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FIU hosts Minnesota students for water, climate research symposium


For the average tourist, a trip to South Florida typically includes stops at its world-famous beaches, shopping malls and nightclubs. But for a group of students from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, their recent trip to South Florida was anything but typical.

The 20 undergraduates immersed themselves in the natural beauty and landmarks South Florida has to offer. The students explored Everglades National Park for two days; toured Deering Estate and Fairchild Tropical Botancial Gardens; visited the South Florida Water Management District headquarters; and explored the sugar cane fields and other agricultural areas in Bell Glade. They also attended the “Sea level rise, restoration and freshwater management in South Florida” mini-symposium at FIU.

“The weather is wonderful, the beaches beautiful, and Everglades magnificent. I didn’t want to go back home. The symposium showed me the importance of having different fields to understand the world and connecting research to theme of climate change,” said John Amundson, an environmental studies and design major at Concordia College and co-leader of the visiting group. “Minnesota and Florida are pretty different, but both have wetlands that need to be managed, a population that needs to be informed and policy makers that need to be aware of the impact their decisions have.”

Students from Concordia College tour the Everglades National Park while visiting FIU and South Florida.

Students from Concordia College tour the Everglades National Park while visiting FIU and South Florida.

Organized by students in the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research (FCE LTER) program, the mini-symposium exposed the students from Minnesota to faculty and student research related to ecological, anthropogenic and economic consequences of sea level rise and water management practices in South Florida.

“These lectures serve as a tremendous opportunity for FIU students and other students that may be watching remotely to learn about these very important water and climate issues,” said Ross Boucek, Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences and member of the LTER’s executive education committee. “The symposium was the last stop on their adventure, so this was a good capstone for the trip.”

FCE LTER is part of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network established by the National Science Foundation. FCE LTER, housed in the FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society, studies how hydrology, climate and human activity interact with ecosystem and population dynamics in the Everglades.

To see the research presentations, click here.