Tag Archives: michigan department of natural resources

Our colleagues shine in ANREP

I recently heard from Michigan State University senior Extension educator Dean Solomon about an award one of our colleagues won at the recent Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) Biennial Conference that took place May 18 to 22 in Sacramento, California. ANREP is a national association of Cooperative Extension Service professionals working in environmental education, fisheries, forestry, wood sciences, range, recreation, waste management, water, wildlife and related disciplines.

 During the event, Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator, won the poster competition Gold Award for her entry “Creating Sustainable Fish Communities Through Habitat Restoration in the Huron-to-Erie Corridor.” (I find the subject of the poster MOST agreeable!) The award took first place among 57 academic posters. This project involves Mary and collaborators from Michigan Sea Grant, the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

 Dean doesn’t like to toot his own horn but I’d like to mention here that he is currently ANREP national president-elect, assuming that role at the beginning of this year. In January 2015, he will become president, then past-president in 2016. You may recall that Dean was a recipient this February of the MSU Distinguished Academic Staff award.

 Congratulations to Mary and her collaborators ‒ and to Dean!

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M4-HYCC testifies before Senate committee

We talk often about how our Michigan State UniversityExtension4-H Youth Development Program creates the leaders of tomorrow. But often, 4-H’ers don’t wait till they’re all grown up to use those leadership skills to make a difference. That was obvious when a group of 19 members of the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) gave a presentation before the Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes on April 24.

The council is a leadership and confidence-building opportunity for teens who get a chance to explore solutions to environmental issues and provide a voice in state government public policy-making. Each year, members of M4-HYCC select and research a current environmental issue that affects the entire state. They spend about three months researching, which includes interviewing people, listening to presentations, and studying books and articles on the issue. The research concludes with a presentation before the state Senate.

Members of the M4-HYCC , a Michigan Senate Committee and a staff member pose for a photo after the council testified before the committee April 24, 2014, in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Jamie Wilson

Members of the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council and the Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes as well as a staff member pose for a photo after the council testified before the committee on improving the regulations related to home heating oil storage tanks April 24, 2014, in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Jamie Wilson

This year, the group’s research and presentation focused on home heating oil tanks. The council recommended expanding the regulations of PA 207 to include a broader jurisdiction over the tanks. It suggested that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) be given the ability to ticket inadequate home heating oil tanks and supporting structures. It also suggested that education and training in proper inspection and fuel tank maintenance for fuel distributors be enhanced.

The senators expressed appreciation for all the hard work the 4-H’ers put into the project. They were impressed and spent time talking individually with them after the hearing ended.

“I thought the senators seemed surprised that home heating oil tanks in Michigan are largely unregulated,” said Extension educator Darren Bagley who coordinates the program.

The teen council members have been responsible for influencing the legislature in the past. In 2008, their testimony helped pass Senate Bill 152 and 362, which reduces the amounts of phosphorus permitted in dishwasher and laundry detergents. In 2003, their recommendations led to an introduction of a bill that directed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to include special information about marine fuel spills in its boating safety course. Members also testified for a bill introduced in 2000 that promoted the development of the Michigan heritage water trail program. The bill was passed in 2002.

4-H member Dakota Hewlett, an MSU freshman who has been with the council since he was 13, provided leadership. Mallory Ramelis from Mackinac County took leadership for the presentation, and Samantha Ellison from Tuscola County took leadership for the paper.

Extension educator Insa Raymond acted as advisor, and Sam Owens (Midland County) and Paula Ramelis (Mackinac County) served as volunteer advisors.

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MSU Extension named to Hall of Fame

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.

Other inductees last week included former Governor William Milliken, Dr. Howard Tanner, former president of the Muskegon Conservation Club Fred Wilder and the Huron Pines organization.

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.

 

Michigan State University Extension Director Tom Coon spoke of his appreciation for the honor bestowed on MSU Extension

On May 9, 2013, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., Michigan State University Extension Director Tom Coon spoke of his appreciation for the honor bestowed on MSU Extension in recognition of their long-standing commitment to educational programming that supports stewardship of Michigan’s natural heritage. Photo credit: Ron Brown

 

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.

2013 inductees to the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame included (left to right) former Gov. William Milliken (represented by his son Bill Milliken), Dr. Howard Tanner, Mr. Fred Wilder, Huron Pines organization (represented by Brad Jensen) and Michigan State University Extension (represented by Director Thomas Coon).

On May 9, 2013, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., 2013 inductees to the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame included (left to right) former Gov. William Milliken (represented by his son Bill Milliken), Dr. Howard Tanner, Mr. Fred Wilder, Huron Pines organization (represented by Brad Jensen) and Michigan State University Extension (represented by Director Thomas Coon). Photo credit: Ron Brown

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Extension educator and Extension specialist receive distinguished university awards

Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology, received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and Jane M. Herbert, senior MSU Extension educator, received the Distinguished Academic Staff award Feb. 12 at the annual Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center. The awards presentation followed President Lou Ann K. Simon’s State of the University Address.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) honored the awardees with a reception in the Agriculture Hall Atrium just prior to the Awards Convocation.

Dr. Landis was one of 10 faculty honored for a comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and/or creative activities, instruction and outreach. Dr. Landis has had joint funding from MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch throughout his service at MSU.

Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology, received the Distinguished Faculty Award Feb. 12, 2013.

Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology, received the Distinguished Faculty Award Feb. 12, 2013, at the annual Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center.

Dr. Landis came to MSU as an assistant professor in entomology 25 years ago. Since that time, he has strived to help people work with rather than against nature. He is author or co-author of numerous refereed research publications in wide-ranging journals as well as author or co-author of many book chapters. He is sought after as a keynote speaker on the topics of conservation biology and the redesign of agricultural landscapes. Dr. Landis has an outstanding granting record notable for its wide-ranging collaborations. He provides inter-disciplinary granting leadership at the highest levels of national competition.

As an international authority on the delivery of biocontrol services in agricultural landscapes, his contributions to a fundamental understanding of how landscape patterns structure insect abundance and distributions across entire watersheds has paved the way toward using this knowledge for pest management.

Beginning with his initial assignment of having extension responsibility for entomological aspects of field crops, Doug has done stellar work in outreach. In this work, Doug has always been dedicated to connecting with growers and
understanding their needs. He’s also been innovative in his approach, including the adoption of emerging technologies and helping us to continue improving Extension.

Doug has provided leadership to many collaborations over his career. He shaped the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And he has been a member of the management team for the Long-Term Ecological Research program at the Kellogg Biological Station, a remarkable collaboration that began when Doug first arrived at MSU.

Jane Herbert was one of four people honored for the award that recognizes the outstanding achievements of academic specialists and MSU Extension academic staff members who serve the university in advising, curriculum development, outreach, extension, research and teaching.

Jane M. Herbert, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received the Distinguished Academic Staff award Feb. 12, 2013

Jane M. Herbert, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received the Distinguished Academic Staff award Feb. 12, 2013, at the annual Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center

Jane is a nationally recognized expert on inland lake management with an emphasis on natural shoreline landscaping and bioengineered shoreline erosion control.

She has been a major asset to Extension in the development, delivery and evaluation of regional and statewide water resource Extension programming since joining MSUE in 1996.

As a district water quality educator with the Extension Land and Water Unit at Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), she served the citizens of 17 southwest Michigan counties with innovative water resource programming. Now located at the Kalamazoo County MSU Extension office, she provides statewide leadership for water resource programming within the Greening Michigan Institute and serves as a water resource educator across Michigan.

She assumed a leadership role in the creation of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), bringing together academia, industry representatives, regulatory agencies and nonprofits to develop and deliver innovative natural shoreline education. She also provides leadership for the development, delivery and evaluation of required continuing education for MNSP-certified contractors, including the creation of advanced bioengineering field construction experiences and training videos.

In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, she led a multi-agency effort to develop a publication (MSUE Bulletin WQ60) to help large quantity water users and others understand the basis for Michigan’s new online Water Withdrawal Assessment Process – the mechanism by which Michigan complies with the Great Lakes Compact.

She has published in a variety of natural erosion control and landscape trade magazines, bringing national attention to the technical and community development model of Certified Natural Shoreline Professional (CNSP). She served as lead author and coordinating editor of the CNSP training curriculum, (MSUE Bulletin E3109), which received the 2012 Gold Award for a Long Publication from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

She has co-authored successful grants totaling nearly $1 million to develop and deliver water resource management programming.

Congratulations to Doug and to Jane!

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Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership’s 2nd Annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference a success

I’m always happy to showcase our many successes in this blog and email. The increased attendance at the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP) 2nd Annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference – from last year’s attendance of 94 to this year’s 152 participants – was just one of the measures of the event’s success. Fifty-one of this year’s participants were Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals gaining continuing education units through the MNSP. The intent of the certification program is to promote the use of green landscaping technologies and bioengineered erosion control on inland lakes. Lake management professionals, educators and lakefront property owners also participated in the conference.

 The conference took place during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week) March 7 in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

 Jane Herbert, Michigan State University Extension senior water resource educator, and John Skubinna of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), who facilitates the MNSP, served on the conference planning committee chaired by Lois Wolfson, outreach specialist in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Institute of Water Research and MSU Extension.

 The conference focused on lakeshore restoration and the effect of climate change on plant selection and performance. The event featured various experts in the field including Dr. Mary Blickenderfer of the University of Minnesota Extension.

 Jane said, “The annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference is MNSP’s chance to bring in out-of-state experts – providing MDEQ and Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff, and others, an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening with natural shoreline restoration around the country.”

 Sponsors of the conference included MNSP; MDEQ, Water Resources Division; MSU Institute of Water Research; MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute; Cardno JFNew; Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc.; and the Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society.

 MSU Extension provides leadership to the MNSP’s educational programming. MNSP is a public/private partnership and includes MSU Extension, the MDEQ, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology, MSU Department of Horticulture, industry representatives, trade associations, other academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.

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Federal grants extend MSU Extension Firewise efforts

Each year between 8,000 and 10,000 wildfires occur in Michigan. These include forest fires, brush fires and grass fires that damage homes, property and public facilities. Michigan State University Extension has been actively engaged in providing wildfire prevention education since 2002 when former MSU Extension emergency management specialist Mark Hansen collaborated with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to pilot the Firewise Communities Program in southern Michigan.

 As Mark was able to obtain additional funding through USDA Forest Service and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grants, Firewise programming was expanded to the Upper Peninsula, northern Lower Peninsula and select Lake Michigan shoreline counties in southwestern and central Michigan. Since 2002, MSU Extension has received more than $1 million in federal grants to support the Firewise program.

 Though Mark officially retired from MSU Extension in December 2007, he agreed to remain as Firewise project director until June 30, 2011. At that time, Extension educator Elaine Bush assumed leadership duties for the statewide program in addition to providing Firewise educational programming in the northwest Lower Peninsula. Joining Elaine in providing Firewise programming are MSU Extension educators Mike Schira, Dave Andersen, Beth Clawson, Russ Kidd and Dennis McClure. Elaine, Dennis and Mike also applied to their respective counties for Title III funding that has provided each of them with a part-time staff person, greatly expanding their ability to provide local programming.

 The Firewise Project continues to expand. Over the past year, the Firewise team has reached more than 6 million listeners, viewers, program participants and local decision makers in Extension programs and media efforts. You can learn more about Firewise by signing up for the online session being offered during Fall Extension Conference by Elaine Bush and Paul Kollmeyer, MDNR state Firewise liaison.

 You can read about the national Firewise Communities Program here: http://www.firewise.org/ The staff in Agriculture and Natural Resources Technology Services recently redesigned the MSU Firewise website (http://firewise.msu.edu/). Continue to check the site for current information.

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Partnership with Michigan DNR and MSU Extension connects urban youth to state parks, outdoor recreation

A program created by a collaborative effort between Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources gets kids outside in the great outdoors and actively developing skills in fishing, archery, orienteering, camping and just exploring nature. The Outdoor Education Skills Clinic, part of the DNR’s Urban Outreach Initiative, is a great way to give youth from urban neighborhoods the opportunity to explore our state parks and the world outdoors. And while the kids are learning, having fun and being active, adult volunteers are gaining mentoring skills resulting in more positive outcomes.

 The clinic is an 8-week-program that took place June 20 through Aug. 12, 2011, at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Maybury State Park, Proud Lake Recreation Area, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Muskegon State Park and Bay City State Recreation Area. Altogether 2,287 youth participated along with 391 adults.

 Gary Williams, Extension educator in Wayne County, coordinates the program. Gary reports that every youth and every adult leader who participated in evaluations indicated that they had a positive learning experience in the great outdoors. And both groups responded overwhelmingly that they would like to participate in additional outdoor activities.

 As far as future clinics go, Gary says he is “in the groove already, looking forward to next year and planning an additional site.”

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