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Seeley, Breneman team up on 'Voyageur Skies'

New book chronicles the seasons in Minnesota's only national park

For decades, retired Extension photographer Don Breneman has used his camera lens to capture the spectacular beauty of Voyageurs National Park, located just 30 miles from where he grew up in Littlefork, Minn. Now, the rest of the world can have a peek, too.

Breneman teamed up with Extension climatologist Mark Seeley on a new book, "Voyageur Skies: Weather and the Wilderness in Minnesota's National Park," released in June. The book chronicles the seasons in Voyageurs National Park through more than 80 of Breneman's stunning photographs and Seeley's account of how weather and climate have shaped the park's pristine landscape.

"Don has a life's worth of photos, memories and appreciation for Voyageurs that needed to find a story," says Seeley, who has studied Minnesota's climate for 34 years. " 'Voyageur Skies' is educational in that it describes the climate of this unique place, its ecosystem, wildlife and waters, as well as how all of that is being affected by climate change."

When he realized that most of his photos depicted the park's weather conditions, Breneman approached longtime friend and colleague Seeley about collaborating on the project. In addition to detailing the seasons, Seeley describes four major trends in climate for Minnesota and the park over the last three decades: warmer winters; higher daily minimum temperatures; increased summer humidity; and greater variation in the annual rainfall from thunderstorms.

The book also facilitates wider discussion and understanding of implications for the future if Minnesota's natural resources are to be preserved. Voyageurs is Minnesota's only national park and America's lone water-based national park, featuring 134,265 acres of forested land and 83,789 acres of water.

Written for general readers and also for classroom use, the book will be the centerpiece for educational programs to be offered jointly by Extension and the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.

For more resources from Extension, visit Climate and Weather Education.

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