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    Sarah Hobbie talk 7/7/2020 Cedar Creek Research

    Click here to get a pdf of Sarah’s talk     Ely_Group_2020_Hobbie_small

    Zoom Meeting with Tuesday Group July 7th at noon

    Hi folks

    On Tuesday July 7th we will be having a joint Climate Change and Tuesday Group meeting. This will be at noon Tuesday, not our usual 10am time. Our guest is Prof Sarah Hobbie from the University of Minnesota. Sarah will give an overview of the natural history of the U’s research station at Cedar Creek. She will also discuss the implications of the pandemic for long term research.  Her title is “Long Term Ecological Research at Cedar Creek”.  This should be a treat!


    To join click this link

    CC and Tuesday Group Zoom    July 7th at 11.45 am for a noon start

    Meeting ID: 896 3191 8520      Password: 497568


    Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is a 5,500 acre experimental ecological reserve operated by the University of Minnesota in cooperation with the Minnesota Academy of Science. It is located in Anoka and Isanti Counties about 30 miles north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, just east of Bethel, Minnesota. It has many ecosystems and species found throughout the forests and grasslands of North America. Faculty, staff and students who work at Cedar Creek are dedicated to understanding how human activities, such as agriculture and fossil fuel combustion, are changing ecosystems.

    Many of the experiments at Cedar Creek consider the long-term consequences of human-driven environmental changes. These include ecosystem responses to biodiversity loss, nitrogen deposition, elevated carbon dioxide, warming and changes in precipitation, and exotic species invasions.

    Sarah’s research focuses on three main areas:

    • the influence of changes in atmospheric composition and climate on ecosystem processes;
    • the effects of urbanization and suburbanization on biogeochemical cycles; and
    • the influence of plant species on biogeochemical processes.


    Sarah Hobbie is an American ecologist, currently at the University of Minnesota, a National Academy of Sciences Fellow and a Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professor. She is an ecosystem ecologist, known for her studies of terrestrial carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems ranging from tundra to cities.

    Sarah grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from Carleton College in 1986 with a degree in biology and earned her Ph.D. in 1995 from the UC Berkeley. As a graduate student her research was on the effect of increased temperature in Alaskan tundra on net ecosystem CO2 uptake.

    Her family has a cabin on Burntside Lake. They escape to the northland whenever time permits.

    Here are links to more information:           Research at Cedar Creek       and      Sarah’s lab at U Minn


    Happy 4th July


    Zoom Meeting June 2nd 2020

    Hi folks

    We plan a zoom call for our Tuesday 10am June 2nd climate change meeting. To join click this link

    Ely Climate Change Zoom Meeting       and give the password    723803


    This month we will be joined by Mike Forsman. Mike is a Lake Country Power Director for the Ely area (District 2). Recently we heard that Great River Energy plans to close its large “Coal Creek Station” plant in North Dakota. You can read some details here Coal Creek Station   and here Great River Energy   Wind energy will provide the replacement power with some battery backup. This will be less polluting and we are all pleased for that. Will is also be cheaper? Will it be reliable? Since LCP buys its power from Great River Energy these changes affect us personally.

    Maybe Mike will also be willing to discuss what is involved in being a LCP Director and give us a feel for the possibilities and problems he sees ahead as we move to more renewable energy.

    Thank you Mike for joining us. Thanks also to Ranae for setting up the zoom using her professional membership. This avoids limits on time and participants that come with free memberships.


    Be well. Wash your hands.


    Zoom Meeting 10am May 5th

    Hi folks,

    We plan a zoom call for our 10am May 5th climate change meeting.  You do not need to download any software to participate. Zoom has been responsive to recent criticism of “zoom bombing” and is becoming a standard for communication. We plan to use all their security features.

    If you have not zoomed before and would like a practice session send me an email with your preferred time and I’ll set it up. This would be a short session to chat and get used to the platform. Just a couple of weeks ago I was learning this myself.

    For May 5th the main discussion will be on a new modelling tool called En-ROADS that anyone can use to try out various policies to keep the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 Celsius. Do you think we should cut coal use? Plant trees? Tax carbon? You can see how these choices and many more affect energy use and climate. En-ROADS was developed at MIT and released to the public early this year. You can find it here: En-ROADS  If you have time try it out before the meeting. If you have lots of time look at some of the training videos, especially #1 and #2. You can find them here  En-ROADS training videos  You don’t need to have the model up and running for the zoom meeting – you can watch my version.

    On another topic, you might be interested to watch the controversial video from Michael Moore “Planet of the Humans” It is free and you can find it here  Planet of the Humans It raises many topics worth discussion, maybe we should talk about it at the June meeting.

    Email me for instructions to access the May 5th zoom meeting.

    Thanks to Ranae for setting up the zoom using her professional membership. This avoids limits on time and participants that come with free memberships.


    Be well. Wash your hands.


    NO Climate change meeting April 7th 2020

    Hi folks

    There will be no meeting of the climate change group in April 7th, or on May 5th. Beyond that we will have to see. Let us resume as soon as it is safe. This virus will pass although it will take a while. Climate change will still be with us. We understand better now how fragile our infrastructure is and how quickly things can change.

    Our guest for April 7th CC and TG was to be Brenna Doheny from HPHC (Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate) to talk about the public health aspects of climate change. Thanks Brenna for planning to come, we hope we can eventually get you scheduled again. Thanks also to VCC for offering to host us for both months.

    In the news recently note that the feds are rolling back Obama’s mileage standards for cars and pickups, and that the EPA is relaxing enforcement of rules on pollution. Presumably to help industry – but hurting climate. With so much shut down, emissions will be down this year. But efforts to address climate change are also on hold as we deal with the current emergency.

    As you spend time at home here are some interesting links.

    A new modelling and teaching tool has been released by Climate Interactive and MIT called En-ROADS. It is free, has training tutorials and is amazingly sophisticated. It is user friendly and has easy to run scenarios you might find interesting. This blurb comes from their website: “En-ROADS is a transparent, freely-available policy simulation model that provides policymakers, educators, businesses, the media, and the public with the ability to explore, for themselves, the likely consequences of energy, economic growth, land use, and other policies and uncertainties, with the goal of improving their understanding.”

    Ranae refers us to a proposal to help us escape the “triple threat” of virus, climate change and inequality. This is posted on which was established by Evan Williams (who co-founded twitter) as a site for articles longer than 280 characters. Maybe you want to sign it!

    This article in the LA Times asks what a coronavirus-like response to the climate crisis would look like:

    Richard found this piece of good news about bacteria that consume methane released from permafrost:

    Does the group want to try to meet by skype or zoom? Email me if you are interested.

    Be well. Wash your hands.


    Climate meeting Mar 3rd 10am VCC Fireside Room

    Hi folks

    Our next Climate Change meeting will be March 3rd at 10am at the Fireside Room at VCC. To find the Fireside Room, go to the cafeteria and walk through the back of the cafeteria to the stairs or elevator. Walk or ride to the top which is the 3rd floor. The Fireside Room is along the corridor. It has spectacular views, a fireplace, AV setups, tables we can arrange, all the amenities.  We are inviting VCC students to join us. There will be some of the best cookies you have ever tasted! FYI Tuesday Group that day will be Kris Hallberg “The Economic Impact of Twin Metals: The Harvard Study”.

    We are meeting at VCC because March 3rd is voting day “Super Tuesday” It is Minnesota’s first presidential primary. The Senior Center will be busy as it is a polling place.  Meg Heiman and Bill Tefft are our hosts, thank you. Meg is teaching Comp 2, her students have chosen Climate Change as the topic for their writing this semester. We will resume our regular climate meetings at the Senior Center in April.

    At this meeting we plan a general discussion of climate change. Bring your questions and ideas. What aspect of the problem worries you? We can include the big topics like energy, food, population, immigration, and climate justice issues. If the “Green New Deal” gets passed will it solve our problems?

    We can also try to cover some local affects like changes in species of trees, animals and bugs. We may also be facing droughts, floods and wildfires. There will be public health impacts too. Should we try to mitigate, adapt, or both? What actions can we take either personally or as a community?

    Come and meet some VCC students. Share your hopes and concerns. Eat some cookies.

    There is one piece of sad news, our friend Helmut Buettner died earlier this month. We will miss his wit and wisdom. You can read an obituary here:

    Next month (April 7th) our climate change program and that day’s Tuesday Group will be on issues around climate and health. Brenna Doheny will represent the network “Healthcare Professionals for a Healthy Climate”. Let your neighbors know.

    Our flyer for the March 3rd VCC meeting is below.

    Hope to see you on Tuesday March 3rd, 10am VCC Fireside Room




    Flyer for March 3 meeting

    VCC flyer

    Climate Change Meeting Jan 7th 10 am Ely Senior Center

    Hi folks

    Our next Climate Change meeting will be January 7th at 10 am at the Ely Senior Center. Our visitor Randy Kolka from Grand Rapids is also speaking at Tuesday group. Randy will tell us about the projects underway at the USFS station near Grand Rapids. One of these experiments is named SPRUCE “Spruce and Peatland Responses under Changing Environments”. Randy is the lead scientist. You can see some images of this huge experiment here:

    I took this text from that same website

    Seeing the Future

    Researchers experiment with climate change in a northern peatland.   by Amanda Kueper

    “Welcome to a warmer future,” reads the sign above the door to the strange translucent cylinder towering in the middle of a Minnesota peat bog.

    Inside the 26-foot-high, open-roof chamber, dozens of high-tech instruments with names like dendrometer, phenology camera, and mini-rhizotron are collecting information on the plants, soil, water, and air within the 1,000-square-foot patch of damp bog. A warm breeze streams steadily from an air duct, and underground heaters radiate warmth into the soggy earth, keeping the chamber a toasty 16 degrees warmer than the surrounding forest peatland.

    “Things have bloomed in here four to six weeks earlier. The blueberries were ripe three weeks before” berries outside the chamber, says Stephen Sebestyen, a hydrologist for the U.S. Forest Service who’s giving visitors a tour. “I mean, look at this,” he says, gesturing toward a small bog rosemary plant with swelling buds, ready to flower. “They’re not doing that within the ambients”—by which he means unheated chambers—”or outside.”

    There are 10 chambers like this one nestled within the Marcell Experimental Forest, a 2,800-acre piece of the Chippewa National Forest north of Grand Rapids. They are part of a “whole ecosystem warming experiment” called SPRUCE—Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments.

    The goal of the SPRUCE project is to help understand how climate change will affect Minnesota’s vast stretches of northern forest peatlands—expansive wetlands that are home to millions of spruce and tamarack trees, dense carpets of moss, and a huge variety of birds and other wildlife.

    Randy has offered to host a tour of the site for those of us who are interested. I assume this would be in the spring or summer. Come talk with him and find out the details!


    Hope to see you on Tuesday



    Dec 3rd 2019 Meeting 10am Ely Senior Center

    Hi Folks


    Our next meeting will be Tuesday December 3rd 2019 at 10 am at the Ely Senior Center. The topic will be “recycling”. For your information Tuesday Group for that day is Tyler Fish “Crossing Greenland”.

    We now have a Climate Blog for our group. You can find it here:  You should find other items of interest at  Many thanks to Richard Watson who runs the site for setting this up and teaching me to use it. I will continue to send out monthly emails about a week before each meeting, but I’ll also put that info on the web site. Eventually maybe we can just be web based? Send me your thoughts on what would be useful to post. So far we have a book list, a climate change talk, and some history of our past meetings.

    What happens to the stuff we put in the recycle bins? What can we do about single use plastics? What is the big picture? Are there bright spots in other parts of the globe? China used to import recycled materials from us, but does so no more. Here is a summary:

    This reference is for the nerds who need graphs and numbers on the China story:

    This link compares recycling in the US to other countries

    But some good news, Minneapolis has a “bring your own bag” ordinance starting Jan 1st. After this date bring your own bag or pay 5c for a store bag (paper or plastic). Duluth is to follow in April 2020. How about Ely? Research shows that even a 5c charge has an effect

    Plastics are hard to reuse, but paper, glass and aluminum can be processed into new products many times. Here is what happens to paper:


    On another topic, the UN’s World Meteorological Office (WMO) has just released a report summarizing greenhouse gas data for 2018. This has made the regular news channels, it is not good news. Next year, 2020, is particularly important to assess the effectiveness of commitments made in Paris and to update them. There is a lot of work to do.


    Thank you, Happy Thanksgiving

    Barb Jones

    Ely Senior Center is at 27 S 1st Ave next to Ace Hardware

    Climate Change talk – Minnesota DFL Northern MN Issues Forum at VCC Oct 12th 2019