Winter 2019

Launching the Loon Center

Elliot Charette at Willow River State Park near Hudson, Wisconsin
Courtesy of Elliot Charette

Elliot Charette admits he doesn’t know much about loons, but he has a special connection with Minnesota’s state bird. The applied economics graduate student in the U’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences conducted a feasibility study in 2018 that provided crucial support for the proposed National Loon Center in Crosslake, Minnesota. The center was recommended for a $4 million grant from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and is scheduled to open in 2021.

How does it feel knowing your work made a difference?

It feels great. This project has such a good mission, and people are passionate about these birds. I was really inspired by the positive energy around the Loon Center and how many people support it. I’m happy I could contribute.

What did this experience teach you?

It reinforced my desire to work on projects that have impact. After I graduate, I want to work in Indian country to help tribal nations reach their economic goals. 

You’ve received several scholarships. How has this shaped your experience at the U? 

It’s allowed me to really focus on my studies, and it’s given me the chance to have experiences like the one I had with the Loon Center. It’s been incredible.

Learn more about the National Loon Center:

National Loon Center