A Final Farewell to the Northwoods

by Aisha Liebenow

Aisha Liebenow and Rusty
My first day on the job, and I was already adding to my list of “firsts.”. Photo: A. Hinterthuer

Once I heard that I was going to be working for the CFL up north this summer, all I kept hearing about Trout Lake Station was what a great place it is to live and work. Now I can offer the same assessment – it has not only met, but far exceeded my expectations.
Trout Lake Station was established in 1925 by E. A. Birge, a tidbit I picked up from following station director, Tim Kratz, to his many presentations and talks all summer. In fact, I learned a lot about the background and history of Trout Lake, and something else that stuck with me is that it has been a place of world class scientific study since day one, focusing on three core ideas: research, training, and outreach. From my time here, I have been able to see all of these ideas in action.
Cabins at Trout Lake Station
Many notable names in limnology have walked these trails…

Many ‘big-wig’ names in limnology have spent some time on station, each adding their own contributions to what the station is today. From Birge and Hasler and Juday to Magnuson and Stanley and Carpenter, Trout Lake has nourished the careers of some world-class scientists. But, I must say, everyone here, from a brand-new undergrad, to a tenured professor, is passionate about their research and always willing to lend a hand to see that others are successful in their work as well.
TLS provides a place where young students can get training and learn the tricks of the trade, while gaining hands-on experience. This summer, I was able to get out in the field and see what it’s like to be one of those undergraduate research assistants. I also worked hard this summer to gain experience in my own line of work – outreach.
Always busy making brochures, writing blog posts, updating websites, and taking pictures, I was able to see the many ways that TLS reaches out to the community to bring science to the public.
Between Science on Tap – Minocqua, our Annual Open House, and the many other visitors that we have here on station (including the WAA Lakeland Badger Chapter, the Trout Lake Property Owners Association, and the Restless Weasels), it is easy to see that Trout Lake Station recognizes the importance of spreading the scientific word, and that the public recognizes the importance of their role in protecting our inland waters. I have been amazed by the response that each event receives, and the eagerness to learn and contribute in those that participate.
Wonder why I'll miss this place...
Wonder why I’ll miss this place…

I have really enjoyed my time here, being immersed in the Northwoods and surrounded by nature. I will miss walking the trail on my way to work, and running on the bike path through the trees. I will miss laying out on the dock, and our bright yellow swimming raft. And I will definitely miss our delicious potluck ‘family’ dinners. But the thing that I’m going to miss the most about this place is the people. There are some great individuals here on station, all with inspiring goals and, together, we create a dynamic that could not be repeated anywhere else.
Of course there are some things I know I won’t miss too… like the bugs and dirt and smelly feet, but this is definitely a case where the good outweighs the bad and I can honestly say that I feel like a different person after going through the ‘Trout Lake Station Experience’.  To give you all some perspective on what this summer, and Trout Lake Station, means to me, I have created a video for my final farewell.
So until next time, Trout Lake readers! Please sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.


These are the first-hand ‘Notes from the Northwoods’, as UW – Madison undergraduate student, Aisha Liebenow, dives into the world of science, ecology, and aquatic systems. Follow her throughout the summer in her Northwoods immersion at the UW Center for Limnology – Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction, WI.