Conduct a Project at the HWRC

Hubachek Wilderness Research Center’s predominantly passively managed boreal-transitional forest landscape is an ideal location for long term, place-based research. Incorporated into the University's Research and Outreach Center system in 2014, HWRC welcomes new experimental and observational research projects.

Projects at the UMN Experimental Forests are research, teaching, demonstration, or management activities that rely on the land or data from the land. Projects are tracked using our Project Tracking Procedure - see below for an outline or see the Project Record Metadata document for full details.

The purposes of tracking these activities are to be good stewards of the land by balancing activities across the land base, to minimize disruption of ongoing projects, and for reporting project activity. Please be in touch with Kyle Gill (any sites) and/or Beckie Prange (HWRC) to initiate the Project Tracking Procedure.

For guidance related to personnel safety while in the field see the Field Research Safety resources available through the UMN Department of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS) including this Field Safety Plan template.

Project Tracking Procedure

  1. The Project Leader discusses their project idea with the Research Coordinator or Site Manager.
  2. If the project idea is deemed to fit within the mission and the biotic and abiotic scope of the land, the project leader will be invited to submit the project proposal form to the Research Coordinator.
  3. The Research Coordinator will review the proposal, discuss any necessary details, including proposed project location and forecasted costs of the research, with the Project Leader, Director of Operations, and/or Site Manager. We expect to help you find the right location and, if necessary, to prepare the area for your project. Additional technical project support may be available upon request and will require a detailed project management plan and payment schedule.
  4. Once the project has been incorporated into the Project Record data management system, the project will be considered “Active” - meaning alterations to the location associated with the project will only be modified according to the plan for the project - and the Research Coordinator will reply to the Project Leader with the project’s identification number and approved project record form.
  5. If any monuments, structures, fences, barriers, etc., are installed, or if species exotic to a site are added, they must be removed at the end of the research at the expense of the research grants of those responsible for the project.
  6. Informal communications will happen between the project leader or project contact and the on-site UMN personnel as the project is implemented and carried out.
  7. A Project Check-in Request Form will annually be sent to Project Leaders as long as the project is considered “Active”
  8. Once data for the proposed lifespan of a project are done being collected, analyzed, and published/reported, or for up to three years after field work is completed, a project’s status will be changed to “Complete” and the location can be considered for other project activity.

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Guiding Principles

The following principles guide CFC/HWRC personnel as they support research and other projects across managed land, equipment and labor.

  • Experimental Forest sites are primarily intended to support University research faculty, staff and students in the pursuit of Natural Resources education and research.
  • Project Leaders/Principle Investigators wanting to conduct research, teaching, or outreach at the Experimental Forest sites agree to adhere to the project record tracking process.
  • Ultimate decisions on land use reside with the Director of Operations and Research Coordinator, in collaboration with deans and participating colleges.
  • All users will pay those labor and supply costs accrued by the specific project as allowed for under the uniform Direct Charges System.
  • We recommend projects have a management plan that lists those activities required for the project's success. The plan identifies tasks to be completed, resources needed for those tasks, indicates who is responsible to complete each task, and how data will be managed; we are happy to help you develop this.
  • We expect to help you find the right location and, if necessary, help to prepare the area for your project. Additional technical project support may be available upon request.

Good communication is recognized as essential for management of the various project tasks. Responsibility for this resides with both project and CFC/HWRC staff. If issues arise and cannot be resolved, those issues are forwarded to the research project lead and CFC/HWRC’s director of operations.

Research Infrastructure

HWRC's research infrastructure includes:

  • Weather station
  • Trail system
  • Forty-two continuous forest inventory plots, established and surveyed in 2014
  • Ten net lanes for bird-banding (currently in use by ongoing project June – early August)
  • Three-season laboratory building with work and storage space, refrigerator-freezers, hot/cold running water, drying ovens, environmental chamber, balances, stereomicroscope
  • 16 acre deer exclosure
  • Internet via satellite and hotspot connections, with data speed limited at given thresholds
  • Lodging and meeting space