2018 Conference Agenda

In recent years the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) has been working to restore wild rice within and near their reservation boundaries. Wild rice is a food with deep cultural significance to tribes around the Great Lakes and it has disappeared from many areas where it was once abundant. Certain waterbodies in the LTBB area produce wild rice much better than others and our current project seeks to reveal some reasons why certain waters are less productive. The LTBB Environmental Services Program is currently looking at habitat, water, and substrate qualities on waterbodies that successfully produce wild rice and waterbodies that yield very little. Community education is another focus of this project. LTBB’s Wild Rice Workgroup hosts community events to demonstrate traditional wild rice harvest and processing techniques. Growing support and awareness from the community will help maintain the traditions and stewardship surrounding wild rice.

Presenter: Jon Mauchmar
Organization: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Photomonitoring programs can be an essential tool in a land management strategies but often require complex and time-consuming management of photos and location data. This presentation will describe a field collection protocol supported by ESRI’s data collection app, Collector. Using Collector has resulted in simplified photo collection and reduced ‘busy work’ for photo management in the office. Presenters will show how this protocol has been applied at a wetland restoration site and has allowed for an expanded photomonitoring program. The ease of use and ability to replicate is improving land management strategies for preservation of the marsh.

Presenter: Chelsea Rozek
Organization: Washtenaw County GIS
Presenter 2: Allison Krueger
Organization: Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission

The value of hands-on learning experiences are well-known in their ability to foster student understanding of concepts and practices, and such experiences are prioritized at many small liberal arts colleges. Parallel to this emphasis is the reality that many small colleges with low student-to-acreage ratios struggle to balance sustainable land-management practices with the practicalities of maintaining large and diverse properties. In an upper-level undergraduate Ecology course at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I used a riparian buffer installation to teach practices of planning and executing a restoration project and to gain a positive ecological outcome. Complemented by recent and historical readings, this project also demonstrated the importance of protecting ecosystem services. Beginning with one-on-one research in plant propagation during the summer of 2017 and continuing through a class-level site-preparation and planting project in fall 2017, I will detail the trials, successes, future plans, and broader implications of this project.

Presenter: Rebecca Penny Humphrey, PhD
Organization: Aquinas College

The 1836 Treaty of Washington, between the United States government and five northern Michigan Indian tribes, guaranteed tribal members the right to hunt and fish within the treaty-ceded territory. Historically, the tribal commercial fishery in the upper Great Lakes has been based on lake whitefish, harvesting over 4-million pounds annually. Ecosystem changes resulting from the influx of aquatic invasive species have led to significant top-to-bottom food web alterations in the Great Lakes. Negative effects of these changes are being observed with reductions in lake whitefish catch to less than 2-million pounds over the last decade. This instability is causing ongoing obstacles for managers as they work to understand and guide future efforts to provide a healthy viable fishery.

Presenter: Erik Olsen
Organization: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Many Stewards long to transform their personal landscapes with pollinator gardens, raingarden S, and meadow areas to replace traditional landscapes. Many can't afford to hire a professional. In this hands on workshop, we explore methods of propagation and planting natives that are cheap, easy, and highly successful. We will touch on native seed collection and storage, site preparation, winter sowing, and making Seedballs. All of these techniques can be adapted to schools or church groups that want to make a difference on their own land.

Presenter: Sarah Pregitzer
Organization: Newaygo Invasive Plant Project
Presenter 2: Randy Butters
Organization: Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

The iconic open grown oak is largely a relic, without active restoration efforts to secure the next generation it will soon be absent from the landscape. The open grown form is paramount to healthy oak savannas. Many land stewards "thin canopies", but for our crew, we “open oaks”. One difference is that we do not follow any formula for culling. Rather each tree is part of a discussion and consensus decision making. This slower approach deepens our understanding and allows us to better read the landscape. Our presentation will show how an open grown oak serves its ecological community and will share the various factors that are weighed in choosing which oaks should be highlighted and how you can participate in healing and shaping the mosaic of prairie, woodland and savanna as it shapes you and biodiversity returns.

Presenter: Colleen Perria
Organization: Iron Creek Properties
Presenter 2: Jeremy Siegrist
Organization: Iron Creek Properties

Distributed stewardship is the future of conservation. We cannot sustainably manage individual natural areas or properties as isolated units, no matter their size. In order to preserve biodiversity, provide wildlife habitat and corridors, and protect our air and waters, communication and coordination across boundaries is imperative. The Stewardship Network (TSN) provides a model for us to do just that. TSN develops and supports highly individualized collaborative conservation communities and knits them together to create landscape scale impact. We connect, support, and develop local leadership to sustain these efforts over time and link them with tools and funding streams for this important work. Come learn how The Stewardship Network has grown and continues to expand across the country and also, how you can join the movement.

Presenter: Lisa Brush
Organization: The Stewardship Network
Presenter 2: Rachel Muelle
Organization: The Stewardship Network

Lakeside daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea) is one of the rarest endemic species found within the Great Lakes Basin and exists on fewer than 10 sites. The Michigan Nature Association protects and manages the sole Michigan population in Mackinac County which grows on tufa, a soft, spongy calcareous rock deposit at the mouth of springs which flow from carbonate rock. The remnant lakeside daisy population is located within the right of way of a public road which places the population in a state of ongoing risk associated with negative impacts on the population. In order to protect the genetic identity of the population, seed was collected, propagated, and plants installed to create two reserve populations. One within the adjoining nature sanctuary on previously disturbed gravel ridges within a canopy gap and the second within a nearby abandoned quarry which is protected by a partnering conservation group. The details of the project, results, and associated monitoring program will be discussed.

Presenter: Andrew Bacon
Organization: Michigan Nature Association

When Invasive Species are present on multiple properties in a community, control and/or eradication can be daunting. The challenge can be more manageable when stewards work with local municipalities to deploy solutions available only to governmental entities. This panel will explore the many tools and mechanisms available through governmental Planning & Zoning, Police Power Ordinances, and Municipal Funding. Municipal officials may use these ordinances and other mechanisms to protect public safety and property values (i.e. tax revenues); the core responsibilities of municipalities. The panel will discuss using Site Plan Standards and planning and zoning techniques to restore native ecosystems. Updating mowing ordinances by redefining “noxious weeds” as "invasive plants" encourages homeowners to control invasives. Funding sources will be explained to manage infestations using Crowd Funding, Special Assessment Districts, General Taxation Funds, or Dedicated Tax Millage Requests. To facilitate compliance, invasive plant control should be provided as a municipal service.

Presenter: Emily Cord Duthinh
Organization: Oakland County CISMA / North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy
Presenter 2: Paul Sniadecki
Organization: Michigan Lakes and Streams Association
Presenter 3: Monica Day
Organization: MSU Extension
Presenter 4 Name: David Borneman
Presenter 4 Organization: David Borneman LLC

How can we manage forests, both public and private, and what are the programs and resources available to encourage forest stewardship? Can we coordinate between existing management units and private parcels to encourage good stewardship at a landscape level? Can we find examples of good stewardship and showcase them to motivate and inform private landowners—who own more than half of Michigan’s forests—to take care of their woodland resources? Michigan Department of Natural Resources partnered with three Michigan conservation organizations (The Stewardship Network, The Nature Conservancy, and Huron Pines) to address this question in 9 landscapes across the state. With funding from the U.S. Forest Service, we developed Landscape Forest Stewardship plans that assessed existing programs and partner agencies, met with stakeholders, and engaged private landowners in telling their stories of how and why they manage their forest lands, highlighted on a Story Map for the state. This session will provide an overview and highlights for very different landscapes in Northern Michigan (Huron Pines), Southwestern Lower Michigan, and Southeastern Lower Michigan, as well as outline the acoustic monitoring that accompanied the project.

Presenter: Jacqueline Courteau
Organization: NatureWrite LLC
Presenter 2: Hugh Brown
Organization: Natural Resource Consultant
Presenter 3: Abigail Ertel
Organization: Huron Pines
Presenter 4 Name: Michael Smalligan
Presenter 4 Organization: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

In Canada, Carolinian forest is unique to southern Ontario, but has been largely lost to urbanization and agriculture. Reforestation is a common goal among conservationists that is often addressed via tree planting. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has taken a direct seeding approach to reforestation that has been highly successful on a variety of soil types. Over the past 8 years, NCC has restored 46 ha (113 ac) of agricultural land on Pelee Island in Lake Erie. Seed from native species is locally collected and sown directly onto fields following soybean harvest, prioritizing early successional species and tree nuts. Where appropriate, depressions are excavated prior to seeding to create wetland features. Pollinators and other wildlife begin to use the sites in the first year after planting, sown species dominate within two years and trees begin to emerge above the herbaceous layer within five years.

Presenter: Jill Crosthwaite
Organization: The Nature Conservancy of Canada

Are your restoration efforts effective? Are your volunteer work days achieving their goals? Is that new outreach program working? Not-for-profit organizations work tirelessly to engage their community and conserve natural ecosystems, but may lack the resources to address important research questions like these. Don’t despair- help may be at hand! Colleges and universities seek high-impact opportunities for their undergraduate students, and what may seem like a problem to you might be a great opportunity for them. Collaborative research projects can meet the needs of resource-constrained organizations while providing undergraduates with invaluable hands-on experiences. Faculty and students have expertise in diverse disciplines, from ecology to education. This interactive workshop will explore what faculty mentors and their students can offer, and how you can develop and implement meaningful research to address your questions while contributing to the development of budding professionals. Participants will have the opportunity to begin designing a collaborative project.

Presenter: Jodee Hunt
Organization: Biology Department & Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarship, Grand Valley State University

Hundreds of studies in eastern North America over the past 25 years have shown that overabundant deer are reducing forest regeneration and diversity, and altering habitat for numerous other species (including songbirds, butterflies, and native bees). But while impacts on vegetation have been documented across many regions, they can vary considerably within and across sites depending on land-use history and landscape context. Management relies on local, site-specific information. How are deer affecting your site? And can a Citizen Science network and education project help provide education and information for management? This workshop will provide a brief overview of methods for assessing deer impacts, including methods for estimating browse damage severity, then will focus on several new monitoring techniques that have been developed recently to help private land-owners and public land managers assess deer browse damage. We will go out into the field for hands-on practice in setting up permanent monitoring plots that can be quickly surveyed and analyzed using the “Ten Tallest” (Rawinski 2017) and the “Twig Age” (Waller 2017) methods to allow for tracking trends over time. While methods are focused on forest tree and shrub regeneration, they can also be used to track spring flora, invasive species, and other species of interest or concern. We will discuss how the method can be tweaked to focus on different aspects of vegetation. Workshop participants will receive materials for setting up their first vegetation plot, and should leave with a clear understanding of how to go forth and monitor. Basic plant identification skills are helpful but all that’s required is a willingness to learn a few key plants and counting/measuring techniques. After some hands-on practice, we will return indoors to hear about a proposal from University of Wisconsin, where collaborators are working on expanded monitoring of deer habitat conditions, both to ensure that deer have enough sufficient food available and to ensure that browsing does not threaten tree regeneration and forest diversity. We have identified a great opportunity to work with School Forests and HS teachers and students across the Wisconsin to build a Citizen Science network that would generate data to help guide deer and forest management while engaging and educating citizens across the state in key resource issues. Our project is scalable and generates synergies between field science, education, and citizen engagement in a high visibility conservation issue.

Presenter: Jacqueline Courteau
Organization: NatureWrite LLC
Presenter 2: Timothy R. Van Deelen
Organization: University of Wisconsin- Madison

Plaster Creek Stewards (PCS), an initiative of Calvin College, has been installing curb cut rain gardens since 2015. These gardens infiltrate stormwater as well as promote biodiversity within urban areas of the Plaster Creek Watershed. To better understand the relative success of Michigan native plants that were used in this program, PCS conducted performance and survivorship research in the summers of 2016 and 2017. Within the 11 rain gardens studied, data for 16 species were collected, including Packera obovata (Round-leaved ragwort), Lupinus perennis (Wild lupine), Aquilegia canadensis (Wild columbine), Carex rosea (Curly-styled wood sedge), and Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed). Survivorship ranged from approximately 60% to over 300%, and performance data were generally consistent with survivorship. This ongoing research is helping to identify a palette of successful native plants that provides both quick visual appeal and long term ecological benefit in these highly urbanized locations.

Presenter: Deanna Geelhoed
Organization: Plaster Creek Stewards
Presenter 2: Gregory Manni
Organization: Biology Department, Calvin College

As of 2017 Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), a small aphidlike invasive insect, has been found in four western Michigan lakeshore counties: Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana, and poses a large threat to hemlocks throughout the state. Hemlocks are a key tree species of Michigan’s forests. HWA threatens the sustainability of these forests, and the loss of hemlocks across the state poses a threat to sensitive cold-water fisheries and wildlife habitat. However, there is still time to significantly slow the spread and locally eradicate pockets of HWA. Learn about the efforts taking place in Michigan to slow the spread of HWA, including efforts to survey the extent of HWA, the interior quarantine in effect that regulates the movement of hemlock plants within and out of the affected counties, and community engagement efforts geared towards engaging landowners.

Presenter: Daria Gosztyla
Organization: Ottawa Conservation District

This presentation reports two applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to the study and management of Ginn Woods, an old-growth forest. The first application looks beyond the borders of the property by using historic General Land Office (GLO) surveyor notes to establish reference ecosystems. For the region surrounding Ginn Woods GIS was used to chart witness tree species and sizes on a mile section grid, and a presettlement map of plant associations was created. The second application looks within the borders of the property to monitor changes in canopy structure and species composition caused by the emerald ash borer (EAB). A Geographic Information System (GIS) model was created to identify locations where large canopy gaps are likely to form and increase ground-level insolation, which may result in the spread of shade intolerant invasive plants. Attendees will learn our methods, limitations, results, and the future directions of our research.

Presenter: John E. Taylor
Organization: Ball State University
Presenter 2: Christopher Baas
Organization: Ball State University

Since 2014, several researchers have explored the function, practices, impact, and challenges of an emerging multi-agency land stewardship collaborative – the Tamalpais Lands Collaborative (TLC) in Marin County, California. Highlights are captured in three published case studies which reveal approximately twelve key “lessons learned” that were essential to guiding the TLC’s early success. This presentation uncovers and explores those lessons through stories. Participants will be introduced to the 12 key lessons learned from the Case Studies and stories will be shared to introduce, provide context and illustrate each lesson. Following the introduction of each lesson, the audience will be provided "key questions to consider when working in a partnership context" to discuss for that specific lesson.

Presenter: Sharon Farrell
Organization: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

The Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) is using a systematic adaptive management approach to unite management with science and learn how to manage non-native Phragmites most effectively. Using a standardized monitoring protocol, a predictive model, and an interactive online database, PAMF enhances the impact of individual efforts in a way that accelerates our collective learning about what site-specific best management practices are. PAMF collects the details of a management effort (e.g., herbicide concentration, application method) and analyzes the outcomes to find out how those details influence treatment effectiveness. With time, this long-term shift in management strategy will provide data-driven guidance and advice to help land managers achieve their objectives. PAMF will be ready for basin-wide participation in 2018. Learn how to participate in PAMF and get insight into what to expect as a PAMF partner during this presentation.

Presenter: Karen Alexander
Organization: Great Lakes Commission

The Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative – a program developed by a diverse set of stakeholders to transition the Kirtland’s Warbler from recovery to long-term survival away from protections under the Endangered Species Act – turned five years old in 2017. At its launch partners knew they were stepping into uncharted territory (the Kirtland’s Warbler is considered a conservation-reliant species – one that will continue to need conservation actions by humans for survival). Now, in 2018, the new evolution in thinking and organization around the future of the species is being recognized by national leaders in bird and endangered species conservation “as the model for how we ought to approach all conservation reliant causes.” This panel presentation and Q&A session will highlight the innovative strategies put in place by the program to ensure preservation of institutional knowledge, provide structure for expanding partnerships, design a sustainable funding model and meet the need to elevate social science research to equal priority alongside land management policies and practices.

Presenter: Abigail Ertel
Organization: Huron Pines
Presenter 2: Scott Hicks
Organization: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Presenter 3: Dave Ewert
Organization: The Nature Conservancy
Presenter 4 Name: Jerry Rucker
Presenter 4 Organization: Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance

We will present a summary of our invasive Phragmites management stakeholder meeting, discuss current and novel treatment practices, demonstrate the use of sub-meter resolution DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2(-3) imagery data to assist pre- and post-treatment mapping and monitoring, and introduce participants to wetland ecosystem modeling that shows promise for determining site specific sequences of treatment methods and timing to improve management success. This work was funded by an MISGP grant to develop a comprehensive plan for Phragmites management in Saginaw Bay, and a complementary EPA grant to implement a novel plan for adaptive management of Phragmites in the Bay. We will seek feedback from participants to help improve strategies for addressing complex management and monitoring scenarios, so that managers can fine tune their treatments and better document and share their successes and challenges.

Presenter: Laura Bourgeau-Chavez
Organization: Michigan Tech Research Institute
Presenter 2: Phyllis Higman
Organization: Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Ms. Lucero and Ms. Tamez will present an overview of their 2017 Journal of Forestry Article “Working Together to Implement the Tribal Forest Protection Act(TFPA) of 2004: Partnerships for Today and Tomorrow.” This presentation focuses on how the implementation of the Act can serve as a model for collaborative partnerships between Tribes and other forest managers. Participants will become acquainted with lessons from the TFPA workshops, and examine approaches that are transferable to other collaborative forest management across boundaries with additional partners. Discussions also include case studies of how these tools and approaches are utilized to create more resilient forests that can adapt to climate change and other issues

Presenter: Stephanie Lucero
Organization: Center for Collaborative Policy
Presenter 2: Sonia Tamez
Organization: US Forest Service (ret.)

Lake Erie coastal wetlands can retain or release phosphorus and other nutrients as seiche activity moves water between the lake and wetland habitats. Intense sampling at one wetland site revealed net annual retention of total phosphorus, however, it is unclear how nutrient retention capability varies among different coastal wetland areas. Therefore, this study monitored seiche activity and nutrient retention at multiple coastal wetlands and found that retention patterns varied through time and space. Results will be used to inform the Western Lake Erie Restoration Assessment (WLERA: https://glcwra.wim.usgs.gov/) and efforts to model nutrient retention at a landscape scale.

Presenter: Michael Eggleston
Organization: USGS Great Lakes Science Center

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is continuously working to foster environmental awareness through its outreach program. Efforts are focused internally and externally to promote stewardship of natural resources and complete restoration projects to improve local water quality. The outreach program targets individuals of all ages and seeks input from the community on ways to engage the community.

Presenter: Taylor Brook
Organization: Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

After working a season for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station FIA program as part of the data collection team, I have gotten to witness how this expansive program operates and what it means for conservation for the forests of the United States. FIA is part of a nationwide program which collects, processes, analyzes, evaluates, and publishes comprehensive information on forest and other related renewable resources. One of the ways in which FIA is unique is that it’s data is collected across all types of ownerships. The program is tasked with the invaluable job of providing the knowledge of the current state of our nation’s forests, how they are changing, future projections and much more. FIA even has significance abroad. Because the FIA program spans the entire country and its inventory can be traced back to the 1930s, the data collected can be used to help implement conservation practices.

Presenter: Moriah Young

Wild food traditions have declined since the industrial era as mechanized agriculture has transformed our food systems. This decline is cross cultural and has contributed to the disconnect between humans and our natural environment. Wild food processing activities strengthens bonds between families and community and contributes to physical and emotional health, and promotes conservation because of the direct connection between the natural world and the dinner table.

Presenter: Barb Barton
Organization: Endangered Species Consulting

When ungulate herbivores are overabundant, the abundance of exotic plants often increases in forest communities. I present data from greenhouse and14-year field experiments that explore the interactions among the overabundant herbivore Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer), an allelopathic invader Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard), and native herbaceous perennials performance. Interactions with deer alter natives’ and the invaders’ vital rates and demography: deer facilitate the invader and drive population declines in natives. The invader’s allelopathic chemicals disrupt root fungal symbiont (RFS) mutualism in native roots and drive declines in native physiology. Our results support the hypothesis that disruption of RFS mutualism following species invasion creates symptoms of carbon stress for species dependent on these beneficial fungi. Such disruption may generally contribute to the commonly observed, large-scale declines in forest biodiversity in the wake of allelopathic invaders. Our data mechanistically link loss of forest biodiversity and population stability to overabundant deer and invaders.

Presenter: Susan Kalisz
Organization: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Through transformation to agriculture, to forest and to cities, grasslands have become one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. Accompanying this change are widespread and severe losses of grassland birds, with declines of up 90% over the last 40 years recorded for some species. Yet, public perception is not aligned with the reality of species and habitat losses and new ways to illustrate land-use change are needed to re-align perception and ignite concern. Our interdisciplinary collaboration of an artist and an avian ecologist merges art and science to explore and communicate the loss of grasslands and grassland birds to the public. We’ll discuss our ongoing STEM+Arts (“STEAM”) project, including our recent exhibit of the project.

Presenter: Mary Whalen
Organization: Kalamazoo Institute of Art
Presenter 2: Sharon Gill
Organization: Western Michigan University

Ecological restoration can be prone to unpredictable outcomes, but what leads to this variation? For plant communities, conditions during the first year of restoration may influence germination and seedling survival; this, in turn, may impact the community that develops. We tested this hypothesis in a prairie restoration experiment in which we replicated a spring-sown planting across three planting years. Within these prairies, a subset in each year received water manipulations for the first nine weeks after sowing. In addition, we explored whether seed predation or herbivory differed in each planting year, and what effect competitive pressure from invasives may have on a new restoration. We found large differences in seedling emergence across the three planting years as well as across precipitation treatments; however, community composition only differed across years, not precipitation treatments. After our fourth season of this experiment, we have found that initial planting-year differences, though lessening, remain.

Presenter: Anna Groves
Organization: Michigan State University
Presenter 2: Lars Brudvig
Organization: Michigan State University

Is our common dependence upon the natural world factored into the very blueprint of America’s democratic vision? This presentation works from the hypothesis that certain key phrases in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence can be understood to assert our baseline environmental unity. Those phrases will be explored through a lens of likely tribal influence. The Longhouses central to the polities of indigenous nations provided important models of egalitarian, democratic decision-making that perhaps affected colonial notions of democracy at least as much as the distant Greek public squares that are most often credited as influential. This close reading of the nation’s seminal documents alongside a purview of indigenous polities can offer a renewed sense of how our citizenship is profoundly linked to the lands upon which we all stand or fall.

Presenter: Nichole Marie Biber
Organization: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) populations have been monitored at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for 20 years (1997-2017). This project has documented long term trends in growth, flowering rate, and the impacts of deer browse on Trillium populations. Additionally, this study tracks the trends in populations where deer are experimentally excluded through the use of exclosures. Clear trends suggest that repeat exposure to heavy browse over multiple years results in the suppression of Trillium populations, reduced flowering rates, and in some cases local extirpation of populations. However, monitoring of populations not exposed to deer browse showed variable responses including increased abundance and flowering rates at some sites contrasted with declines at other sites. For his talk, Ryan will discuss the trends observed in Trillium populations and the how these data are used to make important science based decisions regarding the lethal management of white-tailed deer populations.

Presenter: Ryan Trimbath
Organization: University of Akron

A useful technology for any land steward can be Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This workshop will explore current GIS data and tools, some of which are freely available, that can be set up on a laptop or smartphone. The presenter will show how he incorporates GIS Tools into his management of his restoration agriculture farm, including analyzing available data layers for the site and mapping perennial plantings in the field. Time will be spent on demonstrating potential workflows and on how to install any needed software. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own computer and/or mobile device.

Presenter: Shannon J. Brines
Organization: Brines Farm LLC

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is renowned for its rare plant communities and biodiversity yet the park receives over 2 million visitors a year. Managing visitor use to prevent damage to the resources while still welcoming visitors to enjoy them has been a long-term issue at the national lakeshore. The presenters will describe the direct and novel approaches used to address the issues of protection and restoration and the successes achieved to date.

Presenter: Gia Wagner
Organization: National Park Service
Presenter 2: Laura Brennan
Organization: National Park Service

It is tempting to try to duplicate the function of natural wetlands, woodlands and other native habitats using native plants in our built environment. These types of projects need to be aesthetically pleasing, reasonably priced, and relatively easy to maintain. What's the best way to do this when working in an environment that has been changed beyond recognition in a climate that is changing in ways we don't understand? We will discuss ways of thinking about creating plant communities and how planting design and new models of landscape maintenance can help us create resilient, beautiful plantings that have the best chance of fulfilling the stormwater and ecosystem functions we are trying to create.

Presenter: Matt Demmon
Organization: PlantWise, LLC

Dallas will hold this space open for attendees to ask questions, make comments, and process what they heard in his keynote presentation. This is the time to further discuss and explore the ideas, lessons, and challenges of Dallas's experiences.

Presenter: Dallas Goldtooth
Organization: Indigenous Environmental Network

The Clinton River watershed in Southeast Michigan was listed as an Area of Concern by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1987. Multiple stressors and beneficial use impairments, such as contamination, eutrophication, and habitat degradation have caused extensive loss of ecosystem structure and function. Multiple partners from the public, private, and non-governmental organization sectors have made great progress towards delisting the watershed with funding assistance provided by programs such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Cardno, an ecological restoration and consulting firm, has been involved in projects throughout the watershed from the headwaters region in Oakland County, to the river mouth in Lake St. Clair. An analysis of project outcomes and specific habitat restoration practices including native planting and seeding, invasive species control, and wetland construction will be presented.

Presenter: Shawn Duke
Organization: Cardno
Presenter 2: Chris White
Organization: Cardno

To create 25 acres of wetland habitat at the closed Independent Landfill in Muskegon, Michigan, Waste Management developed extensive restoration plans, which included groundwater modeling, grading, and planting plans. Site construction included excavation of nearly 25’ of soil to reach groundwater, and was completed in the mid-2000s. Following excavation, over 100 native plant species emerged from the seedbank, including many rare species not found anywhere in the area. This seedbank echoes a coastal plain marsh, and produced a floristic quality index (FQI) score of 35.1 in just the first year post-excavation, making the site ecologically significant. Although investigations are still underway, it is possible that an ancient viable seedbank was uncovered. This presentation will discuss the planning, construction, and management of the site as well as future plans for public access and site management.

Presenter: Brian Majka
Organization: GEI Consultants

The presentation will include information about how Stuart Gage got involved with the study of the soundscape, including how land use change affected the evolution in thinking about monitoring the environment. Ecoacoustics will be defined and the components of the soundscape will be described. The presentation will describe how sounds can be quantified, including the use of the normalized difference soundscape index (NDSI). Sound is a metric which can be an excellent means to easily quantify before and after ecological disturbance. Case studies of the soundscape will be presented that illustrate the use of sound to examine pre-forest and post-forest harvest, to establish an inter-tidal soundscape baseline, to map a winter soundscape and to characterize lake quality with the common loon. Finally, Stuart will describe the REAL digital Library which houses over 2 million sound recordings which are accessible on-line.

Presenter: Stuart H Gage
Organization: Michigan State University

Using nature as a model, Restoration Agriculture is the intentional restoration of healthy, functional ecosystems as the context for economically-viable farm operations. Mark Shepard and uses ecosystem mimicry in perennial crops. Livestock, fungus and pollinators are integrated to produce abundant food, fiber and fuel crops while simultaneously restoring critical ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient cycling and biodiversity. Mark will bring many concepts into full circle by explaining how to integrate permaculture design, holistic management, keyline design, whole living ecosystems, ecological restoration and production agriculture. After a brief critique of annual crops agriculture, participants will be introduced to biome and natural plant community mimicry as a method of designing permanent agricultural systems.

Presenter: Mark Shepard
Organization: Forest Agriculture Enterprises

The Stewardship Network is interested in expanding their work to connect, equip, and mobilize people and organizations to foster the stewardship of agricultural land. What should TSN consider in determining how it might expand the scope of its work to include agricultural lands and stakeholders? To answer this question, two University of Michigan graduate students have been interviewing farmers and organizations that support farmers in Southeastern Michigan. We are proposing a roundtable discussion that provides an opportunity for participants to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with this broadening of scope for TSN. What are the possibilities for working with agricultural lands and stakeholders in order to expand stewardship activity? What challenges might be faced by including agriculture in TSN’s work? The session will include a short introduction of our graduate student project and preliminary findings followed by a facilitated discussion of observations and ideas of those attending.

Presenter: Jessica Robinson
Organization: University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability
Presenter 2: Hayley Currier
Organization: University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is attempting to establish wild rice within one of its recent wetland restoration sites. The site is located within Robinson Township, Ottawa County, and construction of the site was completed during the 2017 construction season. MDOT is committed to seeding approximately 7 acres of the 50 acre site for the next 5 years. MDOT will use this project to assess future potential wetland restoration projects where wild rice seeding may occur.

Presenter: Jeremie Wilson
Organization: Michigan Department of Transportation

Frogs, toads, and salamanders can be difficult to monitor without expensive equipment, long hours in the field, or extensive training. I’ll review some amphibian monitoring methods that can provide useful information despite limited resources of time or money. Bucket traps are an inexpensive, easy way to track populations of larvae (tadpoles and “sallywogs”). Cover boards and PVC pipe traps can attract adult salamanders and tree frogs, respectively, and photo mark-recapture methods can allow for non-invasive tracking of individual animals. Scientists and stewards are using these methods in the woodlands of the Chicago Wilderness region to study the response of amphibians to ecological restoration.

Presenter: Karen Glennemeier
Organization: John G. Shedd Aquarium

The foundation of todays stewardship efforts has a place and a story. Todays efforts evolved from both the unique diversity of our shared landscape plus efforts of early conservation visionaries who saw the future needs of a growing population. From the Upper Peninsula’s Porcupine Mountains to Haven Hill in Southeast Michigan, you will learn of your extended stewardship ancestors, both public and private, who established public lands and a framework for today’s and tomorrow’s conservation stewardship actions. The story will both sadden and surprise you - from tragedy arose opportunity. As a conservation steward it is a story with many lessons and a story you are a part of.

Presenter: Lawrence Falardeau
Organization: Friends Of Highland Recreation Area

Citizen science is public participation in the scientific process, including forming research questions, collecting, analyzing, and making conclusions about data, or developing new technologies and applications. It can be done individually or as a group, and can explore a diversity of fields including ecology, archaeology, astronomy, and many more. This presentation will share resources for designing Citizen Science projects, some existing projects in Michigan and additional ideas for collaboration.

Presenter: Lisa Perez
Organization: US Forest Service

Renee Dillard (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians) will be speaking about the historical significance of bulrush weaving designs, while demonstrating some weaving techniques. These skills have been passed down through her family that continue from generations prior to colonization. How the bulrush fibers are prepared will be included along with display of bulrush weavings for viewing will be available during the demonstration.

Presenter: Renee Dillard
Organization: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Since 2014, the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Youth Outdoor Ambassador (YOA) program has been pivotal in creating and empowering the next generation of environmental advocates, stewards and conservationists. Aged 16 to 20, the Ambassadors participate in a paid, countywide internship that introduces them to Forest Preserves’ operations, careers in conservation and outdoor recreation, provides leadership and job readiness skills, and ultimately seeks to facilitate a stronger connection to nature and foster an interest in the outdoors. In this workshop you will learn about the development and structure of the program, hear testimonials and take part in a discussion with the YOA program manager and an alumni of the program. Bring your questions and share your own experiences so we can have a helpful and engaging conversation on how to better connect youth with nature.

Presenter: Credell Walls
Organization: Forest Preserves of Cook County
Presenter 2: Ladejanae Robinson-Goode
Organization: Forest Preserves of Cook County
Presenter 3: Jared Tabor
Organization: Forest Preserves of Cook County
Presenter 4 Name: Robin Grooms
Presenter 4 Organization: Forest Preserves of Cook County

This session outlines an integrative and collaborative bridge-building project; it is primarily focused on highlighting paths across the “Great Divide”. Are humans a part of nature or is nature a part human society? What is diversity and how can we restore, sustain, or create it into the future? Questions abound. In search of answers, we’ll travel through the complex interactions and inter-relationships between people and environments. Ecological restoration looks to the past for clues on how to reestablish biodiversity into the future. Stewardship aims to care for that which is entrusted to one’s management. Join this session to engage with a delicate integrative experiential research project that aims to collaboratively craft a new type of knowledge that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. This type of knowledge is rooted in place, crafted with people, and directly relevant to local ecologies and communities. Want to join?

Presenter: Spencer Kellum
Organization: University of Georgia

We will describe the efforts and success of a long-term partnership in rural Northern Michigan to support and intertwine land and water conservation by receiving nearly $8 million in public investment and leveraging nearly $10 million in partner contributions through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The partnership is led by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Leelanau Conservancy, and Conservation Resource Alliance with additional partners joining the partnership such as Little Traverse Conservancy and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. This diverse group understands the connection between protecting tribal traditional lifeways, farm land conservation and river restoration in these critical and globally rare watersheds.

Presenter: Caroline Keson
Organization: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Natural Resource Department
Presenter 2: DJ Shook
Organization: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Strike teams are an important tool used by the West Michigan CISMA to carry our invasive species management. This presentation will cover how to form a strike team to carry out this work including methods for crew management, resources needed, and necessary things such as licenses, certifications, and insurance.

Presenter: Drew Rayner
Organization: West Michigan CISMA

One of the challenges the City of Detroit faces is being unable to provide oversight of vacant lots, blight, and illegal dumping. The city’s waning tax base due to population decline prevented government officials from pursuing absentee landowners and the investigation of illegal dumping. This is significant as we consider the Springwells neighborhood to be one of many coping with the expanse of vacancy and blight. Without city resources to hold landowners accountable, the prevalence of physical disorder continued to increase. While it has become imperative for dangerous and blighted structures to be removed, it also becomes vital for the community to seek ways to redevelop the lot. The Land Stewardship Initiative of Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) works to address vacant lots and illegal dumping. Absentee landowners stand to be amongst one of the most prevalent variables in creating the problem. In addition to absentee landowners, the increase of vacant side lots due to the City’s blighted structures demolition program contributes to the problem. Under the leadership of the Curator of Parks and Green Spaces UNI receives nominations of vacant lots to be taken under stewardship annually. UNI also recruits neighborhood residents to serve as stewards of these lots. Together, UNI and community residents clean and maintain the lots throughout the year. In some cases UNI works with residents to design and transform these vacant spaces in the neighborhood into positive, green spaces for residents to enjoy. UNI believes when residents of a given neighborhood or block notices positive development on a previously vacant lot it will spur further community beautification efforts led by members of the same block. UNI ultimately believes this initiative empowers residents to revitalize and maintain their blocks and will contribute to widespread change within the neighborhood.

Presenter: Lisa Marie Rodriguez
Organization: Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI)

LANDFIRE is a national mapping program that provides over 20 geospatial layers (e.g. vegetation, fuel, disturbance), databases, and ecological models for the entire US. This workshop will include a broad overview of the LANDFIRE program and datasets. Participants will be guided through a data download demonstration/exercise, using ArcGIS or a web mapping application. Fire Behavior Fuel Model (FBFM) datasets will be explored. The LANDFIRE Total Fuels Change Tool (LFTFC) will be demonstrated, using a real-life fuel management and planning scenario from the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Lastly, we will discuss the application of different FBFMs in our region, and steps we are taking to better understand and improve them. Please bring if you can: a laptop with internet, and ArcGIS if possible.

Presenter: Megan Sebasky
Organization: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Thanks to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, several shoreline wildlife habitat restoration projects have been completed in the Blue Water area. The Friends of the St. Clair River is committed to assisting the owners of these projects, the wildlife that depend on them and the communities they are located in to sustain them long into the future. For the past three years, Friends has been working with these stakeholders, advisers and partners to develop and implement best management practices for the habitat projects. We engage the community through stewardship, citizen science, tours, field trips and public education.

Presenter: Kirsten Lyons
Organization: Friends of the St. Clair River

Habitat management can be used to increase the availability of pollen and nectar resources in intensified landscapes. Communities of beneficial insects respond positively to increased plant resource availability in these landscapes, leading to increased pollination and pest suppression. Optimizing plant resource selection for habitat management of beneficial insects requires knowledge of taxa-specific responses to plant resource availability, as well as the overall goals of the habitat management program. To improve plant selection for habitat management, we identified native perennial plant species found in Michigan that best support populations of bees and natural enemies of crop pests. Our results demonstrate that the visitation frequencies of different beneficial insects can vary considerably, and can be predicted by key floral traits. Although different taxa of beneficial insects can show unique preferences for plant species, plant selection for habitat management programs can be optimized to support multiple beneficial insect types.

Presenter: Logan Rowe
Organization: Michigan State University

Restoration of mnomen (wild rice) is a keystone mission of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi’s Environmental Department of Southwest Michigan. Once a staple of the native diet and a prominent feature of our waterways, Zizania aquatica it is now reduced to a threatened species and only a dietary supplement. Through years of attempting to understand the current conditions of existing stands, and the teachings of traditional knowledge from Tribal Elders, NHBP has worked to reclaim this keystone ecosystem. The use of aerial remote sensing, high accuracy GPS data, canoes & kayaks, and the integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems in Geospatial mapping are all being implemented to determine restoration best practices. To better identify the spatial origins of certain rice beds, we are partnering with Bowling Green State University to conduct a genetic analysis.

Presenter: Eric Kerney
Organization: Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi
Presenter 2: Stephen W. Allen
Organization: Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Geum Services Inc.

Every time we step out into nature, we notice something – the frog that hops in front of us, the bat flying overhead, the bird calling in the distance, the garlic mustard that is just starting to bloom. Join us for a presentation on how the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation (NAP) is harnessing the power of citizen observation to engage volunteers and inform land management decisions. We will also explore various tools used to collect these observations and how our local data is contributing to regional and global research and conservation efforts.

Presenter: Tina Stephens
Organization: City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation
Presenter 2: Becky Gajewski
Organization: City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation

In 2016 the Forest Preserves of Cook County in partnership with University of Illinois Extension, launched a Conservation@Home program that recognizes and certifies properties that demonstrate environmentally friendly landscaping practices for both the betterment of nature and their communities. This program encourages Cook County residents to create wildlife habitat, control invasive species, use sustainable water and soil methods and practice natural lawn care in their home gardens. Learn more about this innovative program including our partnerships, volunteer recruitment, free Conservation@Home classes, and memberships to date all in effort to bring the Forest Preserves beyond its ‘boarders’ to create forest preserve friendly places throughout Cook County.

Presenter: Nina Baki
Organization: Forest Preserves of Cook County
Presenter 2: Valerie Kehoe
Organization: University of Illinois Extension