Week 1: June 11-15, 2012

By Ann Solano, Team ZAAGA’IGAN

On the 11th of June 2012, I arrived on the Amtrack at 7:00 am. I don’t really know what I was thinking because I didn’t print a street address for Middlebrook. I read the email and printed where we had to meet at the Loring Pasta Bar. There were directions on the email from Middlebrook to the Pasta Bar. I asked 3 taxi drivers if they knew where Middlebrook was and all three replied no.

I jumped in with the first and knew I would have to figure it out. As we were driving and talking he told me all of this was the U of M. The campus was huge with no end in sight. So I told him to drop me off at the 10th Avenue bridge because I will have to work backwards from the directions but knew I could figure it out. Three different people gave me three different instructions and I went three different ways. I had my luggage, a bag, and a blanket so it was getting a little annoying. I finally parked it under a tree in the shade. I broke down and searched for Diana’s number. I was so relieved I didn’t drive like I first intended to. There was so much construction and one ways, I would have been overwhelmed. The price seemed to be expensive also.

Diana saved me and picked me up. I asked her about a Staple’s because my laptop cord wasn’t working. She dropped me off at Middlebrook and later took me to get a cord. I didn’t ever think I would become so dependent on a computer. I think back to the days I couldn’t use a computer and I have come a long way from before I started school. Now I am hooked on my laptop.

We ate dinner at the pasta bar. There were two tables of us and I was informed that there were to be more students coming. The pasta bar was very interesting. It almost seemed to be like a museum. The architecture was very unique. Each place I looked I could spend at least a good 10 minutes in awe. It was an old building restored. It had very beautiful masonry work done in it. There were a lot of people inside so the background noise for me was a bit difficult to hear. But I manage.

The first day Diana went through a run-through of all that was expected from us. We were told of a schedule of where we will be and what is expected of us. As time went on we went through the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and the LacCore Facility also. We met with our mentors and talked about our projects and where and with whom we’d be working. The St. Anthony Falls Lab was very nice and right on the Mississippi. They had a stream lab, did some work with wind tunnels, and also with Deltas by Exxon. One guy showed some work he was doing for the transportation department. All looked to be very good for experimenting on river or stream bottom, making me anxious to get to work and get going.

I am relieved that Friday we are finally heading to Fond du Lac. I want to get to work and stay busy. I like doing something all the time. I have done so much walking to keep myself busy. I am hoping to build up to running by the end of the summer. On all the walking I have done I saw a lot of beautiful wildflowers. While driving, a person really misses all the scenery and beauty of the land. Just have to be prepared for the rain or I’ll be drowned out like a little rat like on Saturday. June is obviously rain season and we are right in the middle of the season.

Nice reservation, it reminds me of Turtle Mountain Reservation and is from the same tribe. The area is filled with lots of little lakes and ponds. It seems to be very high in precipitation and vegetation. I heard a lot of different animal calls as I was walking and was told of a variety of different wildlife. I can’t wait to be out to get to work.

There are a lot of different reservations and I am sure this will be an eventful summer. I think we will be going to AMQUA conference next weekend. I prefer having things planned so we are occupied. When I am not busy I head out to go walking. Seems to me it will be an eventful summer and can’t wait to get to work. We have three teams and it appears I’ll be working on Phytoliths or Charcoal.

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About Diana Dalbotten

Diana Dalbotten is the Director of Diversity and Broader Impacts for the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota; and for the Geoscience Alliance, a national alliance for broadening participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences.

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