"(Re)connect with Nature: Keep a Nature Journal"
The Stewardship Network is all about working in (or on behalf of) nature, but it can be easy to get caught up in the work and forget to pause and truly see the natural areas we’re working in. Winter is a perfect time to reflect and reconnect, so for this month's webcast we are joined by ecologist Jacqueline Courteau, who will share ideas and prompts for using nature journaling to (re)connect to nature. More than just a field notebook, a natural journal can be used as a form of meditation and reflection, to heighten observation skills, and to increase your feelings of gratitude and connectedness—to nature, to community, and to memory. This session will offer inspiration to deepen your connection to the land you love. Come and cultivate your sense of wonder!
Jacqueline Courteau is an ecologist and consultant (NatureWrite LLC) who has taught courses including field ecology and ecology labs, restoration ecology, sense of place, natural history, and environmental writing at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. From an initial emphasis on field notebooks, she evolved to a broader approach of assigning nature journaling, and students consistently reported that, despite their initial resistance, this assignment was meaningful and enjoyable (some students emailed years later remembering this as a high point of their college class work). She understands the difficulty of committing to any kind of meditative practice, and hopes that by offering these exercises to the larger conservation community, we can support each other in our efforts.
"Forest Understory Adaptation in with Anishinaabe and Western Scientific Knowledges"
Michigan Tribes maintain important relationships with, and knowledges, on Michigan forests, seasons, and cycles. The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan is facilitating a collaborative adaptation project with the Bay Mills Indian Community, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, and Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, with assistance from Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Northern Institute for Applied Climate Science. This project engages Anishinaabe and western science to: 1) better understand how five forest understory plants might respond to climate-driven change and 2) identify ways to support these plants on tribal lands and across the region. Project methods and initial findings will be shared.
Guest: Clay Wilton; Michigan Natural Features Inventory
"Natural resources agencies currently invest a significant amount of resources developing prescribed burn plans. However, many proposed burns are never implemented, and the current burn system does not systematically evaluate all stands. Given that funding for implementing prescribed fire is finite, it is imperative that proposed burns be informed by the best available ecological information. Through this project, Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has worked in conjunction with Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division staff to develop a prescribed fire needs assessment for WLD managed lands in Southern Lower Michigan. This prescribed fire needs assessment model can be extrapolated for other agencies and other fire-dependent geographies."
"Were you told not to bother with common names of plants because they are so variable, and instead to learn Latin names, which – we were promised – would never change? If so, then you know that has proven to not be true! Aster is no longer the Latin name for all our asters! Little bluestem is no longer an Andropogon. What happened? Are plant taxonomists simply torturing all of us and hoping that we will keep buying new Plant Guides? What is the science behind these name changes?
Hemlock woolly adelgid is a small yet dangerous invasive insect that has become a big problem for hemlocks in Michigan and beyond. You can learn more about the species on Michigan.gov's website: https://www.michigan.gov/invasives/0,5664,7-324-68002_71241-367635--,00.html
Our guests this month are John Bedford (Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) and Greg Norwood (Michigan DNR). Topics covered will include:
"Volunteers are key to most stewardship programs. During this webcast we’ll look at: How does the organization develop and maintain their volunteer program? We’ll be discussing how to run a stellar volunteer program for your organization, your impact, and your volunteers; how to evaluate and communicate what your volunteer program has to offer in order to recruit the best volunteers for the job; and how to match the best volunteer opportunity for your volunteers."
"This is the first book of its kind to bring forward the rich tradition of wild rice in Michigan and its importance to the Anishinaabek people who live there. Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan focuses on the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality surrounding this sacred plant. The story travels through time from the days before European colonization and winds its way forward in and out of the logging and industrialization eras. It weaves between the worlds of the Anishinaabek and the colonizers, contrasting their different perspectives and divergent relationships with Manoomin. Barton discusses historic wild rice beds that once existed in Michigan, why many disappeared, and the efforts of tribal and nontribal people with a common goal of restoring and protecting Manoomin across the landscape."
"The northern forests from Minnesota to New England have no native earthworms. European earthworms have invaded many of these forests, where they transform soil structure by consuming the organic horizon (aka duff layer) and compacting the A horizon. These changes in soil structure lead to alterations in nutrient and water cycles within the soil. There are many important ecological cascades emanating from these invasions, including concerns for conservation of native plant and wildlife species, losses of forest and crop productivity, facilitation of invasive plant species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard, and soil and water quality."