Courtesy: University of Minnesota Morris

Blooming interest
U of M Morris’ Elsa Eaves seeks to balance the beauty and environmental consequences of landscapes

Elsa Eaves has always loved the outdoors. Growing up in the country near Hinckley, Minnesota, she often worked alongside her mother, a master gardener. She also watched their neighbors during farming season. “I learned about the impact of agriculture on the environment,” she says. 

Eaves started out as a business major at the University of Minnesota Morris but quickly realized it wasn’t her calling. “After taking an environmental ethics class and talking to some of the faculty and meeting some environmental studies majors, I realized there was such a depth of opportunity,” she says.

Now an environmental studies major, Eaves is finishing her third year at Morris. She is considering a career in horticulture and has done several internships and research projects including:

  • Caring for and collecting data on plants in test beds at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.
  • Studying how to balance aesthetics in plant selection for landscapes with sustainability and economic factors (her capstone project). 

This summer, she will intern with the Morris USDA Agricultural Research Services to study the effects of different cereal rye termination timing on soybean and soil outcomes.

In addition, Eaves has been able to study abroad, thanks to support from the Morris Academic eXperiences (MAX) fund. In January, she was part of a student delegation that spent two weeks in Germany. During that time, they visited towns in the Ahr Valley, which was flooded in 2021, as well as Saerbeck, Morris’ sister city, to see how they make renewable energy and how what they’re doing might apply back home. 

“It’s provided such important support,” Eaves says of the MAX fund scholarship and others. “I’ve been able to cultivate my passion for environmental studies—participating in research opportunities, internships, and focusing on my studies--without financial constraints.”

Support the UMM Morris Academic eXperiences (MAX) Fund.

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