Saint Mary's Newsroom / Campus Notes

Winona Campus Newsletter

Two baseball players interviewed on Cardinals’ Nest [video]

Dixon Irwin, senior baseball player (catcher), and James Green, sophomore baseball player (pitcher), were recently featured in an episode of Cardinals’ Nest, a TV program that airs on Winona cable access HBC TV-25. Cardinals’ Nest is cohosted by Donny Nadeau, sports information director, and Dean Beckman, Communication Department chair and faculty athletic representative.

Watch the interviews:

Two seniors to take next step as Lasallian Volunteers

Two seniors to take next step as Lasallian Volunteers

Saint Mary’s seniors Aldontae Guess and Jessica Bauer will serve as Lasallian Volunteers for the 2019-20 academic year. Aldontae, a psychology major from Chicago, Ill., will likely be serving in New York City. Bauer, an education major from Nerstrand, Minn., will likely be serving in Browning, Mont. Congratulations to both of them!

Admission update for March 15, 2019

Admission update for March 15, 2019

On Saturday, March 16, we hosted our Scholarship Recognition Day and had 80 outstanding candidates for the Class of 2023 on campus to acknowledge their exceptional academic accomplishments. We asked students to tell us what they considered their most important accomplishment, which was shared when they walked across the stage to receive their certificate from Father James Burns. A number of students indicated they were most proud of getting admitted to their top college choice (Saint Mary’s), four students indicated being admitted to the inaugural 3+2 PA program was their most significant accomplishment, and six students indicated achieving the rank of Eagle Scout was their greatest achievement. My point in sharing this is to let you know the Class of 2023 is shaping up to be a class that will have a most profound impact on Saint Mary’s community of scholars.

There are a number of significant recruitment events over the course of the next six weeks, including:

  • Outdoor Focus Day – March 24
    7 students, 13 guests
  • Preview Day – March 29
    35 students, 54 guests
  • Admitted Student Day – April 8
    9 students, 11 guests
  • New Student Orientation and Registration – April 13
    85 students

When you see a prospective student and their family on campus, please introduce yourself and spend a few minutes making them feel part of the Saint Mary’s community.

— Daniel Meyer, vice president for enrollment 

MCA hosts award-winning youth art exhibit throughout March

MCA hosts award-winning youth art exhibit throughout March

WINONA, Minn. — Throughout March, Youth Art Month, the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) has filled the walls of the Valéncia Arts Center at 1164 W. Howard St. with Minnesota winners of the 2019 MN PTA Reflections arts program. Students in kindergarten through grade 12 are displaying artwork for the show titled “Heroes Around Us.”

For 50 years, the National PTA Reflections arts program has encouraged students across the nation to explore their artistic talents. PTA Reflections is designed to promote cultural arts in schools, encouraging students to create works of art in photography, literature, visual arts, music, dance, film, and special artist categories.

Out of hundreds of entries from throughout the state, 37 winners were selected. Eight winning entries from Winona include:

  • Winona Middle School students Adele Jacobsen (Outstanding Interpretation in Visual Arts), Clay Cottrel and Lacey Kimmerle (Awards of Merit in Visual Arts);
  • Washington-Kosciusko Elementary students Cael Hoarn (Outstanding Interpretation in Photography), Annie Colon (Award of Merit in Literature), Lindsey Langowski, and Kali Thompson (Awards of Merit in Visual Arts); and
  • North Star Unit student Seamus Schwaba (Outstanding Interpretation in Literature).

Outstanding Interpretation entries have advanced to the National PTA competition in Alexandria, Va., for national level judging which is currently underway. The Minnesota PTA Reflections arts program is chaired by Lori Ortega of Winona.

This gallery exhibit is free and open to the public throughout March during office hours and while classes are in session. For more information about the National PTA Reflections program and Minnesota PTA, visit mnpta.org. Learn more about MCA at mca.smumn.edu.

Photo caption: Artwork of Adele Jacobson, seventh-grader from Winona, Minn., who was awarded first place in Outstanding Interpretation in Visual Arts and is going on to compete at the national level.

Country artist to perform, raise mental health awareness

Country artist to perform, raise mental health awareness

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will host national award-winning mental health speaker and country singer Jason DeShaw on Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in its Page Theatre.

For more than a decade, DeShaw has been performing across North America and Europe. The Montana native has released five albums and shared the stage with national country music acts including The Oakridge Boys and Little Big Town.

In 2010, doctors diagnosed DeShaw with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. As he began to recover, he became an advocate for mental health by combining his story and songs into a presentation titled “Serenity in the Storm.” Since 2013, he has presented in theatres, schools, and psychiatric hospitals across the nation.

DeShaw received the 2014 Champions Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an award that recognizes an individual with a mental illness who reduces stigma by “exhibiting courage, leadership, and service on behalf of people with mental illness.” in 2017, DeShaw presented his program to clinicians and researchers at Harvard’s McLean Hospital.

The community is invited to this free performance. No tickets or registration are necessary. Learn more about DeShaw at jasondeshaw.com.

Photo by Joy Novota

Page Series to present We Are The Willows concerts, activities

Page Series to present We Are The Willows concerts, activities

WINONA, Minn. — The Page Series at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will present a week-long residency with orchestral indie-rock band We Are The Willows on March 25-30 at locations throughout Winona. The residency culminates in a performance at the Page Theatre on Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m.

We Are The Willows is a Minneapolis-based orchestral indie rock band featuring songwriter/frontman Peter Miller’s unique countertenor voice and guitar, supported by Jeremiah Satterthwaite (guitar/banjo), Leah Ottman (violin/voice/keys), Hilary James (cello/voice/keys), Travis Collins (bass), and Stephen Lindquist (drums/voice). We Are The Willows crafts dynamic, intimate songs with instruments and voices combining to create energetic rhythms, intricate melodies, and heartfelt arrangements that evoke shared nostalgic feelings of love and loss.

After performing at Twin Cities clubs and festivals like Mid West Music Fest, We Are The Willows has expanded the scale of their touring and residency work and will bring their concept album, “Picture/Portrait,” to the Page Theatre stage. Inspired by 350 letters written by Miller’s grandparents during World War II, “Picture/Portrait” explores themes of family, separation, life, death, and identity. The songs communicate complex ideas delivered with nostalgic, pop-sensible charm. Throughout the performance, images will illustrate Miller’s family stories. About the album, Andrea Swensson of “The Current” said, “ … in the hands of Miller, already and accomplished songwriter and vocalist, it becomes a story not just about his grandparents but about anyone who has ever been pushed down into the darkness and pulled out again.”

In the week leading up to the performance, the Page Series will offer free workshops, artist talks, and pop-up concerts with We Are The Willows:

  • Rhythm and Muse Workshop: This three-part workshop invites Winona Friendship Center members to explore their own family histories and discuss creative processes, develop creative habits and practices, and explore songwriting and storytelling together. (March 26 and 27 from noon to 2 p.m. and March 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Valéncia Arts Center. To register, call 507-454-5212.)
  • A Page in History: Miller will discuss the process of creating “Picture/Portrait,” and Winona County Historical Society staff will give an introduction to preserving family archives. (March 27 at 3 p.m. at the Winona County History Center.)
  • Music Industry Panel: Representatives of We Are The Willows and Treedome Productions discuss album creation, recording, and navigating the music industry. (March 27 at 5:30 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, Saint Mary’s Performance Center.)
  • Artist Talk: We Are The Willows will discuss their music and creative process and offer a sneak peek of their March 30 concert. (March 28 at 12:10 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, Saint Mary’s Performance Center.)
    Homeschool Music Workshop: A songwriting and music-making workshop for members of the Winona area homeschool community. (March 29 at 1 p.m. at the Valéncia Arts Center. To register, visit pagetheatre.org.)
  • Willows Around Winona: Band members will offer short, pop-up performances as a preview to their March 30 performance.
    • Winona Public Library: March 25 at 4 p.m.
    • Senior Living at Watkins: March 26 at 5:15 p.m.
    • Blue Heron Coffeehouse: March 28 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Island City Brewing Company: March 29 at 5:30 p.m.
    • Winona Farmers Market: March 30 at 10 a.m.

To learn more about residency activities, visit pagetheatre.org. Tickets to the March 30 concert are $15 for the general public and $12 for youth ages 17 and younger. Tickets can be ordered online at pagetheatre.org, or by calling the Saint Mary’s Performance Center box office at 507-457-1715 (noon-6 p.m., weekdays).

About the Page Series

Now in its 32nd annual season, the Page Series connects professional performing artists from around the globe with thousands of Winonans each year. With events at the Joseph Page Theatre on the campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, as well as at locations across the Winona community, the Page Series offers dance, music, and theatre performances, workshops, classes, and more that inspire, uplift, educate, and invite community members to discover the relevance of the arts in their daily lives.

Page Series community programs are made possible, in part, through grants from the Xcel Energy Foundation and the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. We Are The Willows residency is made possible through a Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Tour grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Submit your requests for Saint Mary’s Spruce Up Winona Day

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Volunteer Mentors are encouraging individuals, organizations, and churches in Winona to submit requests for service for the 12th annual Spruce Up Winona event.

Spruce Up Winona is an annual spring event where students volunteer and engage with the Winona community. Volunteers will be available from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 13, to help with spring-cleaning, raking leaves, painting, or other chores. The students are ready to work if you supply the materials needed (paint, brushes, rakes, tools, etc.).

Requests must be made by Sunday, April 7, to the Office of Campus Ministry at Saint Mary’s University by leaving a message with Kirsten Rotz at 507-457-7329 or krotz@smumn.edu. In the request, please include a description of the work, address of the location, and the estimated time it will take to complete with three students.

Saint Mary’s University honors five during annual Founders’ Day celebration

Saint Mary’s University honors five during annual Founders’ Day celebration

WINONA, Minn. — In celebration of its heritage, Saint Mary’s University presented awards to the leader of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, as well as one faculty member, one staff member, and two outstanding seniors at its annual Founders’ Day celebration March 12 on the Winona Campus.

Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, Superior General of the De La Salle Christian Brothers received an honorary doctorate of educational leadership. In his position, Brother Robert leads the largest order of religious Brothers in the Church dedicated to education. The honorary doctorate recognizes Brother Robert’s dedication to the Lasallian charism, especially his service to the poor and his commitment to education. Prior to being named Superior General in 2014, Brother Robert served as General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN). He also served as a trustee for Saint Mary’s University from 2011-2014. Brother Robert has said his mission is to “inspire the Brothers and all members of the worldwide Lasallian family to create and sustain communities of human and Christian education, especially for vulnerable young people who live on the margins of contemporary society.”

Dr. Tricia Klosky, Criminal Justice coordinator and department chair and associate professor in Social Science, received the Brother Charles H. Severin, FSC, Award. Given by the university every other year, this award is bestowed on a faculty member who demonstrates sustained excellence in teaching, contributes to the university outside of the classroom, builds community by serving as a model of the Lasallian spirit, and is a creative, passionate, and inspiring teacher. Dr. Klosky, who has taught at Saint Mary’s for 17 years, has successfully grown the Criminal Justice major and demonstrates her commitment to students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Alisa Macksey, executive director of the First Generation Initiative, received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award. Presented each year, the award recognizes a member of the faculty, staff, or administration whose life of faith and service exemplifies the ideals of Saint John Baptist de La Salle. The award is given by Lasallian institutions like Saint Mary’s in the Lasallian Region of North America of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to honor contributions and commitment to the Lasallian mission of education. Macksey has worked in various roles within the Lasallian network since 2000 and has led the First Generation Initiative at Saint Mary’s since 2015. She also has been instrumental in developing the AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education and the International Symposium on Lasallian Research.

Max Champa and Bailey O’Hare were named this year’s Outstanding Male and Female Seniors. Outstanding Seniors have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership, service to colleagues and the university community, as well as genuine concern for the needs of others. Champa, son of Bill and Marykaye Champa of Bloomington, Minn., is a business intelligence and analytics major. O’Hare, daughter of Tim and Brenda O’Hare of Rushford, Minn., is a biology major. Other Outstanding Senior nominees included: males: Aldontae Guess, Zechariah Kitzhaber, Bailey Melz, and Nathan Young; females: Tatiana Jones, Marissa Kinzer, Erin McCoy, and Laura Sonday.

See more photos from the day at smumn.edu/founders2019.

Saint Mary’s raises $21,000 for Winona boy battling leukemia

Saint Mary’s raises $21,000 for Winona boy battling leukemia

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University has surpassed its goal of raising $20,000 for this year’s Taylor Richmond Benefit recipient Joseph Row of Winona.

Joseph is the 11-year-old son of Darren Row who teaches in the Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics Department of Saint Mary’s University. Darren and his wife, Jill (Arens) Row are also alumni of Saint Mary’s (Darren obtaining a bachelor’s degree in 1999 and a master’s degree in 2000, and Jill earning her bachelor’s degree in 1999).

Joseph was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2018 and faces a three-year course of treatments. Proceeds from the dance — and a silent auction — are assisting the Row family with medical expenses and travel costs.

A student committee transformed the venue into “Super Joseph’s World.” The Hall of Fame Room in the Toner Student Center was transformed into the Mushroom Kingdom, complete with a Mario Kart photo booth and video game stations.

The dance, which was open to the public, took place on March 9 and featured music by the Johnny Holm Band. A silent auction was held on campus March 7 and 9 and included a variety of homemade goods, gift baskets, and specialty items.

The benefit has become an annual student tradition since its start in 2001 in honor of Taylor Richmond, son of Saint Mary’s staff member Nikki Richmond. Each year this event benefits someone in need who has ties to the university community. For more photos, go to smumn.edu/trbenefit19.

Photo caption: Joseph Row, this year’s Taylor Richmond Benefit recipient at Saint Mary’s, was able to attend to enjoy Super Joseph’s World.

Halberg, Sonday, and Boeve interviewed on Cardinals’ Nest [video]

Jeff Halberg, head men’s and women’s tennis coach, and Julia Boeve and Laura Sonday, senior tennis players, were recently featured in an episode of Cardinals’ Nest, a TV program that airs on Winona cable access HBC TV-25. Cardinals’ Nest is cohosted by Donny Nadeau, sports information director, and Dean Beckman, Communication Department chair and faculty athletic representative.

Watch the interviews:

Page Series invites public to free interactive workshop

Page Series invites public to free interactive workshop

WINONA, Minn. — The Page Series at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will present “Identify Yourself: Exploring Personal Narrative Through Art,” a workshop led by Winona-based artist Sharon Mansur, on Saturday, March 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Infinity Yoga Studio.

A continuation of the 2018-19 season’s The Cedar Tree Project and drawing from Mansur’s autobiographical performance work “Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree,” this interactive workshop invites participants to explore childhood memories and imagery, ancestral countries of origin, and personal identity through creative writing, visual art, and movement.

The workshop is offered free of charge, and no experience is necessary to participate, but registration is required as space is limited. To learn more and register for the workshop, visit pagetheatre.org.

Performances of Mansur’s “Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree 2.0” will take place Wednesday and Thursday, April 24-25. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at pagethreatre.org or by calling the Saint Mary’s Performance Center box office at 507-457-1715 (noon-6 p.m., weekdays).

About the Artist

Sharon Mansur is a Lebanese American experimental dance and visual artist, educator, curator, mover, and shaker based in Winona, Minn. She is committed to dance as a transformational and healing catalyst for individuals and communities. Her performance/installation projects and dance films have been presented throughout the U.S. and abroad, and she is the curator of The Cedar Tree Project. Mansur was a guest artist at the 2018 International Dance Day Festival Lebanon (IDDFL) at the Lebanese American University in Byblos. She is grateful for the generous support she has recently received for her artistic projects and community engagement activities from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (2017), a Springboard for the Arts Hinge Arts Fellowship (2017), and a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant (2018). She is also a 2018 Winona Fine Arts Commission Awardee and a 2018 McKnight Dance Fellow. Find more info at mansurdance.com.

About The Cedar Tree Project

Throughout the 2018-2019 Page Series season, The Cedar Tree Project explores cultural heritage, perceptions, and identity through the lens of Arab and Arab-American artists and invites people to develop deeper understanding and empathy through artistic exchange. Curated by Winona dance/visual artist Sharon Mansur, events include dance performances, visual art installations/exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops, and community gatherings with Mansur and visiting artists.

About the Page Series

Now in its 32nd annual season, the Page Series connects professional performing artists from around the globe with thousands of Winonans each year. With events at the Joseph Page Theatre on the campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, as well as at locations across the Winona community, the Page Series offers dance, music, and theatre performances, workshops, classes, and more that inspire, uplift, educate, and invite community members to discover the relevance of the arts in their daily lives. Find more information at pagetheatre.org.

The Cedar Tree Project is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Page Series community programs are made possible, in part, through grants from the Xcel Energy Foundation and the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation.

Students write blog posts on plant taxonomy

Environmental biology students Angela Soto ’19 and Erin Hettinger ’20 recently wrote blog posts for their plant taxonomy course. Check out their work!

Glacial Relics and Goat Prairies in Winona? You’ve Got to be Bluffing.

By Erin Hettinger

Upon arrival to Winona, Minnesota, one might be immediately struck by the beauty and expansiveness of the bluffs along the Mississippi River. These bluffs and valleys were formed naturally, thousands of years ago, by the movement of glaciers through the area. On the eastern side of town, among the bluffs, one large rock outcrop literally sticks out among the rest. This bluff, now known as Sugar Loaf, has not only a rich history, but also diverse ecology.

Sugar Loaf, known as Wapasha’s cap by the native Dakota peoples because of its resemblance to their chief’s favored headpiece, has always been a distinct landmark for Winona that was even used to aid navigation along the Mississippi.1 In the 1800’s, European settlers came into the area and took the land from the Dakota people. In the year 1878, Sugar Loaf was bought by an Irishman named John O’Dea. O’Dea mined Sugar Loaf for its rich limestone deposits, which ultimately resulted in the now distinctive 85-foot tall limestone outcrop. After many years of mining for limestone, the people of Winona started to protest any further degradation of the city’s signature bluff-face. Eventually, in 1950, the land was bought back by the Winona chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution. It was later given back to the city and deemed a historical marker that is now protected and enjoyed by many.

The ecology of Sugar Loaf bluff is something of great note as well. As one makes their way up the bluff, the cool shaded forest with its rich soil, seems to quite suddenly shift into a very dry sand, seeming almost as if you took a wrong turn and ended up at the beach! With the dramatic change in soil composition comes a drastic shift in plant communities. The towering trees and forest undergrowth give way to small shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers not much taller one’s knees.

This area on the south-western facing bluff can be classified as a goat prairie. Goat prairies are known for being very steep and dry because of their prolonged exposure to sunlight, and are often dependent on wildfires to keep shrubs and trees from encroaching and outcompeting native species.2 Since the area has become more developed however, these fires don’t occur naturally anymore, and work has to be (and is being) done to cut back invasive and native shrubs such as buckthorn and junipers from taking over the once common but now rare goat prairies.3 Within the area of prairie still present on Sugar Loaf lies beautiful native wildflowers such as: compass plant (Silphium laciniatum L.), silky aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum)- pictured above to the left, rough blazing star (Liatris aspera), prairie sagewort (Artemisia frigida), and many others.

On the north-east slope of the bluff, overlooking downtown Winona and the Mississippi River the goat prairie shifts to an entirely different habitat where hardwood forests take over. Unlike the southern facing goat prairie the north-eastern side of the bluff gets very little sunlight and large amounts of rain. Because of this, smaller flowers and shrubs give way to large hardwoods, some pines some maples. On this side of Sugar Loaf there is one tree, the northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) pictured to the right, a species in the Pine family that is quite rare in this area. This species of tree is found most commonly throughout northern Minnesota, with Winona being rather far south for its typical range. With very few naturally occuring this far south in Minnesota, it is thought that this white cedar may be what is called a glacial relic, an artifact that was carried by glaciers and was able to grow and survive in isolated areas.

The rich ecological diversity of Sugar Loaf bluff is truly a treasure that deserves to be preserved. From a simple hike, to rock climbing, to enjoying and learning about two different, but important native landscapes that once took over much out southern Minnesota, Sugar Loaf has something to offer for everyone. For more information on how to explore this beautiful and historic landmark click here.

References:

1 Christenson, Jerome. “Whittling away at Sugar Loaf.” Winona Daily News, 2 April 2015, www.winonadailynews.com/special-section/pieces-of-the-past/whittling-away-at-sugar-loaf. Accessed 30 October 2018.

2 Texler, Hannah. “Explore an Ancient Landscape.” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, November 2015, www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/issues/2015/nov-dec/blufflands.html. Accessed 30 October 2018.

3 Rogers, Chris. “Restoring prairie at Sugar Loaf.” Winona Post, 9 July 2018, http://www.winonapost.com/Article/ArticleID/59908/Restoring-prairie-at-Sugar-Loaf. Accessed 30 October 2018.

4 Pictures of silky aster and northern white cedar taken by Josh Balsiger

Your Tree Can Tell a Story

By Angela Soto

Forest consisting of mainly coniferous trees. Photo Taken at Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, MN, 2018.

Do you remember the tree that grew in the backyard of your childhood home? Or the one on the school playground, that you could go and sit under just to pass the time on a warm spring day? Most likely not, but even if you knew exactly which one it was, what else would you be able to say about that kind of tree? If you’ve ever gazed at a tree and wondered how it came to be, and why it looks like it does, you’re not alone.

Much of the information about general tree ID and ecology that pervades modern American culture leaves much to be desired. “Wait, you’re telling me that all coniferous trees AREN’T pine trees?” -Yes, but also so much more than that. For many of us, a tree can signify a type of special and personal relationship to something: a memory, a person, or a significant era in our lives. What many people aren’t aware of is the other relevant information that a tree can provide us with.

Like humans, trees are a product of the environment that they were born in. Much like how a stressful environment in the early years of life can lead to individuals with a higher tolerance for stress and a greater amount of resilience, so too can a tree tell a story of how it came to be, and what the environment around it was like when it was young. Additionally, learning more about the different adaptations a tree has can give us another clue for its history, and its role in the ecosystem.

The jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) is a familiar face in the woods of Northern Minnesota. As a part of the Pinaceae (Pine) family, the jack pine shares many qualities with the prevalent eastern white and red pine species, which are often more easily recognizable as a classic version of a Pine tree. These three together constitute the three pine tree species native to Minnesota, with the jack pine being the most common species of pine in the state. To those who are unfamiliar with the jack pine, it may look intimidating at first-or almost like there’s something wrong with it! However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana); Photo taken at Deep Portage Learning Center in Hackensack, MN, 2018.

The tree’s reputation and its “spooky” appearance in its older years actually provides us with an opportunity to learn about its ecological significance. After all, the jack pine just plainly stands out, not only from its close relatives, the eastern white pine and the red pine, but also from most other trees that can be found in a Mixed Coniferous-Deciduous Forest, a native plant community commonly found in Northern Minnesota. In a Mixed Coniferous-Deciduous Forest, characterized as an “Upland Zone” community type by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a variety of tree species can grow and thrive. Common coniferous trees found in this community include species of spruce, balsam firs, and northern white cedars. Common deciduous trees include species of oaks and maples, as well as paper birch and quaking aspen.

The jack pine tells of a setting unbeknownst to most of us in modern society. It harkens back to a pre-colonial America, where nature ruled the landscape instead of man. The tree is known for colonizing an area after a great fire, and it frequently grows in sandy, rocky, and nutrient-poor soils. Here’s the kicker: not only are fires not bad for the tree, they are essential for their reproduction. In fact, while fires often kill the parent tree, the seeds are able to survive and quickly grow following a fire. The key to this adaptation is twofold: first, the seeds themselves are protected by the cone and sealed inside with resin, until the heat of a wildfire opens the cones and the seeds are allowed to disperse; secondly, dead branches of the tree will remain on the tree for many years, as opposed to falling off the tree shortly after death, as they will in other pine species. This allows for the branches of the tree themselves to be used as tinder in the forest fire that will simultaneously open their seeds- both mechanisms work hand-in-hand to ensure the successful reproduction of the jack pine. Additionally, this is what gives jack pines their characteristic “spooky” appearance! Who would’ve guessed that it was due to an adaptation that helped it to reproduce?

While the beloved jack pines are set to remain the most common pine in Minnesota for years to come, the species is facing a reduction in number with the sharp decline of forest fires since pre-settlement times, paired with increasing expansion of agriculture and the lumber industry, where jack pines in unprotected areas are usually killed before the age of 65.

With its future uncertain, the abundance of the jack pine in Minnesota hangs in the balance. Where at one time stood a dense forest of jack pines, might now be a potato field. Where once a forest might have been bountiful with older jack pines, we now find only a few, due to the lack of any recent forest fires. We owe it to ourselves to preserve a tree that not only holds so much personal meaning to an individual, but which provides us with indispensable knowledge and evidence of a Minnesota where forests ran rampant and life as we know it was nothing like it is today.

Saint Mary’s University invites public to Cardinal Virtue presentations

WINONA, Minn. — Guest speaker Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., professor of Philosophy at Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Boston College, will discuss “Courage, the Missing Virtue” as part of the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Cardinal Virtue presentation series. Speakers and topics selected for the series have been chosen to create thought-provoking dialogue.

Dr. Kreeft will speak at two public events:

Thursday, March 28, 6:30 p.m., with reception following
Saint Mary’s Cascade Meadow Center
2900 19th St. N.W., Rochester, Minn.

Friday, March 29, noon, with reception following
Saint Mary’s Winona Campus
Science and Learning Center, Room 200
700 Terrace Heights, Winona, Minn.

Dr. Kreeft is has taught at numerous institutions including Villanova University, Fordham University, St. Peter’s College, Haverford College, and St. Joseph’s College. Dr. Kreeft is a well-known author and lecturer on topics related to philosophy, ethics, theology, and culture.

He has authored more than 35 books including: C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium, The Shadowlands of C.S. Lewis, Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion, and The Refutation of Moral Relativism. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham University, and he pursued postgraduate studies at Yale University. He has been the recipient of a number of fellowships including the Yale-Sterling Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, the Danforth Asian Religions Fellowship, and the Newman Alumni Scholarship.

Register by March 21 at smumn.edu/cardinalvirtuersvp. The event is co-sponsored by the Catholic Medical Association. Questions about this or any of the Cardinal Virtue presentations may be directed to Saint Mary’s University’s Office of Mission at 507-457-1646. The final presentation of this academic year is:

Temperance and “Gifts/Fruits of the Holy Spirit” — Eleonore Stump, Ph.D., Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, 7 p.m. April 25, Winona Campus.

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