June, 2017 - "The Most Beautiful Place in America!?" Sand Dunes, Outdoor Recreation, the Future of Conservation

From surfing the Great Lakes to climbing a perched dune, outdoor recreation offers us an opportunity to rethink the value of the natural world in today's modern context, which in turn can help us all reinvigorate the protection of our public lands by building the next generation of stewards.

Now more than ever, people are identifying where they want to live or work based on quality of life. And to be relevant to future generations of land and water stewards, we need to work where they hang out: on foot, on wheels, with surfboards, in kayaks, on skis. These folks are the natural constituents --and future stewards -- of our parks and wild lands.

We'll share how a growing recognition of the size and importance of this group of future stewards -- visible in reports describing the $887 billion national Outdoor Recreation Economy -- is now helping Michigan and other states find new ways to talk to state and local leaders and partner organizations about natural resource protection. We'l also use as a case study our new coastal sand dunes engagement project and online survey (www.HowYouDuneSurvey.com) that is exploring how we measure and understand the "power of place" to help make the connection even stronger -- and more data- and GIS-driven. Along the way, we'll continue to explore key issues facing outdoor recreation and conservation--Responsible Recreation, Outdoor Access, and Conservation Leadership.


Brad Garmon is Director of Conservation and Emerging Issues at the Michigan Environmental Council, where he oversees MEC's policy work on natural resource protection and enjoyment, land conservation, and place-based economic development strategies. A trail runner, mountain biker and geologist, Garmon was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan State Parks and Recreation Blue Ribbon Panel in 2011, and also served on the state's Public Land Strategy Steering Committee, the Office of the Great Lakes' Water Strategy Cabinet, the Pigeon River Country Advisory Council, and the Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan advisory group. He is currently chairing the Policy and Outreach Committee of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

Jonathan Jarosz is the Executive Director for Heart of the Lakes. Prior to joining Heart of the Lakes, he served as the Director for University Outreach at the University of Michigan - Flint. Jonathan has worked as a conservation and outdoor recreation planner throughout Michigan, and the Great Lakes Region for the past sixteen years. One of Jonathan's passions is on advancing on-the-ground solutions that leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains. His work aims at a unified framework for natural allies that will influence conservation and outdoor recreation policies at the state level, increasing success in the protection of our lands and waters. Oh, and he likes to have fun, too.

Elaine Sterrett Isely is the Director of Water Programs at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC). Ms. Isely joined WMEAC to lead its Water Team in 2012. A veteran of the West Michigan legal and environmental communities, she has served as Project Manager for West Michigan Strategic Alliance's Green Infrastructure Initiative, Research Associate for the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University, Sea Grant Fellow with the Great Lakes Commission, and litigation attorney for Legal Aid of Western Michigan and the Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Inc. She currently serves at Chair of the Stormwater Oversight Commission, and formerly as the Green Infrastructure Work Group of the Vital Streets Oversight Commission for the City of Grand Rapids. She is also leading efforts for water trail planning and development in West Michigan - along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Grand River, and in Saugatuck-Douglas Harbor.

Lisa Brush is the Executive Director of The Stewardship Network. Lisa has worked in the environmental field in Michigan for the last fifteen years. She is currently the Executive Director of the Stewardship Network and has been involved with the Network since its inception more than 10 years ago. She has a wealth of experience helping non-scientific people understand scientific issues. For over nine years, as she has built and coordinated The Stewardship Network, she has emphasized effective and meaningful stakeholder involvement in developing and implementing all aspects of this program. She has a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (Science in Society) from Wesleyan University.

Webcast Date: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 12:00pm
Enter Your Information to View the Webcast Replay