PRICE COUNTY - Students from the University of Wisconsin Madison are spending the summer using the Northwoods to work on a study and become better scientists.
"This is a great place to study because we have a lot of great research partners up her," Associate Professor of Atmosphere and Oceanic Sciences Ankur Desai said. "The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has always been very supportive of research."
Desai brought his class to Price County earlier this week. The class uses towers to measure greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane. It's a part of 20 year study on how the forest productivity changes. Productivity is the ability for the forest to absorb carbon dioxide.
"Atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing year after year with fossil fuel emissions and the question we ask is, well what percentage of that is staying in the atmosphere and what percentage is going into the landscape, because every year if you add more CO2 to the atmosphere the plants are going to take some of that up," said Desai.
In partnership with the US Forest Service, the class is also studying the effect of harvesting on the forest productivity.
"We're really interested to see how the forests have changed over the years," Desai said. "Surprisingly, in the last year of data that we just collected and we monitor this data 24/7, we are actually seeing a surprising change of productivity rate of this forest."
But just one year of data isn't enough to say what drove the drop in productivity. Factors like cold winters can also cause a drop. Regardless, information from the nearly 20 year study continues to be shared around the world.
"With colleagues around the University of Wisconsin system and internationally with universities and research centers, we combine our research with similar research centers around the world," said Desai.
If you would like to see the data from the study click on the link below.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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