Promising restoration opportunities in the Midwest-Great Lakes Region
Monday, April 10, 2017
Posted by: Bethanie Walder
In March I had the pleasure of attending of attending both the SER Central Rockies (CERSER) and the SER Midwest-Great Lakes (SER-MWGL) chapter conferences, and they were both excellent. CERSER’s biennial conference was held in Fort Collins, Colorado in partnership with the High Altitude Revegetation (HAR) organization. SER-MWGL’s annual conference was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Between the two events, more than 400 people gathered to share new ideas, restoration techniques and research, case studies, policies, and practices. The keynotes were inspiring, the symposia and sessions were enlightening, and the networking and personal interactions with amazing restoration colleagues were incredibly valuable. It was yet another reminder about how terrific SER’s chapters are, and what a great opportunity it is to attend SER conferences.
While at the SER-MWGL conference, I also got to join Justin Heslinga, Jesse Lincoln and Priscilla Nyamai on their “West Michigan Oak Savannas: Protection, Restoration, and Research” field trip. We hiked through two remnant oak savannas at different stages of degradation/restoration. Perhaps my favorite quote from the field trip was when Jesse said, “planted pines are the tombstones of the oak savannas.” At the time he was showing us different areas where you could see lines of mature pines and explaining how he used those lines of pines to identify restoration opportunities.
At the second site, Justin and Priscilla led us on a longer hike and discussed their research/practice partnership. Justin works for the Land Conservancy of Michigan and is designing and leading the restoration effort, while Priscilla is an Assistant Professor in Biology and Natural Resources Management at Grand Valley State. Working together, they are developing a restoration program and designing a long-term research program to go with it. It was a perfect example of one SER’s key goals: linking restoration science and practice. Check out this 5-minute video to learn about Priscilla and Justin’s plans at the Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve. Special thanks to Priscilla, Justin and Jesse for the terrific field trip, and thanks to everyone at both CERSER and SER-MWGL for putting on such great events.