Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

October 2023

Good morning! 

I may be biased, but I think the Pellston area had the best views of fall foliage this year in northern Michigan and possibly across the country. Whether standing along the shore of Douglas Lake or traveling down Riggsville Road, the stunning scenes made me grateful for this special place that gifts us a front-row seat to everything Mother Nature has to offer.
We have so much to learn from this place — these 10,000 acres where students and scientists live and work as a community. UMBS staff has been fostering relationships with the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, building cooperative research and teaching opportunities.
We also are engaging more with tribal communities in the upper Midwest through the new UNESCO Obtawaing Biosphere Region (OBR), which UMBS Resident Biologist Adam Schubel has worked to bring together as part of a network of regions of global cultural and ecological significance recognized by the United Nations. OBR encompasses roughly five million square miles of land and water at the convergence of Michigan’s two peninsulas and three Great Lakes.
On Oct. 11, the Biological Station hosted OBR’s first annual meeting. The all-day event along Douglas Lake included more than 60 participants representing more than 40 organizations. Among the presenters, Dr. David Michener from U-M’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum discussed potential collaborative opportunities between the OBR and the new NSF-funded Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science. 
The 2024 Summer Lecture Series continues to build into a wonderful lineup of guest speakers. I am proud to announce that Dr. Cherry Meyer, an assistant professor of American culture at U-M, will join us Wednesday, July 10, at 7 p.m. to discuss her work in the study of Indigenous languages. The event is free and open to the public.
As we close out the month of October, we are deep into the season of transformation. Every autumn makes us think about change.
With more than a century of learning and data collection, UMBS is able to tell powerful stories about how northern Michigan has changed over time as well as how the changes we see here fit into our understanding of how populations, communities and ecosystems work all around the world.
Founded in 1909, our extensive long-term data sets only gain power over time. A prime example is the burn plots. They serve as a time machine that allows us to look back at forests of different ages and continue to strengthen our understanding of forest succession after logging and fire.
I encourage you to read the remarkable UMBS Burn Plots Story Map thoughtfully created by Jason Tallant, data manager and research specialist at UMBS, and Ethan VanValkenburg, who was an undergraduate student studying ecology and evolutionary biology at U-M and took summer courses at UMBS. VanValkenburg is now a Ph.D. student at Stanford University. Their work during VanValkenburg’s time at our field station serves as a remarkable resource about historic UMBS research.
At the Biological Station, we have an incredible, dedicated staff who work together to make our field station a success. We are grateful that the University of Michigan chose — out of its thousands and thousands of employees — to shine a spotlight on UMBS Facilities Manager Scott Haley this month. Read about his road to our historic field station, his winter chicken rescue, and why a Great Lakes piping plover was recently named after him.
One quote about UMBS from Scott really hits home for me: “I just love the sense of community and the ability to not work in a crawl space or an attic all day long. It’s a beautiful setting here.”
Well said. Especially during peak fall colors. 

Read our full October 2023 Newsletter for what's happening right now and updates for 2024.  


Dr. Aimée Classen