Blogosphere

Staying safe in our “new normal”

NDDC's Downtown Northfield - Sun, 05/17/2020 - 6:39am

Even with the Governor’s stay-at-home order lifting tomorrow, there remain many questions about how we as a community can safely resume our day-to-day activities.  There are many great resources out there for businesses, employees, and communities to consider, but we wanted to share at least a few here that we found to be interesting and helpful.  Check them out and be well!

From MN DEED: Safely reopening and returning to work: What businesses and workers need to know

From MN Retailers’ Association: Guidelines For Retailers Re-Opening

From Main Street America: Reopening Safely: Helpful Tips for Community Leaders and Small Business Owners

Categories: Organizations

Entrevistas con Jose Fulgencio de 4H y Angelica Linder de la biblioteca

KYMN Radio - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 5:03pm
Seguimos hablando del impacto de la pandemia y tuvimos las visitas telefónicas de Jose Fulgencio de programas de 4 H de la Universidad de Minnesota Extension en el condado de Rice y Angelica Linder de la biblioteca.

Mayor strikes hopeful tone in annual State of City address

Northfield News - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 12:15pm
After a COVID-19 induced delay in the mayor’s annual State of the City speech, Rhonda Pownell delivered a hopeful online address Friday night.
Categories: Local News

Forest Therapy

KYMN Radio - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 11:50am
Forest Therapy refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest.  There is a long tradition of this in cultures throughout the world. It’s not just

Disability Services looks to update name, asks student body for input

Carletonian - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 9:49am

Disability Services, a branch of the Division of Student Life, works to provide Carleton students with equitable access to academic, social, technological and physical elements of campus life. And while the office works closely with students who have documented disabilities, “disability” as a nominal term has come into question in recent years. At Carleton, the term might not best represent the office’s mission and range of services. 

With that in mind, the office is looking to change its name.

“I think Disability Services is an adequate name, in that it’s something that most people approaching college who need accommodations are familiar with,” said Chris Dallager, Director of Disability Services. “So it’s traditional. It’s a name that the vast majority of colleges and universities had or still have.”

But in recent years, there’s been a movement at colleges across the country to reconsider the language within the name, explained Dallager.

“For some people, the word ‘disability’ is important,” said Dallager. “And if you take ‘disability’ as a word out of the name, there could be a concern that you’re not really saying what you are, what you work with.” 

“But on the other hand, there are a lot of students at Carleton who need and qualify for the resources that our office can provide, but they don’t think of themselves as having a disability,” he continued. “And the word feels heavy, or too big. And so some students don’t even think about coming to the office, because that word just doesn’t fit them. So, if the name of the office is getting in the way of meeting the needs of the students on campus, that’s a concern.” 

Dallager has had a name change in mind since he started at Carleton, in 2016. “But I’ve held back a little bit, because there’s this tension,” he said. “I don’t want to erase a sense of identity for people who find disability to be a central part of who they are. To take ‘disability’ out of the name has that potential impact, and I don’t want to do that. On the other hand, I also have found a more frequent problem at Carleton, of the people who avoid coming to the office because ‘disability’ doesn’t seem to fit their sense of what they’re dealing with.”

Before coming to Carleton, Dallager previously worked at the University of Minnesota, Morris. There, his office changed its name from Disability Services to Disability Resource Center in 2014. 

Other recent name changes include Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College, both of which now have “Accessibility Services” offices. Middlebury has an “Disability Resource Center,” and Georgetown has a “Disability Support Office.” At Williams, the office is called the “Office of Accessible Education.”

“I think each school needs to look at their own culture to figure out what the name means to the students on that campus,” said Dallager. 

To gather student feedback about the office’s name, Disability Services had originally planned to do tabling in Sayles during Spring term. Instead, for the remote term, the office released an online survey, which was publicized via Facebook and email lists the first week of May.

The survey presented four name options: “Accessibility Resource(s) Office,” “Student Disability Access Office,” “Disability Resource Center” and the current name. 

Respondents rated each name on a five-point scale. “Accessibility Resource(s) Office” received the most support, with 74% of respondents rating it favorably (a score of four or five). “Disability Resource Center” ranked second, with 47% favorable ratings, 26% unfavorable and 27% neutral. 

Results for “Disability Services,” the office’s current name, were evenly divided. “Student Disability Access Office” was not popular, with only 7% of respondents rating it favorably. 

The survey received 133 responses in two days, said Dallager. The majority of responses came in within three days, but the survey remains open

The initiation of this name-change process for Disability Services comes less than a month after the Title IX office, now called Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response, officially changed its name

“I did talk to the Title IX office to hear a bit about how they ran their survey,” said Disability Services peer leader Rebecca Margolis ’21. “But it was a coincidence that it happened at the same time.” 

Disability Services’ six peer leaders had a large hand in designing the survey. As to write-in survey responses, “there are two different camps,” said Eve Chesivoir ’20, Disability Services peer leader. “There are people who want the disability label and people who don’t. I think both of those arguments are completely valid.”

“A lot of people use Disability Services for a variety of mental health issues, or injuries,” noted Chesivoir. “And they wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves disabled. But these people actually would really benefit from the services, but they might not even think to go to our office, because they don’t have a ‘disability.’” 

“My sophomore year, I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues,” she continued. “I had dealt with stuff like that for a long time, but I didn’t consider myself as having a disability, necessarily. And I was told by my counselor at SHAC that if I got in touch with Disability Services, they could talk with me about getting an emotional support animal, and that this would be a good office for me to connect with. And I thought—‘I don’t think that’s really for me.’ There was kind of a disconnect there. I’m really glad I got the services I did from the office, but it wasn’t something I would have ever thought of myself.” 

“There are problems people talk about that they don’t even know are things Disability Services can help with,” said Disability Services peer leader Maya Rogers ’22. “I personally know four or five people I’ve talked to about things like this.” 

Rogers cited some of the lesser-known ways Disability Services supports students. If a student has asthma, for instance, they can work with Disability Services and Residential Life to be placed in a dorm room that is not carpeted. If a student struggles with mental health issues that impact their ability to work, Disability Services can help them receive academic accommodations. For students with dietary restrictions, Disability Services can work with Bon Appétit to arrange for specially-made meals. 

“Over the past four years, I’ve had a number of experiences with students who have said to me, ‘I didn’t think that what I have qualified for anything here.’ That’s happened a lot of times,” said Dallager.

A shift away from the term “disability,” then, might enable the office to provide support to more students. On the other hand, it could downplay what many who use the office consider an important part of their identity. 

“On the flip side, there are students who say taking ‘disability’ out is disempowering,” said Margolis. “Another argument on that end is: are we limiting the idea of disability, or making it seem like a bad thing? There are no easy answers.”

Issues with the current name do not only come from the term “disability.” “Services,” too, might have negative implications. “We have our personal preferences,” said Rogers. “I see ‘services’ as more passive, and almost infantilizing—as in, ‘how do we serve you,’ ‘how do we fix this deficit’—whereas ‘resources’ has more to do with people accessing and utilizing resources at a college. 

Perhaps seeking a middle ground, some schools’ offices have chosen a “hybrid” name. Barnard, for instance, calls its office “Accessibility Resources & Disability Services”; Davidson has an “Academic Access and Disability Resource Office.” 

“Then it gets to be a little bit like a Portlandia episode, where they’re trying to name a street and can’t settle on anything,” said Dallager, “and it gets to be a very long name. So I don’t know if we want that either.” 

Beyond encouraging students to utilize the office, another motivation for the name change is ideological. “We want to make sure we’re situating ourselves within the broader changes,” said Margolis, “and make sure our language is looking like that of the other schools.”

“Part of the reason for this change is that the name ‘Disability Services,’ sometimes, can be based on a medical model,” said Dallager. He distinguished between this “medical model” of disability, which frames disability as a personal impairment, and a social model, which focuses on the environment and the way society is organized. 

“And the barriers in the environment are really the issue,” said Dallager. “So if we talk about ‘Disability Services,’ it almost suggests that we’re ‘fixing’ that person with the disability by them coming to the office and getting accommodations. But if it’s a resource around ‘accessibility,’ that might better suggest that we’re addressing the barriers that are in the environment.”

“I think where the campus seems to be leaning right now, based on that survey, is in a direction toward taking the word ‘disability’ out of the name,” he continued. “But this is one step in the process, and we’re going to take it slowly.” 

Next in the name-change process, Dallager will take the discussion to the Dean of Students Office. 

“We don’t have an exact timeline,” said Margolis. “The next steps will be to take it to the Dean, which—given everything that’s happening right now—might not happen until the late summer. I think this could potentially happen within the next year, but it’s a little up in the air.” 

Apart from discussion around the impact of language, the office is also weighing the practical implications of a new name. “I think it’s important for us to have a brand we’re proud of, and an acronym,” said Rogers. “Pretty much every office at Carleton has an acronym. I mean, we even shortened ‘library.’ From the very beginning of talking about changing the name, I’ve always thought it was really important for it to be something that will be easy for people to say and remember.” 

“The name we have now is not catchy, and it also has a lot of stigma attached to it,” she continued, “both because of the term ‘disability’ and because Disability Services at Carleton has shifted a lot in the last few years. Chris Dallager came four years ago, which was a huge shift, and we have peer leaders now.” 

Disability Services hired its first peer leaders in Fall 2017, with a cohort of five students. Now, the office has six peer leaders, and for the 2020-21 year, it will have nine. 

Peer leaders work on Disability Services programming, do research about mental health and accessibility issues on campus, and work at the front desk. Besides the office work, the peer leaders have been able to continue their regular responsibilities virtually.  

“We’ve had to adjust things a little bit, obviously, but it’s worked pretty well,” said Chesivoir. 

As during a typical term, Disability Services is currently working both with students who have documented disabilities and those who do not, said Dallager. 

One open program is Carleton Academic Peer Support (CAPS), in which Disability Services peer leaders and staff work one-on-one with students on time management, organization, and executive-function skills.

Any student, regardless of whether they have a documented disability, can participate in CAPS. “We meet with mentees once or twice a week, to provide an accountability partner, someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to get support from related to academics,” said Rogers. Rogers’ CAPS meetings often involve a check-in at the beginning, followed by working silently together over Zoom, she explained. “Then we have another check-in at the end—to say ‘what did you get done, what do you have left to do, how are you feeling,’ that type of thing,” Rogers said. 

Disability Services is still working with students through CAPS—virtually now—and has taken in some new CAPS participants since the term started. “Especially as everyone’s transitioning to virtual learning, I think there’s definitely been an increased desire to have people helping each other stay accountable,” said Rogers.

Another program open to all students is PEERS@Carleton, a social skills education program geared toward helping students make and maintain friendships (PEERS stands for Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills). PEERS participants receive one-on-one social coaching with Disability Services peer leaders, in addition to weekly curriculum led by Dallager. 

“It’s mostly directed at students on the autism spectrum,” said Dallager, “but they don’t have to have a spectrum diagnosis, and they also don’t have to have any documentation in place with our office, to be in that curriculum.” 

While programs like CAPS and PEERS have continued as usual in a virtual form this term, Disability Services has seen other changes since the shift online. “There were a couple of significant changes right away,” said Dallager. “Students who are hard of hearing, in some cases, couldn’t continue to utilize the same supports in the online world that they had made good use of in the on-campus world.” 

During the normal term, Disability Services provides students with frequency modulation devices, which include a microphone for professors to wear during lectures. “That same set-up doesn’t work online,” said Dallager. As an online-learning alternative, Disability Services purchased real-time captioning services, which can be used in Zoom sessions. The system includes both automated captioning and the presence of a human captioner who participates in the Zoom call and corrects what the artificial intelligence gets wrong, explained Dallager. 

Dallager and Accessibility Specialist Sam Thayer ’10 both provide one-on-one student support throughout the term, which has continued virtually this term. Dallager has begun meeting with some new students this term, who hadn’t requested such support during on-campus terms. 

“I think there is something different for some students about working online,” said Dallager. “There are certainly things different for me. When you don’t have a whole lot of other people around you doing the same work, I think sometimes it’s hard to hold yourself to the same accountability.”

Last Friday, May 8, Disability Services and Information Technology Services (ITS) announced the availability of “Read & Write” software, a program designed to increase the accessibility of online files. The software can read web pages, PDFs and other files; convert dictated words into text files; mask screens to assist with screen sensitivity and eye fatigue; and provide integrated vocabulary tools. 

“It’s a campus-wide license, so every single person with a Carleton email can make use of that, and they don’t have to have a disability,” noted Dallager. 

On Friday, May 8, the office joined Instagram (@carleton_disability_services). In the last week, they have made twelve posts, which advertize virtual events and introduce the six peer leaders. 

“We really want to make sure that we’re able to connect with students in a way we haven’t been able to,” said Margolis. “We’ve taken inspiration from all the other offices using Instagram. We’re hoping that will be successful and fun, and a good way of getting information out.” 

Last year, Disability Services began publishing a newsletter, as part of an effort to increase visibility on campus. The Instagram is an extension of that effort to create a sense of community, said Dallager. 

“I think now is a pretty good time to focus on the social media,” said Chesivoir. “Because we can’t necessarily do the office work we usually do. But a lot of people are on their phones right now, and scrolling through Instagram a zillion times a day. So I think it’s a good way to increase engagement while we can’t actually be on campus.” 

“We’d been discussing it for a while,” said Chesivoir of starting the Instagram page. “We want to increase our presence on campus—not just among the people who use our services. Because a lot of people don’t think about disability a lot. And I think it’s important for everyone to know about these kinds of things.”

“We really want to do more outreach—getting more people involved, getting more people interested, and building up into an OIIL, OHP or CCCE type of place,” said Rogers. “Because that’s really what we are—another organization under the Dean of Students Office that does work for students.” 

“As a disabled student, I utilize TRIO, I utilize SHAC, the Dean of Students Office, the Writing Center—but it doesn’t seem like ‘utilization’ of Disability Services in the same way,” continued Rogers. “And part of that is just the name association. I think as is, the name sets ‘Disability Services’ apart from everything.” 

“Language changes,” said Dallager. “And over time, we’ve seen language changing around disability, as well as so many other things. And we want to be aware of what the language is saying about us.”

The post Disability Services looks to update name, asks student body for input appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

CarlDems focus on downballot excitement in 2020 election season

Carletonian - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 9:20am

Joe Biden is all but confirmed as the Democratic presidential nominee. He is not the candidate that most of us at Carleton wanted, and there is work to be done within the Democratic Party to make sure the accusations against him are explored to regain trust among the public. So how can we gain excitement as a party, particularly among young people, so that the next few months until an election, one of the most consequential of our lives, can be fruitful?

Last week, CarlDems signed on to a press release from the College Democrats of Minnesota calling for Joe Biden to “fully cooperate with any investigations into the allegations of sexual assault against him,” to “engage in candid dialogue with the public” and “to acknowledge the severity of this issue in the manner in which these responses are carried out.” Jack Coyne’s well-reasoned opinion in the Carletonian a few weeks ago, which explored these allegations and their implications for the party in more depth, importantly acknowledged that the excuse that many prominent Democrats have used when confronted with the allegations against Biden, that he has always been a champion for women. As an organization, CarlDems hopes that party leadership can move away from creating excuses for men in our own party who are accused of assault. Most notably we have proven there is a will to do this in the case of former Senator Al Franken, and the stakes of this election should not be a reason to not hold candidates to similar standards. A third-party investigation is the first step that the Biden campaign should take if they hope to maintain the moral high ground in this election and gain wide support from young people and survivors who can feel secure in their decision to support him. 

It will be interesting to see how his campaign approaches youth engagement and the campaign ramps up in the summer. For now, we wait and see if and how his campaign will deal with these allegations apart from denouncing them and whether the Democratic Party will lead us to compromise our integrity to have to vote for the lesser of two people accused of assault. 

So, what can we do about the vital importance of this election when we have a potentially problematic and uninspiring candidate at the top of the ballot?

Recently, Jon Olson, a retired naval officer and occasional political science professor at Carleton won the DFL nomination for our state senate race in Northfield. Jacob Isaacs’ May 9 Carletonian opinion drew out some interesting points from that process, which I won’t get into here because the process is over, but I will say that I hope that Jon Olson can prove himself to be a candidate that students can get excited about. 

Regaining that senate seat would be huge. 

The Minnesota House is majority DFL while the Republicans control the Senate, and in order for us to be able to recover after this pandemic, getting a democratic majority in the state senate is going to be crucial. Further, getting the senate majority would be incredibly consequential for the redistricting process that will happen after this year’s census. 

We might not have the most exciting candidate at the top of the ticket, but we cannot allow that to lessen our support for our candidates, both for congress and the state House. If you are still in Minnesota or will be returning this summer, you can already request your absentee ballot for the August and November elections.

We work to keep Tina Smith in the senate and Angie Craig in congress, Todd Lippert in the state House and work to get Jon Olson elected to the state Senate. Carleton students stepped up in a big way in 2018, voting in higher numbers than in 2016. For the 2020 election, we need to move beyond just committing to vote, by finding and engaging with the campaigns that we want to support, in our home states and in Northfield. Most of this work is pretty easy to do right from your couch (textbanking, phonebanking, writing letters), doesn’t take much of your time, and makes a massive impact, particularly for down-ballot races. People will likely be more disillusioned and fatigued this election cycle due to the pandemic, so this work is even more crucial. Whether or not we are energized by our presidential nominee, we have got to get people excited and out to vote for candidates at the local and state levels.

The post CarlDems focus on downballot excitement in 2020 election season appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

“Little treasures”: Anna Conley ’20 to search for mushrooms around the globe on Watson Fellowship

Carletonian - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 9:07am

Chemistry major and Spanish minor Anna Conley ’20 recently received the prestigious Watson Fellowship, a national program that funds recipients for a year of international research. For Conley, the Watson will fund a year-long trip around the world to explore her passion: mycology (the study of fungi). As part of her fellowship, she will travel to China, Australia, Chile, the Netherlands, and beyond, exploring fungi and their various cultural contexts. Taylor Yeracaris ’20 sat down (over Zoom!) with Conley to discuss her plans for the fellowship and her passion for all things fungus.

Taylor Yeracaris: What is your fellowship about?

Anna Conley: My fellowship, really broadly, is about mushrooms, or about fungi over all, since mushrooms are only a small part of them. But really it’s about a lot more than just mushrooms. It’s about the people and groups of people who use them. Throughout my life mushrooms and fungi have been something that have brought me together with people, like my family and some very unexpected friends, so I want to learn about the role that fungi play in connecting people to others around them, and also to the natural world. That could look like a lot of different things, from just a hobby—more like I’ve experienced it—to their livelihood or something that they research, and everything in between.

TY: Where will you go on your fellowship?

AC: That’s always open to change. Right now I’m planning to spend some time in the Netherlands, because they have played a huge role in mushroom cultivation. Even though they’re not known for loving to collect mushrooms, they’re the number one exporter of mushrooms in the world, and they’ve developed a lot of the techniques for growing mushrooms. Then I want to spend a little time in the Czech Republic, which is known for its obsession with mushroom hunting—it’s almost like a competitive sport there. Then—and this is still in the works—but I want to travel to some of the regions of Russia and Siberia, where the people, especially the Indigenous peoples, have used fungi for a lot of religious rituals as well as for food. 

AC: Then I want to spend some time in different parts of China, where fungi are revered and have been traditionally used for a long time for food, medicine, and a lot of other things. And then to Australia. Because it’s a very different climate—you wouldn’t really expect fungi in the desert, but there are actually desert truffles that grow there, and they’re a big part of the economy. Originally I found something about the Western Sahara, and how one of the things that has helped the refugee peoples there survive economically is desert truffles, but unfortunately it’s not safe to travel to the Western Sahara. 

AC: And then also to Chile, where I have talked to some organizations who work with Indigenous groups there to identify previously unknown species of fungi in the rainforest and mountains there, as well as their traditional uses. I think that’s all the places I want to go, but it’s very possible that I won’t make it to every single one of them.

TY: How did you find these places and decide where to go?

AC: Well, when it comes to fungi, I really could have found something almost anywhere, because they’re important in pretty much every part of the world in different ways. I wanted to pick a variety of places, where they’re important for different reasons, and also places with very different ecosystems—like from the South American rainforest to Siberia to Australia. And then from commercial uses to research—I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I have also been in contact with a lot of researchers who research new ways that fungi could be used to produce food or to break down trash and things like that. So from cultivation to research to food and medicine and religious use, I tried to include some of all of that. The specifics from there were really just a little bit of luck—who I happened to know or meet through different contacts or some books that I’ve read.

TY: Why are you so passionate about mycology?

AC: I think there are a lot of reasons for that.  I’ve always loved spending time in the outdoors and learning more about the things I see around me, and I think I’ve always had this curiosity about what happens in the ecosystem that we can’t see. For example, underground—that’s most of where fungi do their thing, because they are actually underneath the entire forest. But when I first started getting into mushrooms I really didn’t know any of that. It started out with me as a child with my parents, when they’d take me out to hunt for Morel mushrooms. I absolutely loved it, because I loved searching for and finding them in the forest. They were like little treasures, and I was so proud when I always found more than my family. I would slowly learn the different types of trees they were associated with.

AC: As I got older I started reading more about the biology of fungi, about all the different species, and about the roles they play interacting with the trees in the forest. Fungi are literally everywhere we go, and play a huge role in our daily lives and the lives of the ecosystems we live in. But we hardly know anything about them, and most of the species are not identified. It’s a complete kingdom of life that we don’t really understand. I’m intrigued by that, and intrigued by all the interesting people I’ve met who care about fungi, too.

TY: What sorts of people have you met around fungi? Is there a “fungi type of person?”

AC: I will say most of the people that you’ll meet in the mushroom community, especially in the United States, are at least 50. It’s an older demographic a lot of the time. It’s people who have come into it from different random ways, and they all have completely different lifestyles and jobs, but they will get together in groups to go foraging. They know and connect with each other through their love of searching for mushrooms, and I thought that was cool how that can break down barriers. The biggest example of that I’ve experienced was in Spain. I went to a mycology society conference in Northern Spain—it was kind of a last-minute whim, when I saw it on the Internet, that I decided to go—but I met a bunch of people there. 

AC: There were one or two who were close to my age, but most of them were probably 30 to 50. They were from all different parts of Spain, and had completely different political views, but they’d all been friends for around 14 years, because every year they would come to this conference and search for mushrooms together. They took me with them to search through the forest in France and have a picnic. Then we’d go out and get food and do karaoke. I think they liked that I was so excited about something as unique as fungi, and they took me in. I thought that was a really cool experience. It was all in Spanish, and they called me “their favorite American girl.”

TY: What are you hoping to learn or experience during this fellowship?

AC: I think the main thing that I’m hoping to learn or gain is to build relationships with people who have different perspectives on fungi and the natural world than I do. I’ve grown up collecting and photographing and learning about fungi, and they’re really important to me, but they’re important to a lot of other people in different ways, and I don’t think I can understand that without meeting them. Especially because in the United States people aren’t really in love with fungi, and in fact more the opposite—they think they’re scary or weird or gross—I think learning from people who have a perspective that’s different from that, and who might connect with the natural world in a different way, is the main thing that I want to do. 

AC: I want to learn what things I might be able to take away from those perspectives, or the ways that I might be able to use fungi to help people better use and take care of their natural resources and the ecosystems around them. That could be anything from learning how someone might view their ecosystem differently because they depend on it for the fungi they collect for a living, to talking to researchers who are actually doing projects where fungi might be able to help solve some of our environmental problem. That’s one of my ultimate goals—learning from different people’s perspectives on the natural word and sharing these perspectives when I come back. Really I just want to find a way to use my love of both fungi and the natural world to help better our relationship with the natural world.

TY: What is your favorite fungi fact?

AC: I think something that really impressed me when I was younger was reading books and finding facts about the abilities of fungi that basically made me think that I could invent my own superhero that’s based on a fungus. A mushroom can produce enough force to break through cement— you see them grow through cement and rock. The amount of pressure they produce is huge. And then there are fungi that use temperature gradients and moisture to basically create their own wind, so they’ll create a convection current that will spread their spores. And then there’s the cordyceps fungus, which basically takes over the brain of an ant or caterpillar, makes it climb to the top of a tree, kills it, then grows and spreads its spores from the top of the tree. It’s crazy. And another fact is that they’re delicious! Some of them.

The post “Little treasures”: Anna Conley ’20 to search for mushrooms around the globe on Watson Fellowship appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

A spring chorus: Frogs of the Arboretum

Carletonian - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 9:16pm

If you wander by the ponds in the Arboretum in early evening or after a rain, you may hear what resembles a chorus of fine-tooth combs. This is the call of the western chorus frog (Pseudacris maculate), an elusive tree frog found in open, damp areas. During the first run of the Frog and Toad Survey in late April, a team of Carleton naturalists heard western chorus frogs calling en force, especially near Kettle Hole Marsh, Oxbow Pond, and along the Cannon River. These frogs are tiny but mighty: though nocturnal, secretive, and only ¾ -1 ½ inches long, their sharp preep! call can be heard from up to a mile away. During peak breeding season in late April, male chorus frogs sing during both day and night. 

Aside from their distinctive call, western chorus frogs play an important role in wetland ecosystems. They are considered an indicator species, meaning that changes in behavior or morphology are often strong indicators of pollution or toxic substances in the environment. 

Though it is the most abundant frog species of the Arboretum, the western chorus frog is just one of six frogs that call Carleton home. During the Frog and Toad Survey a few weeks ago, northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) also put on a show near Kettle Hole Marsh with their rattling snores and soft grunts. Named for their distinctive circular spots, leopard frogs are found in grasslands, wet meadows, and forest edges. During summer surveys, leopard frogs can be found hunting for small insects in the prairie. 

Other frogs of the Arboretum include the gray treefrog, Cope’s gray treefrog, bullfrog, green frog, and wood frog. Next time you walk through the Arboretum, take a moment to pause by the ponds and the Cannon River along the way. The spring chorus is a show you don’t want to miss.

The post A spring chorus: Frogs of the Arboretum appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

On privilege, uncertainty, and COVID-19

Carletonian - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:38pm

I’m just going to say it: I’ve never before had my considerable privilege taken away. Sure, I’ve had challenges in my life, but they’ve stemmed from completely expected occurrences—my great-grandmother dying of old age—to downright wonderful experiences—living abroad for a year (how horrible). And forget structural barriers. I may be a woman, but my white, cisgender, middle-classness protects me from most serious modern misogyny. I may be queer, but my lack of a relationship has more to do with my dating abilities than with homophobia. I have always been able to choose who to be, who to love, where to go to college, when to go to college, and what to do when I get there. My life has always been up to me.

You all know what comes next. A pandemic swoops in, moves my college online indefinitely and sends me right back home. The present is no longer mine to control. I learn for the first time what a truly uncertain future feels like.

It happens every single day. I wake up feeling alive and healthy and therefore unmeasurably grateful, and then I read the headlines. At best, they are giant question marks. At worst, they are: “Expect coronavirus, deaths, and lockdowns on and off for the next few years.” A few means three. Three means the amount of time I have left in college.

Not a question mark. Just a big red X.

My brain doesn’t know what to do with it. At night, it oscillates between questions as I lie awake: What major will I declare next spring or Will I even be on campus next spring? What job do I want after college or Will anyone even be hiring after college? And forget Where do I want to study abroad—it’s been entirely replaced by Will I ever leave this god-awful country again?

Chances are, you’ve asked yourself these kinds of questions in the past two months, as well. Maybe you’ve been asking yourself these kinds of questions your entire life. Or maybe you’re like me, new to this whole the-world-is-not-my-oyster thing. Maybe you, too, are wondering how your fundamentally flawed but seemingly stable country has turned into an eerily silent war zone. Maybe images of the future are flashing through your head where the US is no longer a world leader or whatever we liked to think of ourselves, but “that country where COVID really got out of control.”

I’m not claiming that I’m feeling the worst effects of this pandemic. Not at all. Old hierarchies are being transplanted into the future; COVID is laying bare a new structural inequality each day. Still protected by the same white, cis, middle-classness, I will probably be relatively okay.

But “relative” is so different now. It means being able to work online rather than in person. Being able to leave my house for walks and runs instead of being stuck inside. Being able to stand across the room from my grandmother, even if I can’t hug her. And even this, the best of the best in the age of a pandemic, is hard. Physical closeness is not something I’d ever thought I’d lose; now I start sobbing whenever I imagine holding my family and friends in my arms.

It’s not because I haven’t been able to for months. I can deal with temporary goodbyes. It’s that, for the first time in my life, I don’t know how temporary this one will be. My sadness comes from not knowing when loss will end.

If you feel this way, too, whoever you are, imagine some alternate reality. We’re standing in the Bald Spot—campus is alive with people talking, laughing, moving—the chapel bells are ringing—and I’m giving you the hug we all deserve.

This is all I want. It is the only thing I am certain of.

The post On privilege, uncertainty, and COVID-19 appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Draft plan seeks to improve diversity of job candidates, employees

Northfield News - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 4:39pm
A draft Racial Equity Plan includes revisions to the city of Northfield’s hiring process, which officials hope will lead to a greater number of minority candidates for employment and therefore employees
Categories: Local News

Musician Talk 5-13-20 Sam Ryden

KYMN Radio - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 3:36pm
This week on musician Talk, host Pauline Jennings talks with one of Northfield’s promising young performers: singer/songwriter/musician Sam Ryden.

National Peace Officer Memorial Day 5-15-20

KYMN Radio - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 2:14pm
Today just four riders headed up from the Northfield Police Department to remember Fallen Officers all over America. This annual event draws thousands of bicyclers across the country to Washington, DC to remember the Fallen and Law Enforcement United raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for several causes involving the family and co-workers of the

City Council Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 1:02pm
Event date: May 19, 2020
Event Time: 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057
Description:
Members of the public may monitor the meeting electronically from a remote location by dialing a conference number or by watching a live stream available

Conference number: +1 (571) 317-3122
Access Code: 782-693-621

City Council Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 12:58pm
Event date: May 19, 2020
Event Time: 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057
Description:
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3122

Access Code: 782-693-621

City warns of too much manganese for infants in Nfld drinking water; “A long process” as Courts go through backlogged cases; NPD honors National Peace Officer Memorial Day; Nfld State of the City address on tv tonight

KYMN Radio - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director Apparently there’s a bit too much manganese in Northfield’s drinking water. With new testing guidlines, Administrator Ben Martig said safe levels of manganese in drinking water is 300 parts per billion for those older than 12 months and 100 parts per billion for infants one year and younger. In Northfield’s

Obama Admin “Playbook”

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 11:06am

Yes, it’s true, and here it is — finally found the full doc:

Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological IncidentsDownload

Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook

Thanks to Ellen for doing some digging for me, MUCH appreciated.

Categories: Citizens

Local legislators secure farm mediation extension

Northfield News - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:45am
With the legislative session winding down, two local legislators played a key role in helping to secure assistance for farmers struggling to stay afloat amid severe economic challenges.
Categories: Local News

Representative Todd Lippert

KYMN Radio - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:21am
State Representative Todd Lippert comments on the Governor’s most recent order relating to easing restrictions and opening some businesses and talks about the push to get things done during the final days of the Legislative Session.

CANCELLED Mayor's Youth Council Meeting + All Boards and Commissions

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 9:58am
Event date: May 20, 2020
Event Time: 07:45 AM - 08:45 AM
Location:
1400 Division Street S
Northfield, MN 55057

Chief Monte Nelson

KYMN Radio - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 9:38am
It’s National Peace Officers Memorial Day and Northfield Police Chief Monte Nelson talks about how it will be commemorated.  He also discusses the Governor’s recent order for gradually easing restrictions and re-opening businesses.
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