Today: Kurt Mead, interpretive naturalist at Tettegouche State Park in Finland, Minn. Parks remain open, but visitor centers and outdoors programs have shut down because of the threat of corona­virus.

Mead said in an e-mail the center’s closing at the park “feels very odd. I value my interactions with the public and I hope that folks still use state park trails and campgrounds during this unprecedented time. Without any interpretive programs to present, I am keeping busy with summer planning, and I am working on (teaching) props and other projects, as well as ‘other duties as assigned.’ ”


“Gitchi Bitobig, Grand Marais: Early Accounts of the Anishinaabeg and the North Shore Fur Trade” by Timothy Cochrane is a look at the people of Grand Marais, and the North Shore in general, during the beginnings and height of the fur trade. After a friend of mine found a map of the North Shore from 1852, I got really fired up about the Ojibwe place names on this map, which led me to a greater interest in that time period when the population dynamics were in flux due to white settlement and commerce on the North Shore.


COVID-19 is a pretty obvious story to be following right now, but as a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, it’s a little surreal to be living out what sounds like a story line from a novel.


Mostly, right now, I’m watching late winter as it slowly turns to spring. Some birds are returning for the summer, others are leaving, and others are actively nesting. On warmer days I keep my eyes down, looking for snowfleas (Collembola.)

Recently I’ve watched “The Good Place” TV show. It’s been entertaining and a soothing balm to the news of this past several months.



I’m a news junkie, for better or worse, and I am mostly tuned into public radio like Minnesota Public Radio and WTIP community radio (out of Grand Marais).


I just returned from a late-winter camping and fishing trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The sap is running, and I am tapping trees to make maple syrup. I question this decision every year as it’s so much work for a luxury item, but when I have enough syrup to use it with reckless abandon, year-round, it all seems like time well-spent.

Bob Timmons