December 2011 Archives

U of M, Crookston Named Among 25 Best Offering Online Degrees

SuperScholarSmartChoiceBestOnlineColleges.jpgThe University of Minnesota, Crookston has been named among the top 25 in SuperScholar's "Smart Choice" ranking of schools offering online bachelor's degrees.  For the full listing, visit www.superscholar.org/best-online-colleges.

Based in San Antonio, Texas, SuperScholar is an organization that provides online resources geared toward students searching for information about higher education and career options.  The organization also ranks colleges and universities by various educational programs and majors.

According to SuperScholar, in order to be considered for its Smart Choice ranking of top schools offering online bachelor's degrees the institution had to be a regionally accredited college or university, be listed in the National Center for Education Statistics database, and offer online bachelor degree programs in multiple disciplines.  Specialty schools focused on a narrow range of subjects were excluded. Schools that passed the initial screening process were then ranked by SuperScholar's editors based on each school's perceived market credibility and prestige, academic quality, support for students, and student satisfaction.

The U of M, Crookston currently offers ten of its degree programs entirely online as well as on-campus: Accounting, Applied Health, Applied Studies, Business, Communication,  Health Management, Information Technology Management, Manufacturing Management, Marketing, and Quality Management.  Learn more about these programs at www.umcrookston.edu/online.

Contact: Michelle Christopherson, director, Center for Adult Learning, 218-281-8679 (mchristo@umn.edu)

As university and college campuses work toward goals of climate neutrality and UND Sustainability Supper.jpgimproved sustainability, the University of Minnesota, Crookston and the University of North Dakota (UND) staged a unique evening of sharing and discussion around this vital topic. A "sustainability supper" was held on Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at the UND Memorial Union in Grand Forks. Participants from Crookston included students, Jen Rasmussen, Jeanne Collins, and Beth Walter; Rich Connell, director of facilities and operations; Peter Phaiah, associate vice chancellor of student affairs; Kent Freberg, assistant professor in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department; Linda Kingery, executive director of the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership; Vicki Svedarsky, UMC counselor; and Dan Svedarsky, director of UMC's Center for Sustainability.

The supper began with a welcome by UND President Robert Kelley who noted that he was, "delighted that both campuses are making very good progress in addressing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and exploring novel, innovative new energy sources in the process." Larry Zitzow, director of facility management at UND, provided an overview of sustainability initiatives at UND with special emphasis on implementation strategies for their Climate Action Plan and improvements in energy efficiency. A couple of years ago, a UND campus input session generated over 90 possible sustainability and energy efficiency projects. Three selection criteria have been applied to choose which to do; 1) return on investment, 2) greenhouse gas reduction, and 3) in line with UND's sustainability efforts.

UND sustainability supper1.jpgA similar overview for the Crookston campus was provided by Svedarsky, Connell, Phaiah, and Kingery. The session provided an opportunity for networking between the two campuses as far as student groups, curriculum initiatives, research possibilities, and facilities management.  Kylie Oversen, UND's student body president noted that she was excited with the possibilities of more interdisciplinary student involvement in sustainability and with the themes of landscaping and faith-based approaches to land stewardship. Juan Pedraza, UND University Relations, reflected back on growing up near Lisbon, Spain, where, "I didn't know what garbage was. Everything was used and re-used." The evening concluded with a discussion around maintaining synergy between the two campuses as they work toward a sustainable future, figure out ways to improve energy efficiency and save money, and collaborate.

Background

In June 2010, U of M, Crookston Chancellor Charles Casey approved an Action Plan for Climate Neutrality and Sustainability which outlines somewhat of a strategic plan for campus sustainability action. The plan sets a target date of 2030 to achieve a balance between carbon released (primarily in the form of carbon dioxide) and the amount trapped or not produced; primarily by conserving energy and shifting to renewable sources. The plan is far reaching and extends not only to energy conservation and efficiency issues directly, but also to transportation, communication, local foods, recycling, and interdisciplinary education approaches. These climate action plans are part of the requirements of campuses signing on to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which the University of Minnesota agreed to in 2008. Colleges and universities have a special responsibility to provide a leadership role in this regard according to Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University and one of the founders of ACUPCC.  "While college and university campuses across the country are, in aggregate, responsible for only about three percent of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitted by the U.S., we are educating 100 percent of our future political, business, and social leaders. This fact alone places significant accountability on higher education and its leaders to take action."

The Sustainability Supper initiative is sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Institute on Environment, Mini-Grant Program. Past themes have included international dimensions of sustainability, faith-based approaches to sustainability, and defining what the sustainability means. The system dynamics approach to complex decision making is the theme of the next meeting scheduled for UMC on January 31. One of the over-arching goals of the sustainability supper seminar series has been to better connect campuses to their community by creating a more functional, "Communiversity."  In this way, participants will reach a deeper understanding of collaborative problem solving, sustainability and its many applications, strive toward a more functional "learning community," and seek ways for better synergy in the use of common resources. For more information about sustainability and communiversity initiatives, contact Dan Svedarsky, dsvedars@crk.umn.edu or 218-281-8129.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photos:
Top, right: Larry Zitzow explaining UND's climate action plan. Peter Johnson, UND director of Unviersity Relations, President Robert Kelley.
 
Bottom, left: Peter Phaiah, Rich Connell, and Kent Freberg listen to UND student body president Kylie Oversen, outline her hopes for more student engagement in sustainability initiatives.

Contact: Dan Svedarsky, director, Center for Sustainability, 218-281-8129 (dsvedars@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

wildlife_conf.jpgSeven students from the University of Minnesota, Crookston Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, along with their advisor Associate Professor John Loegering, Ph.D., attended the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in early December. The conference held this year in Des Moines, Iowa, was a great opportunity for networking for students and professionals.

This year's conference marked the 72nd year that natural resource professionals in the Midwest have met to share research, management experiences, and valuable insight on issues related to fish and wildlife. During the conference more than 500 scientific presentations, posters, and symposia were presented and students had an opportunity to participate in a valuable workshop on "Beginning Your Professional Journey." Professionals and students shared their latest work and discussed the challenges of the future. To learn more about the conference, visit www.midwest2011.org.

Six of the students took advantage of the conference location by attending an evening performance of the Broadway musical "Wicked" which happened to be playing just a few blocks from the hotel on the evening before the conference.

Students attending the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference were Andy Albertsen, a sophomore natural resources major from Nelson, Minn.; Tim Baker, a senior natural resources major from Gilbert, Minn.; Austin Link, a senior natural resources major from Sebeka, Minn.; Krista Kenyon, a junior natural resources major from Sanford, Manitoba, Canada; Jenny DuBay, a junior natural resources major from Apple Valley, Minn.; Jessica Fenlason, a senior agricultural education and natural resources double major from Evansville, Minn.; Sheila Carleton, a senior agronomy and natural resources double major from Baxter, Minn.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: John Loegering, associate professor, Agriculture and Natural Resources Dept., 218-281-8132 (jloegeri@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

For one class at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, the end of the semester meant integrated_marketing_communication_class.jpgsharing ideas to help strengthen and promote local farmers markets. Students in Rachel Lundbohm's integrated marketing communication class were involved in a service-learning project to help farmers markets in northwest Minnesota. Service learning combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful community service, and the purpose of the project was to conduct research on farmers' markets, suggest ways to increase awareness, and devise options for helping to build the customer base.

Research results identified target markets and their characteristics including the demographics and psychographics of each. Students developed marketing slogans, logo suggestions, a methodology for advertising, and included a marketing budget. Recommendations were made ranging from sales promotions to reaching consumers through print, radio and other media. The students also addressed the use of social media as a marketing tool. In order to determine the effectiveness of the marketing, students suggested possible assessment tools to learn more about market customers.

The research project was the result of Lundbohm, who also serves as the associate director of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies (CRES), connecting a need identified through the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NWRSDP) with students in the integrated marketing communication course.

The markets and member vendors collaborated in seeking assistance in market promotion. During the second week of the semester, students met with representatives of farmers markets and Linda Kingery, executive director of the NWRSDP to learn more about the marketing challenges these farmers markets face. The NWRSDP works to sustain Minnesota's natural resource-based communities and industries by addressing community-identified agriculture, natural resources, and tourism issues in partnership with the University of Minnesota.

Joining Kingery for the presentations were Sarah Reese coordinator for Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) for Polk County; Chuck and Barb Schulstad, vendors at the Mentor Farmers' Market; Lisa Loegering, assistant director of service learning at the U of M, Crookston; and Kim Turner from the White Earth Community Farmers' Market.

Kingery was impressed with the marketing ideas the students presented. "The connection of Rachel Lundbohm to both CRES and the teaching of this class were a perfect combination for us," Kingery says. "The students learned practical application of what they were taught in the class by applying it directly to promoting farmers markets in this region. We gained a lot of fresh, valuable ideas through their work and what also is exciting is that many of these ideas can be easily implemented."

In February a compiled marketing plan will be presented to farmers markets in the region and a spring semester class will continue with a similar approach in a retail and merchandising management course.

The seventeen students in the class included Yu Cheng, a senior agricultural business major from Hangzhou, China; Kate Holmquist, a junior communication major from  Middleton, Wis.; Jean-Michel Habeck, a senior marketing major from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Josh Koch, s senior double major in marketing and manufacturing management from Cedar, Minn.; Joann Blom, a senior marketing major from Thief River Falls, Minn.; Melissa Blawat, a senior agricultural business major from Viking, Minn.; Jie Yang, a senior agricultural business major from Shaozing, China; Steph Thomas, a senior double major in business and marketing from St. Albert, Alberta, Canada; Yuan Ding, a senior agricultural business major from Hangzhou, China; Scott Steuck, a junior communication major from Dassel, Minn.; David Anderson, a junior business management major from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Tyler Roed, a sophomore sport and recreation management major from Devils, Lake, N.D.; Eric Fisher, a senior business major from Hartland, Wis.; Mike Boebel, a sophomore sport and recreation management major from Deerfield, Wis.; Amoy Carty, a senior hotel, restaurant and tourism management major from Sandy Point, St.Kitts & Nevis; and Xi Zhou, a senior business management major from Chong Sing, China; and Vaughn Loomis, a senior business management major from Walker, Minn.

Through the University of Minnesota, Crookston, CRES is a grant funded organization that assists entrepreneurs in Northwestern Minnesota with the development and creation of their entrepreneurial enterprise. CRES serves eleven counties including Beltrami, Clearwater, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau.  CRES is located in Dowell Hall 117. For information, call 218-281-8595 (cres@tc.umn.edu), or visit www.umccres.org.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photo, back row (l to r): Lisa Loegering, Vaughn Loomis, Mike Boebel, Eric Fisher, Scott Steuck, Joann Blom (in front of Steuck);Tyler Roed, David Anderson, Jie Yang

Middle row: Rachel Lundbohm, Stephanie Thomas, Josh Koch; Amoy Carty, Yu Cheng, Yuan Ding, Melissa Blawat, Xi Zhou.

Seated: Courtney Bergman, Linda Kingery, Chuck Schulstad, Barb Schulstad, and Sarah Reese.

Not pictured: Kate Holmquist and Jean-Michel Habeck

Contact: Rachel Lundbohm, instructor, Business Department, 218-281-8190 (rlundboh@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

Jason Brantner, research fellow at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center Brantner_Jason 237.jpg(NWROC) located in Crookston, Minn., was recently recognized with the Sugarbeet Distinguished Service Award. The award is based on recent significant contributions to the success of the sugarbeet industry in Minnesota and North Dakota. The award was presented on Thursday, December 1, 2011, by the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association during their annual meeting.

Brantner has been actively involved in the NWROC sugarbeet plant pathology project since January 1995.  He works closely with Carol Windels, Ph.D., in setting up and maintaining experiments; collecting data; summarizing research results; and helping to write reports.  He also helps coordinate trials with grower-cooperators, and other cooperating scientists at the NWROC, North Dakota State University, sugarbeet cooperatives, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratories.  The sugarbeet industry and growers have benefited from the quality of his work and consequently, the value of data related to disease management of soilborne pathogens, especially Rhizoctonia and Aphanomyces.  

He has taken particular interest in working with registered and non-registered fungicides for control of Rhizoctonia and Aphanomyces and has screened products with potential for pathogen control, as well as practical information on products, rates, and application.  Brantner took the initiative in identifying Verticillium dahliae as the cause of yellows on sugarbeet and determined the disease occurred when sugarbeet was grown in rotation with potato (also susceptible to the pathogen).  

Throughout the summer, he is involved in the accurate and timely identification of pathogens on diseased sugarbeet samples submitted to the laboratory. Brantner also maintains an extensive culture collection of sugarbeet pathogens, which is a resource for the plant pathology project as well as researchers and teachers in industry, USDA, and other universities, who often request cultures. In recent years, Brantner regularly presents research papers and posters at professional meetings of the American Phytopathological Society (national society of plant pathologists) and the American Society of Sugarbeet Technologists. He has authored 59 technical articles, 5 refereed journal articles, 1 book chapter, and 23 abstracts presented at professional meetings as oral papers or posters at the American Phytopathological Society and the American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists.  
 
In 2006, Brantner was awarded the University of Minnesota Department of Plant Pathology  Professional and Academic Award of Excellence, and in 2007, he received the University of Minnesota, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Distinguished Professional and Academic Award. 

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.
 

Contact: Maureen Aubol, 218-281-8602 (aubo0002@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

2011_12_Poinsettia Class 0305.jpgHundreds of rooted poinsettia cuttings arrive in August in anticipation of another holiday season. For seven students involved in the commercial floriculture class at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, those cuttings have developed into a beautiful poinsettia crop under their skill and coaxing.

This year's poinsettias create a beautiful and colorful display with their showy "flowers" known as bracts and include varieties such as Freedom Early Red, Freedom Early White, Freedom Early Pink, Ice Punch (red bracts with pink centers), Red Glitter (red bracts with speckles of white) and Prestige Maroon (deep red bracts).  

Members of the fall semester class include: Mitch Allore, a senior majoring in golf and turf management from North Mankato, Minn.; Ben Sullivan, senior majoring in natural resources from Crookston, Minn.; Clay Schmitt, a senior majoring in golf and turf management from Delano, Minn.; Kevin Coyne, a senior majoring in golf and turf management from St. Paul, Minn.; Chad Harrer, a senior majoring in golf and turf management and horticulture from Brooklyn Park, Minn.; Kelsey Leake, a junior majoring in horticulture from Emerado, N.D.; and Josh Trottier, a senior majoring in golf and turf management from Devils Lake, N.D.

The students started the process of forcing the plants to induce bract color in time for the holiday season in October. Following a specific procedure to control the light, the students covered the plants with a dark cloth at 4 p.m. and uncovered them at 8 a.m. each day to regulate the length of daylight the plants receive. The students are responsible for greenhouse chores on the weekends as well. Although the class is taught by Sue Jacobson, the crop is in the hands of the students. The work and production of the poinsettia crop is entirely the responsibility of the class.  Jacobson says "It's better to learn expensive lessons in school than at your job.  We don't fire the students."

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Department offers commercial floriculture as part of the horticulture program to teach students to produce quality plants for a specific date - a skill necessary for employment in a greenhouse or garden center. "Poinsettias form their colored bracts, when the light is regulated," explains Jacobson. "The poinsettia really doesn't have a blossom like most flowers. Instead, the colorful red, pink, or white petals are modified leaves known as bracts. The blossoms are actually the small yellowish clusters in the center."

Jacobson often allows problems to develop to see how the students will solve them--poinsettia_tree.jpgsomething they would have to do in an employment situation and giving them an opportunity to apply what they have learned. The class demands hard work, dedication, and a strong team effort to grow the best poinsettias. Leadership and responsibility are two of the qualities that develop in this type of teaching and learning environment.

"Students learn so much from applying their classroom learning to real-world experience," Jacobson explains. "By taking responsibility for the crop, the students are accountable for the outcome making the commercial floriculture class one of the most memorable for the students." The class is excellent training for a career in horticulture, a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. To learn more about the horticulture program with emphases in environmental landscaping, production horticulture or urban forestry, visit www.UMCrookston.edu/academics.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and more than 40 concentrations, including several online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of about 1,400 undergraduates from more than 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photo at top are members of the fall semester class including: back row (l to r):  Mitch Allore,  Ben Sullivan, Clay Schmitt, and Kevin Coyne. Front row: Chad Herrer, Kelsey Leake, and Josh Trottier.

In the lower right photo shows the poinsettia tree in the Sargeant Student Center.

Contact: Sue Jacobson, horticulture instructor, 218-281-8118 (sjacobso@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

Severson_Russ 6726.jpgRuss Severson, Extension educator in crops, will be retiring on December 29, after 38 years with the University of Minnesota. A retirement reception, celebrating Severson's career will take place on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, from 3 - 5 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.  

Severson began his career in 1973 as a Research Scientist at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston, Minn. In 1986, he joined University of Minnesota Extension where he served as a county educator in Polk County, eventually serving both Polk and Red Lake counties. Since 2008, Severson has served as Extension educator for crops programs in the Extension Regional Office in Crookston.

Over the past 38 years, Severson has planned and participated in numerous educational programs and coordinated and conducted applied research in crops vital to the economic and environmental sustainability of the people in Northwest Minnesota.  He has been active in the West Polk County Crop Improvement Association and Soil and Water Conservation District and the Minnesota & National Association of County Ag Agents. He was the recipient of several awards including:  USDA Award for Superior Service from the Farm Credit Mediation Program; NACAA Achievement Award and the Distinguished Service Award; West Polk County SWCD Friend in Conservation Award and Minnesota Crop Improvement Association Honorary Premier Seedsman.

The Severson retirement reception is taking place at the conclusion of the Soybean College Workshop held the same day at the U of M, Crookston. For more information on the Soybean College, visit www.extension.umn.edu. The brochure and registration form can be downloaded.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Deb Zak, director, Extension Regional Office, Crookston, 218-281-8684 (dzak@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

A breakfast of German Toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage will be served by HolidayPoster1[1].jpgthe Study Abroad Club from the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The breakfast will be held on Sunday, December 11, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the American Legion, 102 South Ash Street, Crookston, Minn. Homemade holiday baked goods also will be available for purchase. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door for adults and $3 for children under 10 years old.

For more information, contact Rae French, advisor to the Study Abroad Club at 218-281-8339.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: : Rae French, coordinator, study abroad, 218-281-8339 (rfrench@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

The University of Minnesota, Crookston and the Crookston community are in for a treat Leopoldphoto.jpgthis Thursday evening, December 8, 2011,  when the U of M, Crookston Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society will sponsor the showing of Green Fire - Aldo Leopold and a land ethic for our time. A documentary of the life of Leopold, the father of wildlife management, the film also tells the story of the national wilderness system and the science of ecological restoration. He also had a key role in integrated land use which led to what is now the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The film is free and open to the public and commences at 7 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. Student chapter representative, Kelsey Kaiser, can provide further information and can be reached at kaise233@umn.edu


"Aldo Leopold is considered the most important conservationist of the 20th century,' according to Dan Svedarsky, U of M, Crookston wildlife professor, "because his ideas are so relevant to the environmental issues of our time. I've been a Leopold disciple since my college days in the 60's but seeing the synthesis of his life in this film was a powerful, moving experience." Leopold founded the first wildlife management program in the nation at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

His classic book A Sand County Almanac still inspires us to see the natural world as a community to which we belong. Green Fire explores Leopold's personal journey of observation and understanding, It reveals how his ideas resonate with people across the entire American landscape, from inner cities to the most remote wild lands. The film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the land.

"Green Fire" is the first feature documentary about Aldo Leopold's life and contemporary legacy. It features commentary from conservation leaders including scientists, ranchers, scholars and three of Aldo Leopold's children--Nina, Carl, and Estella. Curt Meine, history professor and Leopold's biographer, serves as the on-camera guide, making connections between Leopold's ideas and their expression in the conservation movement today.  
 
Leopold's notion of an evolving land ethic provides the backbone of the narrative. It was the organizing idea that defined not only his personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth but in many ways the development of the American conservation and environmental movements over the last century. In particular, Leopold sought to resolve the long-standing (and often divisive) tension between the preservationist and utilitarian strains of conservation thought, policy, and advocacy.

"Green Fire" also examines the theme of community--both within the natural world and in the social context of conservation. The related themes of sense of place, stewardship, and responsibility derive from Leopold's notion of community and connect his story to creative contemporary expressions of an environmental ethic. His personal journey is part of a still larger, longer-term, and unfinished journey of Americans (and indeed people around the world) as their relationships to the natural world continue to evolve. The contemporary stories woven into the film illustrate Leopold's continuing influence today, while also demonstrating a diversity of human relationships to nature.

Central to the film is the image of the "fierce green fire" that Leopold saw in the eyes of a dying wolf.  In his famous essay, "Thinking Like a Mountain,"  Leopold reveals a transformation in his own basic values.  His journey to a new way of looking at the world provides the narrative arc of the film as Curt Meine sets out to explore both the man and his contemporary legacy.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Dan Svedarsky, director, Center for Sustainability, 218-281-8129 (dsvedars@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, communications, University Relations, 218-281-8342 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

Boredom won't be a problem for Alumna Amy Brown. At any given moment, the 2008 brown_amy2.jpggraduate may be driving through North Dakota terrain, boating across a river, or watching from above in her 2006 Cessna 182. Originally from Lake George, Minn., she finds herself living a life she has dreamed about for a long time.

Brown is a game warden/pilot for the state of North Dakota. With that role comes a great deal of responsibility for this young woman, but she remains undaunted.  

"In high school as a post-secondary-enrollment-option student, I met with Dan Svedarsky to ask what classes I should be taking in preparation to attend the University of Minnesota, Crookston," explains Brown. "I have known I wanted to be a game warden since I was in my early teens. It combined my interests in natural resources and law enforcement and Crookston happened to be one of just a few places I could pursue my dream."

She discovered her love of flying when she decided to earn her private pilot's license as a student on the Crookston campus. "It is funny that I decided to add a major in aviation, because before I came to campus, the only flight I had ever been on was one to Disney World with my parents," Brown smiles.  

"I ended up falling in love with flying," she continues. As a result, her major included law enforcement aviation and natural resources law enforcement. She interned in summer 2008 for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake, N.D.
Brown liked her study at the U of M, Crookston. "It is something I hold dear," she reflects. "I have a lot of respect for Chief Pilot Mike Vivion; he has a lot of experience and a lot to offer students. I learned a great deal from him."
It might sound cliché but Brown enjoys the kind of serenity she finds in the air. And, she treasures the opportunity to see what most of the rest of the world will never see from her vantage point in the cockpit.

Her job isn't focused solely on flying. She spends plenty of time on the ground or in a boat on the water. It all depends on the time of year and the demands of the job. She can be involved in a search-and-rescue effort or flying at night looking for spot lighters. "If the state needs a pilot, I am in the airplane," she declares. "As the primary pilot, I am kind of always on call."

Those demands prove the most challenging aspect of her work, but it is a job Brown loves and finds deeply rewarding.
Brown is one of only a few women in the field. Vivion explains, "I am not sure how many women conservation officers the states have who also fly, but I'm guessing the number is close to one.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has nine pilots and none of them are women."

Brown doesn't think about this fact much. She is concentrating on the job she has always wanted to do, and that fact is the only one that matters to her.


In the photo: Amy  Brown attended the meeting of the Program Improvement Audit Committee for aviation in October.

Contact: Mike Vivion, chief pilot, 218-281-8114 (mvivion@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

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