Wednesday, July 8th @ 12pm EDT (11am CDT, 10am MDT, 9am CDT)
July 2020: “Space-making in the Native Landscape”
This discussion-based presentation will be looking at the ecological benefits of native plants, especially in human-dominated landscapes where ecological function may be an afterthought, with a special emphasis on the design considerations that can ensure a long-lasting habitat. In addition, the presentation will include new developments in grading and drainage in the home native landscape!
Our guest this month is Mike Appel of Mike Appel Environmental Design, LLC. You can read the description of their work below:
“Our work is informed by hands-on stewardship in the natural communities of southern Michigan. From the designs we conceive to the landscapes we construct and maintain, our experience in the field inspires what we do. Our goal is to create and care for spaces in which our clients can cultivate their own personal connection to the outdoors.”
(click the title to access the recording)
“As individuals and organizations continue to adapt to an ever-changing professional landscape, virtual programming has played an increasingly important role in continuing work that can no longer be done in-person. From FaceTime hikes to Zoom conferences and everything in between, we are all constantly learning and iterating upon best practices for bringing life to our online experiences.”
Our guests this month are Tina Stephens, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for City of Ann Arbor – Natural Area Preservation, as well as Armando Quintero, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at University of California – Merced.
Tina Stephens will begin with a discussion about her experience with hosting the recent “Garlic Mustard Weed Out Week” in coordination with The Stewardship Network’s Spring Invasive Species Challenge. We will follow with contributions from Armando Quintero, who will be sharing his experiences and insights as it relates to virtual events, fundraising, and collaboration. Lastly, we will have a presentation and discussion guided by our Network Administrator, Rob Luzynski, as he shares information regarding best practices in virtual conferencing, the challenges and opportunities associated with these new platforms, and how to engage with audiences in a meaningful and impactful way.
We hope that you will join us to share your thoughts and questions with us. As we prepare to host our first ever virtual edition of The Stewardship Network Conference in 2021, we are committed to being responsive to the needs and wants of our community to ensure that we can give our supporters the best experience possible.
As we all settle into new ways of living and working, individuals and organizations need to be flexible and innovative in the way that they engage with their supporters and collaborators. We will talk with environmental professionals about their approaches to adaptation in the face of the current societal context: What has stayed the same? What has changed? What will continue to evolve going forward? We encourage attendees to share their insights and ask questions in the chat, as well all contribute to enhance our collective understanding of the current situation and best practices for navigating new challenges and opportunities.
With special guests:
Jason Frenzel, Huron River Watershed Council: “Jason facilitates current and potential watershed stewards. Previously, he worked with the City of Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation program for 10 years as its Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University in “facilitating tree hugging.” He joined HRWC in 2011 and lives in the Traver Creekshed.”
Lori Seele, Duluth CISMA: Lori Seele is one of The Stewardship Network’s Collaborative Conservation Community Coordinators, leading the Duluth CISMA in Minnesota – “A Collaborative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) working to address the economical, ecological, & public safety impacts of terrestrial invasive plants in Southern St. Louis County.”
Yakuta Poonawalla, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: “Yakuta Poonawalla was born and raised in India, and her love affair with the natural world began during her first trek in the Himalayas in 1999. Since that initiation, she has had the opportunity of working with various non-profits and social enterprises, both in India and the US to educate, inspire, and cultivate deep love and respect for the environment. Yakuta currently works for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy where she leads the San Francisco Park Stewardship Program and is developing creative programs that focus on inclusion, cultural relevance, and mindfulness. She is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at the Parks Conservancy, and is deeply involved in various initiatives across the park.”
Link to join will be available at 11:30am on the morning of the webcast!
(photo: “Hanging Frog” by Justin Asti)
w/ guest Cayla Samano
An unexpected consequence of social distancing and public lock downs in the era of Covid-19 has been a noticeable increase in the number of people enjoying park and rec areas. In a world of increasing environmental instability, where viral pandemics like Covid-19 may become more frequent, how might our relationship with nature be forced to evolve? This presentation explores these questions from a forest therapy perspective, accompanied by original works of art and photography focusing on the future of the human/nature relationship.
Cayla is a forest therapy guide and former art teacher. She is starting an MFA degree (Master of Fine Arts) in Fall 2020, with a focus on exploring how our nature connection practices have changed over time.
w/ Laura Rubin (Director, Healing Our Water – Great Lakes Coalition)
Laura Rubin has spent more than 30 years working on environmental protection, policy, and conservation issues. She is currently the Director of the Healing Our Waters—Great Lakes Coalition, which has been harnessing the collective power of more than 160 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The Coalition has earned a well-deserved reputation as a national leader in securing federal investment in regional ecosystem restoration efforts.
Before that Rubin worked as executive director of the Michigan-based Huron River Watershed Council since 1998, where she transformed the nonprofit from a low-profile organization to a high-impact, high-visibility national leader in the field of watershed management. HRWC leads in the development and dissemination of cutting-edge conservation and public-education projects and serves as a model for watershed organizations around the country and world.
She has served as a board member or advisor to local, state, and national organizations including the Michigan Environmental Council, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Integrated Science and Assessment Center, the University of Michigan School Of Natural External Advisory Board, the City of Ann Arbor’s Greenbelt Commission, and others. For her national leadership in river protection, she received the River Network’s 2013 River Hero Award. Prior to leading HRWC, Laura worked with small and medium sized manufacturers on pollution prevention efforts, consulted on economic development strategy with the Navajo Nation, and served as a Program Director at Greenpeace, where she cut her teeth on policy development, community organizing, and environmental advocacy.
Originally from the Chicago area, Laura grew up a block from Lake Michigan and learned to love and appreciate the beautiful waters, recreational opportunities, and rich ecology of the Great Lakes. She earned Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Natural Resource Policy at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute, and a Bachelor of Arts in business economics from Colorado College.
The forests of northern Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, or the Northwoods, have undergone substantial environmental changes in the recent past including severe storms, insect and disease outbreaks, droughts, heat waves, winter thaws, and wildfires. In this webinar, we will share preliminary results from a mail survey-based project that investigates how private landowners have experienced and responded to these severe events in Northwoods forests. Our goal is to inform policies and programs that help private forestland owners adapt to changing environmental conditions.
Building on a series of nine focus group interviews that we conducted across the three states in 2017, we designed the mail survey to gather data about forest owners’ experiences with severe events, risk perceptions, management responses, environmental beliefs, and sources of information and advice. In late winter-early spring 2019, we sent the mail survey to a statistically representative sample of individual forestland owners in areas that were exposed to severe events in the Northwoods. We used GIS data on pest and disease outbreaks, storms, wildfires, and dramatic shifts in temperature and precipitation in the past two decades to identify the areas of higher than average exposure. We achieved a 39% response rate. In this webinar, we will share what we learned about the following questions:
- How have forest owners experienced to severe events in the Northwoods forests?
- What risks do owners associate with these changes?
- How have owners’ responded to these events through changes in management?
- How do owners perceive their ability to respond to sever events?
- What major psychological, social, economic, and geographic factors influence their risk perceptions and responses?”
Our guests this month are Dr. Paige Fischer (Assistant Professor – School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan) and Dr. Riva Denny (Postdoctoral Fellow – School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan). Read their bios below!
“Paige Fischer is Assistant Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan. The focus of her research and teaching is on human behavior as it relates to the sustainability of forests as socio-ecological systems. She investigates factors that enable and constrain human adaptation to natural hazards and climate-driven change in forest systems. Paige has been interested in human-forest interactions throughout her life. She grew up in Oregon where she developed a deep appreciation for forests and the communities that depend on them. She pursued undergraduate study in cultural anthropology at Hampshire College. After graduating she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study cultural influences on forest use in a village in Sri Lanka. She then worked for the San Francisco-based conservation organization, Pacific Environment, leading a program on international forest and trade policy in the Pacific Rim region. Paige received master’s and PhD degrees in natural resource sociology at Oregon State University. Her research there was on private landowners’ behavioral motivations to conserve oak habitat. Before joining the faculty at SNRE she was a Research Social Scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the Forest Service where she investigated private landowner wildfire risk perceptions and mitigation behaviors and the capacity of a network of natural resource organizations to adapt to increasing wildfire risk.
Riva C. H. Denny is a postdoctoral research fellow at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. She has a PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University, and an MS in Rural Sociology from Auburn University. Her core research focus is on the interactions between social and environmental systems, particularly the way that the biophysical environment influences, or fails to influence, human decision-making at multiple scales. She uses both qualitative and quantitative methods and specializes in using multi-equation regression techniques like multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling with latent variables, and longitudinal analysis. She has worked extensively with survey data as well as large secondary datasets.
“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)
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.
“In recent years, our understanding of the threats posed by rapid urbanization on environmental function and quality has prompted efforts to conserve and reintroduce green space within cities, with emphasis placed on increasing urban forest canopy cover. Many related initiatives have focused on expanding the urban street tree population, with little work done to deepen our knowledge of the environmental processes occurring within remnant urban woodlots. This study will explore the role these “micro-ecosystems” play in ecosystem function and service provision, specifically the capture and redistribution of water, nutrients, and pollutants within cities. Implications for urban conservation will be discussed”
w/ guest Asia Dowtin, Assistant Professor of Urban Forestry at Michigan State University’s College of Forestry:
“Asia Dowtin’s research uses in situ sampling and laboratory-based techniques to quantify hydrologic and nutrient cycling in the urban forest. Her work explores the relationships that exist between urban canopy structure, spatial context, and plant-water interactions to broaden our understanding of the influence of species composition and surrounding land use on urban forest function. A major goal of Dowtin’s work is to utilize this knowledge to inform the development of urban forest management plans, specifically those intended to optimize yield of select regulating and supporting ecosystem services by municipal trees. Her broader research interests include regional water resource management and hazard mitigation.”
As we begin the 2019 field season, it’s important for us to remember that while our individual efforts may be geographically separated, they are all connected through the pursuit of a common goal:
“Pulling today for native plants tomorrow!”
The Stewardship Network’s Spring Invasive Species Challenge is a chance for us to appreciate the work we do in a larger context and see how our individual efforts are all a part of the larger collective impact that we can have together. Plus, you get to see how your work stacks up against other challengers for a chance at being crowned champion of your weight class.
Our guest this month is Kelly Kearns from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, who will be giving a presentation about some of the non-native, herbaceous plant species that are most effectvely treated in the spring months. The webcast will also feature additional special guests, as well as an overview of the 2019 Spring Invasive Species Challenge with everything you need to know about how you can get involved this work season. We will also be welcoming a few of our winners from the 2018 challenge, who will be discussing the work that they do and as well as their experience participating in the challenge.
with guests Joshua Cohen (Lead Ecologist of Michigan Natural Features Inventory [MNFI]) and Matthew Lewis (Chief Technology Officer of Michigan Aerospace Corporation [MAC])
“The Great Lakes region supports a wide array of coastal natural communities that are endemic and globally rare including lakeplain prairie, Great Lakes marsh, open dunes, alvar, and coastal fen. These ecosystems face a variety of threats, including the establishment and spread of invasive species. There is a critical need to develop scientifically credible and affordable methods for detecting and monitoring the impacts of invasive plant species in coastal ecosystems and assessing the success of restoration efforts to control invasives. Because monitoring efforts are costly and time-consuming, monitoring is often assigned the lowest priority in management plans and is often bypassed. Michigan Natural Features Inventory and Michigan Aerospace Corporation are partnering to develop a low-cost monitoring platform using drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and deep learning algorithms to identify invasive species in high-quality coastal ecosystems. In this presentation we will share results of our first year of research.”
“The late 19th century was a time of monstrous fires associated with settlement. The U.S. adopted a program of state-sponsored conservation in response, much as Europe’s colonial powers did. The Great Fires of 1910 mark the advent of modern fire protection. The next 50 years saw the creation of a national infrastructure for fire control with the U.S. Forest Service as an institutional matrix and a policy of suppression as a standard. In the 1960s a protest movement objected, and by 1978 a veritable revolution had occurred that redefined the goal as a policy of fire by prescription, which intended to restore good fires. Equally, it removed the Forest Service as a hegemon in favor of interagency institutions. That project stalled under the Reagan and Bush the Elder administrations, then revived after the 1994 season. By then the window for reform had narrowed. Now, after 50 years of attempted restoration, the federal agencies are moving toward a hybrid practice of managed wildfire. Today, each era continues to promote updated versions of its goals. Suppression is moving toward an all-hazard, urban fire-service model. Restoration has expanded from simple prescribed fire to interactive techniques involving fire and fuel management, all embedded in complex collaborations. The managed wildfire is still a work in progress, but it seems implicitly to reject the idea that we can get ahead of the problem or that fire is something largely under our control in favor of administrative mashups. Interesting times.”
“Steve Pyne is a former North Rim Longshot, now an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He has written fire histories for the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), and the Earth. Most recently he has revisited the American fire scene with a general narrative from 1960-2013, Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America, and a suite of nine regional fire surveys under the general title, To the Last Smoke.”