Meet the Researcher: Lori Knosalla
Citizen Science Program Coordinator | she/her/hers
Lori Knosalla is part of an MITPPC-funded team led by forest ecologist Peter Reich. Check out this profile's companion piece, "Cover it Up."
Can you give a quick overview of your work with MITPPC?
I joined the "Cover It Up!" research team in May 2019 to lead the new citizen science component of the project. The project explores how we can use native Minnesota plants to suppress buckthorn regeneration following buckthorn removal efforts.
To date, our research has taken place in forests around the greater Twin Cities, but we know that buckthorn is present in almost every county in Minnesota. Through the citizen science program, we are taking what we’ve learned so far and applying it across the state in a wide range of environments. Participants in the project will remove buckthorn from a small forested area on their property, or in a park where they volunteer, or in a forest they manage. After the removal, participants will plant a mix native species in experimental plots using a seed mix we provide. Each summer between 2020-2022, participants will collect observations and report their findings back to us.
What drew you to invasive species research?
Like many born and raised in Minnesota, I’ve always loved being outside, learning about the natural world and enjoying Minnesota’s diverse landscapes. I knew at an early age that I wanted my career to involve working to protect these landscapes. After volunteering with local organizations like Friends of the Mississippi River, I became passionate about ecological restoration and management of invasive species and pursued a graduate degree at the University of Minnesota. I recently completed my Master's, which focused on the impacts of prescribed fire season in Minnesota's lowland brush ecosystems. It’s exciting to be able to contribute to the protection and conservation of forests in Minnesota, and I hope I’m lucky enough to continue doing so throughout my career.
What is one thing you hope people can take away from your research project by the end of it?
I hope that people feel empowered to take action to help reduce the impact buckthorn has on their forests and woodlands, and to feel inspired to work collaboratively in their communities to help others make informed management decisions.
When you are not out in the field or in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
Pretty much anything that involves being outside, especially biking and working in my vegetable gardens. It’s so much fun to see what does well, when things bloom, and when veggies are ready for harvest. I particularly enjoy introducing my 3-year-old to gardening and enjoying the outdoors. This summer we are having a lot of fun camping, biking, hiking, and swimming. In a few weeks we are headed to the Boundary Waters, and I can’t wait to introduce my kid to the great Minnesota Northwoods!
About the Author
Maggie Nesbit is a Communications Intern with the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC). She is a double major in English and Strategic Communications at the University of Minnesota. In her spare time, Maggie enjoys running, hiking, reading and spending time with friends and family. Maggie's position is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.