Cori Mattke started last week as associate director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She previously was associate director of the nonprofit Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.


I am currently reading two books. The first is “The Hour of Land” by Terry Tempest Williams. Williams is not only one of my favorite authors, she’s one of the most influential voices in my personal and professional life. “The Hour of Land” is a beautiful narrative on the importance of public land. I’m also reading “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Coincidentally, another story of a woman’s connection to the natural world.


These days my news and social media feeds are usually dominated by the New York Times, the Guardian, Pollen, Orion Magazine, Outside Magazine and Refinery 29. Though, once February hits I’m usually sinking deep into the Instagram feeds of the national parks and other place-based organizations, trying to beat the cabin fever by exploring new landscapes.


My music collection is wide-ranging, but folk/bluegrass is a constant. In the winter, my favorites are Martha Scanlan and May Erlewine. The warmth and familiarity of their music is perfect for snowy days. Makes you feel like you’re skiing through a mountain valley or cooking in a cabin in the North Woods, even when you’re just sitting at your desk.


I’m currently researching native plants and landscaping, as well as chicken husbandry. I have big plans to turn our sweet, shady little yard into an oasis for our family and, hopefully, a few feathered friends, too.