Categories

Caitlin McWilliams

Echinacea Project 2021

I am part of the Class of 2025 at Carleton College and I plan to major in Environmental Studies.

Research Interests

In general, I am interested in helping to conserve natural prairie areas through networks and corridors so that they can become more resilient to climate changes. I am also curious about how to connect with stakeholders and landowners to make this happen, but also how to combine my interest in GIS with prairie restoration.

Statement

I am from Rochester, MN, but my home away from home is our cabin near Lanesboro, where I help to restore the surrounding native prairies, forests, and savannas. I also greatly enjoy hiking the bluffs there with my family and dogs.

Collecting seed with my dad at our cabin for Project Wingspan

Cassie Cunniff

Echinacea Project 2021

I am an Environmental Studies major at Carleton College, class of 2023.

Research Interests

I am interested in studying prairie conservation, as well patch ecology and the effects of fragmentation. I am also very interested in environmental interpretation/education and environmental justice.

Statement

I am from Mount Prospect, IL. In my spare time I like to hike, backpack, go thrifting, and read. I also play softball, and am on the varsity team at Carleton. I also really enjoy visiting National Parks (Glacier is my favorite).

Wanying Na

Echinacea Project 2021

My Major: I haven’t decided yet.

Educational Institution: Carleton College

Expected Graduation Year: 2024

Research Interests

I am interested in studying the evolutionary biology of prairie plants and how to better conserve them.

Statement

I am from Taiyuan, China. In my spare time I like to watch documentaries, walk in nature, read and watch Netflix etc.

(Here’s a photo of me)

Alex Carroll

Echinacea Project 2021

B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science, University of Minnesota-Morris, 2021

Research Interests

I am interested in studying plant-insect interactions such as the role of pollination in plant fitness, and I’m curious what characteristics of fire make it so beneficial for prairie plants.  

Statement

I am originally from St. Paul, MN, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the land of prairies because I just graduated from college in Morris.  In my spare time, I can be found climbing trees, baking cheesecake, and peering at the undersides of leaves looking for insects.  At the moment, my favorite insect is the brown mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea). 

John Van Kempen

Echinacea Project 2021

My Major, Educational Institution expectedGraduationYear – Yikes – no more majors or masters for me.  I will be entering my 33rd or 34th year of teaching nearby at West Central Area Schools.  I teach mainly the physical sciences (chem and physics) but am also fortunate to teach some fun electives.  

Research Interests

I am interested in studying …  The before and after diversity of both plant and insect (bees) species on prescribed burns.  

Statement

I am from … In my spare time I like to … etc.  I am originally from Morris, MN but have spent the majority of my life right here on the prairie.  Currently i live in Elbow Lake, about 20 miles north of Echinacea Project base camp.  I am married to Chris who is an elementary teacher.  I have 4 kids ranging in age from 19- 24, two of them currently in college and one of them a two year Team Echin Project member.  In my spare time i enjoy taking out my two dogs (pictured) hitting local prairies or bird watching and finding ice cream shops on our summer road trips in the Bombus — mobile.  I have always been so impressed by the quality of young people the Echin Project has year after year and am looking forward to this season too.  

(Here’s a photo of my dogs Clyde and Lilly and me below)

Here John (RET participant 2018 & 2019) is measuring in one of our experimental plots with two undergraduate researchers, Jay and Avery

Jared Beck

Team Echinacea 2021

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I joined the Echinacea Project in 2014 as a Research Intern. Before returning to Team Echinacea this winter, I finished up my PhD at UW-Madison in 2020.

Research Interests

I am a plant ecologist and conservation biologist. My research investigates how fire influences the plant reproduction and population dynamics in fragmented prairies.

Statement

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time outdoors: birding; botanizing; exploring the natural world by foot, bike, and canoe; and working on restoration projects. My fascination with ducks borders on obsession.

Alex Wicker

Echinacea Project 2021

B.S. Environmental Science – University of North Carolina Wilmington

7th Grade Science Teacher – Andrew Jackson Middle School, Titusville, FL

Research Interests

I am excited to learn more about how fire affects prairie remnants.

Statement

I am from Melbourne, FL, but I grew up in Sun Prairie, WI. In my free time I love to hike with my husband and my dog, cook and bake, read, and anything that involves being on the water!

Here’s a photo of me!

Maris Woldin

Echinacea Project 2021

Biology Major, College of Wooster 2022

Research Interests

I am interested in learning all I can about plant and insect interactions and using this knowledge to inform conservation efforts. I especially like bees, and I’m excited to gain some new identification skills this summer!

Statement

I am from Louisville, Kentucky. In my free time I like to find new places to hike, hang out with my dogs, bake, and watch as many movies as I can.

Kennedy Porter

Echinacea Project 2021

Senior, West Central Area High School 2022

Research Interests

I am most interested in studying the bees and other insects that are on the prairies. I am excited to see how they can affect the plant life and I am looking forward to studying their different roles in pollination and learning more about it.    

Statement

I am from Elbow Lake, Minnesota. I spend a lot of my spare time with my goats that I milk and show at fairs throughout the summer. I also enjoy running cross country, playing softball, reading a good book, and practicing taekwondo.  

Here’s a photo of me and Wendy!

Emma Reineke

Echinacea Project 2021

Biochemistry, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities 2025

Graduated from Alexandria Area High School in 2021

Research Interests

I am interested in learning how research works and gaining an introduction into professional and college level research. This summer I am interested in studying how organisms and plants genetically change through generations, but in the future I would like to study much more so I can gain a better understanding of the world. My favorite classes have always been science classes so I am hoping to be able to apply what I learned in the classroom to real research!

Statement

I am from Alexandria, Minnesota. In my spare time I like to nordic ski, exercise, read books, play my violin, sew, spend time with my dogs, and be on the lake.

Here’s a photo of me!