The last few weeks have been a real rollercoaster of information. Considering that geography is a new aspect to the LAKES REU, we have been devoting a lot of our time to collecting a solid base of information on the watershed. We've also spent a good chunk of time gathering our toolbox of software and hardware. On top of that, we've also been digesting an assortment of readings on multidisciplinary approaches to geography, political ecology, and social networks.
Most of the contextual information has been gathered in a few large gulps. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Census Bureau have provided large amounts of raw data to make some base maps to work with; however, the story of the Red Cedar watershed is a little more complex than that. From a meet-and-greet in Chetek, I learned that tourism provides a large source of income for locals, and without good water quality this tourism will disappear, leaving towns like Chetek dry of a major source of income. I've also learned how to operate some mapping software that I was not familiar with before, which I hope will be useful as we continue our work.
From here, I would love to figure out the difference in views between between locals, and those that visit the Red Cedar. I think understanding this difference would be very beneficial in crafting policy. I hope to gain more insight into this difference by looking into past surveys, and by giving input on surveys being sent out from my fellows in the REU.