- Support Us
- About Us
Volunteer Explores Mongolia Lakes—Virtually
Thanks to volunteer Susan Ribanszky Crain, we've had a literal "watershed moment" here at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. As many of you know, a "watershed" refers to the area of land that contributes runoff to a lake or stream. Over the past year, Susan has carefully delineated the watersheds of about 65 study lakes in western Mongolia. Each of these lakes was sampled back in 2004-2005 by a team of scientists led by research station scientists Mark Edlund and Jim Almendinger. Susan didn't get to join those expeditions, but she has visited each lake numerous times via Google Earth. Delineating the lake watersheds is one step towards a greater understanding of the water chemistry in these lakes.
Susan's background and expertise (and persistence) have made her more of a colleague than are most volunteers. She has a BS in chemistry from Southern Oregon State and an MS in environmental monitoring and remote sensing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked several years for CERL (Dept. of Defense's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory) in Champaign, Illinois, and then at HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center) in Texas. Both positions were based on using geospatial tools for environmental management purposes.
Her work here at the research station has followed in the same vein for something over 10 years now. Prior to the Mongolia project, Susan helped the National Park Service with various mapping projects for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. In recent years, she has helped develop data sets for watershed models of both the Sunrise River and the St. Croix basin.
Susan grew up in the shadow of Crater Lake in Oregon with lots of open space and significant topography—Minnesota must seem pretty two-dimensional by comparison. She is bilingual (English and German), at least partly a function of having European (Hungarian and German) parents. Her husband Pat is a research chemist at 3M. Daughter Alex is a student at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and son Matthew attends Marine Elementary.
While we appreciate our volunteers at all times, we here pause at the completion of the Mongolian watershed task to formally recognize and thank Susan for her dedication and hard work. We look forward to further projects, whether small or large, near or far.