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CST Students Assist Alexandria Watershed Area

Posted by Jayce Koester ’16, Center for Small Towns on Monday, Jul. 28, 2014

Francis Reed ’16, Shoreview, and Benjamin Odegaard ’15, Starbuck, are working with the Ida Lake Association (ILA) and the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Alexandria. The two are partnering with Steve Henry from SWCD, Dian Lopez from ILA, and Rebecca Erickson from the University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns to look for invasive species, write articles for the ILA newsletter, and help with water sampling from surrounding lakes.

Reed and Odegaard have been doing a variety of tasks surrounding the state of lakes in the Alexandria area, involving everything from hands-on inspection of boats that could be carrying aquatic invasive species (AIS) to learning how to better identify geologic features that characterize the watershed area. Educating the public about AIS and water conservation efforts are also key parts of their work. Odegaard and Reed have been working since late May and will continue the project until late August.

“It’s really great to help with water sampling from Lake Ida and other surrounding lakes,” says Odegaard.

“This has been an eye-opening experience into the the many facets of water management practices,” Reed adds. “Along with my Morris education, this opportunity has prepared me for a career in this field.”

CST is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize CST’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Its mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.