"Quaternary Science of the Great Lakes Area: Concepts and Tools"

October 9, 2013

The summer short course “Quaternary Science of the Great Lakes Area: Concepts and Tools” had a successful first run at the Illinois State Museum, May 28–June 1, 2013. The course was intended for undergrad students majoring in geology, geography, environmental sciences, or archaeology at primarily small Midwestern colleges. Schools represented by the participants included Wheaton College, Illinois State University, Olivet Nazarene University, Bradley University, and University of Arizona. The course comprised daily lectures and hands-on activities, with a mid-week field trip for PowerProbe coring of surficial Quaternary deposits and increment coring of trees.

In accord with the Quaternary theme, course topics covered geologic and human history of the region, fauna and extinctions, microfossils and pollen, wood identification and structure/function, wood macrofossils and dendrochronology, stable isotopes, and Quaternary dating (particularly radiocarbon), as presented by Irina Panyushkina and Steve Leavitt (University of Arizona), Chris Widga, Michael Wiant, Pietra Mueller and Bonnie Styles (Illinois State Museum), Alex Wiedenhoeft (USDA Forest Product Lab), Brandon Curry (Illinois Geological Survey), and Dennis Campbell (Lincoln College). Student travel to/from Springfield, lodging, and food were supported by NSF grant P2C2-1003483.

The group plans to offer the course again in early summer 2014, and welcomes preliminary inquiries and interest. One of the particularly difficult aspects of organizing the course was the highly varied dates of end-of-school-year among colleges in the region, so feedback on those limitations is of great interest to us.

The contacts for the program are Steven W. Leavitt (sleavitt@u.arizona.edu) and Irina P. Panyushkina (panush@ltrr.arizona.edu), Lab. of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona