Webinar Series

"Conservation Talk Tuesdays" Webinar Series

Please join us for a free six-part webinar series on Tuesdays in October, November and December 2020 from Noon to 1:00pm (eastern). We will be taking a closer look at diverse cultural perspectives, unique natural communities and innovative conservation partnerships across Michigan.

Who should attend?

  • Individuals who want to learn more about natural communities and conservation efforts in Michigan
  • Natural resource professionals who want to build their knowledge
  • Individuals who want to learn about the Michigan Conservation Steward Program and program alumni

Speakers and topics subject to change. Registration is free and required. Attend individual webinars or join us for the entire series!

Register today!

Ajee_headshotOctober 20, 2020 (Noon to 1:00pm)
Connecting Youth with the Outdoors in Detroit: Cultivating the Next Generation of Naturalists and Conservationists
Speaker: Ajee Witherspoon, Detroit Zoological Society

Disproportionately, people of color and low-income families are less likely to live near green spaces or regularly spend time in nature. These families are also often unequally shouldering the burden of living in industrial areas. Through Ajee's Environmental Stewardship Internship, underrepresented youth are afforded the opportunity to get outdoors, explore, become environmental stewards, and change the face of conservation while learning job readiness skills. In this webinar, Ajee Witherspoon discusses why getting youth of color in nature is important and how to facilitate those experiences.

Additional resource: Detroit Outdoors is Breaking Down Barriers to Nature

Ajee's presentation slides.



Wilton2_PhotoOctober 27, 2020 (Noon to 1:00pm)
Up-close and personal with bears, American marten, fisher, and deer
Speaker: Clay Wilton, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Clay’s talk will focus on how Michigan Natural Features Inventory, in partnership with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, are using large-scale camera trap grids to study population parameters (abundance, occupancy) of medium- to large-bodied mammals in Michigan. He will discuss the basic methodology behind using camera traps to study population ecology and how the results can be used to guide conservation and management. He’ll also introduce emerging technologies in artificial intelligence that he is using to help process the overwhelming amount of data that can be produced in these types of studies.

Addition resource: Clay Wilton publications.

Clay's presentation slides.


marie-schaefer-photoNovember 10, 2020 (Noon to 1:00pm)
Where Has Our Wild Rice Gone?
Speaker: Dr. Marie Schaefer, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

Why can’t we go into a grocery store in Michigan and find truly wild rice grown in our rivers or lakes?  Dr. Marie Schaefer, from Michigan State University, will share what’s behind these stories and the implications for biodiversity and for gendered connections to natural resources.  Dr. Schaefer has extensive experience working with Indigenous women to bring forward their involvement in manoomin cycles, in the face of ongoing settler colonization processes at work still today.

Additional resource: Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community (Book) by Brenda Child. 

This webinar will not be recorded.

Nicole_Watson_graylingNovember 24, 2020 (Noon to 1:00pm)
Grayling in Michigan: Their past, present, and future
Speaker: Nicole Watson, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

Nicole's presentation will focus on the history of Grayling in Michigan, her current Grayling research, preliminary findings, and potential management implications. 

Nicole's Ph.D. research focuses on young Arctic Grayling, Brook and Brown trout. Her overarching goal is to clarify uncertainties to successful Grayling reintroduction to Michigan streams. It is a multifaceted study including the following: predation of Grayling fry by resident, age-1 Brook and Brown trout; competition between age-0 Grayling, Brook, and Brown trout; Grayling imprinting to home waters at early life stages; alarm cues; aspects of physiological development; predator avoidance and predator cue recognition by juvenile Grayling. Her research takes her to Alaska each spring to transport Grayling eggs back to her lab at Michigan State University. She spends each summer and fall running trials back in her lab (except this year). Nicole earned her M.S. at Central Michigan University where she focused on the utilization of otolith microchemistry to determine streams of origin of juvenile Steelhead in tributaries of Lake Michigan.  

Additional resources:

  • More information about Arctic Grayling reintroduction in Michigan can be found at www.migrayling.org. Nicole is part of the research team of the collaboration.
  • Videos highlighting this project and Grayling in Michigan can be found here and here.

SLovall_headshot2December 8, 2020 (Noon to 1:00pm)
How Habitat Restoration on Belle Isle can Mitigate Climate Change
Speakers: Sam Lovall, Friends of the Detroit River & Greg Norwood, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Sam and Greg will discuss the history of the Detroit River and current and future restoration efforts. Their talk will also highlight the importance of coastal wetlands in the Detroit River watershed and restoration efforts on Belle Isle related to climate change.

GregAdditional resources:

  • Restoring Fish and Wildlife Habitat on the Detroit River video (5:46).
  • Friends of the Detroit River website: https://detroitriver.org

Photo_Jesse_LincolnDecember 15, 2020 (Noon to 1:00pm)
Perspectives in Conservation: Understanding People and the Landscape to Protect our Natural Heritage
Speaker: Jesse Lincoln, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Jesse is an ecologist and conducts vegetation surveys on public lands managed for hunters and nature lovers. This work involves describing and identifying important natural areas, documenting rare plants, aging trees, and integrating these elements into wildlife management plans. With MNFI since 2010, Jesse enjoys botanizing and finding important remnants of high-quality natural areas. He earned a BS and MS in Biology from Grand Valley State University and enjoys nature photography and wandering around the forest with his son. 

Additional resources: