Join Yu Man Lee for the fifth presentation of ASK’s new program season as she discusses “Vernal Pools: Coral Reefs of Michigan’s Forests.” Vernal pools are small, seasonally-flooded wetlands that play a key role in maintaining the biodiversity and health of Michigan’s forests and other ecosystems. Vernal pools provide critical habitat for many wildlife species, particularly invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles, including some of Michigan’s most endangered species, such as the Federally-threatened and state-endangered copperbelly water snake. Some species only occur in or rely on vernal pools for their survival, such as fairy shrimp and spotted salamanders. Vernal pools also provide important ecosystem services including nutrient cycling, water storage and infiltration, and groundwater recharge. Because of their small size and temporary nature, vernal pools can be difficult to identify on the landscape and receive little or no protection under current wetland regulations. Many of these wetlands have been destroyed or degraded due to activities such as development and forestry operations. Indeed, their existence and importance to healthy ecosystems is, in general, not recognized by the public, and their status, distribution, and ecology are largely unknown in Michigan.
Vernal pools have recently been getting increased attention. To better document and understand vernal pools and expand conservation efforts on their behalf, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory teamed with the Michigan Department of Yu Man Lee has been a Conservation Scientist and Zoologist/Herpetologist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) since 1997. Her primary responsibilities at MNFI include conducting surveys, research, and monitoring for rare animals, particularly amphibians and reptiles; helping to maintain Michigan’s Natural Heritage Database; conducting environmental review assessments; and providing technical assistance, education, and outreach on rare species and natural communities to land managers, conservation groups, researchers, the public, and other stakeholders. Since 2011, Yu Man has been working with Michigan State University Extension staff and partners to develop and implement a statewide citizen science-based vernal pool mapping and monitoring program to raise public awareness and better inform and promote conservation of these important wetlands. This includes developing and launching a place-based education program to train and get middle and high school educators and students involved in vernal pool mapping and monitoring and engaged in natural resource research and management.
Yu Man Lee holds a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and an MS in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University.
You are invited to join us to meet and hear Yu Man Lee on February 26, 2018, at the People’s Church, 1758 North 10th Street, Kalamazoo. Our program starts at 7:30 PM and is preceded by a social time with light refreshments at 7:00 PM. Guests and the public are encouraged to attend. Handicap parking and access is at either the front or rear entrance of the building. Please remember to bring your own coffee mug to reduce dishwashing.
Join ASK member Gail Walter for the March presentation of ASK’s program season as she discusses, “One Billion Birds: The Glass Collision Problems (and some Solutions).” Collisions with glass claim the lives of a billion birds a year in the United States alone. It is second only to domestic cats as a source of mortality linked directly to humans. Birds that have successfully flown thousands of miles on migration can die in seconds on a pane of glass. Glass is as dangerous for strong, healthy breeding birds as it is for sick, weak, or young birds. It is an indiscriminate killer with a serious impact on bird populations. Advances in technology have made it possible to construct tall buildings with all-glass walls, homes with huge windows, and miles of transparent noise-barriers on highways. Because of this, there has been an increase in the amount of glass used in construction and, subsequently, an increased impact on birds. This presentation will discuss why glass is such a problem for birds, differences in vision between birds and humans, identify the best practices and options in preventing bird collisions, inform about legislation at the Federal, State, and local levels regarding bird-friendly building standards, and offer resources for further information about bird-friendly building design.
Gail is a mostly retired clinical pathologist with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from MSU who consults primarily for the pharmaceutical, chemical, and biotechnology industries. Gail is a former board member and President of the Audubon Society of Kalamazoo, a current board member of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, and is a member of Wild Ones and Michigan Botanical Club. She is the coordinator for the Peregrine Falcon Cam in downtown Kalamazoo and serves as the liaison between the peregrines and the building owners and tenants, the media, the DNR, and the public. Gail and her husband, Tom Nehil, are active hikers, cross country skiers, birders, and canoers.
You are invited to join us to meet and hear Gail on March 26, 2018, at the People’s Church, 1758 North 10th Street, Kalamazoo. Our program starts at 7:30 PM and is preceded by a social time with light refreshments at 7:00 PM. Guests and the general public are encouraged to attend. Handicap parking and access is at either the front or rear entrance of the building. Please remember to bring your own coffee mug to reduce dishwashing.