Shawn Severance

Organization / Affiliation: 
Washtenaw County Parks
734-971-6337 x 335
Email Address:
I have worked as a Park Naturalist for Washtenaw County Parks since 2006. In those 10 years, I have led nature hikes, prescribed burns and other ecological restoration work. Many of the nature programs I do focus on wild edibles, herbalism, and primitive skills like firebuilding. My favorite habitat is the tallgrass prairie and my favorite Michigan vacation spot is Nordhouse Dunes. I have a diverse science background with Masters Degrees in Landscape Architecture and Neurobiology, as well as a BS in Animal Physiology. Prior to working for Washtenaw County Parks, I taught science at Washtenaw Community College and worked at Hamilton Anderson Associates, an Urban Planning firm in Detroit. I first learned the techniques of Ecological Restoration working for Dave Mindell at Plantwise Native Landscapes - I still remember my first field job with Dave - we were out in some wetland in the unbearable July heat. There was all this rice cutgrass on the way in, and of course I wore shorts. It was hot! We were hand-treating purple loosestrife at the edge of the wetland where it met the open water. I kept falling through the mat. Standing there soaked and hurting, I saw some great white bird fly overhead - maybe an Egret - and I knew that was exactly where I wanted to be.
What are your collaboration ideas or needs?: 
I want to understand more about how to know if ecological restoration work is improving habitat quality.