Prescribed fire is an effective management tool frequently used to alter, maintain, and restore vegetative communities throughout Michigan. It is also a tool that can negatively impact Eastern box turtle populations. There are several natural history and behavioral conflicts that make reducing the negative effects of prescribed fire on box turtles challenging. Box turtles are slow-moving, their active season overlaps the burning season, they tend to hide in high fuel loads, and their movement patterns are variable and uncoordinated. Evaluating and utilizing the strengths and weaknesses of your site (such as water sources and available nesting areas), rotating burns between seasons, and using the longest burn interval possible will be important in reducing the negative impacts of prescribed fire on box turtles.
Alicia Ihnken has worked in the Stewardship Unit for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division since May 2011. She provides GIS support (data management, mapping, & analysis) for the Unit and coordinates the Eastern box turtle research project at Fort Custer Recreation Area. Prior to joining the DNR, Alicia worked as a desert tortoise biologist in Nevada and California. Alicia has a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from Michigan State University and graduate work in Conservation Biology at Central Michigan University.
Lisa Brush is the Executive Director of The Stewardship Network. Lisa has been leading collaborative conservation initiatives in the nonprofit environmental sector for over two decades. In her role as co-founder and Executive Director of The Stewardship Network she has engaged thousands of professionals and volunteers in identifying community and conservation needs of the 21st century and determining strategic support The Network can provide. She has managed and overseen grant projects from federal and state agencies, as well as family and private foundations. She has been involved in all aspects of organizational management including foundation/agency relationships, grant based project funding, budget tracking, contract negotiation, implementation, accountability, project reporting and staff and board development. Lisa has facilitated strategic planning sessions, focus groups, citizen task forces, community visioning sessions, and public involvement and feedback meetings with groups ranging in size from four to four hundred. Lisa emphasizes tried and true in-person methods of bringing people together augmented by the use of cutting edge online technology. Lisa serves on numerous boards of directors, has a BA in Science in Society from Wesleyan University, an MS from University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, and is a graduate of Michigan State University's Great Lakes Leadership Academy.