Waupoose awarded $5,400 stipend to continue tree ring research at UW-Platteville

February 5, 2013
Brennan Waupoose (center) received an award at the AISES conference in Anchorage, Alaska.

 

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – After participating in a collaborative undergraduate research project between the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Geography Program and College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wis., Brennan Waupoose, a student in the two-year biological and physical sciences program at CMN, said he was convinced UW-Platteville was the right place to finish his bachelor’s degree. Thanks to the Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation Advanced Opportunities Program, Waupoose’s ongoing research will also be funded by a $5,400 stipend.

The project that Waupoose participated in last year examined the effects of invasive earthworms on Great Lakes forests. Teams made up of two students from CMN and two students from UW-Platteville gained hands-on experience collecting samples in the field, in locations such as the Menominee Forest and Chequamegon National Forest, and then returned to the UW-Platteville Tree-Ring, Earth and Environmental Sciences Laboratory to process the results.

Waupoose gave two award-winning presentations of the earthworm research last fall. In October, he received a joint $250 award for his presentation at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science National Conference in Seattle, and then took home another $400 in November after placing fourth out of 88 students at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference in Anchorage, Alaska.

Dr. Evan Larson, assistant professor of geography and faculty member in the UW-Platteville TREES Laboratory, oversees the WiscAMP-funded project and pursued the stipend for Waupoose so he can continue to apply the methods of tree-ring research he learned last summer to a new challenge.

“In 1982, the preeminent dendrochronologist Dr. Edward Cook developed a tree-ring chronology from ancient eastern hemlock trees in the Menominee Forest,” said Larson. “Brennan will revisit the site sampled by Dr. Cook to update that chronology to the modern day and to determine how tree growth has responded to the last 30 years of climate variability. This research continues efforts by TREES Laboratory students who have now updated chronologies in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wis., and a number of sites in Maine.”

Larson said he is excited for Waupoose and what this project will help him accomplish.

“Brennan was a thoughtful, quiet leader during the research project we conducted last summer and he showed a strong interest and aptitude for tree-ring research,” said Larson. “He also displayed an excellent sense of aesthetic in communicating scientific results to a general audience. Watching him come to a decision to pursue an advanced degree in forest ecology so that he could return to the Menominee Forest and help manage a resource that is critical to the culture and economy of the Menominee people was inspiring. I’m happy to do what I can to help Brennan accomplish his goals, and I think this project will help him develop as a student and scientist tremendously.”

Contact: Dr. Evan Larson, assistant professor, UW-Platteville Geography Program, (608) 342-6139, larsonev@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, communications specialist, UW-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, weinbreb@uwplatt.edu

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