In 2006, Nectandra Institute began working with community water management associations (CWMAs) to promote and carry out cloud forest conservation primarily in the upper Balsa River Watershed in Costa Rica. There are some 2,000 CWMAs in the country. These volunteer-run organizations, representing entire communities through their general membership, provide potable water service all over the rural areas with little government support. CWMAs are keenly aware of the hydrological importance of montane forests, making them natural allies in the effort to protect these ecosystems. The changing climate’s anticipated effects on precipitation patterns and consequently the ecosystem dynamics of these forests makes concrete, protective and long-lasting action a real necessity. In response to this challenge, Nectandra Institute launched its Eco-Loan Financing (ELF) Program, which couples land acquisition financing with forest and watershed education. ELF enables the communities to own and control their water sources, while also providing them with the knowledge and information to restore forests and maintain the watershed.
The physical removal of invasive plants can generate a significant volume of materials. Much of this material is bagged and sent to landfills, but is there another way to manage this material? Joe Van Rossum of the University of Wisconsin-Extension will present results from his research on the fate of garlic mustard and common buckthorn seeds placed into compost piles typical at large-scale compost facilities. The results also provide insight into the fate of invasive plant materials that may be inadvertently delivered to municipal yard waste sites.
Wild rice (Manoomin) is a cereal grain that is harvested and enjoyed throughout the Upper Great Lakes Region by people of varied cultural backgrounds. It has been a central component of the culture of the Anishinaabe people in the region for thousands of years and continues to be of great importance to many tribal communities. Its importance is noted by the fact that the Menominee tribe was named for this plant. Wild rice is also a key element of Great Lakes coastal and interior wetlands that provides food, cover, and spawning habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Unfortunately, wild rice populations have declined throughout much of the plant’s historic range, due in large part to human impacts. Given the strong cross-cultural importance of this grain, sustaining regional populations of wild rice requires a commitment to multicultural approaches that recognize, respect, and weave together ways of knowing that are influenced by both traditional knowledge and western science.
Deer play important roles in the ecology of Michigan, and in the culture of the people who live in and visit the Great Lakes State. How are decisions about the management of the state’s deer herds made? What goals are we working to achieve through that management? How can individuals or groups of individuals become involved in those decisions or work together to achieve similar goals at a local scale? Brent Rudolph, the Deer and Elk Program Leader for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will discuss and engage us in dialogue on these points in our next webcast.
Stewardship, including invasive species management, is a year-round endeavor. Each season brings different challenges and new opportunities. Knowing the correct timing for conducting invasive species work can greatly increase efficiency and reduce costs. When you think of invasive species work for fall, you typically think of treating woody invasive plants. However, there are a lot of other tasks that need to be completed in preparation for spring work. In this webcast, we’ll cover some of the basic tasks that managers and stewards can do in the fall to prepare for next year’s invasive species work, including scouting, mapping, firebreak installation, equipment maintenance, and planning.
Michigan has amazing inland lakes that overall are very healthy. However, research shows that the greatest threat to the overall health of inland lakes is the loss of near shore habitat. The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), formed in 2008, is trying to change this. It was created to promote the importance of natural shorelines and soft-engineering techniques for restoring and protecting Michigan’s inland lakes. Our guess speaker in this webcast is Julia Kirkwood, the current Chair of the MNSP. She will discuss why natural shorelines are important and what happens when vegetation is removed. She will also discuss the MNSP resources and programs that are designed to train and educate professionals and property owners on the different options for creating a natural shoreline.
As the temperature rises and we head into summer, many of us will be heading towards the water. Michigan truly is a “water wonderland”, surrounded by the Great Lakes and home to thousands of inland lakes, rivers, and streams. Unfortunately, many of these aquatic systems have been significantly changed by invasive, non-native plants and animals – and it seems like there is a new invader discovered every day! During this webcast, we will take a look at some of the aquatic invasive species now found in Michigan, and some that are knocking on our door. We’ll also discuss a variety of ways to help stop the spread and protect our lakes and streams.
In 1998 and again in 2008 wildfires surged through much of Florida, destroying property and homes. Many Florida fire managers believe these fires were the result of a build up of hazardous fuels due to public resistance to prescribed fire. The FIFE Program (Fire in Florida's Ecosystems) was designed to teach Florida educators about fire ecology, prescribed fire and wildfire prevention. This educator training program gives teachers the information and tools to teach students in grades 3-12 about fire’s natural role in nature, while also tying back to core concepts in math, science, social studies and language arts. The program is targeted to Florida’s schools but can be modified for any region in the country. Tune in to learn more about this dynamic program, which has taught over 3,000 teachers, camp councilors, 4-H and Scout leaders, and park staff since 1999.