MSUM faculty were awarded $19,561 (full funding) for their Minnesota Innovation Grant “Shark Tank” Presentation, “Finding Refuge: Using GIS Technology to unite natural, historical, cultural, and creative experiences in the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.” The Finding Refuge grant committee includes: Professor Travis Dolence (Distance Learning/Web Librarian), Professor Alex Fogarty (Graphic Communications), Professor Tonya “TJ” Hansen (Economics), Dr. David Kramer (Technical Director: Center for Geospatial Studies, Anthropology and Earth Science), Professor Kevin Zepper (English), and Kelly Blackledge (Visitor Services Manager, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge).

The goal of this Minnesota Innovation Grant is using GIS to create a user-centered experience. This project will allow students and other refuge visitors to create works of art, such as photographs or poems, and geo-locate their creations to an online map, allowing others to share creative work as a contextual experience.

Top feedback points from the Shark Tank committee about the project included:
• “Multidisciplinary approach pulling in persons from multiple areas,”
• “Using technology to stimulate art=intriguing,”
• “Builds public/public and public/private partnerships.”

The Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge is located near Rochert, Minnesota, north of Detroit Lakes and is approximately 43,000 acres in size.