SAFL is once again preparing to welcome a promising crop of new researchers to its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program this summer. Begun by the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED), which was headquartered at SAFL, the program is a collaboration among the University of Minnesota, the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes in Montana. The program places participating students in three teams working in Flathead, MT, Northern Minnesota, and right here at SAFL. Research projects incorporate community-based participatory research in an effort to match projects to community needs. For example, one project in Montana is working to reintroduce Blue Camas, a native plant species that was once an important food source for both people and wildlife, and studies the resulting ecosystem changes and their impact on local residents.
Research projects examine Earth-surface dynamics, geology, civil and environmental engineering, ecology, biology, limnology, paleolimnology, and hydrology to address sustainable land and water management and restoration through the application of both scientific and indigenous research methods. Student participants spend a week in orientation learning program expectations, fleshing out their research project plans, and getting to know their team members. Over 8 weeks they will complete their projects and write a 15-page paper about their findings. The last 10 days of the REU are spent at SAFL in an All-Team Gathering, presenting students’ research, discussing research ethics, and exploring life goals and the skills needed to reach them.
Thanks to a renewed grant for the National Science Foundation, the SAFL REU program will continue for another three years. Dr. Diana Dalbotten, SAFL’s director of diversity and broader impacts, leads the program and explains that students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds who are interested in how science impacts communities are a good fit for the program. And, because of the geographic diversity of study sites, the REU is intended to support non-traditional students who may have family obligations near their homes. Those interested in applying for the program can review the application materials here (reuslawr.wordpress.com). Deadline March 2!
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