Next Monthly Webcast:
Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
12pm-1pm EST (11am-12pm CST, 10am-11am MST, 9am-10am PST)
(click the title to access the recording)
“One of the challenges the City of Detroit faces is being unable to provide oversight of vacant lots, blight, and illegal dumping. The city’s waning tax base due to population decline prevented government officials from pursuing absentee landowners and the investigation of illegal dumping. This is significant as we consider the Springwells neighborhood to be one of many coping with the expanse of vacancy and blight.
Without city resources to hold landowners accountable, the prevalence of physical disorder continued to increase. While it has become imperative for dangerous and blighted structures to be removed, it has also become vital for the community to seek ways to redevelop the lot. Generous community partnership can help us purchase commercial grade landscape equipment, maintain existing power equipment, rent heavy duty earth moving equipment, rent dumpsters, purchase hardy perennial plants, grass seed, purchase contractor grade trash bags and safety glasses.
The Land Stewardship Initiative of Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) works to address vacant lots and illegal dumping. Absentee landowners stand to be amongst one of the most prevalent variables in creating the problem. In addition to absentee landowners, the increase of vacant side lots due to the City’s blighted structures demolition program contributes to the problem. Under the leadership of Lisa Marie Rodriguez, the Curator of Parks and Green Spaces, UNI receives nominations of vacant lots to be taken under stewardship annually. UNI also recruits neighborhood residents to serve as stewards of these lots”
Our guest this month is Lisa Marie Rodriguez, Curator of Parks & Green Spaces at Urban Neighborhood Initiatives
“Birds are all around us, making anywhere we can observe them a place of potential discovery. Ecologically, they are widespread in many different types of natural communities and respond quickly to changes in the environment. For this month’s webcast, Michigan Avian Experience’s Director, Francie Krawcke will lead us in a conversation focusing on “Bird Focused Citizen Science.” We will discuss the value of citizen science from an agency/organizational perspective, the benefits for the participants, and the impacts on wild bird populations, providing key takeaways that decision-makers can use to make informed decisions about whether this methodology is right for them.”
Our guest this month is Francie Krawcke, Executive Director of the Michigan Avian Experience:
Francie’s Dad once asked her what she wanted to do with her life. Be happy was her response. Little did they know at the time Francie was to embark on a journey that would take her to 35 different states and 2 countries teaching with birds of prey. With over 15 years raptor training experience and almost 20 years teaching in the environmental education and interpretation field, she is one of about a dozen individuals in the country that have successfully trained a wild bald eagle to free fly. In addition, she has free flown 10 different species and trained over 20 different species of raptors. With a degree from Northern Michigan University and a Certified Interpretative Guide from the National Association of Interpretation, Francie is specifically trained in theory and practice of interpretation and environmental education. During that time she has presented at national and international conferences, organized two Michigan Raptor Connection workshops, teacher training workshops, developed environmental conservation curriculum and had loads of fun. As Executive Director of Michigan Avian Experience, she is able to share her work with others.
“How can we assess deer impacts on species, communities, and ecosystems? Dr. Jacqueline Courteau will explore a range of different monitoring methods, and will discuss the challenges addressing indirect effects and interactions. We will consider deer impacts beyond direct damage to plants that are browsed, such as the ways in which deer browsing may decrease flower availability, leading to declines in pollinators—and other such “trophic cascades.” Examples from research in southeast Michigan over the past 20 years will be used to illustrate different approaches.”
w/ guest Dr. Jacqueline Courteau:
Dr. Jacqueline Courteau is an ecologist, consultant, and writer/editor. She 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. As a project manager and editor, her most recent work has been a book about training donkeys to harness for use on small farms and homesteads. Through her company, NatureWrite LLC, she does research and consulting including ecological assessment and monitoring, restoration plans, forest regeneration, deer impacts on vegetation, and other plant-animal interactions, and invasive species, and has worked for Ann Arbor’s city parks, Washtenaw County parks, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, and the Michigan DNR, as well as Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Huron River Watershed Council. She has offered talks, hikes, and workshops on tree ID, invasive species, oak regeneration, climate change, ecological assessment, monitoring deer impacts, and spring wildflowers. She enjoys helping people connect to their land and the plants that grow on it, through learning about ecosystems as well as more meditative connections through nature journaling.
October 2019: Ticks & Fire – Can long-term prescribed fire be used to reduce risk of tick-borne disease?
“For the past several decades, both the incidence and emergence of tick-borne diseases has increased dramatically. As more and more citizens become concerned about contracting tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever or alpha gal (the “red meat allergy”), it’s critical that effective, practical approaches to reducing tick populations and tick-borne disease risk be identified. Could prescribed fire be the answer? Join Elizabeth Gleim to hear about her research investigating the impacts of long-term prescribed fire on tick populations and disease risk and more broadly about the work that has been done on this topic and its implications for use of fire to reduce ticks in the Midwest.”
w/ guest Elizabeth R. Gleim, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies at Hollins University
“Elizabeth “Liz” Gleim received her B.A. in biology from Hollins University. Prior to her graduate work, Liz spent two years working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and then went on to get her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Management with a focus on disease ecology from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. At UGA, her research focused on the impacts of long-term prescribed fire on tick populations and tick-borne disease risk. Following her doctoral work, she was a visiting faculty member in the biology department at Oxford College of Emory University and has spent the last three years back at Hollins, her alma mater, as an assistant professor of biology and environmental studies. At Hollins, Liz’s research continues to study forest pest and disease ecology with a particular focus on tick-borne disease ecology.”
“The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (HR3742) would dedicate $1.3 billion for state-led conservation efforts and $97.5 million to Tribal nations to recover and sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations. If passed, this would be the most significant new investment in wildlife conservation in more than a generation. This groundbreaking legislation will help ensure that future generations can enjoy the same abundant fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities that we have today. Naomi and Dan will give an overview of this important legislation and provide suggestions on how to help support the national campaign.”
w/ guests Naomi Edelson (Senior Director, Wildlife Partnerships – National Wildlife Federation) and Dan Kennedy (Endangered Species Coordinator – Michigan DNR, Wildlife Division)
August 2019 Webcast: Collaborative Efforts to Reduce Invasive Phragmites Australis in the Great Lakes Basin
w/ guest Elaine Ferrier
“Elaine is a Sr. Program Specialist with the Great Lakes Commission and works with a core team of Great Lakes Commission and USGS staff to coordinate the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative. She facilitates communication and strategic advancement for the Collaborative’s efforts across states, provinces, and tribal nations. She first began working with Phragmites since 2010 when it appeared in restoration monitoring plots in Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. She later worked on strategic planning for phragmites with Ontario Parks and was a volunteer co-chair for the Ontario Phragmites Working Group before joining the Great Lakes Commission team in 2016. She holds a BA from Trent University in natural resource studies and a Masters in Environmental Studies from University of Waterloo.”
“One of the biggest conundrums any land manager / property owner / community faces is how to respond to the early detection of an aggressive invasive species. Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), a notoriously invasive sprawling grass introduced from Asia in the early 20th century when it was used as packing material for fine china, was recently discovered for the first time in southeast MI. Learn how the community of land managers and private property owners quickly banded together and rather than wait for this species to invade their property worked quickly, strategically and in coordinated fashion. Most organizations and individuals were already part of The Stewardship Network Huron-Arbor Cluster which allowed for the capacity of an immediate control effort in combination with significant on-the-ground efforts by the landowners to form the Wasthenaw County Stiltgrass Working Group and how they are addressing this urgent issue.”
w/ guests Becky Gajewski and Katie Carlisle:
Becky Gajewski is a Stewardship Specialist for the Natural Area Preservation (NAP) division of the City of Ann Arbor’s Parks and Recreation Services Unit, where her mission is to protect and restore Ann Arbor’s natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens. With several years of experience in ecological restoration, botany, and parks, she oversees NAP’s biological inventory program and assists with management planning for park natural areas. As manager of the inventory program, she coordinates two field biologists and numerous volunteers who participate in several citizen science-based wildlife survey programs. Becky is also in charge of data management and mapping for NAP and serves as a burn boss on prescribed burns. She graduated from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment with an MS in Natural Resources and Environment, and also holds a certificate in GIS from Penn State University.
Katie Carlisle is the Stewardship Coordinator at Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission. She is responsible for protecting and enhancing natural features in Washtenaw County Parks and Preserves in addition to promoting and coordinating volunteer opportunities. After receiving a Master’s of Science in Geophysics from Boise State University, she spent several years doing outdoor education, volunteer coordination, and stewardship work.
w/ guest Sharon Farrell
In her role at the conservancy, Sharon supports many of the organization’s conservation initiatives and community science, restoration, and stewardship programs. This includes advancing opportunities for engaging partners, scientists and community members in research, monitoring and many aspects of land stewardship. Sharon also works closely with agency partners to oversee the One Tam Initiative, a community initiative to help ensure a healthy future for Mt. Tamalpais.
Prior to joining the Parks Conservancy in 2004, Sharon was the Executive Director of the Watershed Project. Her work included capacity building for “Friends” groups, with a focus on partnership and fund development with municipalities and local governments. Sharon developed training and grants programs to support this work, and forged regional partnerships with other Bay Area non-profit organizations to support community-based stakeholder groups.
Sharon has also worked as an ecologist and resource specialist with the National Park Service, a resource planner with the Presidio Trust, and as an environmental consultant. Sharon holds a MS in Park Management with emphasis on Ecological Restoration and Community Stewardship, and a BS in Chemistry.
Sharon is an avid backpacker, nature photographer, and explorer. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in the East Bay with her wife Sue, their two children, and their dog, Marco. Together they are frequent hikers of the amazing landscapes on Mt. Tam, Point Reyes, and the Marin Headlands.