News & Stories

Stories

People, fire and pines
Restoration of fire to a remnant red pine woodland at the CFC

People, Fire and Pines: How Fire Use by the Anishinaabeg Shaped the Boundary Waters

In this piece, Clare Boerigter explores the false-yet-still-dominant narrative of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as a wilderness “untrammeled by man,” drawing on the work and knowledge of a range of Ojibwe and non-Ojibwe experts to understand the influence of the Anishinaabeg on the forests of the Boundary Waters. The relationship between the Anishinaabeg and fire is a central part of this story. Today, however, fires historically lit by the Anishinaabeg have been removed from the Boundary Waters. When lightning fires do occur on this landscape (as they did during the summer of 2021), state and federal agencies work hard to suppress them. Ecologically, spiritually and relationally, this absence of fire has been felt across the forests of Boundary Waters. In speaking with a range of folks, including Lane Johnson (CFC Research Forester) and others with ties to the University of Minnesota, Clare investigates the questions: Are there ways to live with fire, instead of suppressing it? In what ways, by attempting to live without fire, have we harmfully impacted both land and people? And what can the Boundary Waters – a wilderness frequently defined as free of human influence – teach us about the relationships between people and fire? To explore these questions with Clare go to: z.umn.edu/PeopleFirePine.

 

black and white photo of forests with text overlay of "60 years at the Cloquet Forestry Center"

60 Years at the Cloquet Forestry Center

In a collection of six multimedia Storymaps titled “60 Years at the Cloquet Forestry Center,” Clare Boerigter tells stories of the CFC’s work, people and life from 1960 to 2020. In the collection, Boerigter explores the pioneering work of scientists Isabel Ahlgren and Gordy Gullion, highlights the CFC field sessions, which have educated University of Minnesota forestry students for the past 96 years, and dives into Conservation Education Days, a hands-on learning program which has introduced Carlton County 5th graders to forestry since 1968. To tell these stories, Boerigter interviewed over 40 foresters, land managers, professors, students and Cloquet-area community members, including members of the Fond du Lac Band, on whose reservation the CFC resides. Throughout the collection, audio clips and historical and contemporary photos are integrated into the narratives to help tell these dynamic stories. The collection ends by looking to the future and asking CFC staff and Fond du Lac Band members to envision what changes the coming years will bring to the Cloquet Forestry Center.

view looking up the trunk of a red pine tree surrounded by several other red pines

The Camp 8 Story

Clare Boerigter weaves a compelling narrative about the unique ecology, history and cultural significance of a 44-acre stand of 200+ year-old red pines on the CFC. Drawing on archival and contemporary research, in-depth interviews with local foresters and community members, and video footage, images and descriptions of the stand, this multimedia article tells the story of these red pines while underscoring the powerful relationships which visitors, community members and CFC staff have developed with these ancient trees. These relationships, as well as the stand’s historical, ecological and cultural significance, are set against the backdrop of an undeniable reality: today, Camp 8’s red pines have begun to die, with fire exclusion and climate change advantaging a number of other species over a new generation of red pines.

News

Cloquet Fire of 1918: Could it Happen Again

August 17, 2023

Lane Johnson, Research Forester with the UMN Cloquet Forestry Center explains to Fox 21 Local News that fire can be beneficial when done as a prescribed burn.


Questions about CFC Land

February 6, 2023


View From the Woods 2023

January 9, 2024

Check out the 2023 newsletter recap from the Cloquet Forestry Center. 


Restoring fire to the Cloquet Forestry Center

November 15, 2022

Collaboration between the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U of M opens new chapter, embraces the role of Indigenous fire in shaping the Center’s forests


How Indigenous Knowledge Reconnects Us All to Fire

September 20, 2022

By elevating Traditional Ecological Knowledge, a forestry center in Minnesota works to restore ecosystems and Indigenous sovereignty.


Even modest warming could cause major changes for forests in the Great Lakes region and southern Canada

August 10, 2022

Even relatively modest climate change could dramatically alter Minnesota’s Northwoods and the southern boreal forest that runs from eastern Canada to Alaska, according to new research recently published in Nature. 
 


Once-ignored Indigenous knowledge of nature now shaping science

July 27, 2022

This MPR story and radio segment explains the growing interest in incorporating Indigenous knowledge into the policies and practices of Minnesotans working with forestry and wildlife. 


Sagor promoted to Extension Professor

June 8, 2022

Eli Sagor has been promoted to Extension Professor at the University of Minnesota by the Board of Regents.  A group of his peers reviewed his prodigious body of work, including leadership of SFEC, numerous publications, assistance to professional organizations, mentorship of graduate students and teaching efforts and affirmed that the value he has brought to the University of Minnesota and the State was worthy of the rank of Extension Professor.  Their recommendation was then made official when the Board of Regents approved the promotion. Congratulations Eli!


A "treemendous" time forestry workshop at Northern Lights Community School

May 7, 2022

Rachael Olesiak, Research Plot Coordinator with the Cloquet Forestry Center, provided instruction to students from the Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) team at Northern Lights Community School during the YES! workshop on March 10 where students used hands-on activities to learn about their school’s woodland. Read the full story at the Grand Rapids Herald Review.


(Un)Natural Selection: Rekindling Wilderness

March 11, 2022

A recent episode of [Un]Natural Selection, a radio program produced by northern Michigan's Interlochen Public Radio, reports on the tree-ring fire history research of Lane Johnson and his colleagues. Listen to the entire story on Interlochan Public Radio