What are the Professional Stewards Hikes?
The goal of the Professional Stewards Hike series is to connect academics, land managers from public and private organizations, and private consultants who are engaged in restoration work to explore some of the more complicated and advanced management issues in the field and in a way that fosters open discussion, debate, and sharing of ideas and information. The ultimate goal is that this information sharing (ideas, data, plans, methods, etc.) will increase the capacity of local area practitioners to manage adaptively, to better communicate the rationale and outcomes of their efforts, and to preserve or improve the native biodiversity and ecological function of the ecosystems in which they work.
As an academic - faculty and/or a researcher, you can attend a hike to find out more about applied research questions or practitioner data needs and/or how to connect student projects and classwork to the conservation community.
As a practicing land manager, decision-maker, steward or private consultant, you can gather with others in the field to share your knowledge and compare notes about challenges and techniques, as well as to set up new collaborations with other organizations or individuals.
During 2014-2015, the Stewardship Network (TSN) received a contract to support the College Conservation Collaboration, an effort proposed by University of Michigan lecturers Jacqueline Courteau and Sheila Schueller (and funded by a small service learning grant from the Michigan Campus Compact) to connect field work done in university classes to conservation data needs at local organizations. Over the course of the project, it became clear that conservation professionals were interested in finding opportunities to connect with each other and discuss management issues in the field, so the original project team organized a series of Professional Stewards Hikes in partnership with and with logistical support from Allison Krueger and Shawn Severance of the Washtenaw County Parks Natural Areas Preservation Program.
Hikes and facilitators during 2014-2015 included Sylvia Taylor at Horner McLaughlin Woods/Goodrich Preserve; Shawn Severance on Monitoring and Management at Scio Woods; Michael Kost on wetland (fen) plants at Park Lyndon; Tony Reznicek on graminoids at Matthaei Botanical Gardens; and Josh Cohen on floodplain forest natural history and management at Lower Huron Metropark. In 2016 the Professional Stewards Hike (PSH) joined forces with the Huron Arbor cluster of The Stewardship Network for planning and logistical support, allowing for the creation of this website to serve as a platform for collaboration beyond the hikes.