MAILED: July 13, 2000
A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire geography professor and four undergraduates are involved with a field research project being conducted in Canada July 5-Aug. 19.
Garry Running has teamed with Dion Wiseman, a geography professor at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, to teach a six-credit course titled "Advanced Geographic Field Methods."
The course is part of a five-year project designed to gather information about the prairie region of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The multidisciplinary project aims to combine the geographical data gathered in this course with data gathered by archaeologists, historians and other specialists, along with native oral traditions, to reconstruct past cultural and environmental landscapes of the region.
Josh Lahner, Eau Claire; Kim Long, Sturgeon Bay; Marnie Lundgren, Chaska, Minn.; and Casie Ollendick, Rochester, Minn., all science majors at UW-Eau Claire, are taking the course along with three Brandon University students. They will conduct research at a series of locations including the Oak Lake Sand Hills and Tiger Hills in Manitoba, the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers in central Saskatchewan and the Cypress Hills in southeastern Alberta. They will spend about two weeks in each of the three provinces.
Funding for this project comes primarily from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in the form of a $2.5 million Major Collaborative Research Initiatives grant. According to Running, the grant for this project was initiated by similar research that he and his students conducted with Canadian colleagues in southwest Manitoba in 1998 and 1999 that had been funded by the Office of University Research at UW-Eau Claire.
This is the first attempt at the six-credit field course component of the project, Running said. For the cost of tuition, the students receive room, board and a stipend along with access to cutting edge field, lab and computing equipment, he said. The course is expected to be offered each of the next four summers, and the students who take part in the course this year are planning to write faculty/student collaborative research grants to continue their individual research projects in the fall, Running said.
Running said this is a great experience for himself and the students.
"It provides me with a chance for professional development," he said. "I get to conduct interesting research with really good colleagues and good equipment. The students get the opportunity to really see how field research is conducted and to work on a project from beginning to end."
Other UW-Eau Claire faculty and students are joining the research team later this summer including geology professor Karen Havholm and one of her students. Geography professor Harry Jol and one of his students also will be joining the team for the portion of research conducted in Manitoba.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 20, 2000