February 2018 Meeting and Presentation: Vernal Pools: Coral Reefs of Michigan Forests

February 26, 2018 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
People's Church
1758 10th St N
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Philip Micklin

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.