Earlier this month, a new Minnesota Wildlife Management Area was dedicated to Dr. L. Daniel Frenzel, Jr and his wife, Virginia Frenzel. Dr. Frenzel was a University of Minnesota wildlife professor from 1969-1984 and an emeritus professor until his death two years ago. Naming this WMA for Dan honors his legacy as a wildlife biologist and as a mentor of many students aspiring to become wildlife biologists.
Dan was a student-focused professor. He joined the Minnesota faculty at a time when enrollments in fisheries and wildlife courses were skyrocketing, far beyond what the four faculty (2 fisheries, 2 wildlife) could reasonably support. One of Dan’s primary responsibilities was to advise the undergraduate students; another was to teach courses including the Introduction to the Principles of Fisheries and Wildlife Management, one he created to be suitable for students in forestry and other majors. His impact on undergraduates was profound: known as Dr. Dan to students, he is remembered by them and revered as an “advisor extraordinaire”. His courses are highlighted in historical records of the department as having been particularly popular. Over three hundred former students and former colleagues attended his retirement gathering, where he was lauded for his “outstanding contributions to education…and his dedication and involvement as advisor to undergraduate students….”
Even though Dan retired sixteen years ago, alumni occasionally send notes of thanks for Dan’s encouragement and influence as their mentor. Clearly, he touched many lives and helped launch many successful wildlife careers. So it is not surprising that his former students, led by Fred Bengsten, were the catalysts for the dedication of this new wildlife area to Daniel and Virginia.
The Dr. L. Daniel Frenzel and Virginia Frenzel Wildlife Management Area (shown in banner photo) straddles Stearns and Meeker counties, near the town of Kimball. I suspect that he would have been delighted that this 240 acres of habitat for deer, pheasants, waterfowl, small mammals and more exists because it was restored from farmland. The previous owner restored some tracts of prairie 15 years ago and wildlife biologists from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources expanded the prairie and restored wetlands throughout the WMA during the past two years.
I hope you have an opportunity to visit the Frenzel WMA before long. Until then, enjoy some of the scenes of this wonderful restored WMA, named in honor of a truly wonderful mentor. And--if you would like to mentor enthusiastic and hopeful wildlife and fisheries students, be sure to read more about our mentor program in this newsletter.
Tallgrass prairie in late summer….it doesn’t get much better than this!
Mark your calendar and sign up now to attend the FWCB and Conservation Sciences Spotlight: Honoring our Alumni, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, and Faculty. Our annual celebration on Thursday, October 1, 3-5 PM, will be online this year and so easy to attend for alumni and friends near and far. Highlights include undergraduate and graduate student awards, presentation of the Early Career Alumni Award to owl biologist Jon Slaght and the Distinguished Career Alumni Award to wetland biologist and former DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, and “Thesis-in-Three Minutes” presentations by graduate students. The Spotlight will conclude with the Distinguished Professor Lecture by Francie Cuthbert, who will speak on Recovering a conservation reliant endangered shorebird: Four decades of science and progress in the Great Lakes.
- an online auction to benefit the Conservation Sciences Graduate Student Travel Fund.
- a lecture and online book signing by Jon Slaght whose new book -- Owls of the Eastern Ice: The Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl – is getting rave reviews from around the world.
- a lecture by Tom Landwehr, who is now the executive director of Save the Boundary Waters, on his life in research, conservation, and creating policy.
David Wolfson, PhD student in Conservation Sciences, has been busy outfitting trumpeter swans with GPS-GSM collars this summer to study their migration patterns. So far, he has caught 35 swans and has plans to collar 4 more. Additional swans have and will be collared by project collaborators in Michigan, Manitoba, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The story has been picked up by WCCO (CBS), WDIO (ABC), Pioneer Press, Minnesota Public Radio, and many others. Visit the project’s website and listen to Bret Amundson’s “Finding Fur and Feathers” interview with David Andersen to learn more! David Wolfson is co-advised by David Andersen and John Fieberg.
FWCB/MAISRC Graduate Student, Isaiah Tolo, recently had his work on the biocontrol of invasive carp highlighted in the Brainerd Dispatch. When a fish kill on Pomme de Terre Lake in Grant County sparked intrigue from the community, Isaiah was there to collect samples and find answers. Isaiah is advised by Nick Phelps.
Former FWCB postdoctoral associate, Althea ArchMiller, and Associate Professor John Fieberg published a joint lab paper evaluating computational reproducibility in The Wildlife Society’s Flagship Journals. They presented their work to researchers in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow this past July and have been invited to present at and participate in an Open Science Colloquium in Trondheim Norway this October.
Assistant Professor Gretchen Hansen was featured in the UMN Extension Naturalist Podcast Series. In the podcast, Gretchen describes how her fieldwork and mathematical modeling is untangling the complex relationships between climate, lake systems, and fish populations.
MAISRC Extension Educator and Assistant Extension Professor, Megan Weber, has been awarded the 2020 Early Career Award for Extension/Outreach/Engagement. The national award is given by the Universities Council on Water Resources. Megan's work focuses on the development and delivery of AIS education and volunteer citizen science—specifically, the AIS Detectors program. The impacts of the program can be seen through the nearly 15,000 hours of AIS detection, outreach, research, and management completed in just three years by AIS Detectors volunteers.
Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl, written by Jonathan Slaght (PhD Conservation Biology ‘11), was released on August 4. His book shares the trials and tribulations of his research that started while a PhD student working in eastern Russia. Minnesota Public Radio, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Star Tribune, and The London Times were among the many news outlets that featured reviews, excerpts, and interviews with the launch of the book. Jonathan will receive the FWCB Early Career Alumni Award in October at the Fall Spotlight.
FWCB has a scholarship fund for graduate students honoring Dr. Dan Frenzel and Dr. Tom Waters. This fund supports the research of several graduate students each year. If you would like to contribute to this fund or another, please contact Sue Galatowitsch, FWCB Head, or Adam Nance, CFANS Chief Development Officer. More information about making gifts to the department can be found on the FWCB website.
Thanks to everyone who supports FWCB with contributions that provide scholarships, fellowships, research and lectures. Your gift truly makes a difference!
Campus in the time of COVID: 495 Hodson has a regular seating capacity of 90 students, but can only be used for 19 students in classes this fall to allow for social distancing. Classes with more than 25 students are mostly being taught online.