Impact: Winter 2023

January 31, 2023

Forging collaboration with fire

Firefighters monitor a prescribed burn at the Cloquet Forestry Center.

In this issue of Impact, our feature story takes you on a journey to the Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC) a 3,400-acre forest within the Fond du Lac Reservation, where a collaborative effort embraces the role of Indigenous fire practices. You’ll also meet award-winning alumni brothers and hear from a CFANS freshman who shares her experiences from the Minnesota Youth and Global Youth Institutes. Read Dean Buhr's full message


CFANS Insights climate survey graphic.

CFANS Insights survey: 76% of Minnesotans concerned about climate change

A CFANS Insights survey conducted in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership looks at Minnesotans’ perspectives on climate change. According to the survey, 76 percent of residents, and 85 percent of Gen Zers, are concerned.



Entomology department head Sujaya Rao with a bug on her arm at the Minnesota State Fair.

Let’s just eat the bugs

Entomophagy – the practice of eating insects as food – is common in many cultures around the world, with bugs on the menu as a delicacy or as a regular part of an everyday diet. Learn more from Department of Entomology Head Sujaya Rao, PhD, who is working to change social perceptions about it. 



Vern Northrup.

Ojibwe firefighters restore fire to the Cloquet Forestry Center

Last spring, Vern Northrup stood beneath the red and white pines at the Cloquet Forestry Center and lit the first prescribed fire the forest had seen in 20 years. Northrup, an elder of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and firefighter for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was restoring fire to the CFC, a 3,400-acre forest within the Fond du Lac Reservation.



Michael and Geoffrey Graham.

Plant breeding runs in the family

CFANS alumni brothers Michael and Geoffrey Graham recently received University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Awards for their agricultural leadership, innovation, and knowledge-sharing. They were both individually recognized with this distinguished award, the highest honor the U of M bestows on its graduates.   



Paulo Pagliari stands near the designated east African crops at the Lamberton research and outreach center.

Home field advantage

East African immigrants are expanding Minnesota's crop culture to include foods – such as jute mallow and spider wisp – native to their home countries. Researchers at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, MN and the Sand Plain Research Farm in Becker, MN are partnering with immigrant farmers to incorporate culturally significant crops into the state's agriculture. 



Grace Finnerty.

A passion for food security

Grace Finnerty, a CFANS freshman studying plant science, writes about her experiences as a 2022 Minnesota Youth Institute and Global Youth Institute participant.



Mary and Harold Tilstra.

Smart giving benefits students, donors

Ask Mary and Harold Tilstra why they support CFANS students and they’ll give you these three words: connections, opportunities, and possibilities. The recently retired couple, both U of M graduates who met as freshmen, are passionate about helping students find unexpected ways to discover new ideas and meet people they might otherwise not have known as they pursue their college degrees and careers beyond.


Larson Gallery.

The In-Between Moments

In fall 2022, the Larson Gallery in the St. Paul Student Center featured the work of Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing students. They captured the hidden stories of food, agriculture, and natural resources, taking visitors through the in-between moments of caring for our plants, animals, and environment. 


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