Since summer 2012, I’ve been fortunate to work as a guest scientist with the U.S. Forest Service in Cadillac, MI. The position allows me the freedom to design and execute a variety of applied research projects related to Forest Service management goals. Examples of such projects include: mapping and inventorying sand and gravel pits using a combination of GIS, Google Earth and spherical panoramic photography; looking at land use legacies in relation to soil characteristics and the success (or failure) of prairie restoration; assessing the impact of acid deposition on sandy, nutrient-poor forest soils; and mapping groundwater dependent ecosystems. My guest scientist position with the Forest Service will continue through 2014. I also teach an occasional online physical geography course for Central Michigan University. And beyond that, I’m still making records and touring the country with my band Breathe Owl Breathe. This summer we’ll celebrate our 10-year anniversary! In all of this work, from GIS to soils, online teaching to managing in the music business, I rely heavily on the skills and experiences I gained as a geography grad at MSU. I’m also happy to announce that my wife Katy and I had our first baby, a girl named Sylvia, this past December!
I investigated the geomorphic origin and paleoenvironmental significance of loess deposits found in the bottom of kettles across an upland in the Per- Marquette State Forest near Evart, Michigan. My research proposed that loess has been periodically deposited across the upland throughout the late Pleistocene to mid Holocene, and subsequently spatially concentrated in the bottom portions of kettle depressions. I also found a strong relationship between periods of fire and loess deposition, as indicated by the presence of charcoal rich buried soils in the kettle bottoms there. This study was the first to document loess in a sandy interlobate region in southern Michigan, and was recently published in the Journal of Aeolian Research.
Hobbs, Schaetzl, and Luehmann, 2011. Evidence for Periodic, Holocene loess deposition in kettles in a sandy, interlobate landscape, Michigan, USA. Journal of Aeolian Research 3, 215-228.
Since leaving MSU, I’ve started a career as an online teacher. I’ve been teaching for both the University of Phoenix, and Central Michigan University. At CMU, I instruct GEO 105, physical Geography online. The freedom of teaching from anywhere has allowed me to travel extensively across of most of North America and parts of Europe, while documenting my experiences through landscape photography.