Before last month, I didn’t even know that Michigan has an Environmental Hall of Fame. I was chagrined to be ignorant about it, but I learned last Thursday that it has only been in existence for a year or two.
On May 9 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan State University Extension, along with one other organization and three individuals were inducted into the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame. MSU Extension was inducted into the hall for “providing environmental education to the people of Michigan.” MSU Extension is credited with helping to make Michigan’s environment a cleaner and healthier place to live. I’d like to think we’ve helped it be a more economically successful state as well, building on the natural assets that we share.
The Muskegon Environmental Research and Education Society formed the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame in 2012. The society is in the process of raising funds for a new Education Center at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve in North Muskegon. The completed center will house an exhibit featuring Hall of Fame members.
It was heartening to hear someone else recognize the long record of service our programs have provided and the impacts they have on participants. Our work in coastal communities through the Michigan Sea Grant partnership with the University of Michigan; our programs on forest, fish and wildlife management; our work in natural resource-based tourism; our 4-H Youth Conservation Council; our partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission ‒ all are examples of the contributions we’ve made to science-based resource management and utilization. For all who have contributed to these and similar programs in the past and present, and will continue to contribute in the future, this award belongs to you. You can view a nice plaque in room 108 Agriculture Hall. Thanks to Ron Brown for sharing his photographs from the event.
One feature that made the induction ceremony particularly notable for me personally was that Dr. Howard Tanner, former director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and former director of natural resources at MSU, was inducted for his individual achievements. Dr. Tanner has been recognized widely for his contributions to conservation in Michigan, credited, along with Dr. Wayne Tody, for the introduction of Pacific salmon species to the Great Lakes in the 1960s, which has generated a recreational fishery currently valued at more than $4 billion in total economic impact. But there’s more to Dr. Tanner’s conservation legacy, and I hope to read his telling of those stories in book form in the near future. Dr. Tanner has had a long affiliation with my home department, Fisheries and Wildlife, so it was a special treat to share the evening with him.