Minnesota Master Naturalist

Annual Conference

A collaboration of University of Minnesota Extension Aquatic Invasive Species, Forestry and Minnesota Master Naturalist programs

May 18-20, 2018

Cragun's Resort, Brainerd,MN


This year you will be asked to choose only sessions on Friday (pre-conference) and field trips on Saturday.  All other sessions do not require pre registration.  Conference fee is $220 for all three days, and includes meals and sessions.

Reserve your lodging early.  Lodging for 2 nights is $99 per night plus 7.375% sales tax for a total of $106.31 per night, per room.  You will be able to choose your roommate when you make the reservation.  

Book your room ASAP.  The golf courses will be open so the rooms WILL fill.    https://craguns.formstack.com/forms/uofmextension2018

Keynote speakers: 

Dan Molloy, Research Scientist - State University of New York Great Lakes Center

Principal and Managing Director - Molloy & Associates, LLC

An expert in aquatic invasive species and the diseases of aquatic invertebrates, Dan's research has focused on developing ecologically-sound, biocontrol methods for managing aquatic invasive species ‒ in particular, fouling invasive dreissenids(zebra/quagga mussels) ‒ and other nuisance aquatic invertebrate pests, such as biting black flies and mosquitoes.  He is a Research Scientist/Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York Great Lakes Center at Buffalo and also maintains affiliations with the State University of New York at Albany and the University of Illinois Natural History Survey at Urbana-Champaign.  In addition, he directs Molloy & Associates, LLC – a firm specializing in developing credible prevention, detection, rapid response, and eradication/control programs for zebra/quagga mussels and other aquatic invasivespecies. Marked by a passion for environmental protection, his international research activities have resulted in a variety of scientific contributions as evidenced by his publications, presentations, patents, and biological control agent commercialization successes.

Keynote address Friday May 18, 2018

Needle in a Haystack Research Projects for Environmental Protection: Two Down and One to Go

With an insatiable attraction to what many consider intractable, needle-in-a-haystack research challenges, Dan Molloy and his research teams have dealt knockout blows to two pest critters by developing environmentally-safe biological control agents.  The first target was black flies – those clouds of tiny gnats that can torment folks by their hovering and biting, and the second was zebra mussels – the poster child of aquatic invasive species – those tiny fingernail-sized bivalves that by the millions foul water pipes and disrupt ecosystems.  But both latter commercialized biocontrol agents require reapplications to continually knock down the next pest generation.  That’s why his next project will be ever the more challenging – developing a biocontrol agent which may never need to be reapplied – a project that will require more persistence, creativity and luck than he and his band of research colleagues have ever mustered before.

Sam Potter


Keynote address Sunday May 20, 2018

Three future Minnesotas: A future to fear, a future to plan for, and a future to fight for

 We will look at what climate projections say about a future Minnesota with a focus on how changes in seasons, temperature extremes, and the hydrological cycle may impact Minnesota's ecosystems.

Sam grew up in Todd County. Staying in West Central Minnesota but moving from the broadleaf forest to the prairie, he attended the University of Minnesota, Morris and received a degree in mathematics a few years after the first wind turbine appeared. 

Sam went to graduate school at Princeton University. Much of his PhD was spent staring at a screen, wondering what piece of computer code had broken. He learned about climate change science from researchers at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, one of the preeminent institutions studying global climate. 

After graduate school, Sam and his (now) wife, Caitlin, got married and moved to Seattle, where Sam worked as a climate science postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington. They moved back to Minnesota after Caitlin got a job at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Sam now gives talks, teaches classes, and does original research about the impacts global warming will have on a future Minnesota.


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