Students Uncover the Past Through Pine Trees
Larson's team will spend the next year-and-a-half analyzing the pine remnants and putting together the stories of the past from this wooden perspective
DULUTH, Minn — Today at Duluth Makerspace, there was much activity, and it was all about dead tree stumps and what we can learn from them.
A group of college students from both UMD and Fond du Lac Community College collected centuries-old red pine samples from Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point. They then brought them to Makerspace to sand them down and identify their markings and tree rings. This is done through the science of dendrochronology and will teach them the stories of the trees.
Evan Larson, a Professor of Environmental Sciences at UW-Platteville was leading the charge: “What we’re doing today is taking tree ring samples that were collected from the stumps of long dead red pine trees out on the points, and we’re sanding and sanding and sanding down to a high polish so that the stories that are hidden in these trees’ rings are more easily seen.”
These long-dead samples from either of the peninsulas are incredibly unique. That’s because the Anishinaabe people that used to inhabit Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point would prescribe burns to manage their landscape, creating a one-of-a-kind relationship between man and nature. This is the history that Larson and his team are hoping to learn more about, and eventually, might try to recreate.
“The point of this” Larson explains, “is then to work with members of the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior Chippewa, City of Duluth, City of Superior, the Minnesota DNR, and a lot of other groups too to bring everybody together to have that conversation about how do we restore cultural fires to the points in a good way.”
But before they can do any of that, Larson’s team will spend the next year-and-a-half analyzing the pine remnants and putting together the stories of the past from this wooden perspective.