Teaching and Practice

Column Type

Filter Content by Category

The quieter side of the bridge over the Red Lake River in downtown Crookston, Minnesota. Image courtesy of Caryn Mohr.

Water and Equity

Water has long played an important role in my life. In fact, it played a role in my very beginning. Like all of you, I first lived in a water environment, then was born into this world. A few weeks later, I was baptized with water. This sacrament joins me with many others that share my faith traditions, and water is sacred in many traditions.

Flooding at the Upper Landing in St. Paul, Minnesota, March 2019. Image courtesy of Joanne Richardson.

The Perils and Promise of Using Short-Term Media to Teach Long-Term Climate Patterns

A concern for climate change has burst onto the national media, scientific literatures, and other discourses over the past year. As someone who teaches in design- and natural resource-oriented fields, I feel an obligation to equip my students with critical awarenesses of the patterns, as well as a sense of what they can do, professionally and personally, to face this crisis.

Ruins of Pinhook Union Baptist Church circa 2014. Like all buildings in the village, the church was completely submerged for more than two weeks. It was set ablaze by an arsonist soon after the water subsided and was later demolished along with remaining town buildings in 2015. Image courtesy of David Todd Lawrence.

“The Soul to See”: Toward a Hoodoo Ethnography

In his book, How Racism Takes Place, George Lipsitz (2011: 5) contends that “race is produced by space,” and that “it takes places for racism to take place.” While Lipsitz focuses primarily on the intersection of race and space in urban settings, racialized spatial practices in rural environments can be just as devastating to communities of color, if not more so.

Baudelino Rivero shows one of the streams under protection of the Asobolo watershed organization. He visits this point in a weekly basis as part of his duties helping to monitor water quality. Image courtesy of Kelly Meza Prado.

Putting Suppliers on the Map

While there are many ways of approaching community-engaged research, the way that research projects are set up rarely provides the time and resources to create a research deliverable for community partners. This needs to change. Creating research products for academia and partners advances both science and the conservation work of communities.

Jozini Dam, South Africa, during a drought. Image courtesy of Shira Lanyi.

Paradise Lost: The Struggle to Preserve the Pongola River and its Inhabitants

In December of 2016, I went on the journey of a lifetime to kwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on a faculty-led excursion titled “Summits to Sea” with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Along with nine other students and two faculty members, we traversed across South Africa from the source of the great rivers in the Drakensburg Mountains all the way to their opening in the Indian Ocean. For three weeks, we hiked, swam, and kayaked our way through the various water systems that affect the economy, ecology, and public health in South Africa.

Illustration from “Every Day Epiphany” in "The Changing Story: digital stories that participate in transforming teaching & learning" by Linda Buturian, 2016. Image courtesy of Yong Ye.

The River is the Classroom

The Mississippi River flows just beyond the buildings on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank where my office is. Most days, as I have done throughout my 16 years here, I walk along the river to the classrooms where I teach. It would be hard to find a person on campus who doesn’t share a nostalgic fondness for the river as we glance at it, drive over it, and jog and bike across it. We are happy to claim the river under the bridges, across the…

Field work in the Minnesota basin differed from that of the St. Croix. The rivers were murkier and often lined by agricultural land. Image courtesy of Mark Hove.

Mosquitoes, Muck, and Mussels: A Look Into Scientific Research

The aspiring young undergraduate scientists envision fieldwork as a romantic escape from the office cubicle, classroom desk, and seemingly endless pile of homework. Working alongside experts in their field, they anticipate working in the wildest regions of the world: dense tropical forests, remote mountain ranges, and distant glacial rivers. They see themselves on the forefront of groundbreaking discoveries: truly shattering the scientific community with a cure for Malaria, discovery of a new species, or theory of planetary evolution.