gichi-manidoo-giizis manoomin 2011

By , January 26, 2011

gichi-manidoo-giizis 2011 Great Spirit Moon (January) camp began at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College with a Feast and Ceremony. Year two brings new challenges to the group as we study the wild rice lakes’ past, present and future.  Lake Team 4 spent most of the day Saturday on Mud Lake while Lake Team 5 and 6  worked in small groups carving snow snakes, water table study and studying fluid dynamics. Student wrote about what they learned and were interested in studying.

Lake Team 4 at Mud Lake

By , January 26, 2011

After a good day coring Mud Lake the team went back to the Natural resources lab for further examination of the cores.

manoomin Lake Teams 2011

By , January 26, 2011

Lake Team 4 Mud Lake Teachers  – TJ Ray, Thomas Yellowman, Rachel Breckenridge; HS Students – Dana Houle-McFatridge, Joe Schwartz, Riley Howes,  Chelsea Williams, Emily Roy, Kyle Yellowman; College Students –   ; FDL Natural Resources – Tom Howes, Charlie Nagonab; LacCore – Amy, Brady, and Bob

Lake Team 5 Jaskari (Mid Portage) Lake Teachers – Cameron Lindner, Dusty Rhodes, Andy Wold; HS Students – Mario Lozoya, Warren Mountain, Gye Houle-McFatridge, Zhaa Zhaa Greensky, Jaelisa Northrup, Bill Redding, Amber Schwartz; College students – ; FDL Natural Resources – Tom Howes, Charlie Nagonab; LacCore – Amy, Brady and Bob

Lake Team 6 (Big) Rice Lake – Teachers- Lowana Greensky, Courtney Kowalczak, Carolyn Olson; HS Students – Wayne Greensky, Alden Kaiser, Zane Kaiser, Willow Johnson-Fuller, James Lozoya, Zane Kaiser, Winona Blue Bird; College students – ; FDL Natural Resources – Tom Howes, Charlie Nagonab; LacCore – Amy, Brady and Bob

manoomin January Student Reading Assignment

By , January 26, 2011

All manoomin students are to read the Talking Rocks article by Ron Morton and Carl Gawboy (see below) and bring the completed worksheet (see below) with them to February camp (Feb 4-6, 2011). This assignment is required. Turn in worksheets to Rachel on Friday when you arrive. Any questions or are having trouble reading this assignment please contact a teacher.

Talking Rocks (pdf)

manoomin Reading Assignment 1: The Wolf’s Head (Word document)

High School manoomin poster – Year 1

By , December 31, 2010

manoomin created a poster  based on research completed during their first year on the manoomin project. This poster was presented at the Geo-Science Alliance in Cloquet, MN, Fall 2010 and at the opening Feast of manoomin year two, January 2011

Follow this link to the LacCore poster created based on research completed during their first year on the manoomin project. This poster includes work by college and high school students.

GLOBE Fall Phenology Study

By , October 27, 2010

Manoomin students spent much of the day out at Dead Fish conducting a Fall Phenology study. Phenology refers to the recurring plant and animal life cycle stages, such as leafing and flowering, the aging process  of agricultural plants, emergence of insects, and migration of birds. Many of these events are sensitive to climatic variation and change, and are simple to observe and record. As an observer, everyone can help scientists identify and understand environmental trends so we can better adapt to climate change.

Students prepared PowerPoint presentations to the entire group in an culminating forum.

manoomin Phenology Presentations – Group One, Group Two, Group Three, Group Four

Geo-Science Alliance

By , September 18, 2010

gidakiimanaaniwigamin-manoomin students were invited to attend the Geo-Science Alliance Conference held at the BlackBear Casino, in Carlton, MN. The Geoscience Alliance is a national alliance of individuals committed to broadening participation of Native Americans in the geosciences. It’s members are tribal colleges, universities, and research centers; native elders and community members; students (K12, undergraduate and graduate); formal and informal educators; and other interested individuals.

The conference goals are designed for participation in talking and learning circles on the issue of broadening participation of Native Americans in the geosciences, as well as meeting others who share your goals, developing new partnerships and collaborations. Students attending could learn about jobs, scholarships, research opportunities, college programs, internships; present a research poster; and tour the reservation.

Teachers could learn about the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program; discover new methods for bringing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education into the classroom; see hands-on demonstrations of classroom activities developed by scientists and educators; meet college, tribal college, and university researchers who are interested in partnering with schools and educators to increase student STEM participation; learn how science fairs can generate student excitement about STEM; meet potential student mentors; connect with other teachers as well as learn about opportunities for students.

gidakiimanaaniwigamig students were involved in a number of activities: demonstrating the watershed table, presenting their manoomin study posters, and creating a painting after learning about the work of artist George Morrison. They also were included in the discussion surrounding “pooping out the core” by LacCore-UM/FDL Natural Resources Scientists. Core studies are the focus of a five year study of the wild rice lakes of the Fond du Lac Reservation in Minnesota. Read more in the September issue, page 13 of the Nahgahchiwagnog Dibahjimowinnan.

After looking through  the poster exhibits gida-manoomin students were asked to answer the following questions in paragraph form. You can view their responses by click on the Comments link. Students are encouraged to update/re-write their essays.

1. What were they studying and why was it important to them?

2. What was their experiment?

3. What was their conclusion?

High School manoomin Students Study at LacCore Labs

By , August 21, 2010

During the week of Aug 2-6 manoomin students and teachers from the Cloquet area worked with scientists and grad students at the University of Minnesota’s LacCore Laboratory testing the cores collected from the Fond du Lac Reservation last winter. During the months of January, February and March teams work with the Natural Resources to collect cores in preparation for further this additional study.

Students looked for pollen (pine, birch,etc.), phytolyths, diatoms, and macro-fossils (plants). Much of their time was spent looking carefully at the “mud” taken from the collected core with their eyes and through a microscope. Deductions were made by the students with the Scientists to determine what the land was like in the past.

Students also spent time an enjoyable time at the Frank Theatre doing improvisational theatre and original writing. One day was spent enjoying the the Walker Sculpture Garden and the Como Zoo.

A Scientific poster reflecting year one’s study of the wild rice lakes was on display at the Geo-Science Alliance Conference at the Black Bear Casino, Sept 16-18, 2010, at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College – gidakiimanaaniwigamig office and Biology Dept, the Ojibwe School Special Education Dept., ISD 2142 American Indian Student Services and the AlBrook (now South Ridge) Science Department.

Mini-REU Abstracts

By , August 4, 2010


For the diatom analysis we focused on the sediment cores from Perch Lake; two samples were analyzed near the surface of the core (representing recent conditions) and three samples were analyzed from deeper sediments (representing approximately 3,000 years before present).   Diatoms were identified to genus and also grouped as benthic or planktonic.  Benthic diatoms live on the lake bottom, attached to sediments or aquatic plants, planktonic diatoms live suspended in the water column.  Since diatoms are photosynthetic, a low of benthic diatoms indicate the lack of light penetration to the lake bottom which would indicate turbid conditions.  Our first four samples were dominated by benthic Fragilaria species; these species tend to dominate shallow lake systems and can live either attached to bottom substrates or suspended in the water column.  We found the largest shift in diatom species assemblage between 319 cm and 379 cm sediment depth.   In the bottommost sample, there was decrease in benthic  Fragilaria and an increase in Navicula and Achnanthes species, as well as in the planktonic genus Cyclotella.  This suggests that water level may have been deeper at this time, due to the presence of the benthic genera Navicula and Achnanthes as well as the increase in the plantonic diatom species.


Why is pollen so important to our community? We found pollen in lake sediments from 10,000 years ago to the present time. We found a high abundance of spruce pollen at 600 to 700 cm, around the time the lake was first formed after the glaciers melted. This was followed by a high abundance of red-jack pine pollen from 425 to 700 cm. White pine pollen increases about 550 cm, estimated to be about 7000 years ago. Dates are estimated pending radiocarbon dates. There is a decrease of red-jack pine and an increase of white pine during the last ~4000 years.  This increase in white pine is usually thought to be caused by a change to cooler or wetter climate. Another interesting change is the increased abundance of grass pollen in the last several thousand years. Wild rice is a grass and this could represent an increase in wild rice abundance in the lake, but its pollen cannot be distinguished from other grasses so it is not clear what type of grass increased. Our data show that the forests of the region have change a lot over thousands of years and raise many questions about the role of climate and native people in these changes.


The results from the macrofossil analysis of Perch lake core 1C show the development of the aquatic and terrestrial vegetation since the last glaciation. Needles of spruce in the oldest sediments indicate the late glacial spruce stands around the lake. In the same period, the aquatic vegetation was represented by slender naiat (Najas flexilis) and pondweed (Potamogeton sp.). Seeds of birch and needles of pine between 600 and 350 cm indicate the arrival of these trees around the lake. In the littoral zone, spikerush (Eleocharis sp.) and common cattail (Typha latifolia) appeared. High amounts of seeds from slender naiat and pondweed between 250 and 350 cm indicate most probably a change from oligotrophic to mesotrophic conditions in the lake. However, after this change occurred, the amount of seeds from the slender naiat and pondweed has decreased. In addition to this, macrofossils of Chara sp. and Bryales sp. have been found in the sediment between 150 to 0 cm.

The top 90 cm of core 1A from Rice Portage lake were studied for macrofossils in order to determine whether or not wild rice (Zizania sp.) was present in the past. Our results show macro-remains of wild rice between 30 and 60 cm. Macrofossils of pine, spruce, birch, johnswort, common arrowhead, rush, sage, pondweed, slender naiat, and aquatic mosses were found as well.


The glumes (seed cases) of different grasses produce different assemblages of phytoliths. Phytoliths are silicon-dioxide accumulating cells found in all grasses. Phytoliths were recovered from glumes of zizania palustris from several localities: Perch Lake, Koochiching County, St. Louis County, and Hubbard County. A river rice sample was obtained from Clay County. A sample of Zizania aquatic was collected from Ohio, and Zea mays from North Dakota. The method we used to describe the phytholith assemblages was initially developed by Dr. Susan Mulholland, and refined by Dr. Thompson. This method consisted  of: taking images of the phytoliths, identifying the phytolith physical structure, measuring the structure, entering data from each sample (50 phytolith forms each)  and combining into a database allowing comparison of the samples. A program called PAST was used for statistical analysis. We used principal components analysis, multi-dimentional scaling, and cluster analysis to determine the differences between the samples. We saw that Z. palustris aquatic, and Zea mays each produced different assemblages of phytoliths. This establishes the utility of this method to identify wild rice from sediments or other contexts.

Jobs to think about…..

By , August 3, 2010

Does your work in the manoomin project encourage you to look towards a job in Natural Resources (Natural Resource folks watch over the earth, water and air for a healthy future. See FDL Natural Resources site by clicking here.

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