Annalise Nordgren has been a research assistant with LUFA since fall of 2019. She wrote the following profile of her experiences in research and with DePaul Urban Gardeners for the ENV Department newsletter.
My name is Annalise Nordgren. I am finishing up my senior year at DePaul University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. I transferred into DePaul in 2018, my sophomore year of college, after a year of feeling lost at my previous school. Off the bat, I became giddy with the varied opportunities the Environmental Science and Studies department offers to its students, from research opportunities to involvement in student orgs!
I started working in the Chaudhary Ecology Lab run by Dr. Chaudhary my first year. With Dr. Chaudhary I worked on creating a spore extraction protocol to determine mycorrhizal spore viability. The following year Dr. Chaudhary received an NSF grant which allowed her to move to Berlin for a year to continue her research.
During that time, I worked with Dr. Vogt in her Lab for Urban Forestry in the Anthropocene (LUFA). Although I am no longer working on a project with Dr. Chaudhary, I still try to attend lab meetings when I am available, as the lab community she has developed is such a supportive one!
My research with Dr. Vogt allowed me to develop an interest in urban forestry and arboriculture. I am currently working on a project studying the tree damage caused by the Derecho storm in August 2020, which was responsible for the loss of over 7,000 trees in the Chicago land area.
I have been so fortunate to find wonderful mentors in Dr. Vogt and Dr. Chaudhary, both very inspirational researchers in their fields.
At the beginning of my first year here at DePaul I became involved in the DePaul Urban Garden (DUG), which, at that point, was called Urban Farming Organization (UFO). As a fresh new volunteer, I grew to love the space and the community of students and faculty that gathers there. I have been lucky enough to serve as a board member during the garden transition, a project which has been ongoing over the past two years. DUG received a grant from the Vincentian Endowment Fund which allowed us to invest in a new garden space. See the photo gallery below with pictures!
We purchased raised bed material to construct 30 new raised beds. In creating this new space, we wanted to incorporate not only our commitment to gardening but also to give back to the community. We wanted to include a central meeting space and did so with materials mainly sourced from recycled bicycle rims. In addition to the physical changes in the space, we have redefined the goals of the organization. DUG has made a commitment to grow produce primarily intended for donation to those living with food insecurity. DUG greatly appreciates the healing properties of spending time outside and in nature. We have made it our goal to open up the space to DePaul organizations and volunteers for events, activities, and healing time.
For more information about DUG involvement please reach out to DUG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jess Vogt, Associate Professor, Env. Science & Studies, DePaul University