions and forms can be found here.
There are just over two weeks left of the 90 day comment period on the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). SDEIS provides a comprehensive analysis of the environmental effects of PolyMet Mining Inc.’s proposed NorthMet project. This project, the first proposed copper-nickel mine in Minnesota, would be located in northeastern Minnesota, near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt.
By adding your voice to the conversation before March 13th, you are becoming a crucial and influential part to the decision of policy makers. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service want the opinions and thoughts of the public, so why not help them out?
To download the SDEIS, whether that be full, by chapter, or even just by fact sheets, visit the DNR’s website.
Once you have found your personal view, send an email with your comments to NorthMetSDEIS.firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your full name and address!
It is important that every voice is heard on this matter. If there is something that you think should be built upon, something that you think needs to be eliminated, something you love or something you hate, make sure to submit it.
All University faculty and graduate students are welcome to attend a brown bag lunch on “Religion, Philosophy, and the Environment” on Friday, February 21 from 12:00-1:30 pm in 135 Nicholson Hall. This lunch is aimed at sharing work and organizing a faculty seminar or other forum for on-going interdisciplinary discussions. We invite scholars from across the University to participate.
The environment, whether understood as simply the planet or as the entire cosmos, has been understood, described, defined, interpreted, and impacted through religion and philosophical discourse. At this moment in history, in the face of climate change and ecological efforts, scholars are reevaluating these humanistic understandings of the environment.
Please bring your lunch to this discussion; beverages will be provided.