Arriving to Menomonie, WI I expected to see and feel a complete change from where I come from, Texas. I, however, attending Sam Houston State University am fortunate enough to be surrounded with trees, with both the Sam Houston National Forest and Huntsville State Park being nearby, much like Menomonie being surrounded by hundreds of beautiful trees. The city being right on the edge of Lake Menomin leads to beautiful views of the lakes, with my favorite being on the third floor of Harvey Hall on the campus of UW-Stout. I found the city scenic and the daylight hours to be longer, leading to always being confused about what the actual time was. Its charming here and seems like such a peaceful place to live.
Having the opportunity, an amazing one at that, to work on the geography team on the LAKES REU program, under the mentorship of Innisfree Mckinnon, has brought me here to do research. Stephanie, my geography partner, Innisfree, and I have been hard at work researching our numerous research opportunities to do in eight weeks. My personal favorite is attempting our own aerial imagery using a balloon. Sounds a bit silly, but I am thrilled to attempt it. I’m excited about all of the field work I will be able to do, especially since I haven’t had the opportunity to do it before. But let me tell you, I am NOT excited about ticks. I'll learn to manage with them though, and hopefully by the end of the summer I won’t cringe at the idea of ticks. The group environment has been very optimistic with everyone being so excited to be here and be a part of this program. The professors have been nothing but supportive, supportive, and genuinely excited to have us here. There’re also just genuinely cool people.
This week we were able to attend a Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association meeting, which had a presentation on rain gardens. To round out the week we attended the NW Wisconsin Lakes Conference where we were able to watch several presentations about what research has been done so far. My favorite presentation was about the Burnet County Shoreline Restoration Program. The program pays homeowners to restore their shorelines which makes me wonder if this sort of program can be implemented in other counties, such as here in Dunn, who lack natural shorelines.
When not researching, I’ve had the opportunity to explore downtown Menomonie which is full of charm. My goal is to visit all the locations there are, especially all the small cafes. I’ve already been able to cross one off my list, Acoustic Cafe! It was here that I was able to try beer cheese soup, yes, beer. cheese. soup. Let me tell you, it was amazing! It has made me excited to taste what other great wonders I’ll find in downtown. Another local place I got to visit was Lucette’s. My favorite pizza there was the Sweet Honey Love, I already can’t wait to go back! My favorite location so far, however, has been the Devils Punchbowl. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m also excited to visit the Farmer’s Market this weekend and see what all they have to offer. Oh! I also got to try cheese curds which I thought was pretty awesome. They even did the squeak! I can’t wait for what the following weeks will bring and what all I will be able to experience on this journey.